How to ripen your Halloween pumpkins
It's only a few weeks until Halloween and if you’ve been growing pumpkins, this is your time to shine. Carving your own home-grown pumpkin into a Jack’o’Lantern for the doorstep is mighty satisfying, and one of those rites of passage for a veg grower: it puts a full stop on the autumn harvest and readies you for the crisp, bright days and rich, earthy flavours of winter.
Your choice of pumpkin is crucial if you’re to produce a lantern that’s just the right size and shape for carving. Don’t be tempted to grow real mammoths like ‘Atlantic Giant’: they’re fun, but produce behemoth fruits that easily lose their shape and are often big enough to block the doorway!
Steer clear of heavily ribbed Cinderella pumpkins like ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’, too – they’re delicious, and the fruits are beautiful, but those ribs get in the way of a good design. My favourite for doorstep-sized pumpkins that are almost perfectly spherical and smooth is ‘Jack of All Trades’, with fruits about 45-60cm across, satisfyingly orange and the perfect blank canvas for scary designs.
To find out more, head to Sally Nex's post on the Learning with Experts blog.