The cool Chesapeake breeze is starting to lower the temperatures, indicating Halloween is right around the corner. Pumpkins are now available, and they can be put to many uses – both for decorating and eating! The staff at Homestead Gardens has three tips to make certain you have the best pumpkin for the task at hand.

1. Delectable Goodies to Serve Your Family

If you plan to make pumpkin pie or bread, be sure to look for Neck Pumpkins. These pumpkins have a small bulb attached to a curvy neck, and they're not the giant variety you use for carving. To make certain you have a ripe pumpkin, find one with a hard shell that won't dent easily when pressed with a fingernail. If you really like pumpkin recipes, get several pumpkins to process now and freeze for later use.

carving-pumpkins22. Pumpkins for Carving

It's great fun visiting the pumpkin patch when you're looking for the perfect orb for carving scary faces or other fun Halloween images. Visit the Homestead Gardens U-Pick Pumpkin Patch open on weekends during the Fall Festival. Hitch a ride on the hay wagon to the patch, and then have the Pumpkin Transport bring the pumpkin back to the store where you can claim it after finishing your shopping. Spooky pumpkins are perfect if you have young carvers in the family, as they are between 6 and 8 inches in diameter. If you come during the week, Homestead Gardens has a man-made pumpkin patch in the store full of Spookies for smaller children to find the perfect pumpkin. The stem can be incorporated easily into your carving art, so don't carry the pumpkin by the stem; that may cause it to break off. Finally, make certain the pumpkin is fully orange – it won't ripen once it's picked.

3. Decorating with Gourds

Pumpkins work beautifully with other types of squash and gourds to decorate the inside and outside of the house. Since pumpkins are on the larger side of the gourd family, place one or three toward the back of the display. Fairytale and Cinderella Pumpkins have a very distinctive ribbed shape, which makes them great for creating patterns. Then choose two medium-sized squash of different colors to place in front. Finally, pile several of the small gourds in front for a pleasing look that showcases the fall season. Make certain all gourds are free of soft spots or cracks so you can keep them on display for many weeks.


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