From 7 inches pumpkin to 15 inches pumpkin

ceth_k(11)August 24, 2013

Yesterday i read about some guy who grew some disappointingly small pumpkins after all that he's done to grow them, like fighting squash bugs, cucumber beetles, aphids and some others. Almost all of his fruits were 7 inches or less. He's given up growing pumpkins altogether after that. This really remind me of my own experience last year. The place where i live is full of all sorts of squash growers, and they mostly don't rotate their crop, which makes every type of curcubit plant I grow attract nearby familiar pests. Because of my ignorance, I didn't really fight the cucumber beetles last year and neglected my pumpkins by letting the weeds do as they pleased. That was the worst mistake a gardener could make growing curcubit plants, to tolerate pests damage and weeds near their plants. The result was a lot of small 5 to 7 inches pumpkins that drop from the vine and dried very fast.

This year I fought the pests with extreme vigilance. Because I'm not into using pesticide, I wake up early in the morning to go to my pumpkin plant and catch every cucumber beetle and squash beetle(sometimes their numbers are overwhelming) that I can see. I also turned any damaged leaves, found a lot of cucumber beetles youngster(larva) and crushed them. I am lucky to not have SVB in my area which makes such a difference. Sometimes I found the underside of the leaves infested with aphids(I've seen a lot of lady beetles in my garden but apparently they are not enough) and I would cut off the leaves and step on them to crush them. After I learn about pumpkin nodes setting roots, I treat my pumpkin patch very differently. I pulled every single weed I could for my pumpkin vines to touch the bare ground underneath. And I changed the fertilizers I used last year to something that has more magnesium and sulfur in it. I also applied certain micro-nutrient mix such as Boron, Cobalt, Copper, Manganese, Zinc in small amount periodically. I think this change of fertilizers is really one of the decisive factor that my pumpkin this year is so lovely and so much bigger than last year's.

To those who love growing pumpkin and did not manage to get a satisfying yield, please do not give up after a single try. Grow it for a few more times and change the way you treat them and their surroundings. Your effort could really pay off one day.

Here is my pumpkin this year that has not grown to its fullest potential yet:

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Today I learn that you should stop watering and feeding pumpkin about 10 days before you harvest it, allegedly to make the fruit sweeter and better textured. It is still ok (even recommended) to feed and water it at the early stage of fruit setting.

This post was edited by ceth_k on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 23:17

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing what you've learned! I sure do know what it's like to make mistakes and be disappointed, but I am trying to learn from my first-time pumpkin-growing mistakes and have a bigger, better crop next year. I didn't even identify the spotted cucumber beetle until a week ago, and those little guys have probably been munching on my plants for months! And weeds? I have definitely learned about weed competition with my own struggling plants! It's been a great year for learning.

For anyone else who doesn't yet know about them, here's a link to the cucumber beetle page on wikipedia. Look at the pictures. There are striped AND spotted varieties. No, those are not yellow-green ladybugs. They are pests! Squish 'em! Squish 'em, now!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia: cucumber beetle

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:06PM
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