Good evening, Pumpkinistas!
The journey to growing the biggest pumpkin has many side streets and meandering paths. It's been fascinating for me to discover the many overlapping areas between giant vegetable cultivation and other botanical and horticultural pursuits!
Case in point, I visited the 63rd Santa Barbara International Orchid Show and Cymbidium World Congress a couple of weeks ago, and it was very interesting. In fact, one of the newest things I learned about is that there are genetically-related tests for identifying plant diseases for both orchids and cucurbits! Yes, a company called Agdia, www.agdia.com has developed definitive tests for identifying various pumpkin ills! Now, a giant pumpkin grower can know what disease attacked or is attacking their vine. Essentially, leaf material is macerated/liquefied, and a test strip is dipped into the mixture. In a short while, bands will appear on the test strip, and the disease is determined. It seems much more accurate than simply looking at pictures of diseases in a book.
I haven't tried Agdia's test strips yet, but I plan to. If you have any information on disease identification of pumpkins, please let me know.
Have a great evening!