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It’s been a tough start to my year. My patch is overrun by weeds, and when checking my patch two days ago, I noticed that something (probably a rabbit) got into it and destroyed about a third of my plants. I’ll try and replant some seeds this week, but it may be too late.
Hope springs eternal. Nothing wrong with round-up if you can stay three or four feet away from the plants. I find that a scuffle hoe works well in the garden. I had planned to put down some weed block fabric and cut it away as the plant grew. That never happend. lol So, I have a huge Sam's club roll of weed block for next year. :D
 

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I only have one pumpkin worth writing home about this year. At 8 DAP (Days After Pollination), it was at a circumference of 26 inches. I measured at 8 because I was heading out for vacation the next day.

Upon return at 13 DAP, I have an OTT of 107 inches which translates to 35 pounds. Here is a good link explaining OTT and an OTT calculator: Giant Pumpkin Weight Estimation Calculator | Giant Pumpkins NZ

If I don't get the dumb thing on off the ground soon, then it will grow "au naturel." I forget how fast these things take off every year. lol

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I've got some tiny females that I can see forming, already, and it looks like my first male will be blooming, tomorrow.
I'm mad that I've already been dealing with squash bugs, their eggs and even some already hatched babies. It's too early for this.
My original three are doing good...the one that I had to replace twice is much smaller than the others and I fear it will produce little and stay smaller due to the much larger plant next to it blocking it's sunlight. We will see.
My two seedlings that I had left over that I just planted in a large pot are starting to vine. Guess I'll just leave them in the pot and let them grow out into the garden bed...im sure they will set more roots in the actual garden bed dirt once they reach it.

Pretty sure I have a raccoon digging holes back there. I haven't seen him, yet...but he left me a nice "present" in my walkway, and I am pretty sure it was from a raccoon...had to do the whole plastic bag thing like you would when walking your dog...ug.
 

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Predawn walk on my way to work looks like 3/4 of the Big Max plants have set a pumpkin in 100+ degree temps now! This is the first variety I've seen with such heat ambivalence. If they continue to do well I'm completely sold. These things are also going psycho with the runners with now 3 vines each.

The Harvest moon squash/pumpkins dont have females yet, and one is vining while the other 3 are staying bush-ish.


There's an odd volunteer here or there as well.
 

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Moderate sized dilemma, would love any advice you guys have..

I am going out of town next week, for three weeks. No housesitter planned or anything. I have been tending to my two (now three) growing fruits, religiously. I inspect them daily, give them pesticide spray intermittently, ensure they’re not sitting on the same side, or rocky or wet spot for days. But also I have been covering them at night to prevent the pickelworm moth, and then I take the covers off every morning (I have been using my beef netting, an alternative use to spider webs!). What to do when I’m gone? I have an 11-year-old neighbor who I would be happy to offer to pay for her to come over here daily, give the pumpkins a wipe down in case any eggs have been laid on them, and just make sure things are not going awry. I think I trust her, I’m not a super fan of anyone but my husband and I meddling in our garden, but I may not have a choice. Perhaps her mom can oversee the pumpkin-sitting too, if I explain how important this is to me!
Alternatively… has anyone used fruit bags to physically protect growing fruits? As I said, at this point I only have three fruits, and I am happy to lop off any that set going forward, to keep the crop small and manageable if I delegate three weeks of oversight to someone else. Help!

current photo: the biggest (on the right) is now 20” in circumference

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Moderate sized dilemma, would love any advice you guys have..

I am going out of town next week, for three weeks. Perhaps her mom can oversee the pumpkin-sitting too, if I explain how important this is to me!
Three weeks is a long time in pumpkin world. Your plants will probably double in size which would make it hard to find a mesh bag. You may just have to go with the eleven year old. Plus, you might need someone to water the plants. Even though, it seems to have been a rainy year so far.
 

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Is there a trick to get female flowers? This year is no different then last except I did 3 plants this year. I had/have around 20 males on each vine so far and started in early May. Where are the girls?
 

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So far every female proto-flower I've tried to shade/cool/coddle/nurse to open has either died from the heat or been eaten by a critter. And yet the flower sitting on a secondary that climbed on top of the shade cloth enclosure in full sun/heat is the only one to make it to flowering. There must be a less in there somewhere.

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Is there a trick to get female flowers? This year is no different then last except I did 3 plants this year. I had/have around 20 males on each vine so far and started in early May. Where are the girls?
I would switch fertilizer over to a bloom buster that is something like 10-30-20. I think you are doing fine. Make sure to keep the watering up. I usually find that I am pollinating about 60 days out so you are about there.
 

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Getting desperate here. Between the critters and the heat I've had to deploy the ChillFactor9000 (tm) to try and get some female flowers to the finish line. Seems to be working for the temperature with a frozen bottle of water inside.

View attachment 746358
Chill Factor9000(tm) that was funny.
 

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Had my email hacked, changed computers & lost password.
Now everything is back to normal except... my pumpkins are only producing female flowers.
 

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So I tossed some pumpkins in the back yard last year for wildlife to eat, & I knew this would happen....I don't mind....
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I didn't plant these and look how big they are!
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The ones I did plant, that had a few weeks head start, aren't nearly this big! I have tomatoes trying to grow under these, and the same thing is happening where I planted blackberries. I hope my other plants make it!
 

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Glad to have you back this year. I hope that you are still doing the pumpkin arch! The arch is epic.
Had to move the arch because of SVBs. Idk if I'm better at spotting/killing them or worse. Used to only find one every few days but now I'm seeing 3 or 4 a day.
 

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I was finally able to get out into my patch this week to do some maintenance. Between an animal eating the leaves on my plants, and some kind of weed just deciding to pop up, this year has been a struggle. I fixed the hole in the fence, and I think the weeds may have come from bags of manure I bought and spread throughout the patch. I didn’t have any of these weeds before spreading the manure. I started pulling them by hand, but then decided it was too much and got out the tiller. I’m still hopeful I can have some successful results. Here is the before picture:
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and here’s the after picture:
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I have 4 successful fruits now. Here they are from smallest to largest.
The second smallest (top right) is totally more oblong, while the other bigger ones are definitely more sphere. So excited to keep watching them grow. I've decided to recruit my neighbor child to tend to the garden in my 3 week absence. I will request some facetime vids so I can direct her as to stopping new runners and appropriate pruning.
I've been measuring the biggest daily for a few days now - it has gained an inch of circumference each day for the past many days. Yesterday was 23". My big hand for reference.

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