Part 2 on Growing Big Pumpkins

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Part 2 on growing big pumpkins

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General

Running Vines | Protecting your plant during a storm | Rain | Mixing chemicals | Should I pick off the blooms? | Pinching vines | Beginner Question | Can UFO’s effect my pumpkin? | Hail
storm
| Broken vine

Growing Tips

Distance to pollinate | Growing Problems | How ling does a female
flower last?
| Side vine at the maine vine with a pumpkin
at the node.
| Shading | Just not
growing
| Train a secondary vine

Bug problems

Vine wiliting due to bugs | Several bugs that look like flies | Brown spots on the leaves | Picture of a
vine bore

Plant problems

Yellow Leaves | Split
vines
| Blossom rot | Turned Yellow and died (vines) | | | | |

Propagation

| | | | | |

Fertilizer

|

Weight

| |

Additional Pumpkin Pages
How

To Grow

Records

Clipart

Seeds

Poems

Phantom

Carving

Pumpkin

Recipes

FAQ’s

How

Big is it?

Running Vines

One of my plants has begun to “run” while the
others have not. How long should it take from the time the plant has several
true leaves and is out in the garden until runners begin to develop? Where does
this fit into the scheme of judging how you are doing? In other words, what is
the significance, if any, of a plant starting to run? Thanks

My Pumpkins began to run between 4 and 5 weeks after planting the
seed. They vary from plant to plant by a week to 10 days. The fastest growing
plant does not always produce the largest Pumpkin. George brooks

You are in good shape. You should see a female in two weeks
or so . The average grower won’t be pollinating for about 3 or 4 weeks. If your
other plants aren’t vining yet ,they will soon. You can set fruit up until the
third week of July and still have a block buster pumpkin. I have seen the late
bloomer sail right by the early birds when late August comes. pumkinguy@aol.com

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Yellow
Leaves

I’VE HAD MY PLANTS IN THE GROUND FOR ABOUT 2 WEEKS
AND IT SEEMS AS THE DAYS GO BY MY LEAVES ARE TURNING MORE AND MORE YELLOW. I
PUT SOME MIRACLE GRO ON THEM BUT THEY ARE STILL YELLOW. ANY SUGGESTIONS? IS
THIS NORMAL? OTHER THAN BEING OF A YELLOWISH TINT THEY SEEM HEALTHY. THEY’VE
MADE IT THROUGH THREE THUNDERSTORMS ONE WITH MARBLE SIZE HAIL VIRTUALLY
UNSCATHED.


Protecting your
plant during a storm

MY PLANTS ARE GROWING STRAIGHT UP? THEY ARE ALL
ABOUT THREE FEET TALL AND ARE NOT SHOWING ANY SIGN OF LAYING DOWN. WE ARE GOING
TO GET HEAVY THUNDERSTORMS TONIGHT, OR SO THEY SAY ANYWAY.ANY IDEA ON HOW I CAN
PROTECT THEM. SHOULD I TIE THEM TO STAKES SO THAT THE WIND WON’T BREAK THEM.
WILL THIS DAMAGE THE PLANT? HELP!!!

Mound the dirt in a circle around them like the top of my mound in
the photos on the web page. This will give them less space between the ground
and the plant. I tie them off by putting two loose loops of soft jute twine
around the vine tied to stakes one on each side of the vine about 15″ out.
Normally the sun causes them to soften in the daytime and they settle to the
ground. I always have about a 6″ wall around them so maybe I’m not seeing the
problem. George Brooks

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Split vines

We’ve had thunderstorms every night for the past
week. This morning I went out into the patch and found that two of my plants
had a split in the vine, one on a primary, the other on a secondary. I mounded
soil over the splits in the hope of keeping out disease. I have two questions:
First, were the splits caused by all the rain, or something else? Second, will
my repair job do any good? The vines look healthy otherwise. Thanks!

Splits in vines are bad but if the split is lengthwise it may have
a minimal effect. Bury it and you should survive O.K. pumkinguy@aol.com

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Rain

OK what do I do now? Our local weather people are
predicting RAIN for the next few days. 🙁 What will this do to all my plants? I
have some that have pumpkins starting on them and some that are just starting
to bud, should I cover them or take my chances? I live in Northern Calif. one
hour north of San Fransico. I will take any advice that anyone has to give. I
guess I should ask if the worse happens can I plant again and have time before
Oct?

If heavy rain floods the inside of the female blossom that would
not be good. If you see a female that looks like it will open tomorrow, put
something over it to keep out the rain. Also do the same for a few male flowers
that look ready to open. The next morning,when it is raining, uncover the
female quickly, uncover the newly opened males, take an artists brush (soft
bristled) and transfer pollen from the males to the center of the female
flower….you have hand pollinated!! Cover the female back up so rain doesn’t
get in. Uncover in a day or two. It is too late to start new plants now, but
you can keep pollinating the ones you have for another month. pumkinguy@aol.com

rain will not hurt your pumpkins, but hail will. last year
I lost all my plants to hail. so hope for rain. if it is realy wet you may want
to spray with some fungiside.

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Distance to
pollinate

What is your opinion about pollinating a female
flower on the main vine at 6 feet from the root?? I was told that the biggest
pumpkins seem to be at 10 to 15 feet from the root and am tempted to pick this
blossom and wait for another female to develop further out. I am in southern
Ontario and we usually don’t pollinate until the 1st or second week in July. I
have only 3 male flowers open to use for pollination at this time. Can anyone
give me a good reason whether I should use this one or not?? Appreciate any
help you can give me.

The common belief has always been to pollinate 10 to 15 feet out.
It was thought that you need a large enough plant to support a big pumpkin.
Lately, some of the World Record holders have been much closer. Don Blacks 884
was less than 6 feet out on a side vine. I would set everything that comes
along….if it looks good. Later when they are beach ball size, pick the best
one. Sometimes when you snap off pumpkins it takes a while for another to set.
pumkinguy@aol.com

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Mixing chemicals

About a week ago I asked if anyone had any
information about mixing fertilizer, bug killer and anifungal agents in the
same sprayer and spraying it all on at one time. As an example 2 tablespoons of
miracle grow, 4 tablespoons of liquid sevin, and 3 tablespoons of daconil in
two gallons of water in one Hudson Sprayer. And then putting it all on at one
time. I tend to be lazy and have continued to do this with no bad result I can
see. Does anyone have any comment? No one did the last time I asked and I
wondered if anyone would give it a shot this time around?

I guess I have no idea if your mixture is bad or not. I would read
the directions and look for information about not treating plants with another
chemical after treating with the given chemical. I guess as a second response,
I would mix a small batch. Try it on one plant. Wait a week and verify that
nothing bad happens and then try the whole thing after you know it works.
Another thing I would be concerned about is the generation of noxious gases.
But, since you’re probably doing this outside where things are well ventilated,
I’m not sure you even have a problem on that front. I’d try it and see what
happens. Experiment. Use common sense. Be cautious.

I would not recommend mixing fertilizer with other
chemicals, it only increases the risk of injury. It may also reduce the
effectiveness of one or more of the chemicals. You can mix Fungicides and
Insecticides but only after checking a compatibility chart. Many chemicals will
not harm plants alone but may kill them when mixed with others.

Be sure not to kill off your local bees. You must have heard
that we lost about 60% of the native bees through the hard winter here in
Western NY. Pollination will be a problem for many growers this year. Sevin is
very toxic to all bees and if enough gets into your female blossoms the bees
will not visit. BEE CAREFUL! Ray Waterman/WPC

I spoke with a representative from Ortho today about mixing
Sevin and Daconil in the same sprayer for use on pumpkins. They recommend not
doing it as it can be toxic to the plant, it can burn the plant, interfere with
the plant’s growth and reduce its productivity. Also when you mix up a batch of
Sevin or Daconil it begins immediately to break down. It is good for about 2
days and one week at the longest. There is an 800 number if you have other
questions about their products. That number is 1-800-225-2883. I guess I’ll be
mixing up more batches and smaller batches of spray since I had been using my
mixes for longer than a week and combining Sevin and Daconil in one sprayer.
Lubadub in PA

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Should I pick off the
blooms?

I am in central Ohio and my plants are vining
nicely, about 3-5 feet long, and have big, green leaves. They are also
producing a fair number of blooms – almost all male. A friend said I should
pick off all of these until I’m ready to let it set fruit. Is this true? If so,
any special way to do it so as not to injure the plant, make an entry point for
disease, etc.? Thanks.

Never pick off blooms, you never know if that is the only one that
will set this years. Decide which one to keep when they are bigger than a
basket ball and shinny. They blooms also start attracting bees to your plant.

It is not necessary to pick off early male blooms, they
will not hurt anything. If you get a good looking female early, I would
pollinate it. Don Black’s World Record holder was only a couple feet out on the
vine. Set everything you can and pick out the best one at the beach ball stage.
pumkinguy@aol.com

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Vine wiliting due to
bugs

Has anyone had any trouble with their vines wilting
when they first start to get pumpkins on them?Well I have lost two nice vines
like this. They start to wilt and slowly die,I dug one up today and cut it open
to find little white worms in the area between the roots, and the top of the
ground.It’s not the traditional vine borer,I have dealt with them these are in
the ground and are killing them without any outward sign of damage like the
vine borer does.I am starting to spray with mythoxchlor(I don’t know how to
spell it)instead of liquid sevin and diazanion wich I was using.I have never
had these bugs before.have any of you and if so what will work.

Have seen all sorts of critters, above and below the ground…..
Diazinon on the soil in the area of the entire root zone should knock them out.

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Pinching vines

After everything I’ve read,seen and heard, I’m
having a little trouble grasping this concept of balance between vine and fruit
growth. The conclusions I have come up with is that when you have a certain
number of leaves or vine length and you have a fruit or two picked out you
pinch off the ends of the main and secondary vines and all other females to
divert most of the growth to the fruit. Dose this mean the plant will not grow
in length anymore and convert most of its energy to the fruit. I have a 21 ft.
main vine and many side vines up to 11 ft. long. I also have a pumpkin closing
in on the size of soccer ball after 12 days old. The book I have shows a quote
from Howard Dill that says ” After the primary vine reaches 20 ft. he pinches
off the tips and side shoots and breaks off all other females to divert all
resources to the fruit”. That sounds like what I should do now but I’m not sure
because my plant dosen’t come close to covering the 1000 sq.ft. allowed for it.
If my plant is large enough now I would like to get a early start on fruit
growth. I am part of a group of about 6 rookies growing this year and all of us
have come up with a different conclusion on this subject. Would someone be so
kind as to clarify this matter for us.

A controversial practice, you will get several opinions. If you
have several plants try one or two and leave some alone. George Brooks

It sounds like you are doing just fine. People that are two
weeks behind Joe’s stats are also fine. Late June and July is the time to set
fruit. Every grower is slightly different on the pruning and fruit set
practices. Some don’t prune at all….. but I would say most do to varying
degrees. I will give you some info which is by no means the gospel, but typical
of what some growers do…….Fruit set 6 to 20 feet out usually on the main
vine, but not always. Don Black had a World Record holder on a side vine. If
you do not see a promising female on the main vine, by all means, pollinate a
side vine. Don’t be in a big hurry to pull of the rest of the young fruit.
Pumpkins can abort when they are the size of a beach ball…..what to look for
in a newly set fruit….. Daily growth and a glistening fruit. If the newly set
fruit slows in growth or loses it’s shine, it is probably ready to abort. So
set a bunch and pick out the best at beach ball stage. Many prune their side
vines at about 12 feet. They may also stop the main vine 10 to 15 feet past the
pumpkin. If you prune everything too early and have a fruit abort, you are out
of business. The plant will continue to grow after fruit set. The root system
will continue also, but the rate of root growth may slow after set.

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Several bugs that look
like flies

I have noticed several bugs that are about half an
inch long, red and black in colour, and when they fly they look like bees. They
only hang around the pumpkins leaves. What are they and should i be alarmed?…
I have been applying a seven and boro mixture to the plants on a weekly basis.
Just as a side note! I have not seen one bee this year (only bumble bees) Last
year there were hundreds of bees around the pumpkin flowers. ( I live in
Ingersoll which is between Toronto and Detroit) I have spent lots of time hand
polinating this year. Good luck to everybody ….. It’s do or die time.

SOUNDS LIKE THE VINE-BORERS ARE WORKING YOUR PATCH!! Those bee
like critters are none other than the Squash-vine-borer (adult form)

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Beginner
Question

My plants are not holding their flowers, and the
ones that do hold are all males with no females in site. I had one pumpkin
start but it is now turning yellow and looks like it is going to go. The
pumpkins in my other patch are starting to turn orange already and they are
only the size of a small basketball. What kind of fertilizer should I be using
on both areas, and how often? Is there something I can do to keep them growing?
I will take advice from anyone who is not sick of my beginners questions.
Thanks to all.

Eight to 10 weeks after seed starting, the first female flowers
will appear. They’re easy to distinguish because they have a small pumpkin at
their base. If you want to get a jump on your rival, you’ll need to
hand-pollinate the flowers. In the early morning, locate a freshly opened male
flower. Pick it and remove the outer flower petals, exposing the stamen and
fresh pollen. Locate a newly opened female flower and gently swab the stigma
(internal parts) of the female flower with the pollen-laden stamen. Getting a
pumpkin set as early as possible, preferably before July 10, is key. The
earlier you set a pumpkin, the longer it has to grow until harvest. Since these
monsters can gain 25 pounds a day, losing 10 days in the early part of the
season could put you well down the list at your local pumpkin weigh-off. High
daytime temps (90’s or above) will decrease the success of female flowers.
During the growing season, most fertility needs of pumpkins can be met by
applying water-soluble plant foods once or twice a week over the entire plant
area. Give seedlings a fertilizer that stresses phosphorus, such as 15-30-15.
Shift to a more balanced formula, such as 20-20-20, once fruits are set. By
late July, use a formula that stresses potassium, such as 15-11-29. I apply
water-soluble fertilizer at the rate of one to two pounds per week per plant
from fruit set until the end of the growing season. Some competitive growers
will err on the side of overfertilization. But too much fertilizer can hurt
more than help. If the pumpkins start growing too fast, they will literally
tear themselves from the vine and explode. A very fine grower in New England
told me, “Slow and easy wins the race.” Remember this whenever you feel the
urge to overfertilize.

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Brown spots on the
leaves

A few days ago I noticed a few brown spots on the
stems of some of my leaves. I suspect they are eggs of some type so I scraped
them off with my fingernail. They are slightly smaller than a sesame seed
(about 1-2mm) and fairly round. I’ve seen a single, a pair, and a cluster of
four, but none more than that. I have no idea what they are. Can anyone help
me? Are these some variety of borer?

The eggs you see are probably squash bugs. Appleton ,Wisc. may be
far enough north to exclude vine borer spraying. Check with your local ag.
people. If vine borers are in your area ,you must spray each week or your plant
will probably be destroyed. You must spray until Aug. if they are around.
pumkinguy@aol.com

I LIVE NEAR ST PAUL IN THE ST CROIX RIVER VALLEY. I AM
FARTHER NORTH THAN YOU ARE AND I HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE VINE BORER LAST YEAR SO
I WOULD SUGGEST SPRAYING FOR THEM. I JUST FOUND A HOLE IN ONE OF MY VINES
YESTERDAY. SEE WHAT I GET FOR GOING ON VACATION!! I GOT SOME LIQUID SEVIN AND
SPRAYED LAST NIGHT. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THEM YET I WOULD START SPRAYING ANYWAY.

I suspect that they might be “Squash-Vine-Borer” eggs???
Athough iv’e heard some people claim BORER eggs as being BLACK??! iv’e always
seen them as brown( a copper color !!!!!! ) they tend to be oval and flat!!
also they tend to be singlar, and not clustered together!!! if you find a
cluster of gold colored roundish eggs , chances are they belong to the – SQUASH
BUG and not the SQUASH VINE BORER!!!!!!!! The Squash bug is that beetle lookin
grayish animal (it looks like a mini turtle) Borer eggs are usually found under
the leaves , under the stems or the Borers favorite spot!!!!!!! under the ends
of the new vine growth!!!!!!! The adult borer herself is a sleek looking almost
bee-like moth!!!! She moves around almost with a sneaky like action! lookin for
the perfect spot to ruin your growin season!!!!!!! The vine borer isn’t like a
regular ” fluttering around moth”!! she’s quick and precise!!!!!! (she knows
whats shes doin) AND SHE’S TOUGH!!! Iv’e wacked more than my share of them over
the years!! and the usually get up and fly away!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE START
SPRAYING WITH “SEVIN” ASAP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!! good luck!!!!!!!!!1

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Growing Problems

OK guys another question for the pro’s. Here are the
stats: Live: Sonoma Ca. one hour north of SanFransico Weather: foggy mornings
70-90 degree days Water: 2O minutes three times a week on a drip system
Fertilizer: Miricle grow every 11-14 days Pumpkin seed type: Store bought
“BigMax Pumpkin” Plant length: Around 12-14 feet long Here is the question… I
have male flowers, female flowers, and all the things needed. I have taken your
advice and dusted with a soft brush and also we have a ton of bees. All of the
females, about 2-3 per vine, have fruit on them but the fruit is Yellow, not
green like I am used to. It is not like they are sick and dying they are
growing every day and show no signs of illness. All three plants are the same
way, it is not just one. Am I doing something wrong or is this normal. My
little pumpkins that I planted from plain old seeds I had have two pumpkins
starting and they are green. I am so confused. Help me please! Thank
You

You are not crazy. You are dealing with two different types of
pumpkins. The Big Max and Prizewinner are in the same family as the Atlantic
Giant (Cucurbita Maxima) they are often yellow except for squash. Regular field
pumpkins are Cucurbita Pepo and start out green. The two are different families
and will not cross pollinate. pumkinguy@aol.com

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How ling does a female flower
last?

I missed one of the female flowers in the blossom
stage. Question: What is the pollination time frame for a female blossom? Can
the daily heat reduce this duration of time? The flower must of blossom
yesterday (Thursday) and today the flower petals are wilting. I will assume the
pollination time has past due to the 85+ degree heat.

I believe it is only a few hours (4?) and seems to be accelerated
by heat. George

My personal experience has been that the females only stay
open for a few hours in the morning (shortly after sunrise.) The hotter it is,
the less time the less time they will be open. When our temps dropped back into
the 60s I noticed that a couple of my females stayed open almost all day.
That’s NE Wisconsin though… your climate may vary. This advice and 25 cents
will get you a free refill at Subway for a limited time. 🙂

Normally a female flower will be open and viable for one
day. Actually a half day is probably more like it so get out there in the
morning and do your thing!!!!!

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Blossom rot

I live about 30 min. due east of San Francisco
Calif. in a small town called Moraga. For the past couple of years I have been
experimenting with smaller varieties of pumpkins in preparation for an attempt
at an Atlantic Giant. The soil conditions in this region abound with very heavy
Adobe Clay. It is my understanding this type of clay soil can be very nutrient
rich once broken up. I have amended the soil by tilling in various types of
materials in select locations. These amendments include garden compost/with
soil, cow manure/with soil or both at a ratio of 25% to 50% amendments to soil.
Having reviewed the article on blossom rot I have also added gypsum to the soil
and experimented with the rate and frequency at which I apply water.
Regardless, I am still experiencing a heavy toll as a result of Blossom Rot.
This not only happens with my pumpkins but all other squash crops. The
remainder of my garden which includes just about everything under the sun, is
healthy and robust. The next step of course is to send a soil sample to the
local Ag. Dept., but I was wondering if anyone could help me out with some
thoughts or advise!

I live in western New York in an area that would be classified as
having very heavy clay. I too, lost most of my pumpkins last year when they
split at the blossom end, but I don’t think the clay soil had anything to do
with it. The splitting occured late in the growing season. I believe my
pumpkins were around the 225 to 250 pound range. At the time, I was fertilizing
very heavily. Many gallons of 15-30-15 miracle grow about every 4 days. My
guess was that I just plain over did it with my fertilizer program. This year,
I’m going to back off a little and see what happens. Good Luck !

Although you have added gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) , it can
be slow to react and take up by the plant is not rapid. Start a program using
Calcium Nitrate and I believe your problem will dissappear. Calcium nitrate is
water soluble like Peters and will be taken up immediately by the plant.

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Can UFO’s effect my
pumpkin?

During the Fourth of July weekend a UFO was spotted
hovering above my garden and near the pumpkin plant in particular. I did not
actually see this (I was away at the lake), but my neighbor who reported the
event is a very reliable witness as she was actually abducted by a UFO in 1977.
In any case, she swears the flying object shot some sort of beam or ray
directly at the pumpkin. My pumpkin has been acting strangely since then. It
now refuses to drink anything other than gin and tonic, and has lately been
demanding access to some of the racier cable TV channels. It joined a street
gang. It has developed an unhealthy interest in a nearby rutabaga, and expects
me to pay tuition so it can attend a telemarketing school. I am troubled. My
experience with UFO’s is quite limited. I wonder if that holiday visit might
somehow be related to my pumpkin’s recent aberrant behavior. Some of you are
scientists. You probably went to college. Maybe you can explain what is going
on. This is strictly an urban pumpkin. There has been no in-breeding so I’m
ruling out recessive genes as a potential culprit.

What is the current record for an Urban pumpkin? I remember you
saying that the GUPGA, by virtue of the fact that there are no dues and anyone
can be a member, is the largest pumpkin organization in the world. So as one of
your fellow members, I’d just like to say… 1. Check your pumpkin patch for
pods. and 2. Please keep taking your medicine.

Don’t let that UFO-enhanced pumpkin fool you. It now has an
intelligence not quite defined by human standards. You ought to take it to
S.E.T.I. (before their government funding ceases) and try to establish contact
with the Mother Pumpkin. Never underestimate the power of the Mother
Pumpkin…she wants her “little dumpling” back…no doubt about it. I’d let
your pumpkin have that rutabaga relationship (remember…there’s no benefits or
entitlements) and let them both run off to telemarketing school. A bit of
advice…don’t pay the tuition…you can pretty much walk in off the street,
say you want to make cold calls to people who don’t want to talk to you…and
BINGO…you’ve got a job! I’ve worked in public television…I should know! I’d
steer clear of the street gang, though. There’s a reason why they’re called
“The Smashing Pumpkins”…and you thought giant pumpkin growing was a sport. In
urban areas, it’s the size of the “splat” (i.e. disemboweled pumpkin) that
matters…besides, look what happened to that band member!

A footnote from the trailing pumpkinologist in the country:
I am now romancing the theory that the unexplained bacterial growth that has
onset my giant pumpkin patch is not due to excessive moisture enhancement nor
lack of topsoil aireation; after recent reports of ufo sightings in and around
the horticultural strongholds of america it is my belief that microbiological
exterrestial phenomona has been invading us ,and unlike myself it might be
intelligent. The invaders have ignored the eggplant, sweet banana and cherry
peppers, as well as the jalapeno, but made waste of the blue lake beans and
lets not talk about the noonday onions. Such clues may have provided insight to
a thinking man, but after hours of tireless research, I lost my mental funding.
besides, it was dinosaur night on the lizard channel. In closing, I have
decided that if the pumpkins don’t grow this year, I will proceed to the locale
trophy shoppe and purchase me a monogramed blue ribbon, which in a thousand
years will become compost anyway. please appreciate the lighter side of all of
this, my intent is humor not insult : )

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Turned Yellow and died
(vines)

My two best vines turned yellow and died. What could
be causing that? What are the best sprays to use for this? Is it more difficult
to grow big pumpkins in Central Illinois, than places with cooler summers? Can
you water too much? Would appreciate help! Still trying to grow other vines.My
pumpkins are about three pounds now.

Check the roots for maggots.

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Hail storm

Can anyone give me some advice please? Last night
we had some hail and although the leaves sustained some damage, I think they
will be okay. However, the pumpkin( about the size of a basketball)has some
dents in it where hailstones have scatched away tiny pieces of skin. I hope it
will heal over on its own but I wonder if I should put something on it.?? I
didn’t have a shade over it yet and I am kicking myself all around the pumpkin
patch!! Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thankyou.

I’D KEEP FUNGISIDE ON THEM. I HAD A SIMILAR PROBLEM LAST YEAR AND

I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FUNGISIDE YET AND I LOST ALL MY PUMKINS BECAUSE
THEY ROTTED ON ME FROM SOMETHING THAT I’M SURE GOT INTO THEM FROM THE HAIL
MARKS.

Some books call for making a paste out of Captan WP
(fungicide). This seems to be effective on stem damage, and skin cuts. Once the
paste dries, the rain doesn’t seem to wash it off easily. I tried it last year
on a stem at the base of the fruit. The stem had started to get mushy. After I
applied the paste, the area seemed to heal up. Dan

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Side vine at the maine vine with
a pumpkin at the node.

I’ve noticed that at each of my set fruit, a
secondary vine takes off. Now I would think that this secondary vine will cause
havoc as the pumpkin grows. Should it be cut off and when should that be done?
What should be done to minimize the shock of pruning? Any advice would be
appreciated.

The side vine that comes off the main vine near the pumpkin can
definitely cause stem stress problems. I was looking at mine this morning and
was thinking the same thing. You can train it away but eventually it will cause
problems down the road. You can leave it on until it becomes a problem and
receive some benefits from the photosynthate that those leaves make. I can’t
tell you for sure if the plant is stressed out more by removing a large vine as
opposed to removing it when it is small. I think I will leave mine on for a
couple more weeks then cut it off. pumkinguy@aol.com

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Broken vine

Well, here’s a good one for ya’ll.Today as I was
walking in my pumpkin patch,one of the heaviest,nastiest animals ever to attack
my garden was at it again,it stepped on one of my biggest green squash
vines.Yes,that terible critter was ME! I heard a faint cracking sound and
looked down to see my big hoof on top of my prize vine,Wouldn’t it kill
ya.Anyway, I guess you know what my question is,What can be done?I don’t think
that I hurt it bad because it didn’t split open anywhere that I can see.I
didn’t put all of my weight on it luckily,has anyone else done this? and if it
didn’t split open will recover? SIGNED BIGFOOT

I would cover the crushed area with some soil……believe it or
not, but it can have somewhat of a curative effect. pumkinguy@aol.com

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Picture of a vine
bore

I WAS WONDERING IF ANYONE HAD A PICTURE OF THE VINE
BORER MOTH? IF YOU DO I’D LIKE TO SEE WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR SO IF I DO SEE ONE I
KNOW IT. THANKS

I believe I’ve captured one of the critters (and some other cool
looking gray bug which just happened to be running around my patch.) I’m
working on getting images to Dan, but didn’t have terrific luck tonight. I’ll
try again in the morning with some different equipment. I’m hoping someone can
positively identify these critters. I just sprayed Sevin Wednesday night and
the little b***ch is back tonight. I suspect it was that horrific thunderstorm
we had last night that washed away my Sevin. I may have to re-apply some this
weekend, but I was hoping to get in another dose of Captan. ARG!

For information on the Squash Vine Borer. Goto
“http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ohioline/hyg-fact/2000/2153.html” They have a
picture but it’s in black & white, Also some good information. After you
see the picture you will know it when you see it. It’s a very brite metalic
green and red with clear wings. I hate to see it. I get horrible visions of
wilted vines. borzy@ovnet.com

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Shading

How do you build a covering for your pumkin? How
much of the plant and pumkin do you cover? Me and my Husband have 2 pumpkin
plants with 2 good size pumpkins on both, and a whole bunch of little ones.
When do you start pruning the other pumkins and flowes? how do you decide which
pumkin to keep? Sorry for all the questions but this is just or 2nd year at
trying to grow big ones.

Side vines of 12 feet or so are big enough and you can pinch the
ends. If your main vine is 30 or 40 fett out and is a least 10 to 15 feet past
the pumpkins that can be pinched too. Tertiary vines off the side vines can be
pinched out. Measure the pumpkins in circumference with a cloth or plastic
measuring tape……measure them again in about a week and leave the fastest
growers. You can leave more than one on the plant if they are on separate
branches. If they are on the same branch and are near each other, make the
decision and get out the knife…..it is not easy. pumkinguy@aol.com

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Just not growing

I’m having a problem with my pumpkins reaching the
size of a soccer ball then halting growth and getting soft. I have just started
getting pumpkins to this stage but have lost the first 2. I want to correct the
problem before it gets too late. We live in Sacramento Ca. where temps. can be
as high as 100+ for short periods with average day temps of 88. The nights are
cool, 60 average. The plant is large and healthy. We water with soakers hoses
every other day and fert. weekly with 15-30-15 but just changed to 18-18-21
Miracle Gro solution. The pumpkins appear normal just halt growth and get soft.
Could we be over watering or what?!?! This is a great hobby, but it can make
you crazy when all of your eggs are in one basket.

You are doing nothing wrong….. temps over 90 will cause your
fruit to abort. Is there any chance that you will see a few days that top out
in the 80’s? 90 is the magic number….over 90 and you will have little luck
with fruit set. If there is no chance of a cooling trend I will give you an
experimental fruit set technique that I am playing around with……no
guarantees for my results are not in yet. When you have a 100 degree day, there
is a good chance field temps are 110 to 115,……bring a thermometer out there
, you will be amazed. Anyway, I had a beautiful female on a side vine a few
days ago. Forecasts said we would hit 95 which is a sure abort temp. I took a
wall o water , which is a double walled plastic device normally used for frost
protection on tomatoes. Basically you put it around the tomato plant and fill
it with water and it protects the plant. Now ,we surely didn’t want to make the
plant hotter so I placed the wall o water around the female bloom and filled
the device with ice cubes. It actually held 16 pounds of ice cubes. I put a
recording thermostat in with the female and temps went down to 48 degrees….
too cool…… but the temp slowly climbed as the ice melted. By 1 pm the ice
was mostly gone but temps were around 80. By the end of the day it maxed out at
89. Another recording thermostat was outside, but under the shade of the
leaves….it maxed out at 100 degrees. We cooled the female by 11 degrees and
it was even cooler before the ice melted. I spray painted the outside of the
wall o water flat white to reflect sunlight and put shading over the wallo
water and shading on the west side of the wall o water to reflect the afternoon
sun. I used white styrofoam for shading……. remember shading alone will not
do it. At 100, shaded field temps will be 100 or more. I would do this the day
of pollination and the day after. Again no guarantees for my results will not
be known for a week or two. You may be able to think of another way to cool the
female but unless you can get fruit temps in the 80’s you will have no luck.
pumkinguy@aol.com

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Train a secondary vine

I was wondering, can a secondary vine be trained to
take over for a broken main vine?I noticed I nad a broken main vine this
morning, and I thought I could let the secondary nearest the break grow out
around it.I had a ground hog bite the end off of one last year,and I tried
this.I still got a 116 pound pumpkin off the vine,but I wonder what it would
have been on the main vine?So my question is,If I od this will the pumpkin do
as well on the secondary as on the main vine?

A side vine can take over and 800 pound pumpkins have been grown
on side vines so keep plugging away.

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