Bigger isn't always better when it comes to pumpkins. Several new, small pumpkin varieties scaled to a child's world are on the market and can be used for decorating and baking.
Baby Bear is a new variety that is six inches in diameter and four inches high. In addition to being a good choice to use as a decoration, it's good for pies and its seeds can be toasted for healthy snacks.
Munchkins deserve this name for their three-inch mature size. Fine for decorative uses, they also make excellent individual sized baking shells for pumpkin pudding or stuffing.
Baby Boo is a pure white mini-pumpkin that grows to three inches in 80 days. The plant produces about nine pumpkins. Baby Boos are good for decorating or cooked as a side dish.
Jack-Be-Little is a three-inch round, orange pumpkin that reaches just two inches high. It's good for arrangements and will last for up to a year if dried and cured.
Spooktacular is an excellent miniature carving pumpkin. It develops the perfectly round, classic jack-o'-lantern shape, but measures only six inches in diameter and weighs just three to four pounds.
Pumpkins are warm season vegetables and should be planted in late May. Allow four to six feet between plants for the vines to spread, or grow them vertically on poles or wire trellises. Harvest pumpkins before or just after the first frost with at least a two-inch stem left on the fruit as a handle. Don't allow pumpkins to sit in the ground in the garden because the stems can bleach or the fruit can sun-scald in Colorado's intense sun. Store harvested pumpkins in a cool, dry place.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013