placing something under pumpkins

Sid23August 3, 2011

Should I be placing something (plastic, landscape fabric etc.) under established pumpkins? I have a patch about 15ft. by 25 ft. of good dirt where I have planted, then the vines just grow out into the grass. Of course now I cannot mow, wondering about the pumpkins sitting in the tall grass. I also have several plants growing out of a huge leaf/compost pit so those pumpkins are sitting on leaves. Is it best to put something under each pumpkin? I see people often do this, what advantage does it have?

TY!

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weirdtrev

Yes to the ones in the grass. The grass holds moisture and blocks light. The moisture can lead to rot or at the very least makes the environment very accomodating to bugs that would munch on it. Where the grass blockes the light the pumpkin will be pale. you should put something under it to ensure a more uniform color as well.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 1:28PM
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Sid23

Can anyone give me some ideas on what they like to use?

TY!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:57PM
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terrybull

i use 1 1/2 inch blue insulating foam with holes drilled through it to drain water. but you can use a small pile of sand.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 5:30PM
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taxtax

Well I wondered about this myself. I saw that some people put pavers under their growing pumpkins. But this seemed odd to me, because you are doing something un-natural to a pumpkin and I"d figure you may make it a bit deformed, or flat doing that, but I don't know.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:30PM
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Sid23

Yes, pavers would seem a bit much. Heavy to move too. Think I will get some styrofoam or heavy plastic from the garage.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 5:01PM
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sitting_boy

In the plant's perspective, it doesn't care. Example: I grew a pumpkin last year to about 2 feet across and then it rotted before I was even going to pick it. I salvaged some seeds from the rot, which I thought were ruined, but this year one pumpkin vine is growing out of the ground where that pumpkin was last year. The plant can't WAIT to rot that pumpkin so that it can start decomposing and becoming usable nutrients for it's young. You are just some imposter who want's to take advantage of it's capability to stay fresh longer if not sitting on grass.I'm probably going to put something like plastic under neath my pumpkin.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:40PM
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taxtax

Alright, I just inverted some pots and put them under my pumpkins. I'm not sure how much that will delay rot thought.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 2:01PM
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marymilkweed(z9 Orlando FL)

I use foam meat trays inverted for my Seminole pumpkins and they do very well. Washed and saved thru the year. I also wrap a piece of nylon netting over the pumpkin fruit to keep the pickle worm moth from laying her eggs on the young embryo.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Sid23

Not sure about the "pickle worm moth" :0/ hope he doesn't come here. I have put some scrap styrofoam under a few of my pumpkins but I am having a hard time keeping up. I will go the the local fleet store and get some pink insulating board to cut up for them, as some are hidden in the grass. I am worried some will roll off the foam and break their stems off vines. Liked the ideas of sand but assume the grass will quickly grow up through that. I currently have about 10-20 about basketball sized or bigger and no idea how many from baby to grapefruit sized. This is my first true effort at growing pumpkins and just want the best chance to keep them all harvestable.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 4:30PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Sid, that's impressive! How many vines did you plant?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Sid23

Well I would not be impressed with me, I believe it is my dirt. I have very poor soil (I believe it is old riverbed big rock and sand) I brought in huge trailer loads of barn yard (pasture) dirt to build raised beds and pumpkin/squash patch. I over planted and never thinned plants so I was a bit afraid of what may happen. So far so good. I bury vines with more than 1 pumpkin on them with compost and manure but it is difficult to tell how many vines or pumpkins. They are all crossed over and inter mingled. I have pumpkins growing out the squash end and vice~versa. I cannot even get near the original patch of dirt. I would have to say there are 25 plants in about 12 square foot of dirt. I would like to post pics but have not figured out how to do that here.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:34PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I'm using plastic Dinty Moore/Hormel microwave-dinner dishes, upside-down, for my cantaloupes. (The dishes are only about an inch tall).

Sid, my cantaloupes are taking over the world; I'm supposed to grow the non-trellised cucurbits in the middle part of the former pasture, but I didn't have it tilled this year, so I ended up putting the cantaloupes and pumpkins in the raised beds. I planted the pumpkins late, and purposely put them where they could go wherever they wanted ... well, in two directions, anyway. Gotta keep them away from the tomatoes. We shall see.

Here are some of the better instructions for posting photos from Photobucket:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/conif/msg0618461330709.html
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hosta/msg0513322013993.html?14

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 2:39AM
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Sid23

Missing, thanks for the info on posting pics I will check it out when time permits. Bought some 1" blue foam today cutting it down to 1' squares got 6 done today and will be able to do a few a day. Definitely will help to get ahead of them, needed help today with the big ones, can't lift and place foam under at same time. Friends think I am crazy to spend so much time on my pumpkins "They have grown hundreds of years with out so much intervention" Oh well, I am having fun.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 2:30PM
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Ginny5168

I bought some 6x6" ceramic tiles at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for roughly a dime each. As the pumpkins outgrew those tiles I replaced them with 12x12" tiles, also from ReStore, and used the smaller tiles underneath tomatoes that were touching the ground. So far, so good.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:23PM
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Sid23

So my pumpkin growing season is over. I have to say that placing something under pumpkins for me was well worth the effort. The ones with the insulating foam under were just a bit flatter on that side but nice and clean and unblemished. The ones that did not get something under them did not rot but were often blemished and have what I called barnacles and maybe a few insect scars. Will definitely do this again next year and more!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 4:41PM
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