Growing Pumpkin

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05 Jan 21 Sue Bradshaw (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I inherited a large Kent pumpkin vine when we moved into our house a year ago on the Sunshine Coast. It came with a single substantial pumpkin. As I've learned more about the way they reproduce I've tried to hand pollinate with only one successful outcome. The vine currently has two pumpkins, one of which was made without any help from me. A couple of weeks ago (late December) the vine became full of tiny female flowers and the male flowers were in abundance too. I thought I'd have a great outcome and even saw a bee or two. But not all of the tiny females even reached the flowering stage, just withered where they grew. It has been pretty hot and humid here, with temps 30+ most days and night in the low 20s. I keep the water up to them but they really suffer during the mid day heat. Would shade cloth help? Is there anything I can add to the soil?
06 Jan 21 Anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
Most veggies are grown as an annual. To have one 12mths old is a bit unusual. The vine would be very long now before the flowers appear, maybe the plant can't sustain that. Pumpkin zucchini and probably watermelons and rock melons etc When they flower they start with male flowers to start attracting the bees, then produce female flowers. The female flower is only open for one day generally and will be shut by lunch time. So it needs a few visits from bees in that 2-4 hrs to fertilise the female flower. Or needs hand pollination on that day. I live at Bundy and I grew pumpkin through last summer and it was 3-4 degrees hotter last summer than this year so far. I think you just have an old plant that has had it's day. After you pick this years crop think about planting next year in the spring, your vines will be well establish going into summer. It will also allow you to refresh the soil with compost, manures fertiliser etc.

I inherited a large Kent pumpkin vine when we moved into our house a year ago on the Sunshine Coast. It came with a single substantial pumpkin. As I've learned more about the way they reproduce I've tried to hand pollinate with only one successful outcome. The vine currently has two pumpkins, one of which was made without any help from me. A couple of weeks ago (late December) the vine became full of tiny female flowers and the male flowers were in abundance too. I thought I'd have a great outcome and even saw a bee or two. But not all of the tiny females even reached the flowering stage, just withered where they grew. It has been pretty hot and humid here, with temps 30+ most days and night in the low 20s. I keep the water up to them but they really suffer during the mid day heat. Would shade cloth help? Is there anything I can add to the soil?

- Sue Bradshaw

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