Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pumpkin Reprieve

Today I noticed the mildew starting to take over the cucurbits again. The older leaves always get hit first. I mercilessly hacked off more leaves starting at the bottom. I have about ten feet of pumpkin vine defoliated. My yellow summer squash looks kind of funky since it is now in the path and no longer in its bed. I think I ought to cover crop that section too. I'll get to it, but not today. As I hacked off leaves I did see that the borers are in my summer squash. Frass can be seen everywhere. The writing is on the wall for these plants.

This is very normal around here. The vine borers move in and it weakens the plants enough that the mildew kills them off. I'm trying to keep the any leaves with mildew picked off. It should help keep it from spreading. I'm thinking they have just one or two weeks left of life. Now don't feel sorry for me. If they do make it that long it will be a record for my summer squash. I've always lost it in the middle of August before. And wonder of wonders they are still producing. I picked two zucchini today.

I do have my two late planted summer squash, again one of zucchini and one yellow. They won't get borers so I'm hoping they can withstand the mildew. This might just be wishful thinking since I've had to clip one leaf off today. Luckily tomorrow is spray day, so that ought to help them. They are still so tiny and are only producing male blossoms.

I've never done a late planting before. It will be interesting to see if the experiment works. I'm wondering if it is really worth it or not though. I saved a 4'x4' planting space for them (which I should have cover cropped in the spring but didn't, or at least grown onions or something there). Zucchini is so productive it is worth the experiment. I didn't weigh my summer squash - next year, but I have gotten a lot. I doubt a fall crop will be as productive since it is cold and not as sunny.

Yesterday I was talking about ripping my pumpkin plant up. This morning I was weeding the perennial bed (where the pumpkin vine has sprawled) and lo and behold there was a pumpkin that I couldn't see from inside the fence. It is nestled next to my iris and on top of my daphne (which I only grow because I like the name ;). It is 3 1/2" long so far. So the pumpkin vine has been given a pardon and will live - or at least be allowed to die slowly, since that seems to be its unenviable fate. We might actually get a pumpkin this year. It is still not guaranteed, but we now have a chance. That made my daughter ecstatic and me too since I love pumpkin pie and these are pie pumpkins.


  1. All this talk of vine borers with everyone's squash has made us absolutely paranoid. I'm out there almost daily checking our zucchini for and sign of the little blighters. Nothing so far... *knock on wood*

    Good luck with your pumpkin! We're thinking about putting those in next year in place of the zucchini... we'll see...

  2. Don't worry. Vine borers are only in the east. I think east of the Mississippi, but it might be east of the divide. But either way they aren't on the west coast.

  3. I have no luck with my zucchini next year. I think it so refreshing that your zucchinis and squash are doing so well. Pumpkin pie sounds so good.

  4. My kids will kill for pumpkin pie or pumpkin cake. They can't wait for the season to start. Of course they will be off at college, but when they come home I'll have it for them.