Pumpkins

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Pumpkins

Postby missusmlaargh » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:11 am

I love growing pumpkins, but every year end up a little disappointed in my harvest.

I can only seem to get one pumpkin per plant, is that normal? It always starts out with a few, but only one ever seems to make it to maturity. The rest end up getting mushy before they get very big, or don't start to fruit up until it's way too late in the season.

This year I've fertilized them every 2 weeks (with tomato-tone) and hand watered every single plant twice a week and I still didn't get a very big harvest. I've also noticed that commercial growers use overhead sprinklers on their fields, but it kills the vines when I've done that in the past.

How do you guys do it? Do you just have to plant a cussload, or what?
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby boo » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:16 am

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Re: Pumpkins

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:02 am

I have grown pumpkins several Times. Normally it is Not a Planned thing. I throw the guts of last years Jack-O-Lanterens on the mulch pile in the fall. When I mulch the garden with the mulch next spring they just grow, :D A couple of times they just grew in the mulch pile. I tend to let things grow in the garden if they really want to grow. ;) A couple of years ago I had 5 pumpkins growing in a 4 ft X 25 ft section out side of the garden where I had planted black berrys. I just let the vines twine through the berrys. Since I have 5 grandkids they each got one to watch as their very own all summer. Then at Halloween they got to carve and decorate their very own pumpkin. :D It was Great fun. This year when I mulched the Gooseberrys that I planted this spring there were vines that sprung up. I counted 49 plants. I thought they were Pumpkins so I let them all grow. Turns out they were watermelons. I have several good sized ones on the vines. Our season is pretty short for watermelons, but We shall see, I have high hopes. ;)
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby matt walker » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:13 am

I have held off on attempting pumpkins since it's so cool here in the early season, so I don't have much experience to offer. I have had really good luck with Red Kuri Squash this year, which does a fair pumpkin impersonation. Maybe something to try next year.

http://www.melissas.com/Products/Produc ... quash.aspx
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby missusmlaargh » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:14 am

Thanks guys, the almanac link was very helpful- I suppose I just need to put yet more effort into it. I always thought pumpkins were supposed to be the easiest thing to grow, not so true for me! PA friendly, that's a really cool system you've got going on there. We get volunteer tomatoes and potatoes sprouting up all over the place, but they never really turn into anything. Our growing season is just a little bit too short for tomatoes via seed. After this year, I am only going to grow them in a greenhouse. We get tons of tomatoes and they get almost perfectly ripe, right when the cold weather sets in. I need another couple of weeks of warmth for them.
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:45 am

Matt is in the same area as you are and has the same problem. We all deal with different issues. Some places its water, some places its cold, some places its heat. You have to addapt and do what works in your area. I am afraid that I will have the same problem with my Vol watermelons this year. Growing season is just too short around here for them. ;)
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby matt walker » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:20 pm

Our climates are similar Guy, but MM's area is quite different than mine nonetheless. They are much, much warmer overall, although season length is about the same.
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby George Collins » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:47 am

Youngblood had some pumpkins planted as a test run this past summer. He harvested six that I know of back in late September. He gave five to me. I just recently gave the last one to the Berky babies (which now probably weigh 120ish pounds each). One good sized pumpkin allowed me to reduce my dependence on store-bought feed by 1/2 for the short while they lasted.

That is to say, given the palatabilty of pumpkins to hogs and the very, very long shelf lives those things have, I'm thinking it may be time to gear up pumpkin production.

Youngblood has held one back to use as his seed crop. I notice that thing everyday going by his house to feed the pigs. It will be interesting to notice how long it takes for it to show signs of decomposition. Especially since it has been stored outside in a perfectly exposed location since the day he harvested it.
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby George Collins » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:21 pm

That last pumpkin Youngblood held back for seed lasted until about April 15th at which time we cut into it. The flesh didn't look any different upon gross examination than those we cut open last fall. The hogs all agreed that it tasted fine.

Based on that experiment, we are planting about a 1/4 acre of Blue Hubbard squash and the seeds from that pumpkin we cut open a couple weeks back.

If you are unfamiliar with the Blue Hubbard squash, here is a great article explaining what it is and it's benefits (and some of the comments that follow the article are quite enlightening as well):
http://m.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hubbard-squash.htm
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Re: Pumpkins

Postby matt walker » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:06 pm

Hmmm, those Hubbards sound like just the thing for winter pig feed. Very cool.
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