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Pumpkin problems!

Hi, I'm new to this and to growing fruit and veg! I had a plot for the first time this year with great success but my pumpkin plants are now looking a bit sad! Have a number of pumpkins on them waiting to turn orange but the leaves all look diseased now. They have a lot of powdery mildew on the leaves and stems and some of the leaves have shrivelled and are yellow and holey. I don't know what I'm meant to do, will it kill the pumpkin fruits? Do I just buy a pesticide spray?  I started doing the home made remedy of baking soda and water. I've given them a good feed, put a whole new load of compost down, they are well watered. Anything else I can do? When do you take them off the plant? I'd really like to know if the fruits are safe still on the vibe while the leaves are looking so bad?!

Any advice would be gratefully received! 



  • Welcome to this Gardeners World forum Zoe.

    In my experience of growing pumpkins, the leaves are now brittle and dry, even though we are still watering the plants but at a very reduced level now.  We take all  the male flowers off the plant, so that all the strength is aimed at the growing pumpkins and leave the pumpkins attached to their stems.  We raise the pumpkins off the ground by sliding an old slate or slab under them so that the pumpkins don't get too wet and become mouldy resting on the damp soil.  The late summer sun can still help the pumpkins to mature and turn yellow/orange.  If the weather is continually damp and wet we pick the pumpkins and put them in the greenhouse or window sill so that they can continue to mature and ripen.

    We have about 4 pumpkins per plant, and some are still quite green and may not ripen now, we had a lack of sunshine this summer, so although the pumpkins grew well they have not ripened as quickly as they would have done in more sunny summers.

    Once the pumpkins are all harvested, I would get rid of the dying plants, but I would not use a pesticide spray in the area where you grow fruit or vegetables. If you need to spray, use a high jet of water from the hosepipe, once or twice over a few days, but again don't leave your pumpkins on very wet soil or they may rot before you harvest them.

    I hope this helps Zoe.

  • Hi there, many thanks for your reply!

    So no to using pesticide spray? Will it not get rid of the mildew and the white fly?

    Leaving the pumpkins on the plant while it's so infected, will the fruit get infected too?

    The only thing my little boy wanted to grow in our allotment was pumpkins and he will be devastated of the pumpkins we have rot or infected and then not usable! He is so looking forward to carving them and making pumpkin soup I am doing all I can to help keep them alive! I have raised them off the floor with heaps of straw at the moment. On one plant the pumpkin is still growing in size but that single plant has only just started to get the white spots, the other plants the pumpkins stopped growing in size when the mildew started. Wr aren't having very sunny weather so I don't kniw when to take them off the plant!



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  • Yes, scroggin is right.  I took a look at our pumpkins this morning and they are fine, no rotting.  However the leaves are beginning to die off, some are crackly, some have white fly and I am not concerned, having gone through this stage before, I am confident that the pumpkins will be fine, although I do try to inspect them each week, and would pick any that look as though they are affected by the damper weather.

    I hope your son enjoys his pumpkin carving Zoe when the time comes.  It would be great if you could post some of them on here.

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