Raising Pumpkins?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JAS, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried raising pumpkins for extra income? They do very well here and I usually have a feed lot empty for the summer . . . thought maybe the kids could do this as a summer project.

    ideas, experiences, tips on marketing....
     
  2. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    We raise our own but not for sale. We've thought about it. There is place north of us a ways that sells them $1 each plus they have varied sizes of other things. People even come up from Denver to buy them(60 miles). They are open every weekend the month of October. You just go out in their fields and pick them up. They used to run an add in the local paper but don't even do that now. I think they've done it about 10 years.
     

  3. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just love raising pumpkins and gourds. They're the easiest thing ever to grow. If you're looking for a market, try your local groceries, farmers market, if accessible for school field trips could advertise that way, and could also have the local paper highlight you giving a local school or daycare some of those little bitty pumpkins for a donation. And gosh, don't know of any crafts place that would turn down gourds, especially dried ones. Back when I grew gourds, I just left them over the winter to dry out in the dead weeds and harvest them in the spring and sell them at the local farmers markets. I always sold them too cheap, asking only a dollar per sack, but the crafts places would sell them for at least 3 for a dollar or even saw some of the bigger birdhouse gourds selling for as much as $12. each. I don't grow them much now, cause I don't have time to fool with selling them, but I still have some I grow for family, and heck, the things even come up volunteer in some of my flower beds. I used to try and grow the biggest pumpkin just to see if I could. I got some of the Giant Atlantic seed from Burpee and did pretty good. One I grew weighed in almost 400 pounds and was a monster, even if it was a bit on the crooked side.
     
  4. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Manure, manure, manure. In fact, just plant them in piles of manure.

    Using black plastic IRT mulch is a great idea, too. Eliminates the need for weeding and keeps the ground nice and warm.
     
  5. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I got a big pile of old horse manure dumped on the back lot one year and mixed in some regular dirt and grew some great pumpkins, but the best pumpkins I've ever grown were on a mound of just pure weeds out back. I didn't do not one thing to them, just kinda dug up some dirt and poked some seeds in, and honestly, they were the best I ever grew. So, try them different places. Maybe even in some places you don't want to mow.
     
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Any you don't sell will make great feed for your animals through the winter (if you have any). Chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, cattle -- all will benefit from eating some pumpkins (and the seeds) during the season when there isn't any pasture available.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Friend of mine raises them by the tractor trailer load and sells them to a firm in NYC. They provide the trailer but she has to pack it (and it has to be able to get to the field, or the pumpkins to the trailer). She must make something doing it because she's been doing it for years... her friends packing the truck has become her children packing it... to her children packing with THEIR children! That's a lot of pumpkins!
     
  8. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    We raised one vine of pie pumpkins but DH bought 3 pallet-loads at the local produce auction. We put them out by the road adn sold them out of the crates along with corn shocks and straw bales. Around here people really went for small or large. jWe have almost a whole box of medium left. I guess the chix will get those. We are debating whether to try and raise them ourselves, or buy at the auction again. DH left the crates on the pallets and either put them back of the house or in the garage at nights. The first night we left them out, someone stopped adn took four of the big ones via 5-finger discount :no:

    Good luck!
    Ann
     
  9. pumpkinlady

    pumpkinlady Well-Known Member

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    We have sold pumpkins and other fall produce on our farm for the past 10 years. We open only on weekends, people pick their own out of the field, we run a hay wagon out and back so that people get a short hay ride, let them feed the livestock, have picnics, etc....(Use your imagianation)

    We average $5.00 a pumpkin so you can imagine that adds up pretty quick. There is a commercial pumpkin patch not far from us, but it doesn't hurt our business at all. Over the years we have watched children grow and have made friends with some.

    The only advertising we do is to post signs on a few roads directing to our farm and also place a couple at the local state park.

    There is a lot of money to be made from selling pumpkins, ornamental corn, gourds, corn stalks, straw, ect. We have even bagged manure and sold that!
     
  10. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Never done it before.But after seeing the price on some really big ones at Walmart this year i might try it next year.Normal sized and very good looking ones where around 2 or 3 bucks each but they had three on a pallet that were huge (around 40 pounds) and $35. each.Humm now Ive heard and seen what Miracle Grow can do.So i wonder how you would make out if you only grew monsters! :eek: :D
     
  11. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I think we will do it, probably put them in a trailer by the road and hope for the best--might advertise if the harvest is good. I want to use the feed lot because the manure is already there :) . We planted some in a feed lot when we were first married, took over the whole lot, just a few hills!

    Has anyone processed pumpkin into a sell-able product? I see you are not suppose to can mashed pumpkin but can do cubed pumpkin. I loved the pumpkin butter I just made? Maybe roasted seeds???? I suppose the legality of this would make it impossible to do?

    My goats love the left-over pumpkin. My chickens have helped themselves to the ones that grew outside of the fence and the pigs will eat anything. How do you feed pumpkin to rabbits? cooked, raw??? Thanks.
     
  12. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I believe rabbits prefer their vegetables raw. I know the squirrels do.

    I don't know how big your kids are, but you might want to consider that when choosing a strain... somebody has to pick each one up and move it. It may be easier for you if you take the pumpkins to a craft show just before Halloween and sell them there. You could paint some of the pumpkins and charge a little more for them. If you make pumpkin pie, add a sweet potatoe to the recipe as pumpkin isn't really as tastey as other squashes. In fact, canned pumpkin is usually not pumpkin.
     
  13. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like a good idea although I've not tried it because of squash bugs that are really bad in this area. Just 15 miles south of here, I didn't have that problem. Figure. But I did see gourds for sale for big prices and am thinking of trying that. Some of the really large "basket" gourds were $20 each for clean, dried ones. HMMMM.
     
  14. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    JAS, you really don't want to can pumpkin. The end result is watery and pretty much tasteless. We bake and freeze ours after letting the baked pumpkin drain in the fridge. Then it makes good pies.

    There's the Pumpkin Farm down the road, they plant acres and acres then all of October have a shed full along with some other attactions. There's a corn maze this year and they usually have a small farm animal petting zoo. Schools from all around take field trips there and the kids buy pumpkins to take home. There's also Indian corn and gourds, quite a market for the people who run it.

    Our chickens and ducks prefer cooked pumpkin over raw. Same with squash.

    LisaBug
     
  15. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    So has anyone that grows pumpkins actually posted? If so where do you get your bulk pumpkin seed, and how much would you say is appropriate for a 3 - 5 acre field? Do you hand turn all your pumpkins or just set them upright at a certain point? OR are there a brand of pumpkins that grow "rounder"?
     
  16. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Growing pumpkins on large scale requires too much labor to harvest and the usefull life of a harvested pumpkin is rather short. My preference is growing luffa and ornamental gourds. Gourds will bring as much or more income and the mature fruits have an indefinite life once harvested properly. Gourds are easier handled also.
     
  17. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Here in Ohio, a pick-your-own patch is very popular during the "fall foliage" tours.
     
  18. dot

    dot Well-Known Member

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    I grew some pie pumpkins but I harvested them early (around the first of August) because the squash bugs were getting them. My husband put a pallet beside the road and I stacked the pumpkins on it and put a sign out "FREE". I think there were around 150 of them of various sizes but none very large. It was fun to look out the window and watch folks stop and get them. A couple people came up and offered to pay for them but I refused. One person left me some pears and a thank you note on the porch. Another person brought me half a pie. I kept 6 pumpkins and they are still sitting on the porch railing exposed to the elements and they are just fine with no sign of rotting.
     
  19. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    ZealYouthGuy, I was just going to ask about getting seeds and what kind. Could someone with experience recommend which varieties would be good for a first timer and where is a good place to order seeds? I am thinking of doing some gourds and ornamental corn, too. Thanks.
     
  20. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    I can recommend that you stay away from the bush variety and the white pumpkins as they don't produce as many per plant. Here I have used about a half an acre and only weeded them once about a month after I planted them. While I'm weeding I'll put gourd seeds in the spots where the pumkins didn't sprout [they need warmer soil to start]. The crop corn and the indian corn goes in another plot. When I harvest them I wipe them before I load them in the trucks. We have one full size and one small truck and they are loaded - inside and out- with the corn shocks, baskets of gourds and the indian corn too. Then I go just one day in the beginning of October to a church flea market. Normally everything is sold in a few hours and I come home with 4 -500.00 dollars. Not bad for 4 days work at the most.