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Halloween Decorating: Finding the Perfect Pumpkin

It is pumpkin-picking season and whether you head to your garden or to the local pumpkin patch, Burpee’s gardening experts want to help you pick the perfect pumpkin. We have put together several “spooky” clues on how to identify one that is picture perfect.

 Clue #1: When you knock on the shell of your pumpkin, it makes an eerie hollow sound. The ‘hollow’ sound means the pumpkin is ripe. Ripe pumpkins are easier to carve. So if you plan to make a jack o’ lantern, listen carefully!

 Clue #2: When you place the pumpkin on a flat, even surface, it mysteriously stays in place despite its round shape. A pumpkin that sits level on its own is ideal not only for carving but also for display.

 Clue #3: The pumpkin has no cracks, holes or soft spots. Whether you plan to carve your pumpkin, paint it or display it unadorned, you’ll need a great foundation.

 Clue #4: The stem is still attached to the top of the pumpkin and when you run your hand on the top of the stem, it’s hard, dry and a bit scratchy. A somewhat dry, brittle stem means that your pumpkin is healthy and is likely free of disease and mold. This creepy clue is good news for pumpkin-pickers.

If your pumpkin exhibits all of our “spooky” clues above, chances are you’ve found the perfect pumpkin to feature in your holiday display. Don’t forget to carry the pumpkin by the bottom so you don’t risk breaking off the stem.

A carved pumpkin can go downhill rapidly in warm and wet weather conditions, so Burpee recommends that you carve your pumpkin no earlier than three days prior to Halloween festivities.
Read the next Article: Giant Flowers

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If you received a flowering amaryllis plant for the holidays, you can make it bloom again next year around the holiday time.

    After the flowers fade, cut just the flower stalk to about 2 inches above the soil level. Continue watering when soil becomes dry. Regularly fertilize the plant with a houseplant formula such as 5-5-5 or 5-10-5 following directions on the fertilizer package. After about six months of allowing the foliage to grow, stop fertilizing and begin to reduce watering over a 2- to 3-week period. After this period, stop watering. Eliminating water and fertilizer allows the bulb to enter a dormant or resting phase. Move the pot to a dry, cool (50 to 60 degrees F.) room that has good ventilation for 2 to 3 months.

    Sometime in early November, move the pot to a bright, warm spot and renew watering. In anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, the amaryllis should flower again.