- Fruit should be harvested from early to mid October, depending on the weather and weigh off dates. Most will cut their fruit from the vine the day before the weigh off they intend to take their fruit to. When cutting a fruit from the vine, cut the vine a foot or two either side of the pumpkin stem and not the stem itself. This will maintain the integrity of the fruit and it will last longer when you display your big pumpkin. Some growers will even leave 3 to 4 feet on either sides and place the cut ends into milk jugs filled with water to prevent as much weight loss as possible prior to the weigh off. A pumpkin cut from the vine can lose 2 lbs. or more a day in weigh from water evaporation.
If the fruit measures more than 100" in circumference, youíll need more than two people to lift it onto a pallet. A pumpkin weighing 1000 lbs. or more will take 10 - 13 people to lift. There are many different ways get your big pumpkin from the vine to the back of a truck or trailer for transportation. Ingenuity or pure manpower is the key.
Several businesses online sell lifting tarps made specifically for lifting big pumpkins. These tarps are made of reinforced material and have hand holes around the edges for lifting. When using these tarps, roll the pumpkin up on its side, taking care not to damage or knock off the stem. Stuff one end of the tarp under the pumpkin and spread out the other end on the ground. Roll the pumpkin back on the other side, onto the end of the tarp spread on the ground and pull the other end of the tarp out flat. Now it is just a matter of muscle to lift the fruit onto a cushioned pallet on the ground or into the back of a truck. The current world record pumpkin of 1385 lbs. was lifted using this method with 16 men.
Some growers use a lifting harness around the fruit and hoist the pumpkin with a tripod and chainfall. Others will dig a hole in front of the stem of the fruit, roll the pumpkin onto itís shoulders so the stem is in the hole, dig another hole for one end of the pallet to sit in so it wonít kick or slide and slowly lower the fruit down on top of the pallet. There are many ways to move your fruit and prepare it for transportation. Whatever method is used, exercise extreme caution and think the process through. Nothing can reduce a grower to tears faster than damaging or splitting a fruit during harvest and transportation or even worse, having someone get hurt moving your fruit.