The Q&A Archives: Pumpkins

Question: Each year my pumpkins do really good at first and then when the pumpkins are about softball size they die.Help

Answer: It could be the result of either poor pollination or something called blossom end rot. Blossom-end rot, which begins with a small watery bruise on the blossom end of the fruit, is the result of a lack of calcium in developing fruits. This calcium deficiency can be a result of slow growth, damaged roots induced by extreme fluctuations in the surrounding soil moisture content, an excess of salts, or other fluctuating conditions during plant growth. Calcium deficiencies cause actively growing cells to die because they cannot retain water and nutrients.

Blossom-end rot begins as a water-soaked, sunken spot on the blossom end (the end that isn't attached to the stem) of the fruit. The spot may enlarge and become depressed as the fruit grows. The spot may turn from brown to black and become moldy. Blossom-end rot can be distinguished from other rots by its confinement to the blossom end. It may also be confused with rotting fruit that results from the failure of female flowers to set fruit due to lack of male flowers or pollinating insects.

To help moderate soil moisture levels, mulch the plants and water properly to maintain a uniform moisture level in the soil. Avoid damaging the root system when hoeing or weeding.

Hope this information helps!

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