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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Pumpkins on Parade


In the world of pumpkins, there are the varieties that are great for carving - and those that are made for eating. Selecting the perfect pumpkin for carving can be a real adventure considering all the different shapes, sizes, and colors out there. And like people, every pumpkin has its unique characteristics, giving it a personality all its own. Pumpkin carving is a tradition your whole family can enjoy, so here’s a few tips on picking and carving one.

Choose a design before shopping for a pumpkin. Think about which shape would best suit your design - tall and narrow or fat and round. If you're using a stencil, look for a pumpkin with a shape similar to the pattern you're planning to carve.

Look for a pumpkin that's...

  • firm and free from cuts, soft spots and bruises.
  • sits well on the ground and is stable.
  • includes a bit of stem.

When carving...

  • wipe your pumpkin off with a little bleach and water (approx. 1 tsp. bleach to 1 cup water) before you begin. This will greatly cut down on fungus.
  • don't cut into your pumpkin around stem. Cutting out a stem cap weakens the pumpkin. Instead, access the pumpkin from backside – this will help preserve freshness. Hiding the opening in the back also gives the pumpkin more visual appeal.
  • scrape and clean the inside of the pumpkin as much as possible. The cleaner you get it, the longer you'll have a great looking jack-o-lantern. (gut it out twice as much as you think you need to).
  • place your finished masterpiece in a dry, shady area - it will last longer!


  • Tall, thin shapes are perfect for funny and whimsical faces. Round shapes are ideal for happy and scary ones.
  • Oddly shaped pumpkins are perfect for creating unique characters.
  • Consider a white pumpkin, when unlit, white pumpkins appear to glow as the daylight fades.

Click here >> to find out more about upcoming pumpkin workshops.