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Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Posted by cal_dreamer z9 SoCal (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 28, 10 at 0:30

A month ago I prepared my 15 gallon containers for this tear's tomatoes and chilis. In one of my pots, a pumpkin sprouted - probably from a seed from last year's jack o'lantern that went into the compost. It's now growing very happily in a tomato cage.

I think it would be fun to see if I can get one or two pumpkins - even though there is not much space. When the vine gets to the top of the cage do I just pinch the tip or is it better to cut the vine between leaves? How do you hand pollinate the flowers?

Realistically I should just pull it out since there is no room, but on the other hand, it won't cost anyhing to bonsai it to see what happens.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Holly


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Holly, I wouldn't prune that vine much. They need the leafs to produce and mature fruit.

Can you let it climb the cage and then crawl around the others? Pumpkins, depending on the variety, need room. If it is something like Baby Bear (very restrained variety) it might do well. But normal Jack O'lantern varieties generally get large. Wish I could tell you what to do.

Here's a link on hand pollination.

George
Tahlequah, OK

Here is a link that might be useful: Hand pollination of Squash


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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Thanks George!

The pollinating link is fabulous. I just don't have the heart to pull it out and put it in the compost bin, so I may try letting the vine do 'laps' around my containers.

It's an interesting experiment and we'll see what happens.

~H


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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Pumpkin vines tend to root into the soil at every node if they can, and yours will need to if it is to produce. A pumpkin takes a lot of energy to produce. It could be fun to try growing a pumpking vine "piggy back" across containers. :) If there are bees out there the pollination will likely get done anyway. Male flowers usually come first (but not always). You need both to get a fruit, the female will develop into a pumpkin. Be sure you provide some support for the growing pumpking if it sets; the vine won't be able to support it on its own (unless it's a really tiny pumpkin!)


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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Update: I have a pumpkin! I hand pollinated a few flowers according to the instructions posted (thank you, thank you) and one started growing right away. Unfortunately I broke the main vine before I went on vacation so I wasn't able to get the vine back to the ground to do laps :) I made a hammock out of fabric to support it - tied between two tomato cages.

Now the vine looks terrible, probably because it's been in the 90's and it gets full afternoon sun on the black nursery pot, but the pumkin looks about ready to pick. Almost all the way orange and about as big around as a salad plate. Not much of a crop, but I'm happy with it.

Should I let the vine die or just cut it off now?


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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

"Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?"

I had to laugh. The title sounded like it was an emergency or something!

...hello?...911? I have an emergency. There's this pumpkin...I don't know where it came from, it just showed up. Now it's growing towards the house! And the children! Help!

LOL

Susan


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RE: Volunteer pumpkin - what do I do?

Hehehe! Thanks for the giggle Susan.


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