About Winter Luxury Pumpkin: First offered in 1893 by the Johnson & Stokes seed catalog of Philadelphia, Winter Luxury was bred by an unknown farmer. Seed experts Ray W. and Edward E. Gill from the Gill Brothers Seed Company in Portland, Oregon, continued to improve this variety. When made into pie, Winter Luxury defeats all competition for smoothness and taste.
Winter Luxury Pumpkin Germination: Gardeners with short growing seasons may want to start their pumpkin seeds indoors a month before the last expected frost. Since pumpkins do not take well to transplanting, peat pots are the best option. Plant two seeds per pot, later clipping off the weaker seedling. Harden the seedlings by exposing them to the weather for several hours at a time during the week before transplanting. About a week after the last frost or when the soil temperature reaches an average of 60 degrees F, plant the seedlings in very rich soil 8-10' apart in rows 10-12' apart. Another option is to plant the seedlings in hills of two, 8-10' apart. To direct sow, plant the seeds a week after frost 1/2" deep, 3-4' apart and thin to 8-10' apart. For companion planting benefits, plant pumpkins along with corn but avoid planting them with potatoes.
Growing Winter Luxury Pumpkin Seeds: Since pumpkin seedlings do not tolerate frost, provide protective coverings if cold weather threatens. Keep the soil moist at all times, but avoid getting the leaves wet as this can cause diseases such as rot or mildew. When the vines begin to develop, a layer of mulch will help conserve moisture and control weeds; mulch also will keep the pumpkins clean and protect them from too much soil contact. By midsummer, pinch off all the blooms to concentrate the plant's energy on the developing pumpkins.
Harvesting Winter Luxury Pumpkin: Pumpkins can be harvested as soon as the stem begins to dry and the skin becomes too hard to pierce with a fingernail. Because cold weather can damage pumpkins, they should be harvested before the first frost. Cut the stem with a sharp knife, leaving a 2-3" length." Do not carry the pumpkin by the stem; if the stem breaks off, use it as soon as possible, since this causes the pumpkin to deteriorate quickly. Cure the pumpkins in the sun or a dry location until the stem shrivels; do not wash pumpkins you intend to store. Winter Luxury make excellent pumpkins for fresh use, but do not store well.
Saving Winter Luxury Pumpkin Seeds: By the time the pumpkin has been cured, the seeds are mature. Cut the pumpkin open, remove the pulp and seeds, and rinse off the pulp. Put the mixture in a bowl of water to remove the remaining pulp; the good seeds will sink. Remove the good seeds and spread them out to dry for 2-3 weeks, stirring them at times to make sure they dry completely. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place for up to 4 years.
Detailed Winter Luxury Pumpkin Info: Cucurbita pepo. Also known as Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin. Annual. 90-100 days. 240 seeds per oz. 18-24" height. 8-10' spacing. Produces rounded orange pumpkins with white netted skin averaging 5-7 lbs.