Pumpkin Problem

This week in the Tiny Patch everything seems to be going OK. No blossom end split for me. There have a been a couple of cooler nights where I’ve covered the pumpkin in its blanket.

The spread of powdery mildew seems to have been contained to where it was and doesn’t appear to have spread much more.

The older leaves have been dying and look super cooked compared to the new leaves.

I’d seen Tim at a pumpkin committee meeting and after that we were trying to work out when I could go see his pumpkins. Between my work schedule and busy times on the farm it can sometimes be a challenge to find what works for both of us.

The plan was to go see his patch either at the end of the week or in a couple of weeks time.

That plan came forward when Tim went home to check on his largest pumpkin and found there was a blossom end split in his pumpkin. This pumpkin was putting on 20kg+ per day.  Scroll to the bottom to see the video.

The Patch of Champions has a Blossom End Split

It’s always great to got see Tim’s pumpkin patch. From the size of the patch itself to the size of the pumpkins it is always super impressive.  Check out Tim’s patch from last year here.

Tim Harris 2019 Giant Pumpkin Patch

The first thing I noticed was how healthy the plants were looking. There was no sign of any powdery mildew at all. Tim puts this down to a very early treatment as soon as the humid weather appears, followed up by another treatment two weeks later. This covers most of the season with any signs of problems treated if they arise.

A better inline filter helps keep out any large particles which can clog up the drip tape as well as a pressure reducer means this years watering system was working better.

Inline water filter and pressure reducer

Blossom End Split

These usually occur when the blossom end of the pumpkin has thin walls, the expansion of growth causes a split to occur.

Tim wasn’t surprised this happened due to the very concave shape of the end of the pumpkin. Still not the best outcome, but I guess it’s better to happen now then when loading or weighing the pumpkin at the end of the season?

Tim Harris Pumpkin with Blossom End Split

Check out the stump of this pumpkin and how massive it is, very impressive.

Once you get a crack in your pumpkin that goes all the way into the cavity, that pumpkin is done. The pumpkin will start breaking down and you’ll have a rotting pumpkin in no time at all.

Luckily Tim has another pumpkin which is younger but is tracking along nicely and seems to have a better shaped blossom end. Time will tell if this pumpkin makes it to the scales. For the time being everything is looking good.

Tim Harris Giant Pumpkin Patch Leaves

What is Alex up to?

Let’s not forget about Tim’s son Alex who is wanting to beat his personal best of 651kg Size. His pumpkin is located at the other end of the patch, and this year his plant as well as Tims suffered from the vine tips being “burnt” and stopping the plants growth. This was more noticeable with Alex’s plant as it wasn’t able to fill out the entire portion of his patch.

Giant Pumpkin Patch vine Stopped Growing

This is a first time problem Tim and Alex have faced and it’s hard to pinpoint if it was the heat of the sun, some sort of genetic trait, or something else.

The other thing that Alex has had to compete with, another first for the Harris patch is rats clawing at the pumpkin, no doubt trying to get into it.

Alex Harris Pumpkin with Rat marks on it

Bait and traps have been laid around the patch, and the scratches and gouge marks have been treated with peroxide and then sulphur.

Roll with the Punches

The main thing to take away from all this is that sometimes you’ll have to roll with the punches, you can do the best you can and something still goes wrong. I always remind people there is always next season to look forward to.

Garden Gnomes with Giant Pumpkin