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Evaluation of Pumpkin Cultivars in West Tennessee

Jim E. Wyatt, Marshall C. Smith, Emily W. Gatch

West Tennessee Experiment Station, Jackson, TN 38301

 

Interpretative Summary

A trial to identify pumpkin cultivars adapted to growing conditions in West Tennessee was conducted at Ames Plantation in 2003. ‘Gold Metal’ had about equal numbers of pumpkins of each size. It also had the highest number of large fruit per acre in the study. ‘Pik-A-Pie’ and ‘Mystic Plus’ produced the highest numbers of fruit per acre in the study. Most fruit weighed less than 10 lbs but both produced more than 10,000 fruit per acre. ‘Pik-A-Pie’ produced about 87 percent mature fruit. Several cultivars had only 60-70 percent of their fruit which had matured. No differences were found among cultivars for yield of mature fruit by weight. ‘Big Rock’ was the highest yielding cultivar in the study on the basis of total fruit weight. Most cultivars had acceptable scores for fruit color, fruit handle, fruit shape, fruit ribbing, and foliar disease rating.

Introduction

Interest in pumpkin production in West Tennessee is increasing. Information on new pumpkin hybrids and cultivars, particularly Jack-‘o-Lantern types, is needed by growers interested in producing pumpkins. This study was undertaken to determine those cultivars which are adapted to growing conditions in West Tennessee and to identify those which will produce the most high quality, marketable fruit.

Materials and Methods

Fourteen pumpkin cultivars and hybrids (hereinafter called "cultivars") were planted June 12, 2003, in a replicated test at Ames Plantation. Prior to planting, 500 lbs/acre of 15-15-15 was broadcast and incorporated. Plots were 20 ft long and consisted of 5 hills planted 4 ft apart with two pumpkin seedlings per hill. Experimental design was a randomized complete block replicated four times. The planting was sidedressed with 30 lbs/acre of nitrogen from NH4NO3 at runner formation. The planting was irrigated as needed; approximately 6.9 inches of supplemental water was applied during the season. Prior to harvest, subjective ratings were made on fruit color, fruit stem size and attachment (the handle), fruit shape, fruit ribbing, and foliar disease incidence and severity (primarily powdery mildew). Fruit were harvested on October and separated into mature (orange) and immature (green) categories. All fruit were graded into size classes of less than 10 lbs, 10 to 14.9 lbs, 15 to 19.9 lbs, and more than 20 lbs. Data were converted to per-acre yields and subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using appropriate SAS procedures (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, N.C.). Means were separated using Duncan’s multiple range test at P#0.05 where applicable.

Results and Discussion

There was a wide array of pumpkin types and sizes grown in the 2003 test (Table 1). ‘Gold Metal’ probably had the most uniform distribution of fruit sizes, with approximately equal numbers of pumpkins in each size category. It also had the largest number of fruit >20 lbs and of 15 to 19.9 lbs resulting in a total of about 3100 fruit per acre over 15 lbs.

‘Pik-A-Pie’ and ‘Mystic Plus’ produced the highest numbers of fruit of the 14 cultivars in the study. Many of these fruit were small with more than 75 percent of pumpkins produced by these two cultivars weighing less than 10 lbs. Both produced more than 10,000 fruit per acre.

Table 1. Numbers of pumpkins produced per acre, by size, and total number per acre, Ames Plantation pumpkin trial, 2003.

 

Cultivar

Number and percent of fruit per acre by size (lbs)

 

Total
no/acre

 

more than 20 lbs

15 to 19.9 lbs

10 to 14.9 lbs

less than10 lbs

 

Rock Star

980abcz (14.6)

1361ab (20.3)

1906c-f (28.4)

2450bc (36.7)

6697cde

Big Rock

1144ab (15.2)

1579ab (21.0)

2831abc (37.7)

1960bc (26.1)

7514bcd

Tom Fox

327cd (5.6)

436c (7.5)

2232b-f (38.3)

2831bc (48.6)

5826de

Racer

218cd (2.9)

273c (3.6)

2504a-d (33.3)

4520b (60.2)

7514bcd

Magic Lantern

164d (1.9)

1633a (18.3)

3593a (40.7)

3430bc (38.9)

8821bc

Merlin

763a-d (9.8)

1525ab (19.6)

3158ab (40.6)

2341bc (30.0)

7786bcd

Mystic Plus

381bcd (3.8)

871abc (8.7)

1143f (11.4)

7623a (76.1)

10019ab

Autumn King

980abc (16.4)

1416ab (23.6)

1470def (24.5)

2123bc (35.5)

5989de

Pik-A-Pie

926a-d (8.1)

708c (6.2)

1089f (9.5)

8711a (76.1)

11434a

Gold Metal

1361a (22.9)

1743a (29.4)

1143f (19.3)

1688c (28.4)

5935de

Gold Gem

926a-d (19.5)

926abc (19.5)

1197ef (25.2)

1688c (35.8)

4737e

Gold Bullion

871a-d (14.3)

1525ab (25.0)

2450a-d (40.2)

1252c (20.5)

6098de

Gold Standard

545bcd (7.6)

1035abc (14.5)

2559a-d (35.9)

2994bc (42.0)

7133cde

Howden

980abc (14.8)

1688a (25.4)

2341b-e (35.2)

1633c (24.6)

6643cde

zMeans followed by the same letter are not significantly different, Duncan’s multiple range test, (P#0.05).

‘Pik-A-Pie’ produced the most mature fruit in the test (Table 2) with almost 10,000 orange fruit which accounted for 87 percent of the total. Several cultivars had only 60-70 percent of their fruit which had matured. If harvest had been delayed, the maturity percentage of all cultivars would have improved.
No differences were found among cultivars for yield of mature fruit by weight. ‘Merlin’ had the most green fruit by weight. ‘Big Rock’ was the highest yielding cultivar in the study on the basis of fruit weight. Only ‘Tom Fox’ and ‘Gold Gem’ were significantly lower in total yield.

Table 2. Yield of mature and immature fruit from Ames Plantation pumpkin trial, 2003.

 

Cultivar

Number of fruit/acre

 

%
orange

Pumpkin yield (tons/acre)

 

Orange

Green

 

Orange

Green

Total

Rock Star

4138bcdz

2559abc

62

30.9a

10.8bc

41.7abc

Big Rock

5227bcd

2287bc

70

38.0a

13.7ab

51.7a

Tom Fox

4356bcd

1470bc

75

23.6a

7.4bc

31.0c

Racer

6153b

1361bc

82

30.0a

5.6c

35.6abc

Magic Lantern

6262b

2559abc

71

37.8a

11.2abc

49.0ab

Merlin

4737bcd

3049ab

61

31.1a

18.3a

49.4ab

Mystic Plus

5935bc

4084a

59

21.7a

13.6ab

35.3abc

Autumn King

4302bcd

1688bc

72

31.4a

8.0bc

39.4abc

Pik-A-Pie

9964a

1470bc

87

33.8a

8.7bc

42.5abc

Gold Metal

3866cd

2069bc

65

31.6a

11.9abc

43.5abc

Gold Gem

3648d

1089c

77

26.3a

5.7c

32.0bc

Gold Bullion

3921cd

2178bc

64

29.7a

14.2ab

43.9abc

Gold Standard

5336bcd

1797bc

75

32.4a

8.7bc

41.1abc

Howden

4574bcd

2069bc

69

32.9a

13.8ab

46.7abc

zMeans followed by the same letter are not significantly different, Duncan’s multiple range test, (P#0.05).

Most cultivars had acceptable scores for the characteristics that were rated (Table 3). Cultivars which were rated significantly lower in each category were:
Color - ‘Mystic Plus’
Handle - ‘Big Rock’
Shape - ‘Autumn King’
Ribbing - ‘Autumn King’ and ‘Gold Bullion’
Disease - ‘Big Rock’, ‘Tom Fox’, ‘Racer’, ‘Autumn King’, ‘Pik-A-Pie’, ‘Gold Metal’, ‘Gold Gem’, ‘Gold Standard’, and ‘Howden’ 

Table 3. Ratings of fruit characteristics and disease incidence and severity, Ames Plantation pumpkin trial, 2003.

 

Cultivar

Fruit
color
ratingz

Fruit
handle
ratingy

Fruit
shape
ratingx

Fruit
ribbing
ratingw

Foliar
disease
ratingv

Rock Star

3.8abu

3.8a

4.0a

3.3abc

2.8a-d

Big Rock

3.8ab

2.3b

3.8a

3.3abc

1.8cde

Tom Fox

4.0a

3.5a

4.0a

3.8ab

1.5de

Racer

3.3ab

3.3ab

3.8a

3.3abc

1.3e

Magic Lantern

4.3a

3.5a

3.8a

3.8ab

2.8a-d

Merlin

4.0a

3.3ab

3.8a

3.3abc

4.0a

Mystic Plus

2.8b

3.8a

3.0ab

3.0abc

3.0abc

Autumn King

3.3ab

3.3ab

2.5b

2.3c

2.3b-e

Pik-A-Pie

3.3ab

3.5a

3.5a

3.3ab

1.3e

Gold Metal

3.3ab

3.3ab

3.0ab

2.8abc

1.8cde

Gold Gem

3.8ab

3.0ab

3.8a

4.0a

2.3b-e

Gold Bullion

3.3ab

4.0a

4.0a

2.5bc

3.3ab

Gold Standard

3.3ab

3.8a

4.0a

3.0abc

2.5b-e

Howden

3.5ab

3.5a

3.8a

3.3abc

2.5b-e

zFruit color rating: 1=least red; 5=most red
yHandle rating: 1=poor; 5=excellent
xFruit shape rating: 1=poor; 5=excellent
wFruit ribbing rating: 1=least or no ribs; 5=most ribs
vFoliar disease rating (primarily powdery mildew): 1=heavily infected; 5=no disease
uMeans followed by the same letter are not significantly different, Duncan’s multiple range test, (P#0.05) 

Copyright © 1999 by The University of Tennessee. All rights reserved.

This research represents one season's data and does not constitute recommendations.  After sufficient data is collected over the appropriate number of seasons, final recommendations will be made through research and extension publications.

 

 

 

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