Late Summer Pumpkin Concerns
I am a first time pumpkin grower and even though it seems I have researched the subject to death, I still have a couple questions. I am growing both Jack O Lanterns and Big Max's. Both seem to be thriving and doing quite well. I had planned from the beginning to hand pollinate, but so many bees have been around the plants I decided to let nature do its thing. I have tons of male flowers and several females, most of the females being on the Big Max varieties, a few on the Jacks. Yesterday I noticed that two of the Big Max female flowers have about golf ball sized pumpkins on them and the flowers look like they are just about to fall off.
1)Does that mean that pollination did occur succesfully, I mean, would they be that large if it hadn't? I am concerned that the pollinators have done their job and I don't need to step in.
2)Secondly, I have seen no evidence of pests and since pollination seems to be occuring well, I don't want to use a pesticide if I don't have to, should I do it anyway? I don't want those bad vine boarers.
3)I planted my pumpkins in late June, forgetting that I had seeds from last year. It seems to stay very warm throughout October here as of the past few years. I am concerned that they are going to have time to ripen and be ready for Halloween. Does everybody think I have time and if we do encounter chilly night w/ frost will it work for me to cover them up with sheets as I do my flowers to protect from frost?
Thanks in advance, and have a wonderful day!