1st Year Growing Pumpkins - Seeking Advice

topnotchveggieJune 27, 2007

This is the 1st year I am growing pumpkins and have a few questions to get me started on the right foot. I am growing both Connecticut Field and Big Max. I am also looking for a smaller variety (similar to baby-boo and jack be little), but I can not find them at my local retailer, since they decided to take the stock off the floor for the year. Anyway.

Connecticut Field

I started the Connecticut Field in a soilless mix a couple weeks ago and they seem to have emerged very well and within a short amount of time I had a number of true leaves emerge. What is the technical term for first ones, I know they are not true? I then decided to transplant them outside to raised hills. Still waiting for larger leave growth and the trendils to emerge. Over the last week, we have had some pretty warm weather, so I am wondering whats the rule of thumb on watering pumpkin plants? I generally water on a regular basis (as needed), but I find at times the true leaves seem to wilt and become a bit flimsy. But short after watering (once again) they begin to perk up. In addition, the first leaves that emerge (not true leaves), have yellowed a bit and have lost any vigor. Is this usual? Suggestions?

Big Max

The Big Max were also planted in a soilless mix, and then placed in full sun when the plant began to emerge late last week. Currently, I am waiting for the true leaves to emerge before transplanting in the garden for the season. Suggestions? Recommendations?

Thanks for your help.

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The technical term for the first leaves are called cotyledons, though many people just call them seed leaves. All pumpkins "rest" for about 10 days after they get 4 or 5 true leaves. It is at this time when the root system is becoming established to get ready for rapid growth. You should try your best to keep the plant from wilting since this puts stress on the plants and can affect pumpkin formation. It is normal for the cotyledons to fall off at some point so don't worry about that. If you haven't already I would recommend some sort of mulch around the base of the plants to keep them from drying out too quickly. Also once the plants start to grow again at the base of each leaf, along the vine, roots will form. If you keep the vine along the ground these secondary roots will also help prevent wilting, as well as making the plant much stronger in case squash vine borers should attack your plants.

You should plant those pumpkins out now and not wait for the true leaves to form. Pumpkins don't transplant well and the sooner you plant them the better off they will be.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 12:05PM
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