Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin/Gourd Field Day

The pumpkin/gourd field day was held at the Mountain Research Station in beautiful Waynesville on Oct. 16. The field day showcased the incredible variety trial that was sponsored in part by the Specialty Crops Program and was a collaboration between Dr. Jonathon Schultheis from NC State (shown on right with turban squash), Dr. Annette Wszelaki from U. Tennessee and Terry Kelley from U. Georgia. The trial included 25 varieties that were replicated in the trial. This trial is the 2nd season of data for these varieties. In addition, 10-15 observational pumpkins and gourds were dispersed in the trial. Depending on this years data, these observational varieties may be included in future trials.

I have included pictures of some of the varieties. The captions for the images can be found below.

Top row:
Magic Lantern
- Harris Moran, industry standard for jack-o-lantern types (photo courtesy of Michael Hannah)
Gladiator-good yield, nice color, strong stem, intermediate powdery mildew resistance
Dependable-strong green stem, nice ribs

Jarrahdale-gray to slate-gray exterior with deep ribs, medium-sweet orange flesh, great for display and culinary uses
Long Island Cheese-heirloom variety, moderately sweet flesh for pie, nice color, flattened
Full Moon-faint pastel orangey-white, 25-50 lbs

Bicolor Spoon- beautiful and decorative, not part of replicated trial
Goblin Eggs- great name, great for decoration, not part of replicated trial
Rouge Vif D'Etampes- meaning "vivid red" in French, this slightly flattened squash is striking and has moderately sweet flesh good for pie; also called Cinderella

In NC trials were also set-up in the piedmont and down east. Dr. Schultheis and colleagues agreed that in NC, pumpkins are better adapted for the mountains. All agreed that this could be a successful and profitable venture for WNC growers.

Attendees were also fortunate to hear from Dr. Greg Hoyt Professor and Extension specialist in Crop Science at NC State (shown left). Dr. Hoyt explained his data from the Mountain Horticultural Research Station in Mills River where they compared pumpkin, gourd and squash production on black-plastic, no-till and bare ground systems. His results (right) showed that most varieties will produce a greater number of fruit and a greater yield in pounds in black plastic production systems than in bareground or no-till. Dr. Hoyt believes that the cost of the black plastic production will pay for itself, although the data has not been compiled to prove this. Another excellent suggestion was that pumpkins could be grown on plastic from spring crops, such as strawberries.

Overall, this was a great field day! Thanks to the researchers and the Mountain Research Station for a job well done!