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Does anyone know what a ripe Jap pumpkin looks like?

Home Forums FOOD PRODUCTION, HARVEST AND STORAGE Vegetables Does anyone know what a ripe Jap pumpkin looks like?

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    Hi Guys,

    A friend of mine has a jap pumpkin vine taking over their vegie patch. We are both new to gardening and were wondering 2 things…

    First – is it okay to trip the ends of the vine to curb it’s growth a bit? or will this damage the whole plant?

    Second – he doesn’t know if they are meant to change colour before he picks them. He thinks their not the right colour yet. I didn’t think pumpkins ripened so much as got to the right size.

    Any help with our questions would be most appreciated.:|

    thanks, Kalex


    A pumpkins stem will dry out and go a bit woody when it’s ready to harvest.

    I’ve never pruned any of my pumpkins so I cant be sure what it will do.


    Hi Kalex.

    Pruning the pumpkin is definitely fine, they take over otherwise. I know people that regularly run over the bits they don’t want with a lawn mower when they do the lawns as it’s the only way they have been able to keep them reasonably under control.


    It’s generally ready to pick when the stem is woody and dry looking. Often the whole vine dies back at that time, but not always. If you want to store the pumpkins for a while, cut the stem long and leave the pumpkins in the sun for a few days, turning it so all sides get a bit of sun. Don’t carry it by the stem ‘cos if the stem breaks off the pumpkin, you’ll have to use it quickly.


    I’ve been told that you should pinch out the ends of the runners to encourage more female flowers. I’ve never bothered trimming mine ‘cos I’ve noticed the female flowers tend to grow near the end of the runners I’d otherwise be trimming.

    Apart from that I usually wait until the pumpkins are a good size and the vine is looking scraggly to harvest them. Like edensgate I also leave mine in the sun for a few days after picking.


    Knock on them and they should sound hollow. Apart from grabbing one toeat I tend to just leave them until the vine withers for best flavour.


    They do ‘look ripe’ when they’re ready as well as the above factors. They tend to get to a certain size (which varies), then they stop growing but change colour (generally a more orangey colour). If you want a fresh pumpkin to use straight away, you can pick once they look ripe. Otherwise just leave them until the vine dies off & store as others have suggested with a long stem. I have also read suggestions that you should rub a very thin coating of olive oil (or similar) around the top of the pumpkin near the stem and store the pumpkin on its side. This prevents any moisture/detritis collecting in the hollow near the stem and spoiling it.



    All the ripe comments previous are correct. “pinching out” the growing tips of pumpkin vines will restrict their spreading growth.

    This is often done for two reasons, one to minimise the spreading and tow to concentrate growth into the existing set fruit.

    Common practice is to allow the vine to develop until you have a sufficient quantity of set fruit developing. Snip or pinch off the growing tips. This will stop further flowering. It will not harm the vine at all.

    I regularly “redirect” growing vines back onto themselves to contain their spread, then pinch out the tips to concentrate the growth of the developing fruit.

    If you look at the plant on this following page (about 2/3rd’s down ) and the Tonda Padana fruit at the bottom, you can see it has no ill effect on the plants.

    I’ve been doing this for years…




    Hi Guys, thanks so much for all that information – it really has been very helpful. I will tell my friend to read this link!!:clap:

    He told me this morning that these pumpkins are supposed to be a light grey/green and at the moment they’re quite a dark green… do you think they might get lighter? or do you think he may have just got a different coloured variety?

    thanks, Kate


    I think he has been given wrong info. Other types do go green-grey but jap get a dark green. When immature the lighter “dappling” if thats what I can call those patches on them, are a light greenish colour but when these areas turn an orangy beige [as Bel said] they are good to eat, no matter what size as that will vary.Even if the vine has not died they are edible. Here vines never really die off, but the pumpkins will keep a long time on the vine till needed

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