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Growing Pumpkins in Florida

Pumpkins are some of my favorite plants and now that it's Fall it's time for them to start popping up in supermarkets and road side stands. It's too bad that it's so difficult to actually grow them down here. I found some good tips for those of us that refuse to accept defeat.

Florida pumpkin growing is very difficult. The heat and high insect and disease pressure make it a hit or miss affair at best.

Several tips are.

Do not water the foliage. Water the plants through a soaker system, or some type of flood system that will allow the leaves to remain dry. If wilting is a problem from the heat, a misting system is recommended, but must be shut off early enough for the plants to dry off before nightfall.

Practice a religious fungicide and insectice spray program. Spray in the evening at dusk, never in the morning, and use the smallest recommended dosages. Pumpkins in florida are very susceptible to leaf burn from chemicals due to the high heat and intense sun conditions.

A shade structure for the entire plant is very beneficial. Greenhouse grade shade cloth, of about 30% light blockage is a very good idea.

Be very careful of using florida well water. It is very often high in many minerals that over time can reach toxic level with pumpkins. Have your well water tested, never use water from a softening system to irrigate, and if neccessary, install a filter for your irrigation.

Floridas growing season is different than up north.

For best results, plant in late Feb, or in August to take adavantage of the milder weather.

The thing about not getting the leaves wet or watering at night has always seemed silly to since once our rainy season stops there's not much we can do about that. It rains at night and it just rains and the leaves get wet. This is another factor that make growing these fun plants so hard. Our second season for growing starts now in September. August is better for Pumpkins though. I am a bit late, but there are still too many bugs in August. I'm growing some ball luffas and a few other cucurbits. Most only need about three months so we can just make it into Dec before it really gets cold in Jan and Feb.

Cross posting to cucurbitaceae




Florida Gardener

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