I will be planting some pumpkins, some from some seeds my kid got from church teachers (presumably normal Jack-o-latern style pumpkins) and some Ferry-Morse Pumpkin Big Max. I noticed the Big Max pumpkin seed packet says 120 days to harvest.

This is my first year living as far south in the US as I do now, and I'm not used to having such a long growing season. Soil should be warm enough in mid-April to sow the pumpkin seeds. However, with 120 days to harvest, that means the pumpkins will be ready for harvest in August if I plant then!

How long after maturity will pumpkins on the vine last? If I want pumpkins in October, should I wait until June to plant them?

  • 1
    I would interpret "days to harvest" as the time they are best for eating, not as Halloween decorations. They should continue to grow (and they will end up like trying to chew wood, if you did try to eat them) but harvest them before the first overnight frosts.
    – alephzero
    Apr 12, 2020 at 11:45
  • as @alephzero says, and know also that they will keep for at least a month after harvesting if undamaged/unbroken. Apr 12, 2020 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


I suggest to plant them when the weather first permits. This way if your first few vines fail after a couple of weeks you will have enough time remaining in the growing season to try a second batch of pumpkins. I planted pumpkins in April and actually have a few "Jack-be-little" pumpkins to harvest at the time of writing this. I know they are ripe and they will not get any bigger. I will harvest them this weekend and store them in a cool basement until October. This eliminates the possibility of bugs eating the ripe pumpkin. I harvested an Atlantic Giant variety, it was a late bloomer and only got to 35lbs, in late September last year. I just tossed out that same pumpkin for compost after it sat in my house for almost 9 months! That pumpkin was never carved and was basically untouched since the day I harvested and washed it. After I harvest my ripe pumpkins, I immediately wash them very well with a mix of soap and a few drops of bleach to kill the mold spores. Be careful not to puncture the pumpkin skin. Then I store them in my cool basement on a tarp (in case of early spoilage and leakage). I live by the rule that the longer I keep a ripe "fruit" in the garden the greater the chance of it being ruined. Days to harvest varies from grower to grower and it is not an exact date. Therefore I plant my pumpkins with a days to harvest date about 3-4 weeks before Halloween. I feel this gives me enough of a cushion to allow the pumpkins to ripen "during October". I'll harvest and store until ready for carving. I am not too familiar with growing pumpkins for eating. Not all varieties will store well when waiting for use. Howden's Field and Atlantic Giant I can speak for will last at least 6 weeks after harvest (and even up to 9 months for the Atlantic Giant). I am growing Big Max this year so I will try my theory again with that variety. Ripe pumpkins will last on the vine but nowhere near as long as what I suggested above. The uncontrolled outdoor environment i.e. daily morning dew making everything wet and spreading diseases/virsus, insects, mold spores, hail damage, hungry squirrels fattening up for the cold months these are all factors that can easily ruin that bright orange ripe pumpkin still attached to the vine.

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