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2010 Pumpkin Variety Evaluation

Kathryn Fontenot, PhD1, Mr. Keith Lewis2, Mr. Adley Pelchier2, Mr. Jefferson Paul2, Mr. Andrew Barker2 and Mr. Mark Wilson1

1School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; 2Burden Center, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Although Louisiana is not considered a commercial leader in U.S. pumpkin production, the state is home to about 21 pumpkin farmers producing on about 60 acres. Pumpkins contribute to sales at on-farm markets, roadside stands and farmers markets, making research on this crop worthwhile to the small grower. Pumpkins are a popular fall crop valued both for its aesthetic and edible traits. There is, no doubt, a market for pumpkins in Louisiana. However, the environmental factors faced by Louisiana farmers make growing pumpkins challenging. Pumpkins are usually grown in dry, cooler climates with less disease and fungus pressure. With a 2009 gross farm value of $160,500, some farmers feel it is economically important to face the environmental challenges and produce this highly demanded crop.

Fourteen varieties of pumpkins were grown at Burden Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to determine varieties that produce well in our climate. Varieties grown in the 2010 pumpkin trial were 20 Karat Gold, Hannibal, Conestoga, Mustang, Magic Wand, Silver Moon, Cinderella, Magic Lantern, Orange Smoothie, Charisma, Wee-B-Little, Spartan, Camaro and Touch of Autumn. Rows were prepared and fertilized (350 lbs 8-24-24 per acre) on June 28, 2010. Pumpkins were direct seeded in rows on July 8. The plot included three skip rows between each planted row for vine growth. Prior to planting, Strategy at 3 pints/acre and Gramoxone at 2 pints/acre were used to control weeds in rows. Skip rows were treated with Dual at 1 pint/acre and Prowl H2O at 2 pints/acre for weed control. Whiteflies were controlled with Admire applied as a soil drench. Late-season worm infestations were controlled with Sevin, Dipel and Asana insecticides. Mildews and fungus were controlled with Daconil, Thiadan, Quadris, Ridamil and Bravo. All insecticides, fungicides and herbicides were applied at rates consistent with recommendations in the Southeastern U.S. 2010 Vegetable Crop Handbook. Starting in mid-August, pumpkins were sprayed weekly to bi-weekly for fungus control, alternating chemicals used. Pumpkins were harvested on October 4, 2010.

An intense worm infestation affected all pumpkin varieties. The foliage of plants was severely damaged, and some worms began to consume the pumpkin flesh even with the routine applications of insecticide. Therefore, an early harvest occurred to remove pumpkins from the field and stop worm damage. Magic Lantern was the single pumpkin variety that was free of worm damage on the fruit. It was planted near the center of the field and had worm damage to foliage like all other planted varieties. Further research should be conducted on this variety and its possible insect resistance. The pumpkins were washed with a 1% chlorine solution and stored in a cool, dry location until they were used at several university functions.

The top three pumpkins were 20 Karat Gold, Orange Smoothie and Touch of Autumn. These pumpkins were all small to medium in size. The top two large pumpkins were Conestoga and Spartan. Two pumpkins had very poor production -- Magic Wand and Wee-B-Little. The foliage and plant size were good, but less than three pumpkins were produced on each row. All pumpkins were excellent for carving except for Cinderella, Silver Moon and Orange Smoothie. These varieties have a unique form and are very dense. See Table 1 for individual variety production, size, color and texture information. A PowerPoint is attached to this article with pictures of each variety.

Related Files
FilenameDescriptionFile Size
2010+Pumpkin+Variety+Evaluations+pics.ppt 13,897.50 KB
Table+1.pdf 2010 Pumpkin Variety Table 1 99.53 KB
Last Updated: 11/16/2011 1:49:35 PM

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