Orange pumpkins....too early?

Sid23August 6, 2012

So, it has been very hot and dry here in WI as with most of the country. I have been diligent in keeping the pumpkins with enough moisture but cannot do much about the heat. I have many pumpkins just starting to form as I type, but also have many @ a harvestable size that have turned fully orange already. I was able to plant about 2� weeks earlier this season compared to last due to the mild winter. I thought this was great as last fall many of my pumpkins were still green @ harvest time. Now I am worried so many are fully/turning orange here in early August. What do you think?

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So, now my thoughts are of harvesting the fully orange ones and trying to get a good cure on them because I have a squash bug infestation to rival all others! Not to mention the SVB's. They have not affected the fruit yet but it can only be a matter of time.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Karlieb(6b SEKansas)

The heat seems to speed the cucurbits up (if it isn't killing them).

I'm about to pull most of mine because I can see the squash bugs getting out of my control and now the striped cucumber beetles have moved in next to the spotted ones. I'm going to remove my plants before they become a hatchery for these things.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:52AM
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Its not too early. Pumpkins will keep for upwards of a year under the right conditions with little to no spoilage.

Just let the vine wither so they're nice and hardened, then put them in a cool dark area (like a garage) and put some straw/hay under them so they aren't touching the ground directly and they'll happily keep until Halloween, Thanksgiving, or longer.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:58PM
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So, is there anything you could have done to prevent the squash bugs and cucumber beetles from affecting the vines in the first place? Just curious, because pumpkins are starting to grow on one of my vines and I'd like to know if there is anything preventative I can do to keep these bugs away before they infect my plants. Thanks for any input.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Thanks everyone, I will be out beginning my harvest today. But there are many pumpkins just starting so hopefully I have many more to look forward to.

Football43013, this is only my second year growing pumpkins so I am no expert, I break most of the rules of pumpkin growing so this may be some of my trouble. Most everything I have learned has come from this forum and a few websites. So if anyone else would like to weigh in I won't be offended. The main trouble I have with preventing SVB or squash bugs or even the cuc. beetles is most insecticidal methods will kill your beneficial insects (pollinators). I keep 2 bee hives on my property as well and do not want to do anything to harm them. Most say to rotate your crop so it is not in the same location each year. I have no choice there, not enough room. I keep diligent in watching for eggs of SVB and squash bugs early on and either pull them with duct tape or torch them with a grill lighter. Once they have established I spray squash bugs of any stage directly with a mild castile soap and water mixture which kills them either immediately or within 60 seconds. Most say any soap will do, castile soap is just what I have found works for me. As for the SVB I slit the vine when I find them present and destroy the borer and bury the vine. Then take extra care to bury several more areas of the same vine with good dirt to promote more root growth to support the plant and subsequent fruit. I pretty much ignore the cuc. beetles but spray what I see as I am getting the squash bugs. I have also heard using row covers to protect plants early but I believe many of the squash bug problems come from larvae left in soil so Im not so sure that will work for them. I still however managed to harvest over 80 pumpkins last year for my small 8'x 16' dirt mound patch and have expanded that this year by another 10' so we will see. I over plant and deal with the consequences. What zone are you in? I know the farther north the less trouble but I'm in WI so that has not helped me much.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:22PM
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I harvested two 20-pounders a couple weeks ago and have them sitting on plastic pots in the shade. There's nothing cool here, the garage is hotter than outside. I think they will be fine. When I buy Halloween pumpkins, they last many months.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Is there anything wrong with leaving them on the vine after they've turned orange if you have good green vines yet and no pest problems? I'd like to wait and let my grandson help with the harvest.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:16AM
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I believe it is ideal to leave the pumpkins on the vine snallard. Most leave them until the vine dries out. I would leave mine but have bugs and other critters with different ideas for them!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:21AM
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