Big Max - Great Plants, No Pumpkins.

opiem(Northern CA)July 27, 2004

I have some impressive big max plants that have been in bloom for over a month. Every morning the blossoms are buzzing with bees and I've actually watched them to be sure they're pollinating the blossom. So far, not a single pumplin has resulted. The exact same problem happened in Northern Texas before I moved to Northern California. I need help.

The plants are in large plastic half barrels with good drainage. The barrels were filled with potting soil and I've been using Miracle Grow on the plants on a regular basis. The plants are very impressive, but I don't have even one pumpkin on any of the vines. Can somebody please help? I'm trying to make square pumpkins. I've fabricated some boxes for this purpose out of polycarbonate sheets and rolled bar stock retaining clamps. I'd love to have some pumpkins for halloween. Please help.



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First of all, I am NO expert.... this is my first year growing them myself. But my guess is they need a LOT more room ~ I donÂt think a container is big enough. This is my 'patch', I have three plants and I'm running out of room! My pumpkins are about the size of a large cantaloupe.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 4:46PM
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opiem(Northern CA)

Thanks for the reply. My pumpkins have more than enough room to grow. I have them in the plastic barrels because of an ongoing mole problem. The barrels keep the little buggers from getting to and eating the roots. I have a regular mound that has been decimated by moles. The nasty little things aren't bothering my tomatoes, but they can't stay away from the pumpkins.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 11:31PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

The male flowers start before the female ones. Do you notice any female flowers/buds. These have a small, round, yellow bulb underneath the flower. If these get pollinated, it results in a pumpkin.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 12:34PM
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opiem(Northern CA)

Thanks for replying Douglas. I jumped the gun a little here. The day after I decided to seek help, there are three little proto-pumpkins on the main vine of one of my plants. They may have been there before, but the barrels are under an apple tree to get some afternoon shade. It's dropping apples all around the plants and I probably thought the pumpkins were apples. They look pretty darn close to each other and I'd been fooled by the apples before. Thanks for your help. When I get a square pumpkin ready for harvest I'll post a picture of it here for y'all.

Thanks Again,

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 1:06PM
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UTgardenmom(z5 UT)

I lived in the Sacramento area last growing season and grew Big Max. I had beautiful flowers all season long.There were lots of bees and I helped just in case with my q-tip. I never got any pumpkins. So best of luck. It is still a mystery.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 8:59AM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

Very hot temps. may cause the fruit to abort.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 11:37AM
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leafbrain2003a(Z 7/8)

Your theory of creating rectangular pumpkins by restricting the pumpkin's growing area to a box sounds quite intriguing. Please tell us how it works out. I've never really seen a square fruit before.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 12:07PM
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opiem(Northern CA)

I think Douglas is correct about the hot temps. As soon as it cooled off a bit I started to get some female blossoms. The same thing happened with my tomato plants. As soon as the heat wave broke they started to blossom as well. I just checked and have about 20 pumpkins now.

And Leafbrain, I will definately post a picture of a square pumpkin as soon as I have one for harvest. I'm not sure if my boxes will be strong enough to contain the pumpkins. In Japan, where they grow the square watermelons, they band together huge glass bricks to make the boxes. Those bricks are just too expensive so I tried to find a lower cost alternative. The polycarbonate sheets I used are 12"x12"x1/2" which I bought at a local glass shop. I had the retaining clamps fabricated at the local machine shop. All together the cost of each box was about $25. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the clamps will be strong enough to hold. They weak links are the wing nuts I'm using to hold them shut. If they don't hold I'll just have to redrill the clamps and use much bigger bolts next year.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 3:11PM
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leafbrain2003a(Z 7/8)

Perhaps you could construct a wooden frame around the polycarbonate box to add stength, and prevent the sheets from bursting apart. I wish you good luck and am looking forward to those pictures

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 6:49PM
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