By William Terry Kelley
University of Georgia
It's the time of year when neighbors, businesses and churches are all competing for the most elegant fall display. Whether it's for a fall festival, an advertisement or just the front yard, pumpkins are almost always the centerpiece of any fall arrangement.
Take a choice pumpkin selection, add a few shocks of corn, a bale of hay, some ears of multicolored corn, a gourd or two and you could be the envy of the neighborhood.
ChoicesBut just what makes the perfect blend? There are many choices in pumpkins today. From the traditional orange to white, red, yellow and even blue, there are a multitude of sizes, shapes and colors to pick from.
Let's start with the standard orange. Even among those you have everything from minis the size of a tennis ball up to giants twice as big as a No. 10 washtub.
Somewhere in between lies the traditional jack-o'-lantern size that's probably still the most popular.
But what about color? You can pick from the deep burnt orange of a "Magic Lantern" to the light orange of an "Old Zeb's." If you're thinking jack-o'-lantern, staying in the 8- to 20-pound range might be wise.
"Mini" is a relative term, as many people consider anything under 5 pounds to be miniature. However, true minis weigh probably a pound or less.
"Gold Dust" and "Jack-Be-Little" are just two of the mini choices in orange. "Cannonball," "Ironman" and "Li'l Ironsides" can get you into the 2- to 5-pound range. If you're going for girth, "Prizewinner" is a favorite orange pumpkin with a mixture of size with pleasing shape and color.
MoreOK, so what about these other colors?
Well, white has been around for quite sometime. The traditional "Lumina" variety is the standard that goes 5 to 12 pounds. "Cotton Candy" is another of similar size. If you're looking for a mini, "Baby Boo" is the ticket. This year for the first time, you can even go on the giant end. One of the newest pumpkins on the market is "Full Moon," a white-skinned variety that can easily top 80 pounds.
But did you say blue?
Yes, indeed. "Jarrahdale" is a grayish blue pumpkin that's deeply ribbed and somewhat flat. Despite its unique outside color, it's just as orange as any jack-o'-lantern on the inside. Most of the white varieties are orange on the inside, too.
Many others are out there.
"Li'l Pump-Ke-Mon" and "Hooligan" are striped minis that are quite attractive.
"Fairytale" and "Cinderella" are flat, scalloped varieties with glossy skin in buckskin and deep orange.
"Red Eye" is just that, almost red. It has veins of white running through the red background.
"One Too Many" is just the opposite color scheme.
So, whatever your taste, there's a pumpkin for you in the patch. Look around for some of these. Your display could be the conversation piece of the community.
(Terry Kelley is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
(Terry Kelley is a former University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)