|when do i harvest my pumpkins we planted in mid march the pumpkins (2) are bright orange now and the stems are turning brown also the morning glorys are being devoured by golden or matallic lady bugs bettles of some sort but only the morning gloriys are being eaten why? janet from texas|
|A quick field-test, to see if your pumpkins are mature, is to try to press your fingernail into the skin of the fruit. If you can break the skin, the pumpkin is immature. If the skin is hard, the pumpkin is mature and can be harvested.
The pest on your morning glories are golden tortise beetles. A bit smaller than the more familiar ladybird beetles, the golden tortoise beetle is configured somewhat like a safari hat with a narrow "shelf" skirting the outside of the wing covers and thorax. This "shelf" causes the resemblance to a tortoise, hence the name. Tortoise beetles are plant eaters, like most Chrysomelids [leaf beetles]. The golden tortoise beetle in particular feeds on morning glory. They reside under the leaf, eating a series of small holes resulting in a characteristic damage pattern. Control measures aren't usually needed but if you decide you want to eliminate them,insecticides labeled for leaf-feeding beetles such as Conserve or Orthene may be used. Marathon (imidacloprid) may also provide control when applied as a systemic.