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#112050 Aug 17th, 2007 at 07:43 AM
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mrw Offline OP
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Hi , I have a question for future reference. Our son gave us some pumpkin seeds he had saved from last fall's jack o lantern. We decided at the last minute to plant them along the fence in the yard . We didn't really give them any extra attention and the plants have grown huge. Big leaves, big flowers , thriving, buuuuuuuttt NO pumpkins! Why??? We think maybe the flowers are either all male, all female, or sterile. We have had a lot of bees on the flowers, so they should have grown but did not. Any ideas? Since the plants have done so well, we thought that we'd buy an envelope of commercial pumpkin seeds and try again next year. It's a disappointment, but no big tragedy. Has anybody had a similar experience?
Thanks for any help.


wildwoman
mrw #112062 Aug 17th, 2007 at 08:15 AM
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I've had a similiar problem. Pumpkins are cucurbits and do have male and female flowers. It is very easy to distinguish the two. The males are just a slender flower sprouting from a stem and the females flower sit on top of a "ball" (embryonic fruit), that comes out of the stem. You may try hand-pollinatining, just take a q-tip or small brush and rub the inside of the male flower and then immediately rub onto the insides of a female flower. I usually just pick the male flower and pull off the petal and then rub that all over the inside of the female. I don't know if you will have enough time left in your season for fruiting though. But if you're just looking for info, then that isn't a concern.

Also, with your seeds coming from a jack o'lantern you run the chance of the seeds being hybrid. Since pumpkins are cucurbits they can cross with other cucurbits: zucchini, squash, cucumbers, gourds, and of course, other types of pumpkins. A lot of these combinations may not be viable crosses. Meaning that some of these cross may not germinate, flower properly, or be able to set fruit.

I think the latter is what has happened with my seeds. It's just a messed-up cross. It's very irritating to have a 25 foot vining pumpkin with nothing on it.


Sarah - Zone 5b/6
LandOfOz #113059 Aug 18th, 2007 at 07:00 AM
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How late in the season did you start them?
I get healthy vines, leaves, and some flowers, then later more flowers and tada pumpkins. They may just not be far enough into their life cycle to have any fruits yet.


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Wrennie #113190 Aug 18th, 2007 at 09:29 AM
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Thanks for your responses, We planted the seeds in late May which is about the earliest for this area. The vines are huge, some have climbed the fence and the flowers are pretty but I have given up on seeing fruit. We'll try again next year with some commercial seed. I love to save my own seeds and have had a lot of luck with tomatoes from seeds I saved, and also a large crop of cucumbers! I am starting to save flower seeds for next year. We grew zinnias for the first time and the colors are wonderful.


wildwoman
mrw #113193 Aug 18th, 2007 at 09:34 AM
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I started mine in peat pots indoors abou 5 weeks before planting them outside at the very end of May. Give them time, you may still get fruits.


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Wrennie #113250 Aug 18th, 2007 at 10:25 AM
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Here is an intresting info/article I recieved from Johnny seeds- I am on there newsletter/mailing list, and that topic was in a recent newsletter. Here is a cut and paste of that segment:

- Pumpkins failing to set fruit.

It's associated with a stretch of cloudy weather - the female blooms don't develop normally or don't open at all. We experience this here, and a couple of sunny days usually solves the problem. A stretch of hot days above 90°F (32°C) with nights above 70°F (21°C) also inhibits normal female flowering. We don't have that kind of problem here, but you might. Chris Wien at Cornell researched this phenomenon.


Here is the link to the article from Cornell:

Pumpkin Failing to Set Fruit


Hope you find the articles informative. Just a note I grow Dill Atlantic Giants every year, and plant them in Late May. Most pumpkins need a long growing season. Now is the time that pumpkins (the fruit part) are setting there weight! Any that set now will probably not become a large pumpkin.


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