Pumpkin Surgery and the Race of the Seedlings

Now that spring has finally sprung, the pumpkins are loving the outdoor life. They are still in their hoop houses which I cover up at night. On cooler days I’ll just leave them covered all day to keep them warm. Pumpkin #1, the 1400 Lopresti, is my main pumpkin that I am devoting most of my time to. She is getting extra spoiled with a heater at night, and she is growing WAY faster than the other pumpkins! It gets pretty cold at night which is stunting their growth a little. As long as we don’t get a frost they won’t die, but they definitely won’t be growing fast until it warms up a little more.

Here’s a photo of the 1400 Lopresti that I took today:

 1400 Lopresti

And in comparison, here is the 1421 Gaboury.

 1421 Gaboury

She is definitely growing slower for a few reasons:

  1. I planted her a week later.
  2. She is in a shadier spot than the 1400 Lopresti and isn’t getting as much heat/sunlight.
  3. She is not spoiled with soil warming cables and a heater.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! I’m sure she will still produce a great pumpkin. You may notice that my 1421 Gaboury has yellow leaves. I’m not sure what that is from, but it happened last year as well and we couldn’t figure out why, even after bringing a leaf to the University of Maine for analysis.

I haven’t visited the 1695 Gaboury in a few days, but I will post a photo in this blog tomorrow. I imagine she will be growing even slower since I’m not able to go over and close the hoop house every night since she is planted at the Bangor Community Garden.

Update: Here is the 1695 Gaboury on May 16. I am neglecting her a bit, but I did make sure she was covered up the other night when there was a frost advisory. I think she’s actually doing better than the 1421 Gaboury because she’s getting more sunlight.

 1695 Gaboury

Life isn’t always easy in the pumpkin patch. I had a scary moment recently with my 1400 Lopresti that made me really nervous:

 A split at the base of my seedling from the wind and it being too leggy.

If you look at the stem, you can see that it has split. No good! This is a result of the stalk being “leggy” and the wind twisting it too much. I fixed it by doing two things: First, I took some Coban medical tape and taped it around the stalk. Coban is stretchy and sticks to itself, so I figured this would be good for a few days to keep things together. I didn’t want to leave it on for too long since it might cause the plant to rot and it might inhibit the stalk from growing thicker.

 My solution for fixing the stem split.

After applying the Coban, I buried the stalk up to the base of the leaves to give it more support. A few days later, I removed the tape. The stalk didn’t heal itself shut (yet), but it looks much better. My biggest fear right now is that the opening in the stalk might be an invitation for pests to eat it from the inside out. I am crossing my fingers on this one! Seeing how well the plant is growing, I am staying optimistic.

 The split healed quickly, and the seedling is growing at a fast rate!

That’s all I have now for updates. Stay tuned for more as the season continues!