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A question about pumpkins

Posted by piscesfish 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 19, 12 at 0:41

Hi all,

I am going to put my squash and pumpkins in the garden tomorrow. They're all nicely hardened off and doing wonderfully. I plan on planting a mixture of summer and winter squashes and pumpkins. Some of the plants are bush varieties and others are going to be sprawlers! Since I don't have the largest garden in the world (more's the pity), I'm trying to plan my space really well this year. I'm going to put my bush-habit plants towards the back of the garden and let the vining plants take over the middle of the garden. But I'm also growing pumpkins, which are VIGOROUS viners. I originally was going to plant them at the edges of the garden and let them take over the yard, but then I had a thought. Could I grow them on a trellis? Would that work for a pumpkin? Or for a winter squash, for that matter? Here's what I'm trying to grow:

Bush:
Early Prolific Straightneck squash
Black Beauty zucchini
Gold Nugget squash

Vining:
Potimarron
Waltham Butternut
Lumina Pumpkin (2 plants)

Can I grow my Luminas' on a trellis and leave the Butternut and Potimarron have more room in their row?

I'm going to grow my cantaloupe, watermelon, tiger melon, and cukes on a trellis this year. I'd be super excited if I could grow my pumpkins on a trellis too!

Thoughts?

Kelly


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A question about pumpkins

Kelly,

The quick answer is yes, you can grow Lumina on a trellis. I've done it here, although not in several years. You can grow anything on a trellis as long as:

a) the trellis is sturdy enough that it can support the weight of the vine and the fruit it produces, and

b) you use slings to support the weight of the pumpkins or squash as they enlarge. I normally use either knee-high nylon stockings (or the legs cut off of pantyhose stockings) for melons and cheesecloth or burlap tied to the trellis for heavier pumpkins or winter squash. Some pumpkins and winter squash can hang from vines on trellises until they are fairly large, but without experience with any given variety, you won't know if the weight of the maturing pumpkin/winter squash will cause the vine to break or the pumpkin itself to snap off the plant, so it is better to support them all. The support might not seem necessary in general, but with the strong winds that often accompany thunderstorms here, it is better to be safe than sorry. Trellised melon and squash plants that normally can hold the weight of their own fruit may not be able to hang on to those fruit in higher winds.

If the melon, or squash is not terribly high up off the ground, sometimes I just put an upside down 5-gallon bucket underneath the pumpkin or melon and it sits on top of that bucket as it enlarges.

With some of the ones that bear smaller fruit, no support other than the trellis is needed. If you use trellises for melons that naturally form an abscission layer and fall off their vines when ripe, you do need to support them with a sling as falling to the ground any distance may cause them to crack open when they fall.

Lumina will make pumpkins that weigh between 8 and 12 lbs. depending on how many pumpkins set per plant and how much rainfall/irrigation they receive. I'd sling them once they are getting larger than a large grapefruit.

My question for you is why grow Lumina on the trellis when it produces much larger fruit than Pontimarron and Waltham? Both of them likely would be able to support the weight of their own fruit without slings, whereas Lumina would need support.
With a winter squash that naturally vines into trees in its natural habitat, like Seminole, slings are not necessary. Their vines can support their weight, even when there are lots of squash on the vines and even when the winds get a bit high.

Hope this helps,

Dawn


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RE: A question about pumpkins

Hi Dawn,

Thanks for the info! I was originally going to grow my Luminas on the ground, but then I remembered the massive pumpkin mess I had last year (vines everywhere, powdery mildew due to poor air circulation, which lead to squash bug heaven, and finally the decimation of my pumpkin plants) and thought that there had to be a better way. Plus, I'm really trying to focus on proper spacing this year. Anyway that's why I thought I'd try trellising. I probably could have grown sugar pie pumpkins again, but the squash bugs loved them, so I was hoping they wouldn't think the Lumina were as tasty. I'd happily grow Seminole pumpkins, but I can never find the seed for them.

Kelly


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RE: A question about pumpkins

Hey Kelly,

I can bring you some Seminole pumpkin seeds if you are coming to the Spring Fling.

The squash bugs like Lumina as much on trellises as when on the ground, so don't hold your breath, but having the pumpkins trellised may help with the PM. To a certain extent, pumpkins are always a "mess" because they are such rampant growers and run wild all over the place if they get a chance. My pumpkins in general do best in drought years when it is hot and dry and the humidity is low. In rainy years, it tends to be disease city for most of them, but not for Seminole. They're such rampant growers that they can outgrow disease much of the time.

Seminole is pretty tough. I've never had it get diseased or get such a serious pest infestation that it kills the plant. It just keeps growing and growing and growing. In other words, I plant it and forget it until it is time to harvest. That's why I like it so much, and it doesn't hurt that it is very tasty.

Often Seminole climbs the garden fence and up into the trees outside the fence. I just let it. You should see the people driving up the road who slow down to gaze at pumpkins hanging from a tree!

Dawn


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RE: A question about pumpkins

Dawn I would slow down to see that too--it must be quite a sight :-)


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RE: A question about pumpkins

Dawn: Any problems with cross pollination on Seminole? I saw an article that said not to plant them within a half mile of other cucurbits. I wouldn't be saving the seeds, so not sure if it matters.


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RE: A question about pumpkins

mjandkids, lol Well, we like to give the neighbors something to look at. When we first moved here, our then-teen-aged son had a really big iguana and we built him a huge outdoor cage for the warm season, though he had to come back inside to his indoor cage for the winter. One day a friend stopped by to tell me we had a small alligator up in the pecan tree. I explained it wasn't an alligator, just our son's iguana, Alex, who had escaped from his cage. Alex eventually came down and was put back into his cage. After that, I suspect pumpkins hanging from a tree weren't much of a surprise.

Seminole makes buff-colored fruit that are shaped sort of like a fig and they only weigh a few pounds so they aren't huge. I bet thy look like giant figs from the roadway even though they are not hanging from fig trees.

jdlaugh, That 1/2 mile isolation by distance is the recommended spacing for all cucurbits because they will cross-pollinate with each other. It is only an issue if you save seeds, in which case you need to bag the blossoms.

Seminole is one of a small group of plants I grow that are so reliable that I say this about them: "they won't die and you can't kill them".

Seminole has an interesting history, so I've linked some info about it below.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: The Seminole Pumpkin


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RE: A question about pumpkins

You really only need the isolation if you're saving seed. And, then, the only thing you mentioned which could cross with the Seminole pumpkin would be the Waltham Butternut. These are members of the c. moschata family.


George


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RE: A question about pumpkins

I would love some seeds, Dawn! Do squash bugs go for Seminoles?

Kelly

PS. I am coming to the Fling! :)


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