Mildew Tolerant Pumpkin Evaluations
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between rows (Lancaster). Transplants were set June 21 in Westmoreland and June 24 in Lancaster, with the plants receiving a pre-plant drench of Admire. Recommended fertility, weed control and disease and insect control practices were used. There were two 10 plant replicates per variety at each location. Percent leaf surface and undersides infected with powdery mildew were rated on 10 plants per replicate on August 25 in Lancaster and September 3 in Westmoreland. Fruit were harvested and weighed on September 13 in Westmoreland and September 20 in Lancaster.
Overall, at both locations the large pumpkins had a greater percent PM leaf coverage than the medium and small pumpkins (Tables 1, 2). Pumpkin varieties listed as mildew tolerant had as much (or more) PM coverage on their leaf surfaces as those without tolerance in the small varieties at both locations (Tables 1, 2). Varieties with mildew tolerance and resistance had less mildew in the medium and large pumpkin groups at Westmoreland and in the medium group at Lancaster. Aladdin had the lowest mildew coverage on the lower leaf surfaces at Lancaster but the highest coverage on the upper leaf surfaces. There did not seem to be a relationship between mildew tolerance/resistance and yield in our trials.
MSX 6075 was more productive and had larger fruit at Westmoreland than Lancaster. Otherwise the data on size and yields for the small-fruited varieties were similar (Tables 1, 2). The smaller pumpkins tended to have a smooth texture and good handles in quality evaluations at the Lancaster site (Table 3). In the texture ratings a 1 is very smooth while a 5 has deep ribbing. In the handle ratings, 1 is poor (too small for fruit size, weak, etc.) while a 5 is large, dark green and strong. A good variety will have a rating of around 3 or better. Color on the medium and large pumpkins should be orange or dark orange. A yellow-orange fruit will not sell well when displayed with darker colored fruit.
Estimated yields were higher for both medium- and large-fruited varieties at the Westmoreland site. Estimated yield was calculated using yield/ft² in the experimental plots without allowing for spray/drive rows. We have no explanation for the higher yields at the western location. However, the top yielding variety was the same (RPX 1003), and Magic Lantern and Gold Bullion did well at both sites. Gold Bullion was somewhat variable in size. Magic Lantern is the current 'standard' for medium-fruited pumpkins in eastern PA because of its dark orange color and good handles. RPX-1003 had yellow-orange color and acceptable handles, while Gold Bullion and Magic Lantern had good color and better handles. The MSX selections and Magician had good color and handles.
Golden Condor and Autumn King were the most productive large-fruited varieties at both locations. These varieties were similar in size and appearance. Aladdin was the third most productive variety at Westmoreland, while it was fourth at Lancaster. Fruit quality on these top performers was similar, with all having good color and handles.
Additional data and photographs from all varieties grown at Lancaster can be viewed at: http://lancaster.extension.psu.edu. Select "Horticulture/Gardening" and then "Research Results" under County Links.