Would you eat seminole pumpkin grown this way?

writersblockAugust 19, 2014

I live in one of those hideous four-plex townhouses with the mansard roofs you see everywhere in FL, so my gardening space is limited.

I've been thinking I'd like to try seminole pumpkin, just to see, and I actually have space to start it as long as it's happy with a 6 x 15 ft fence and a really tall dracaena to climb on.

The problem is that this bed is mine inside the fence, but the other side is part of the common area here and as such is maintained by the too-aptly named ChemLawn.

Would you eat winter squash grown in a location like that, or do you think I should just go get a confederate jasmine instead?

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You can't eat Confederate Jasmine.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Well, no, although, I believe Green Deane tried making wine out of it once. Bad decision. He said it tasted like bacon, and was toxic, too.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Yes I would eat it. Yes organic gardening is the ideal but you will still probably have less chems than any commercial grown veggies. Just wash the pumpkins with soap and water before using.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:20AM
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Thanks, seagal. Sorry I wasn't more clear. I'm not so worried about spray drift as I am about uptake from residues. I never have to water anything in that bed, even in the worst drought, because as soon as anything gets established there it sends its roots out under the fence to get the moisture from the sprinklers on the other side. And they do put down a lot of stuff out there in addition to chinch bug spraying/roundup/etc.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I would consider the sheer size of the pumpkin vines. I have a single mound with 3 vines growing and it easily covers an area of 15 feet by a good 30 feet and is just now hitting it's stride! Part of it has hit a "wild" area of the yard, climbed over the tangle of vines and is heading across the top of them! This vine probably isn't for the faint of heart or space restricted.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Thanks, Susan. Yeah, I know it can get 80 ft long, but I do know people who keep it whacked back pretty much and they still get some production from it, as long as it's allowed to climb.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:35PM
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inulover (9A Inverness)

Why don't you just call up the lawn service and ask them what and when they spray/spread? Then you can just look up the stuff and see if it's approved for use around your pumpkins.

Pesticides are more a worry than herbicides. But some pesticides break down quicker than others. Time between application is just as important as what was used.

I prefer to avoid pesticides. I would not grow for personal consumption if I couldn't control the environment. Maybe you would be happier planting a flowering vine. Surely you have a friend that you could con into growing a pumpkin for you, or just gifting you some excess goodies.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Hi, inulover. Thanks, but I have to say your first paragraph made me laugh. I guess you've never lived in a development with a HOA in charge of the common areas, or else yours was exceptional. The company says it provides that info for the board only. The board says, "Ask the company; why are you bothering us?" The guys who apply the stuff claim they're never sure just what it is.

On the plus side, the application time appears to be as rarely as they can while still meeting their contractual obligations. I've lived here 8 years now and I still can't figure out a schedule for this.

This post was edited by writersblock on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 11:00

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 10:56AM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

If you're mostly concerned about root uptake of chemicals, could you install a root barrier along the fence line? That would keep your pumpkin's roots on your side of the fence.

But then your plants wouldn't be able to scavenge water and fertilizer from the other side of the fence - you would need to provide for them.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Thanks, L_in_FL. That's worth considering.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:39AM
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inulover (9A Inverness)

Well no, I don't subject myself to that kind of oppression. I did it once by grievous error many years ago, never, ever again.

While the like minded few may be able to obfuscate what kind of health risks they are subjecting you to, the applicator has some responsibilities. One is licensing, and my first inclination would be to check on the companies licensing. They also are required by law to post a small sign every time they apply pesticides to the lawns or external beds. Florida - 482.2265âÂÂConsumer information; notice of application of pesticide. There also may be other local rules about what information they have to provide. My roach and termite guy has to put a new little sign out every time he comes.

It is disturbing that your association is so secretive about what they are doing with your money that they won't tell you about the grounds maintenance. I would not plant vegetables, and certainly not eat them when I don't know what is being done to their immediate environment... of course, I wouldn't live there either.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Hi, inulover. Yes, they do put out little signs when they spray the lawn, but not when they put down anything granulated or when they go around with the spray weeder doodad.

It would be very nice not to have an association. However, a single family home out here that is not in a development with a HOA would cost me about $2.5m or more (actually an empty lot can cost that much), whereas my humble townhouse was 125K with gated beach access, and my monthly maintenance is quite a bit less than my insurance payment would be for a single family home.

Life is about compromises. :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:54AM
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I'm brand new to this forum, but I don't think I would be out of line to suggest you consider container gardening for this "single" plant. You have absolute control over ground based pests and, for awhile at least, where to move the "pot".

I do most of my vegetable gardening this way except for the berry bushes and grape vine as I have very limited room on this 80x100 foot lot.

Just a suggestion, Bob

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:31AM
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Thanks, Bob. I actually container grow all the few veggies I plant, so this would actually be the exception if I didn't.

I agree that if you could do it that would make a lot of sense, but it's such a sprawly plant I'm not sure you can keep it from rooting once it hits the ground. Also, I've been told it doesn't like to stay in any kind of container/fertilized area once it gets going. Most of the advice I've gotten is to start in a container, then lop it off once it hits the ground and puts out roots and stop watering/fertilizing from then on.

Have you tried this in a container? I'd be curious to know if anyone has had success keeping it in one.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Hi writersblock. No, I have not tried Seminole pumpkin at all. Not sure if I would recognize one if it bit me, but I have had very good luck with sweet potato and white potatoes both in a large "tote" style container and in the ground. Their runners generally get to about 8 ft long. I generally plant the tote with 6 or 7 seed 'taters to use as a test bed before digging in my main bed, and you're right the vines will put down roots in fertile soil.

For containment of the long vines I have encircled the large bed with a cheap roll of picket fencing and as the vines get long I just flip them back over on top of themselves. Right now they are stacked about 2 ft thick. This technique might work for you also.

Before I forget to tell you, I have found a mulch that is great for all plants and I have used it with success this year. It's chopped straw (not hay) with a coating that glues it into place. Lets the water and air thru but doesn't blow away and the best part is that at the end of the growing season I just till it in to add organics to the soil. Are you aware of this product?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Thanks, Bob. Yeah, I tried sweet potatoes in bags and it was fine, but they don't try to get 80 ft long.

Not sure which mulch you mean? I've used straw and pine straw with decent success, but as for the coating, you don't mean Envirohold, do you? (Link to previous thread about that.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Are you gonna hairspray your mulch?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 10:26PM
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