Text-only Preview

Commercial Vegetable Production
Charles Marr
Terry Schaplowsky
Ted Carey
Pumpkins and winter squash are traditional fall crops in
melons, but because there are fewer ?owers, a strong hive of bees
Kansas. Potential for sales at farm markets, roadside stands, local
for every 3 to 5 acres of pumpkins is suggested.
stores, or direct from the farm is expanding. The ease of growing
pumpkins makes them a crop to consider in farming opera-
Many new pumpkin varieties are hybrids with seed costs
tions. There are many crops that complement the fall decorative
about three times that of standard varieties. Earlier fruiting variet-
market, including apples, popcorn, ornamental corn, gourds,
ies are also being developed.
?owers and fall-produced vegetable crops.
The type of market may determine characteristics a producer
Pumpkins and winter squash are members of the cucurbit
looks for in selecting varieties. Growers supplying wholesale
family, which includes muskmelon, watermelon, cucumbers and
markets want heavy and uniformly sized pumpkins with strong,
gourds. This group is characterized by sprawling vines and bright
dark-colored stems and deep, bright color. Growers for local
yellow ?owers. Pumpkins are warm-loving crops. Tradition-
markets or roadside stands may tolerate variation in size and ?n-
ally, they are planted in June in Kansas so the fruit are ready for
ish, and stems are not quite as important. Growers for specialty
harvest in late September to mid-October.
markets may want pumpkins that are unique in size, shape or
Is it a squash or a pumpkin?
The word “pumpkin” is derived from a French word, original-
One of the major differences in pumpkin varieties is fruit size.
ly from the Greek, meaning “large melons.” The term “squash”
There are ?ve general categories based on this characteristic. The
comes from a Native American word describing an edible gourd.
table on page 2 lists selected varieties in each category.
There are three botanical species involved in the group of squash
During the last several years, emphasis has been on earlier
and pumpkin produced on trailing vines. By common usage,
maturing pumpkin varieties. Varieties include a genetic trait
those that are round and orange are called pumpkins, while those
that encourages pumpkins to develop color while they are still
of other shapes and colors are called squash. The vine habit for
maturing. Common examples of this type are ‘Autumn Gold’ and
pumpkins and squash is similar, and the production or cultural
‘Big Autumn’ varieties. These types are good if you want mature
practices for growing them almost identical. This guide contains
pumpkins by fall. One drawback is that stems are often weaker
information on the production of both.
and brown in color, lacking the characteristic large and dark
green stems that many markets desire. A strong, dark-green stem
Pumpkins produce separate male and female ?owers on the
handle is needed for wholesale pumpkin shipments. Local mar-
same plant. Male ?owers outnumber female ?owers 2- to 3-to-1
kets may not require as prominent a green stem. Growers should
and usually appear ?rst. Bees must transfer pollen from male to
keep track of the many new varieties of pumpkins available each
female ?owers. Pollination occurs during a two- to three-week
year, consider the market, and plant varieties that are best suited
period of intense blooming in late summer. Flowers close late
to their operations.
in the day. During bloom, apply spray materials when ?owers
The predominant market for pumpkins is for jack-o'-lantern
are closed and bees are not active. Poor pollination will result in
types. Other varieties can be grown in smaller quantities for
poorly shaped fruit and excessive blossom drop. Pumpkins do
specialized markets. Small pumpkins are often needed for opera-
not require as many bees for pollination as cucumbers or musk-
tions specializing in school tours where each child takes home

a pumpkin. White- or dark-orange skinned varieties are novelty
Yield and prices
types that are increasing in popularity. Smooth pumpkins are
K-State research trials and grower experience show estimated
preferred for painting or coloring. Winter squash and other deco-
yields for the various types of pumpkins to be as follows:
rative items often are used to round out a line of fall decorative
Giant pumpkins – 20,000 to 30,000 lb/acre marketable;
items including decorative corn (and/or corn stalks), popcorn,
Jack o'lantern types – 20,000 to 30,000 lb/acre marketable;
honey, autumn ?owers, gourds and related items.
Baby types – 9,000 to 15,000 lb/acre marketable; and
Miniature types – 6,000 to 9,000 lb/acre marketable.
Common pumpkin varieties.

Days to Maturity
Giant (>20 lb)


Good color and shape
Bix Max
Bright orange
Big Moon
Very large
Atlantic Giant
Medium orange, large
Jack-o’lantern (7-20 lb)
Med orange, good handle
AC 510
Round to tall, good handle, good color
Semi-vine, good handle
Medium orange, good handle
PM tolerant, dark orange
Autumn King
Good handle, dark orange
Autumn Gold
Early coloring
Big Autumn
Large Autumn Gold, early coloring
Gold Rush
Large handle, deep orange
Jack of All Trades
Deep orange, semi-vine
Compact vine, weaker handles
Semi-vine, deep orange, good handle
School Time
Bright orange, compact vine
Magic Lantern
PM tolerant, dark orange
PM tolerant, dark orange
Small or Pie Pumpkins (4-7 lb)
Hybrid Pam
Compact vine, dark orange
Dark orange, good handle, 3-4 lb.
Mystic Plus
PM tolerant, 5-7 lb.
Smooth, 3-5 lb., early coloring
Early, early coloring, semi vine, PM tolerant
Baby Pumpkins (1-3 lb)
Baby Pam
2 lb., uniform
Lil Ironsides
1-2 lb., smooth, very hard
Lil Goblin
3.4-1 lb., smooth, very hard
Baby Bear
1 lb., good handle
2-3 lb., good shape and uniformity
Miniature Pumpkins (> 1 lb)
Jack Be Little
½ lb., medium vine,
½ lb., very uniform, bright orange
Sweetie Pie
bright orange
Baby Boo
white miniature
Other Novelty Pumpkins
Buff colored, acorn shaped, great for pies
Bright white, smooth, 10-12 lb.
Flat to globe white pumpkin, 10-15 lb.

(stress causes a blue tint)
Note: PM=powdery mildew tolerant

Yields increase with good management and production
Pumpkin Spacing
practices. Greater marketable yields are usually recorded by local
Most older pumpkin varieties grow in a spreading, sprawling
market growers who can sell a variety of pumpkin shapes and
vine that spreads 15 to 18 feet. Traditional spacings of 12 to 15
sizes – often not acceptable for wholesale shipments. Wholesale
feet between rows with pumpkins 2 to 4 feet apart in rows are
pumpkins are usually sold by the pound (or ton) with 8 to 9 cents
used for these types of pumpkins. In recent years, several newer
per pound being a common recent price for ?eld run, marketable
varieties of pumpkins have been developed with less sprawling
pumpkins. Pumpkins sold at local markets are usually priced
vines. Semi-vining types produce vines that can be planted in
according to size to eliminate the need to weigh each fruit. Small
rows 9 to 12 feet apart with plants 2 feet apart in rows. Compact-
pumpkins are often priced at $1 to $2 each, with larger pumpkins
or restricted-vined pumpkins can be grown even closer – in rows
priced from $2 to $6 each. Giant specimen pumpkins often can
6 to 8 feet apart with plants 2 feet apart in the row.
sell for $15 to $30 each or more depending on size.
Compact-vined pumpkins will produce higher yields with no
Soil Preparation and Fertilization
reduction in fruit size at closer spacings. Matching spacing with
Select areas with no perennial weed problems and good soil
the type of vine pumpkin is important for making sure there is no
drainage for growing pumpkins. Long rotations of three to four
bare soil where weeds can develop. Knowing the vine type you
years between crops are suggested. Avoid ?elds where a previous
are purchasing is critical for correct spacing and deciding how
herbicide application may carry over. (Read the label for planting
many seeds to order. Closer spacing may require slightly more
restrictions the next year.)
fertilizer and water to support the higher plant populations.
Use a soil test as a guide for applying phosphate and potas-
Pumpkins can be planted with air planting equipment, with
sium. These materials should be broadcast and incorporated with
modi?ed plate planters, by transplanters, or by hand, using a hoe.
spring tillage. Pumpkins will require from 75 to 100 pounds of
For wide-row spacings, use every three or four planter boxes.
total nitrogen. It is usually best to apply 40 to 50 lb/acre at plant-
Make sure the plate planting mechanism does not break or dam-
ing time and sidedress with an additional 20 to 40 lb/acre applied
age the seed. Using the furrow opening and covering mechanism
along the rows when the vines start to run (6 to 12 inches long).
of a transplanter or conventional planter and dropping the seed by
Ideal pH for pumpkins is 6 to 6.5, however, corrections in high
hand is possible when planting pumpkins. It might be a preferred
pH are not needed unless pH is greater than 7.5 or less than 5.5.
method, if a variety of seed sizes are to be planted. Some growers
Because pumpkins are planted late in the season (early June),
do this by sitting on top of a conventional corn planter with a
make sure to till just beforehand to kill late-germinating weeds.
plastic hose run down into the furrow shoe and dropping seeds in
Avoid planting pumpkins in areas with poor drainage where
a funnel inserted into the hose. This is an inexpensive and quick
water may stand after heavy rainfall.
way to plant pumpkins of various seed sizes. Some transplanters
allow adding water with each hill. Plant seeds from ¾ to 1 inch
Planting and Spacing
deep into moist, but not wet, soil. Water after planting to encour-
Because the pumpkin market begins in late September to ear-
age quick and even emergence in dry weather.
ly October, the planting season for most varieties is early June for
most of Kansas. In recent years, many markets have begun stock-
Determining Seed Needed
ing pumpkins in mid-September. Careful market analysis cou-
Pumpkin seeds vary signi?cantly in size depending on variety
pled with days to maturity of the pumpkin variety chosen when
and type. Thus, it is dif?cult to estimate how much seed is
determining the date for planting pumpkins. It is not unusual for
needed by weight per acre. First, estimate how many seeds per
summer to include a week or so of below normal temperatures,
acre are needed. This can be done by determining the number of
which will slow down pumpkin development. When faced with
hills per acre and how many seeds per hill you plan to drop.
a choice of planting earlier or later, always favor earlier because
pumpkins will hold in the ?eld until a market is ready, but there
Determine the number of hills per acre:
is no way to hasten the ripening of green pumpkins.
Calculate by dividing 43,560 (square feet/acre) by row width,
then multiplying by in-row spacing.
Days to maturity of pumpkins by types
(43,560/12 feet) ÷ 2 feet = 1,815 hills
Days to Maturity
(43,560/8 feet) ÷ 3 feet = 1,815 hills
(43,560/6 feet) ÷ 2 feet = 3,630 hills
Multiply the result by number of seeds per hill.
1,815 hills x 2 seeds/hill = 3,630 seeds
Extra Large
1,815 hills x 3 seeds/hill = 5,445 seeds
Most pumpkins are planted from June 5 to 15, with June 10
Some seed companies now offer seeds sold by the count
being the most common planting time. Depending on days to
(usually by thousand-seed lots) rather than by the pound. Seed
maturity, some pumpkin varieties may need to be planted earlier
count per pound can vary greatly depending on variety. Check
or later than that date.
with your seed supplier when ordering seeds to get an approxi-
mate seed count per pound of seed.

How Much Seed Do I Need?

Approximate Seed Count/Pound
Applied Before Planting and Incorporated

6,000 to 7,000
Prefar 4E
4-6 qt/acre
Controls germinating annual grasses

3,000 to 4,000

and some broadleaf weeds. Apply

3,000 to 4,000

before planting and incorporate

2,000 to 3,000

½ to 1 inch deep.
Command 4EC 1½ to 2 pt/acre Incorporate 1 inch deep.

Extra large
1,000 to 2,000
Applied After Planting Before Emergence
Hybrid varieties cost about three times as much as standard
2-4 pt/acre
Controls germinating grasses and
or open-pollinated varieties. However, many newer varieties of

broadleaf weeds. Apply to soil surface
pumpkins are hybrids, and the small amount invested in seeds

within two days of seeding . Must be
can be rapidly recovered in higher yields or quality. As with other

incorporated with rainfal or ir igation
vegetables, it is best to check seed supplies in December or Janu-

within ?ve days.
ary. Certain varieties may be sold out if you wait until just before
2-4 pt/acre
Controls annual broadleaf weeds and
planting time to order. Some seed companies will take orders for

grasses. Broader spectrum of weed
later shipment and/or payment.

control than Curbit. (Strategy is a mixture
Weed Control

of Command and Curbit.) Apply after
Weed control is the most critical management practice for

seeding but before crops or weeds
growing pumpkins. Weeds can become a serious problem

emerge. Must be incorporated by
because pumpkins are planted late just as many annual broadleaf

rainfal or water. Can use band applica-
weeds are germinating, and the vining habit makes cultiva-

tion between rows after crop emergence
tion dif?cult later in the season. Few herbicides are available

or with transplants.
for pumpkins, and the soft, succulent nature of the plant is not
0.5 to 0.6 oz/acre Controls broadleaf weeds only. Heavy
tolerant of improper herbicide applications. Combine the use of

rainfal or cool weather after application
herbicides with mechanical cultivation for best weed control.

may result in crop injury or reduced
See table at right for a list of herbicides and application rates and

Applied After Crop Emergence
Pumpkins should be cultivated just before the vines lay over
and start sprawling over the ground. A disc or ?eld cultivator can
1 to 1½ pt/acre Controls annual and perennial grasses only.
be used to till row middles until vines cover the area. Cultivate

Best results are obtained when applied to
lightly to conserve soil moisture and keep from damaging pump-

grasses less than 4 inches.
kin roots. Research shows that in July when most cultivation is
8 oz/acre
Controls annual and perennial grasses only.
done, most pumpkin and squash roots are not more than 6 inches

Add a crop oil concentrate at 1% by volume.
deep and about 15 to 18 inches from the plants.
0.5 to 0.66 oz/acre Control of broadleaf weeds and nutsedge

in row middles. Some crop injury may occur
Pumpkins are a deeper rooted vegetable crop that will grow

when material is applied directly over
with limited water. Watering after planting to activate herbicides

pumpkin plants. Do not apply herbicide to
and encourage rapid, even emergence may be necessary during

plastic mulch.
dry periods. A critical period for water also occurs when bloom-
Directed or Shielded Applications
ing and early fruit set begins, usually in late July to early August.
Gramoxone Extra 1½ pt/acre
Controls al emerged green vegetation. Wil
Watering after mid-August is usually not necessary in most areas

not translocate through plant. Apply before
of eastern or central Kansas. Drip irrigation also can be used to

or after planting. Shield spray material
reduce foliage wetting and for ef?cient water use. A fairly wide

to keep it from drifting to emerged pumpkin
row spacing of at least 12 or even 15 feet will minimize the

amount of drip tape needed per acre. Most drip tapes cannot be
used for rows longer than 600 to 700 feet to ensure even water
Note: Herbicide injury is increased with small seeded varieties so use
careful calibration and as low a rate as possible on mini pumpkins or other
Pumpkin Diseases
small-seeded pumpkin or squash varieties.
Powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is the most common
pumpkin disease in Kansas and can result in yield losses of more
than 30 percent if left untreated. The disease is most damaging if
it appears three to four weeks before harvest. Actually, two dif-
ferent powdery mildew fungi called Erysiphe cichoracearum and
Sphaerotheca fuliginea can infect pumpkin. The Sphaerotheca
fungus is the dominant species in Kansas.

Plants infected with mildew initially develop white, powdery
plant by aphids. Also, certain viruses, such as squash mosaic
spots or blotches on upper and lower leaf surfaces. As the disease
and cucumber mosaic, may be seed-borne. None of the viruses
progresses, the whole plant may become covered with the white,
persist in soil for long periods.
dusty spores of the fungus. Diseased leaves prematurely turn
Control of virus diseases is dif?cult. Certain viruses, such
yellow and die. Although the fruit is not attacked by the fungus,
as cucumber mosaic, have a broad host range, so all perennial
it may become malformed or develop sunscald because of a lack
weeds near the ?eld should be controlled. The use of insecticides
of leaf coverage.
to suppress aphid populations on pumpkins has not effectively
Powdery mildew infection starts in early August and is
controlled the spread of viruses. Weed control in and around the
favored by warm daytime temperatures, cool nights, and high
pumpkin planting, however, can help suppress aphid populations
relative humidity. The fungus does not require a ?lm of moisture
and decrease virus transmission. Re?ective mulches also can
on the leaf surface for infection and can be a problem even dur-
reduce aphid feeding and the incidence of virus diseases, but this
ing summer periods of little or no rain.
technique is not commonly used in Kansas. Unfortunately, most
Fungicides are necessary to prevent powdery mildew infec-
commercial varieties do not have resistance to these virus dis-
tion because pumpkin cultivars now grown have little or no
eases. Avoid planting pumpkins or late-season squash crops near
resistance to the disease. For effective mildew control, apply
?elds of muskmelons, cucumbers, or other early season cucurbits
fungicide in late July or early August before symptoms appear.
that may harbor viruses and insect vectors.
Applying fungicide after mildew develops is much less effec-
Pumpkin Disease Control
tive. Use a fungicide or fungicide combination that is effective in
controlling both powdery mildew and another serious pumpkin
Powdery Mildew
disease called black rot. Apply fungicide for powdery mildew

11-15 ? oz/acre
control again in mid-August. Fungicides should be applied at

1½-2 ? oz/acre
relatively high pressures (i.e., a mist-type blower or by airplane)

12-16 ? oz/acre
to ensure adequate coverage throughout the plant canopy.

2½-5 ? oz/acre
Black rot and other fruit rots. The black rot fungus (Myco-
Topsin M

½ lb/acre
sphaerella melonis) attacks all parts of the pumpkin plant. Small,
brown to black spots form on the leaves and vines in early to
Begin applying fungicides when symptoms ?rst appear on
mid-July. Vine lesions or cankers often crack and form a brown,
leaves in early August. Alternate applications of Quadris, Flint,
gummy ?uid. The fungus produces numerous, pinpoint, black
or Cabrio with Nova or Topsin M. Resistance will build up
fruiting structures on the decaying vines. The fungus also attacks
quickly when similar fungicides are repeated.
the fruit and causes multiple, light-tan to black, roughly circular
spots. Secondary soft-rot organisms quickly colonize the decay-
ing tissue, penetrate the rind, and ?nally result in collapse and
Anthracnose, Black Rot, and Gummy Stem Blight
rotting of the fruit.
Bravo Weather Stick

2-3 pt/acre
Several other fungi, including Fusarium and Phytophthora,
Bravo 500

2.75-4.25 pt/acre
also may cause signi?cant fruit damage during wet summers.

2-3 pt/acre
Although conditions necessary for infection by these fungi may

11-15 ? oz/acre

vary, they all are favored by excessive rain, poorly drained soils,

(alternate with Bravo or Equus)
and continuously planting pumpkins in the same ?eld.

12-16 ? oz/acre

To control black rot and other fruit rots, follow a three-year

(alternate with Bravo or Equus)
rotation with non-cucurbit crops. Avoid planting on poorly-
drained soils. The black-rot fungus may be seed-borne, so
purchase only high-quality seed. Fungicides should be applied in
No direct control of viruses is possible. It may help to control
mid- and late-July to suppress injury from the black-rot fungus.
perennial weeds near pumpkin ?elds and to control aphids in the
Make sure the fungicide or fungicide combination selected for
crop that carry the viruses. Resistant varieties are available.
late July is effective in controlling powdery mildew. During wet
Controlling insects
summers, additional fungicide applications may be necessary to
Several insect pests are of concern to commercial pumpkin
suppress fruit rots.
producers. Given their widespread occurrence, striped cucumber
Virus Diseases. Virus diseases have become increasingly
beetles and squash bugs might be considered major pests. Gener-
important as limiting factors in pumpkin production. Several
ally speaking, squash vine borers and aphids are of less concern.
virus diseases, including cucumber, squash, watermelon, and
Striped cucumber beetles are insects with chewing mouth-
zucchini yellow mosaics may be present. Disease symptoms
parts. Having overwintered under debris in and around ?elds,
vary depending on the particular virus, but generally plants are
adult beetles appear early in the season, often feeding on various
stunted. Younger leaves may turn yellow or mottled and often are
alternate host plants. Eventually, beetles are attracted to newly
distorted. Older plants develop a distinct mottling of leaves and
seeded ?elds. Beetles may burrow into the soil and destroy
fruit. Severely affected plants fail to produce fruit.
plants before they break the surface. Beetles also feed on and kill
All of the viruses mentioned above, except squash mosaic
(vectored by cucumber beetles) are transmitted from plant to

The ¼-inch long cucumber beetles are conspicuously colored
It is critical to reduce the overwintering population of squash
with black head and antennae, straw yellow thorax and yellowish
bugs by discing and/or removing foliage and fruit immedi-
wing covers with three distinct parallel and longitudinal black
ately after harvest. This deprives nymphs of food they need to
stripes. Beetles deposit eggs in the soil around the bases of host
complete development. It denies recently formed adults food that
plants. While root feeding by many beetle larvae may cause
would help sustain them through the winter.
stunted plants, larval feeding generally is of little concern. Feed-
Squash vine borers are the larvae of a clear-winged moth.
ing stops when larvae pupate.
Their size, shape and ?ying habit are somewhat like wasps, for
First-generation beetles (mid-July to early August) are of less
which they are often mistaken. Squash vine borers overwinter
concern because by this time, most plants are large enough to tol-
as larvae or pupae in cocoons buried in the soil. In Kansas, adult
erate feeding. A second generation of striped cucumber beetles is
moths emerge in late spring (probably about mid-June) as pump-
produced in pumpkin ?elds, as well as on various alternate hosts
kins are becoming established. Eggs are deposited individually
including goldenrod, sun?owers, and various ornamentals, such
on the underside of the vines and are often concentrated at the
as asters. Second-generation adults emerge late in the season and
base of the plants. Larvae bore into the stems where they tunnel
feed until they are forced into hibernation.
and feed. Mature larvae exit stems and then burrow into the soil
The use of insecticides is essential for protecting plantings
to prepare overwintering cocoons. There may be a partial second
against direct feeding damage by striped cucumber beetles. Cur-
generation in Kansas depending on conditions.
rently, there are no registered planting-time systemic insecti-
Because larvae seriously disrupt conducting tissues, plants of-
cides. Given the steady appearance of striped cucumber beetles
ten wilt and die. Holes in plant stems and an accompanying ooze,
throughout the season, monitoring programs with action thresh-
signal the presence of squash vine borers. Large white worms
olds are of little use. Some states try to use scouting programs.
with brown heads are revealed when stems are cut open. Squash
Initiation of spray treatments is recommended early in the season
vine borer populations vary from location to location. They may
when beetles ?rst appear. Additional treatments are warranted as
be a major concern in some areas but inconsequential in others.
long as beetles appear and plants are susceptible to injury. See
Insecticidal controls must be implemented before larvae bore
the table on page 7 for registered insecticides.
into plants. Treatments should coincide with the appearance of
Barriers (?oating row covers) can be used by some producers
moths seen ?ying around during the day. Registered insecticides
to exclude beetles from seedlings and young plants. The high
are included in the table at the end of this section.
cost of materials may render such controls noneconomical for a
Aphids can be detrimental to pumpkin production because of
crop such as pumpkins where per-acre returns are not as great as
their ability to transmit several important virus diseases. Water-
for some other vegetable crops. Also, row covers are impractical
melon mosaic, cucumber mosaic, and zucchini mosaic viruses
for large acreages.
are transmitted by infected aphids entering the ?elds. An aphid
Squash bugs are "true bugs" that use piercing sucking
can transmit a virus in a matter of seconds by landing on a plant
mouthparts to remove plant juices. They generally occur on well-
and probing tissues with its stylus. It may repeat the process
established plants.
by ?ying to and piercing adjacent plants. Aphid vectors rapidly
Adult squash bugs move to plants from adjacent protected
deplete the virus inoculum on their stylets. Once this occurs, they
overwintering sites. Adult females deposit brownish-red eggs in
will not transmit more virus unless they acquire additional virus
clusters on lower leaf surfaces. Newly emerged nymphs are small
particles by feeding on another diseased plant.
and greenish with black legs. There are ?ve nymphal stages. Af-
Although there are various insecticides registered for use
ter a ?nal molt, ?rst-generation adults appear. Studies in Kansas
against aphids on pumpkins, none kill aphids rapidly enough to
have shown that ?rst-generation adults deposit eggs for a second
prevent disease spread. Rather, aphicides are useful for prevent-
generation. The adults of the second generation overwinter.
ing population buildups or reducing excessive aphid populations,
High squash bug populations can literally drain plants causing
which can decrease plant vigor and produce large accumulations
them to wilt and die. Reduced yields and poor quality fruit may
of sticky honeydew. Honeydew serves as a substrate for sooty
result from squash bug feeding.
molds, which reduce the marketability of the fruit.
Effective control of squash bugs is contingent upon timely
insecticide sprays and thorough coverage. Observe plantings for
Controlling insects and diseases in pumpkins is dif?cult be-
the presence of adult bugs, and scout ?elds for egg masses on the
cause of the nature of pumpkin vines. Sprawling vines with large
undersides of leaves. Eggs become darker just before hatching.
leaves make it dif?cult to penetrate the leaf canopy and cover all
Treat when most eggs have hatched and nymphs are still small
leaf surfaces. Often, failure to control a pest may be due more
to medium-sized. Adult squash bugs have a hard, protective shell
to misapplication than fungicide or insecticide ineffectiveness.
that is impervious to insecticides.
Spreading vines make between-row applications dif?cult.
When applying insecticides use high pressure to ensure foli-
High-pressure spraying can move leaves and blow a spray
age penetration and thorough coverage to reach nymphs hidden
mist into the crop canopy. Windy conditions can interfere with
on the undersides of leaves. Subsequent treatments usually are
good spray coverage. Mist blower or air-blast sprayers can create
required because of the continual presence of egg-laying squash
a mixture of spray mist and air that will lift foliage and deposit
bugs. Registered insecticides are included in the table at the end
spray mist into the plant canopy. Flat spray booms often have
of this section.
dif?culty delivering spray into the plant canopy.

Insecticides for Squash and Pumpkin

Impact on

Cucumber Aphids
Squash Vine Squash





Ambush, Pounce













G=good, F=fair, P=poor, ?=unknown
Follow label directions for rates, application procedures, precautions, and harvest intervals.
Water-sensitive cards are available from many chemical and
may be grouped into several sizes for marketing because many
sprayer companies. These cards can be stapled or taped to leaves
markets want uniformly sized fruit for particular markets.
to measure the spray coverage deposited on various surfaces. It is
Small or baby pumpkins can be easily damaged when
a good idea to determine the effectiveness of sprayer applications
handled in large bulk containers, so they may be packed in
using a technique like this to make sure that money invested in
standard cardboard 11?9 bushel vegetable cartons with a count
applying pesticides is not wasted by ineffective application.
clearly indicated on each box. Miniature pumpkins usually are
washed with a standard brusher-washer and packed in cartons
Pumpkins are ready for harvest when the rind or skin has
either using standard tomato lugs or cardboard cartons contain-
toughened and stems have lost their succulence. Use your ?n-
ing 10 pounds of pumpkins or gourds. A count per carton should
gernail to test rind toughness. Dripping from the stems should be
be clearly indicated on the container. The appearance of some
minimal when they are cut from the vine. It is best to cut the fruit
miniature pumpkins and gourds may be improved by dipping
from the vine with pruners or clippers to ensure a long, good,
or spraying them with shellac. The surface must be dry and the
and undamaged stem handle. Use long-handled pruners to avoid
pumpkins fully matured before applying. After dipping, let them
stooping. Pumpkins are generally windrowed into piles or lines
dry before handling.
in the ?eld so trailers or trucks can drive through to load them.
Be sure to contact your market source well in advance of
Pumpkins can be contained in cardboard or wood bulk bins that
delivery to discuss packaging and handling procedures. Tentative
can be handled with a forklift for unloading.
prices may be agreed on at that time, or prices may be negotiated
A light freeze before harvest is not damaging, but tempera-
closer to delivery.
tures in the mid- to low 20s should be avoided. Store pumpkins
in a well ventilated, cool location (50 to 55°F) for one to two
Marketing should start well ahead of harvest by contacting
months if necessary. Most Kansas growers harvest just before
potential buyers or preparing advertising or sales promotions.
market delivery. If pumpkins will be stored longer than one
Most retail markets begin selling pumpkins and fall decorative
month, cure them at 80 to 85°F and high humidity for seven to
items in early October. Wholesale sales to supply these markets
10 days. Surface molds and rots can be reduced with a bleach
often begin in mid to late September. The most active sales pe-
and water solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) sprayed or
riod is mid October, culminating with Halloween. Many growers
wiped on the surface.
and marketers have observed that the marketing period for fall
Handling and containers
decorative items seems to be arriving earlier, and mid-September
Usually, pumpkins are handled in bulk or loaded into bulk
is not too early to establish retail displays. Wholesale market
bins directly from the ?eld. They are sold by the pound with
deliveries may begin in early September.
trucks weighed full and empty with scale receipts as a means
Creative displays in retail markets enhance sales. Decorated
of payment. Those who grow pumpkins on a smaller scale may
pumpkins and pumpkins incorporated in arrangements of fall
have dif?culty weighing small loads or