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agissane
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novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Hi everyone, I'm a newbie on here and with gardening and looking for advice on my pumpkin. I have a mostly good looking pumpkin plant with I think has ?bacterial spot? and I don't know if this is why my female flowers die off before opening. I have good looking male flowers but luck out with the females. I have been using seaweed solution every fortnight and using a copper fungicide every fortnight, but we have had a bit of rain this summer. Here are some pics:
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Looking forward to feedback. Thanks :D

imafan26
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Where are you located. Please include that in your profile. It is kind of early for most of us to be growing pumpkins.
The first flowers on cucurbits are usually male unless they are parthenocarpic. Males outnumber females 5 to one. Female flowers must be pollinated within a few hours preferably by more than one bee visit. You can help things along by hand pollinating your female flowers. Unpollinated or underpollinated female blooms fade and the immature fruit will die.
It looks like you have snails or caterpillars eating your leaves. You could have some fungal or bacterial disease brewing. I can't tell for sure, but it is common. Try to keep the leaves dry and you can use a preventive fungicide spray.
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agissane
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Thank you, i've updated my profile. I'm from Sydney, Australia.
The female flower issue I seem to have is they die off before they open from what I can see. When they are small and immature they start to turn white (so I think they are developing), then develop brown spots, go brown, then drop. I have been checking every morning because I heard the flowers open in the morning for a couple of hours so I want to catch them to hand pollinate.
I have had two females flowers a couple of week back but since then, nothing.

I'll hit the plant with another spray of copper fungicide, and I have had snails.

Thanks again. :D

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rainbowgardener
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Your pumpkin plant looks generally healthy and huge. I'm not sure that it is diseased. Some of the spottiness (particularly evident in pictures 2 & 5) could be downy mildew. But it might just be marks left by sucking insects like aphids or thrips. Have you checked closely, including undersides of leaves, leaf-stem joints?
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applestar
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

I've had that female blossoms turning brown and falling off before or after pollination in cucurbits before. I don't think I ever identified the specific cause, but I remember thinking it could be blossom end rot (calcium intake deficiency at time of blossom development -- not necessarily lack in the soil but can also be environmental or micronutrients/mineral inbalance, etc. ) or insufficient irrigation. I also wondered if the persistent cucumber beetles and other (not bees or wasps) bugs hiding inside the blossoms could be the culprit.

Sometimes they grow out of it. Sometimes it's just the variety - One year, one variety of watermelon consistently had this problem while another variety growing in the same bed did not.
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imafan26
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Your seasons are upside down from ours so how is the temps now and what season are you in. Do you have fruit flies, they can be stinging the young fruit causing them to die even if they are pollinated? Is the squash in the sun? It looks shady in the picture. Not enough light will cause poor blooming.
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agissane
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Sorry for the late reply!

We are in Summer at the moment and it was an overcast day that day when I took the pics. The plant is in full sun.
I've had a look around and under the plant and I can't seem to see any sucking insects but that's not to say there are not present. I do have snails though which I've been plucking off.

I have had some female flowers now so not sure if the ones that die off were too shaded to mature but I'm happy I have pumpkins growing!

I think I do have downy mildew because I have more leaves much more spotty and are dieing off but I still have a lot of green leaves at the moment. I've been trimming the plant to help it stay contained in my vegie garden because it's everywhere! And I'm hoping the trimming will help with the downy mildew. We do have a humid summer though, and we have had a bit of rain but not in the last few weeks.

Is it a good idea to easy off on the watering to help with the downy mildew? I have been watering every morning. Can the downy mildew effect the pumkins and kill the plant? From what I understand and correct me if I'm wrong, fungicides do not help with downy mildew.

imafan26
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Those spots could be the start of downy mildew. Check out the link below. Do your leaves look like these?
https://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell. ... yFS1.htm#5

If the fruit are not being pollinated they will rot. Usually in the beginning there are more male than female flowers around and the male and female have to be open at the same time. For bee pollination it takes more than one bee and multiple pollinea to successfully polinate the flower. Hand pollination will help. Here there are melon flies and things that like to sting the young fruit which would also cause them to die. Wrapping the fruit after pollination helps to keep fruit from being stung.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Pumpkins need a lot of water . To avoid problems with fungal diseases , including powdery mildew which they are prone to , downy mildew and others , it helps to water only the soil and not the leaves .
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jal_ut
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

It is good to plant a squash patch. A couple crooknecks, some zucchini, pumpkins, banana squash, hubbard squash. These will cross pollinate. Squash are usually pollinated by the bees, but you must have blossoms to attract bees. One plant likely doesn't have enough blossoms to attract many bees.
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Downy mildew will not spread to non-squash family plants.

I have never had downy mildew, but I believe it can be differentiated from insect damage by the borders and leaf veins.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Many plants are prone to downy mildew. There's been a lot of talk around here of people's basil being killed by it. It is particularly a problem for greenhouse growers, including many flowers.

Plants affected Many ornamental and edible plants, including brassicas, Impatiens, grapevines, lettuce, onions, peas, pansies, tobacco plants https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=683

the organisms are likely different species that attack different plants, but the symptoms are very similar and they are all called downy mildew.
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Yes but it not the same downy mildew, it is a different causal organism. What I meant was that the downy mildew discussed above will not spread to unrelated plants. The one that causes basil downy mildew is a new disease organism out of Africa.
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agissane
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

So it's now April and my pumpkin plant is hanging on. It has been still quite warm where the nights are still about 10°C and days 25°C and I had a couple of extra pumpkins growing so I thought I'd try and get them to mature before I dig the plant up.

I had plucked off some pumpkins which look good but last night we tried to eat our first pumpkin and it doesn't seem right. It is bland - has no flavour, no sweetness, the flesh inside is quite pale looking and the skin is much hard and thicker than what I'm used to from a pumpkin. I haven't tried these type of pumpkins before and thought they were a sweet kind.

Did I not fertilise and water enough? I had fertilised with powerfeed and seasol every 2-3 weeks and gave up in the end with the fungicide because it didn't seem to be helping much. And mostly watered once a day.

These pics are the plucked pumpkins I thought looked good, a pumpkin still on the vine which i don't think is ready to be plucked, the cut pumpkin pieces and the remains of the plant with a few pumpkins still a little green somewhere in the picture.

Thoughts?
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applestar
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Some varieties develop sweetness in storage (warm dry place) after about a month from the starches being converted to sugar.. Like many vegetables, some also benefit from letting the vine and leaves naturally die as the autumn deepens, during which time, the fruits receive the last of the remaining energy/nutrients and the fruits gear up for winter storage.

I can't tell if yours fit into either of these categories, though.
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imafan26
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

I don't know what kind of pumpkin you have but it may be true that storage pumpkins develop their flavor better in storage. I only grew that type of pumpkin a couple of times for Halloween only they ripened in July and was rotten by halloween.

I did try to grow another one to eat but someone told me the larger pumpkins are not as sweet as the small ones called sugar or pie pumpkin.

Usually the pumpkins we like are the kabocha since they are sweet and they are the kind we know how to use. We cook them in soups and stews and they are just washed not peeled.
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

applestar wrote:Some varieties develop sweetness in storage (warm dry place) after about a month from the starches being converted to sugar.. Like many vegetables, some also benefit from letting the vine and leaves naturally die as the autumn deepens, during which time, the fruits receive the last of the remaining energy/nutrients and the fruits gear up for winter storage.

I can't tell if yours fit into either of these categories, though.
That is so true! I grow butternut squash every year, and if I pick one and eat it immediately it is rather flavorless. They always need to cure a few weeks first.

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agissane
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Is there such a pumpkin that is ornamental that look like these? I've ended up throwing out all my pumpkins (had about 15 of them) because I almost needed a chainsaw to cut them! One time, I've managed to cut one into large chunks, couldn't skin it, and placed in a slow cooker. After about 8 hours I then could take the skin off. Turned it into pumpkin soup but used a lot of spices and herbs to give it flavour because it had not taste.

So I went googling, and came across a comment about ornamental pumpkins that can look like these pie pumpkins. Is that true?

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applestar
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

What a disappointment! So they didn't develop flavor even after a month in storage?

IT's true that there are many varieties of very nice LOOKING pumpkins that are meant for Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns and fall decoration. I cant remember, did you mention the name of the variety you grew?

The tough rind seems to point to a characteristic that would be suitable in a decoration/ornamental pumpkin, too -- Takes rough handling in the field and shipping and still remain attractive to customers for market display until Halloween.....

I'm sure you have your own sources in Australia, especially since I believe its difficult to send seeds to Australia, but a couple of U.S. websites that have good descriptions and/or grower reviews for pumpkins and winter squashes -- good reference sites -- are Jonny's Selected Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom. Johnny's is oriented toward market growers and has a full section of pumpkins that are no doubt meant to be eye-catching and meant to be sold for their decorative value, but no so much for eating quality. I believe the eating varieties are mostly listed under Winter Squash.
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agissane
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

No flavour at all which was why I thought that maybe the seed packet I bought was a dud and that the seeds were for an ornamental. Looking at the packet now, it doesn't actually say specifically the variety - just said small sugar pumpkin 'found in central and northern america, bred for a naturally high sugar content which ensures a wonderfully sweet flesh' :?

Never mind now. It was still a good exercise. I have seeds for a Kent Pumpkin so I'll be trying that out next.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Well, looking at the April 21 picture of flattened vines, it appears that something (disease or pest) killed off your vine, before the pumpkins had a chance to mature. Did your seed description say how big the pumpkins would get?

If the vine had survived longer, the pumpkins might have had a chance to develop more flavor/ sweetness.
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jal_ut
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Re: novice gardener with pumpkin problems!

Pumpkins are for decoration. Jack-O-Lanterns. If you want something to eat plant a Hubbard Squash or Banana Squash.

Pumpkin pie? Use the squash not a pumpkin.
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