The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pumpkin growing problems

We are a bit south of you in NW Georgia. We have a devil of a time growing pumpkins. I've been wondering what kind of luck you have had w/ them. I wonder if our humid climate is just not suitable for them. We do better w/ butternut squash, but pumpkins are lower in carbs which is a factor for us.
--- Rita

Huckleberry and a cushawA few years ago, I decided to figure out which winter squash suited our tastebuds and garden the best, so I tested out Baby Bear, Howden, and Jack-o-lite Pumpkins, Butternut Squash, Royal Acorn Squash, and Cushaw.  They all produced something, but the Cushaw was definitely the most productive in terms of pounds of vegetables per vine while Butternuts were quickly decided to be the taste test winner.

I have a bit of a French mindset when it comes to food --- I believe that we should eat what tastes good, but consider high carb foods to be a treat to be eaten in small quantities now and then.  We'd much rather eat a butternut pie once a week than a pumpkin pie twice a week because the former is just so much tastier!  As a result, we haven't grown pumpkins since our trial year, and have found that butternuts are seldom bothered by pests or diseases.

Ripening pumpkinIf you're bound and determined to grow pumpkins, though, I have a few words of advice from fighting my own battles to grow summer squash here.  The first step is to figure out what's killing your pumpkins.  Is it one of the fungi or bacteria which love moist conditions?  If so, plant your pumpkins far apart in the sunniest spot like we do with our tomatoes so that they dry out quickly after rains.  Or are your pumpkins succumbing to the squash vine borer, which is our personal bane?  Variety selection seems to be your best bet when fighting the vine borer, so try a half dozen types this year and see which one does best.  Good luck!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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