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In love with pumpkins!

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by Annabel on June 12, 2005 05:37 AM
I'm fairly new at gardening, but I've always wanted to grow pumpkins... I started last year, but they caught that white fungus and died, leaving me feeling terrible. But the spot I have them in this year seems to be doing perfectly

I'm worried about pruning the flowers, though. (do I or don't I) And why are there little black ants around them? Will they kill my pumpkins?

I live in Louisiana so I knew I could start early. But I planted in March and I think I have a baby female flower just coming up now! I'm not sure since it's pretty small. I'll have to take a picture and post it.

Also, if there is anyone who has any tips on how to grow pumpkins in humid weather (such as Louisiana weather) I would be forever grateful. [Smile]
by njoynit on June 16, 2005 02:59 AM
humidity IS AWFUL down here ain't it.I just mulched mine with grass clippings/Comost today and cut off the raggad leaves.I planted mine like last week in Febuary(have to find that card).I have 5 pumkins& will sow a 2nd crop of seeds end of this month.I also applied mulch/compost over varouis vine sections for added roots to absorb water.
Keep me posted!

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!
by 4Ruddy on June 16, 2005 11:53 AM
Howdy Annabel....I'm one of your ARKLATEX neighbors...
Yep...we have some hunidity goin on around here...can barely breathe when you go outside sometimes.
I can't really help you with your punkins...I accidentally grew some last year from seeds that got swept off of the porch from a pumpkin that was there for decoration. I really didn't get to "technical" with them as far as pruning blooms etc... I just transplanted them and let them have the yard. They really did well,,,with minimal effort except that we have white flies really bad here and that was a chore to keep them killing everything. I just did the basic water, feed, mulch thing and ended up with a pretty good show of fruit! But we have some real pumpkin experts around I know they can help you out! [thumb]

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Happiness, like a dessert so sweet.
May life give you more than you can ever eat...
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by Longy on June 18, 2005 02:22 AM
Hey Annabel. You don't really have to do much with pumpkins, or you can fuss over them. To get more female flowers and therefore more fruit, pinch out the leading growth tips once they reach a metre or so in length. This will induce more lateral growth and also more female flowers. The females are the ones which have no stalk (LOL) and have a swollen embryo fruit at the base. You don't need to prune the flowers, but you can hand pollinate if you want to give the bees a hand. Just remove the petals from a male flower and dab it on the inside of the female while she is newly open and bright yellow. This is usually in the mornings too BTW. You can also eat the flowers. Just raw in a salad straight off the vine or dipped in batter and fried. Same with other cucurbits.
If you water the vine, just flood the soil, don't wet the leaves, and do it in the morning so the sun evaporates the moisture on the leaves before nightfall. Wet leaves at night is what spreads the powdery mildew which killed them off last year.
Pumpkin are gross feeders and will take all the nutrient you can get into them. This is best incoorporated into the soil as compost and manures prior to planting but you can side dress around the root zone anytime. Mulching will help the roots maintain a constant temperature and reduce water loss. Use a well rotted manure or old meadow hay or whatever organic matter you have available for this. Remember that they are an annual and the vine will deteriorate later in the season and be attacked by bugs and powdery mildew and whatever. Don't worry too much about that. As long as you have some half formed pumpkins by this time you'll get your share. The old vine is an excellent compost accellerator. Run over it a few times with the lawnmower and stick it in the compost.
Don't worry about the ants. They won't do any harm.

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The secret is the soil.

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