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Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off When October 4

Where Village Shops Promenade

Price: FREE Admission Giant Pumpkin Entry Fee: $10 Giant Squash Entry Fee: $10 No Entry Fee for Children’s Division

Summary Come and watch as we weigh off prize winning pumpkins that grow to over 500 lbs!! Lots of other activities are in place for spectators, including the final Saturday of the Farmer's Market, our unique Pumpkin Tree Display, Painted Pumpkin Display, Wagon Rides, and of course, the awarding of the prizes in the Great Pumpkin Weigh Off!

Winners will be awarded in the following categories: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for Giant Pumpkin and Giant Squash, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the children's category that can include pumpkins, watermelons, squash, or other produce. All children will receive a certificate of participation from Thanksgiving Point. Prizes include cash and passes/gifts from Thanksgiving Point and other sponsors.

Applications and information

For More information, contact John Whittaker at (801) 768-7431.

The best time to harvest your winter squash is when the "ground spot" changes from white to a cream or gold color. Harvest pumpkins when the turn fully orange. All will tolerate a light frost but frost will shorten the storage life.

Select and harvest mature squash, cure them the right way and store them at the correctly and the will last for most of the winter.

Check before harvesting to see that all winter squashes and pumpkins to be stored have hard rinds. Push your thumbnail into the stem and then remove it. If the stem indentation fills up with liquid leave the squash on the vine unless you expect heavy frost. If the indentation is dry the squash should store well.

Leave the stems on acorn, butternut, Turban and Buttercup squash or pumpkins that have woody, angular stems. Cut Hubbard, banana and other fleshy-stemmed squash from the vines, leaving about one to two inches of stem. Fruits without stems tend to rot very quickly, but mature fruits with the stem cut off and allowed to heal should store for about six months.

Leave a three- to four-inch stem on pumpkins to help them last longer. Avoid scratching or bruising them. Most types of pumpkins do not last as long in storage as winter squash.

Be gentle with your produce to avoid bruising. Do not drop the fruits during handling and do not stack or pile squash on top of one another. Damaged produce spoils quickly and usually destroys other produce in the process.

For long term storage, bring winter squashes and pumpkins in well before the first cold snap. Since squash and pumpkins are warm season crops, they stop growing when temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees.

Squash and pumpkins left out in the garden may suffer cold injury and will decay prematurely in storage. Once the weather gets below about 50 degrees for more than a week, or there is an extended period of rain, pumpkins and squash, harvest mature fruits that you plant to store.

Cure squashes and pumpkins after harvesting them by holding them in a warm dry place out of direct sunlight for two weeks. Temperatures of 80-90 degrees help set or suberize the skins so they are more resistant to decay. It also allows minor scrapes and cuts to heal.

Store winter squashes and pumpkins as close to 50 degrees as possible. Avoid high humidity. Do not store them in a root cellar as they will quickly decay because they are too moist.

Good air circulation in the storage area is also helpful. Do not store pumpkins and squash in layers and avoid storing them near the ground or floor where the humidity is highest.

Never store them on paper or in paper or plastic bags, as bags tend to hold in too much moisture. An attic or high garage shelf that stays above 50 degrees works well.

Under proper storage conditions, acorn squash last about two months, butternut squash last three months and Turban and Buttercup keep even longer. Although squash may not rot, they do loss quality in storage so use them before they start to deteriorate. Check your stored pumpkins and squash and remove any that turn soft.

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