Do you love pumpkins as much as I do? Come October every year, I can’t wait to buy pumpkins for decorating, creating jack-o-lanterns, and baking. Last year, I started planting pumpkins to supplement my pumpkin obsession, but because they take up so much room in the garden, I’m planning my pumpkin varieties out more carefully this year.
Depending upon what you want to do with the pumpkins, there is a pumpkin variety for you. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a good start to getting you on the road to your own pumpkin nirvana. After all, October without pumpkins is just another month on the calendar so be sure you know which varieties you want to try and when to plant pumpkins.
Miniature: I adore these tiny pumpkins for decorating, and they come in all different colors. Look for Baby Boo (a white variety), Jack-Be-Little (my favorite), Jack-Be-Quick (darker orange), Munchkin (standard orange), or Sweetie Pie (medium orange and scalloped). I’m growing pumpkins on the ranch panel fence that borders my vegetable garden — it’s a great way to save space.
Jack-O-Lantern: Looking for a good carving pumpkin? Try the variety that is actually called Jack-O-Lantern, as they were bred for exactly this purpose. If you want to try something new, look for the Lumina pumpkin — its white skin covers orange interior flesh and throws off a spooky glow when a candle shines through.
Jumbo: Sometimes it’s fun to grow a few huge pumpkins, so if size is your priority — and we’re talking 50-100 pounds here — consider Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Big Moon, Mammoth Gold, or Prizewinner. While Prizewinner is not the hugest pumpkin you can grow, it’s very large and grows quite dependably and uniformly, which is sometimes an issue with the jumbos.
White: While the orange pumpkins will always be my standby choice, I often throw in a few white ones for good measure. Look for Caspar, Lumina, and Snowball for larger sizes, or Little Boo for a more miniature white pumpkin variety.
Baking/Canning: If baking is your thing — and who doesn’t love a good pumpkin pie? — choose Small Sugar, New England Pie, Winter Luxury, Autumn Gold, Baby Pam, Ghost Rider, Fairy Tale, and Cinderella. Choose those that are between 4 to 8 pounds, and avoid experimenting with standard Jack-o-Lantern size pumpkins, as their flesh is water, stringy, and not too tasty.