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The Great Pumpkin Patch


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I started harvesting my pumpkins this week. The crop looks outstanding. I have a lot of good carving and decorative pumpkins as well as enough to sell by the truck load for deer. 

This is my first year raising pumpkins.  It was something I always thought about doing so after purchasing my tractor this spring I decided to give it a shot. Plus it was a way to get The farming out of my system. The first picture was taken the 21st of July, the second was taken today. I have about two acres to play with and I only used maybe a third of it. If the pumpkins sell well I will most likely do the whole thing next year.

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Looks good.  If your selling for carving be careful those stems don't degrade while on the vine or off.  Just a wild  guess but I'm thinking powdery mildew killed your vines.  

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I just figured with the growing year we had they reached maturity, the vast majority of the pumpkins already turned color. The plants were healthy up to about two weeks ago and then I started to notice the vines wilting from the inside out. As I said earlier, this is my first year and i probably have a lot to learn. Insects were also a problem for me this year, especially the cucumber beatles.

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Look in the stems closest to the roots for squash vine borers, they will cause sudden and fast wilting of the plant. The stem will appear hollow and rotted out inside and you may find the larvae inside. My understanding is that one should not plant pumpkins or similar squash in the same spot each year, rotate with grain or another non host crop. This helps in minimizing insect populations.

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What TomH said. Had that happen last year. Don't take long for vine borers to decimate a patch.

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Use a buck rake ?

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We quit planting them---couldnt sell a one so plowed them under, ( 4 acres) and never planted another one! Good luck on your venture and yes the mildew and bugs set in at this time of the year.---dont think there is any way to stop it. --- Your crop looks good and yes be careful with the stems breaking off----thats the selling point of them. Also if you plant the tall variety that stand up well, they claim that market is better for that type.

We plant a couple hills of the Libby caner type for our own use. --- not far from here they grow thousands of acres of the caners for Libby, (now Nestlies) and a guy 6 miles from us  had a field a couple years ago--- none since, so I figure it was a lost cause in the profit department! lol!

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I deal with two customers who are serious pumpkin growers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticide. No different than any other crop.

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11 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

Use a buck rake ?

For picking? I never heard of one.

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15 minutes ago, TractormanMike.mb said:

For picking? I never heard of one.

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That will make quick work of it. We, son and I, have been picking by hand. I cut the stems with a pruner and he and I load the good ones into the trailer behind the four wheeler and he takes them to the garage while I cut more. The green, odd shaped, and ones that don't have a good stem go into my pickup box trailer for deer pumpkins. I place the load in separate individual piles to be sold as a truck load.

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IF you want quality,---you have to do it by hand,----cant woller them around with tractors---that breaks off the stems making the pumpkins worthless. It sounds like you guys have the best method figured out! --- carry on!! lol!

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To paraphrase Sundance......"ya got enough tractor there Butch??"

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Yes we always hand cut with pruners.  I like the ones that have a knife on both sides or a thin flat edge so the don't crush the stems.  There are so many varieties out there it is unbelievable.  Outstanding seed company invests quite a bit in pumpkin research and I feel is the market leader of new varieties. 

Weused to feed a few green and not marketable ones to our cattle.  I'm not sure if it was worth it but the cattle liked them.

The process for the canning company that I had seen here was pretty neat.  There is a tractor that windrows them and one that loads them into a semi or wagons without any manual labor.  

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This being my first year doing it, I just went to my local farm co-op and bought some bulk pumpkin seeds. Throughout the summer I noticed the difference in variety from plant to plant. I may try some different ones next year. I sold some to a local produce stand and the guy asked if I had any white ones which I do not but I will next year.

A friend of mine who I get my beef and pork from said last year he feed pumpkins to his pigs that he was finishing. He said they are them right up and did really good on them.

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I grew Pumpkins for the 1st time this year.  Two plants, I think they were a Northrup King seed variety.  I ended up with 10-12 Pumpkins, all decent sized.  We had weather issues and I had beetle issues as well so I'm pretty happy.

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White pumpkins wont grow everywhere, so dont overdo it till you find out for sure if you have the right conditions for growing them!!!---they will NOT grow here at all!! lol!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update. All of the pumpkins are gone. I had all of my truckloads gone a week ago and my guy at the produce stand bought every one of the good pumpkins that I had, about 400. All and all it was a very good year, now to plan for next year. I'm kind of thinking of getting my lot surveyed to find exactly where the corners are and utilizing the whole thing next year.

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That is great.  I agree don't over do it on the whites at first.  With white pumpkins keeping the leaf canopy alive until harvest is important or they will yellow pretty quickly.  Also they stain easy from any dirt.  Growing them on bare ground is not ideal.  Plastic or a cover crop rolled flat is what is used around here.  We did continuous pumpkins on pumpkins with rye over winter for many years although "they" say rotation with other crops is much more ideal.

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1 hour ago, hobbyfarm said:

That is great.  I agree don't over do it on the whites at first.  With white pumpkins keeping the leaf canopy alive until harvest is important or they will yellow pretty quickly.  Also they stain easy from any dirt.  Growing them on bare ground is not ideal.  Plastic or a cover crop rolled flat is what is used around here.  We did continuous pumpkins on pumpkins with rye over winter for many years although "they" say rotation with other crops is much more ideal.

I thought about planting some rye for a cover crop but it's getting kind of late in the season here for it to really do anything but it might be just enough to maybe give it half of a rotation.

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