When your pumpkin reaches the set stage, which is when it is the size of a basketball, it is time to think about providing shade protection for your pumpkin.
Shading is usually done by all serious pumpkin growers, yet the ways of providing this shade can vary a lot.
Why the need for protection?
Shading the pumpkin will eliminate the sun scald on the skin and prevents overheating of the pumpkin, which if does occur can make the pumpkin ripen prematurely.
This is probably even more important with the way our season is, and the very warm hot summers we sometimes experience.
How to provide the shelter
There are a couple of ways you can achieve this, and so far I am onto the third different way this season.
Using something like an umbrella:
Build a simple shelter with a tarp:
This was created with just a few poles some rope and a cheap tarp
Pros: Cheap to make
Cons: Makes it hard to measure pumpkins, can get filled with water
This was suggested to me a few times while asking people what to do, especially people from the northern hemisphere.
Pros: Cheap and easy to do
Cons: Might get smelly and moldy if rained on, not sure of impact on the pumpkin
Build a hoop type cover
This is the method I have used for my 2013 pumpkin
Pros: Provides a good strong structure, stands up in the wind
Cons: Can cost more than the other methods
To see how I put it all together, check out the post I wrote about it over here.