SFloridaGardener
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Pumpkin Pruning

Growing pumpkins for the first time (we'll actually this is my first year gardening so it's the first time for everything!)...

I'm in zone 10 and have very sandy soil so I decided to try a method I saw on the web where you basically just direct sow into a bag of gardening soil or compost. Supposedly this is all the quality soil it will need and you only need to water and fertalize. Part of the reason I am trying this is I do not have a lot of room in my raised bed and I hear the pumpkin plants can get quite large. So I have place them on the side of my house and they are growing like crazy!

Today I noticed some small flower buds forming but I think it way to early. They are only about 12 to 18 inches tall right now and have only been growing for about 3 weeks. Do I need to pinch these off? Also any advice on pruning later on would be appreciated.

Last week:
http://i.imgur.com/5azJ57y.jpg

Today:
http://i.imgur.com/x7QRrGn.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/lzGV7Vr.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Pumpkin Pruning

I would leave it alone for now. Your plant is looking healthy. Pumpkin and other cucurbits often only put out male flowers at first. If yours does that, then it won't be setting fruit, so won't be taxing the plant too much. If it does happen to put out male and female flowers and set fruit this early, I might pinch off the first one, just to let the plant grow a little more, but I'm guessing it will be awhile yet before you see any fruit and it will be fine.

Pumpkin plants do get HUGE (which is why I don't grow them). It will start putting out secondary vines off of the main one. You want to train these to grow away from the main vine. Then the secondary vines will start putting out tertiary vines. Those you can prune off. The vine can root everywhere the stem touches down and that is a good thing.

Once it has set a couple fruit, you don't want to let it keep growing too much and you don't want to let it keep setting more fruit. Two is about all the pumpkins one huge vine can support, if you want them to get full sized.

What variety pumpkins are you growing? How you want to manage the plant is different if you are growing dwarf babies or full size or giants.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SFloridaGardener
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Re: Pumpkin Pruning

Thanks for the advice! I somehow lost my seed packet but I believe they are Connecticut Field pumpkins. Just going for average size for decorating and pies...not crazy giants for me.

Is it two pumpkins per plant? Or per secondary vine?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Pumpkin Pruning

Sort of per secondary vine, but for full sized pumpkins probably four total (but remember I don't grow pumpkins, maybe someone else will have a different idea, who actually grows them).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SFloridaGardener
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Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:58 pm

Re: Pumpkin Pruning

Thanks! I went out to check the planes today and found these problems:

One plant has several leaves with white veins - http://i.imgur.com/oIhqPtU.jpg

Another looks like insect damage. I looked around but didn't see anything but ants and a small spider web nearby - http://i.imgur.com/TQoIHU8.jpg

Any suggestions? I'm very excited they were doing so well but now I'm worried they're gonna die! :/

I had really worried about fungal diseases because of all the midday rain we have been having and have been spraying the copper antifungal every week. But I'm not sure what these two things are.

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pumpkin Pruning

I never prune pumpkins. Just plant the seed and let them grow.
Have never grown them in containers. Just the ground.
Pumpkin roots grown in the ground can go to 5 feet deep and
there will be roots as wide as the vine is long. The vines also
often send down roots at the leaf nodes. If you are to grow a
pumpkin in a pot, use a big one and keep it watered and fertilized
well. Have fun.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/- Plant a Garden

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Pumpkin Pruning

The holes in leaves look more like slug or snail damage to me than insects . You will never see the slugs unless you come out late at night and look closely including leaf joints and under sides .

Some squash family plants naturally have silver veins like that. But there is also a fungal disease called Squash SilverLeaf (SSL) that affects pumpkins as well as squash . If it is that, it will keep spreading over more of the leaf and you would probably be seeing the whiteflies that spread it.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SFloridaGardener
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Re: Pumpkin Pruning

Okay thanks! I'll keep a look out. I had a whitefly probably a few months ago but haven't seen them lately. I think the 100s of ladybugs I set loose on them scared them away for now. :-()

Jal_ut I have seen some impressive pictures of your pumpkins! Unfortunately I don't have the room to let them get to crazy so I will have to ptune and train them a little. That's interesting that the roots go so deep because I was reading that this little bag would be all it needs. I will definitely move the one on the concrete to the grass though so hopefully it can root through the drainage holes in the backside of the bag.

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