Monday, September 22, 2014

Helen Magruder in the mix!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Helen Magruder, a giant pumpkin growing enthusiast and fellow UCCE Master Gardener, sent me this photo and update, including some valuable musings about powdery mildew this morning:

"Hi Stuart,

A friend visiting took this picture and sent it to my computer so here it is as of 9/17.  He said he should be in the picture for size reference. A rake would have worked but I think he wanted to send it to his mother or something.  

Re pumpkins, problem is that I can’t control the powdery mildew, all the foliage is gone, see the vines on far right in the picture.  No photosynthesis taking place.   I actually had to review xylem and phloem again, hoping some nourishment could come from the roots.   I’m reminded the circulation is a “two way street”.   I don’t think this will grow in size any more, do you?.  Bill wants to take it to the Expo,  ( I’ll be exposed all right….I’m hoping he’ll claim it as his!!!)

I thought that the heat wave didn’t help, and the powdery mildew must have loved our beach humidity…..aka marine influence?     However further review says not.

Our UC IPM card says that  “unlike many diseases, powdery mildew doesn’t require moist conditions to grow”   “Moisture during spring inhibits  growth”…i.e. of the powdery mildew.
However, “moderate 60-80* encourages the disease”.   What about 90?

I’m wondering if the successful  pumpkin I had several years ago was a more resistant variety.  It actually grew in a more shady place, but hanging over the wall probably increased air circulation. 
Some search references immediately state “select resistant variety” squashes, pumpkins etc.

I have a couple more growing…smaller….and one about 18” long and girth,  looks more like a big pear or squash.. Neighbors have been observing and questioning.  I going to line through  the Master off my MG gardener badge!!
Anyway, I don’t anticipate 800 or 1000#.
Having fun anyway,