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My experience of cucurbits is mostly courgettes and cucumbers which a) don't matter too much about an even colour and b) don't sit so heavily on the ground.

But with a pumpkin it's all about how it looks. So I'm looking at my best and biggest pumpkin and worrying that it's not an even colour. The underside (which is nestled in grass) is very pale green and the part which gets the air and sun is a strong dark green.

Will it turn a nice even orange all over?

Should I lift or attempt to turn the growing pumpkin fruit so it gets a nice even suntan? I'm not sure this would even be possible without damage. I did try this with an earlier fruit but in spite of my careful handling it came away from the plant.

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Having pumpkins nested on grass, weeds, any kind of foreign vegetation is not ideal. Why?

  • Moisture retention at the surface can lead to rotting of the developing pumpkins.

  • Any kind of foreign vegetation under the pumpkin patch adds to the possibility of disease, pest damage occurring.

  • A "healthy" pumpkin patch should be kept clear of foreign vegetation as much as possible, with regular and (very) careful hoeing.

    • Is why many commercial growers will grow their pumpkin patches on top of (breathable, permeable) landscape fabric, it helps keep the weeds down and gives the pumpkins a "better" surface to sit on.

Once the pumpkins themselves are growing, it's "generally" not recommended to move, interfere with them and the vines. Why?

  • Damage eg bruising of the pumpkin, slitting of the vine, etc can be (easily) inflicted during any handling operation, if that occurs it can open up a path for diseases and pests to enter (more easily).

You shouldn't have to "turn" the pumpkins to ripen them.

The below operation would be a lot easier and safer to perform with two people:

  • Very carefully, raising the pumpkins off the ground is a worthwhile thing to do, especially the ones nestled in the grass.

    • Very gently lift them and slide under a piece of landscape fabric or an off-cut piece of wood (do not use any timber that has been treated).

For the overall health of the patch, I would:

  • Ensure it has, gets enough water.

  • Feed with compost, or your (aged) chicken manure.

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but will the pumpkin go orange evenly? –  Tea Drinker Aug 25 '11 at 9:36
    
@Tea Drinker, that's the million pound (dollar) question :) All things being equal ie The vine & pumpkins remain healthy, everything should workout ie Nice ripe, orange pumpkins. But obviously I can't 100% guarantee it, there are fair too many variables in gardening to give such a guarantee (IMHO). –  Mike Perry Aug 25 '11 at 17:16
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