My pumpkins have stalled. Stagnated. Stunted.
They have not shown any signs of growth for quite a while now. They’re not dead. They look healthy enough, but they just haven’t continued to advance as they did when they first started growing.
I don’t know if this is normal. Do pumpkins reach a certain point, then stall, before continuing to grow?
The garden is at the back of a rental property on the south coast of New South Wales, about 2 hours south of Sydney, Australia. The soil is generally fertile in a region famous for dairy farming and viticulture, although the garden had been stripped of much of its nutrients when I moved in, courtesy of the previous tenant’s neglect and a dry winter. The garden attracts quite a lot of sun, during very warm summer months and even during colder winter months in what is typically a temperate climate. The area is also famous for beaches and surfing, which is great after a day of hard yakka in the garden.
The most salient feature of this stunted growth is that they have grown up, but not out. What I do know about pumpkins is that they creep before producing fruit. They will send out vine like branches, and from these branches grows the fruit.
It may be the warm weather. It is now summer where I live and some of the days are very warm.
Is it due to water?
The heat of the day is obviously extracting moisture from the plants, but I try to make sure I water the plants sufficiently every day and there has been some evening rain.
Perhaps it is due to a lack of nutrients. I know pumpkins are very hungry plants requiring a lot of water and nutrients. The soil is of good quality in the garden and I supplemented the soil with potting mix and diluted juice from my worm farm. I recently added some more mulch to the ground surrounding the plants, so hopefully this will trap a lot of the moisture.
I did try to grow pumpkins once before. It failed because bugs, insects got to the pumpkins before they could grow to any decent size and I never found an effective organic pest control method. What I remember, though, is that the plant started to creep a lot more quickly than it has on this occasion. That was in the tropics of South East Asia though, so the tropical climate may have caused that rapid growth.
Furthermore, the seeds were thrown into the site of an old compost pile, whereas my current crop were planted in shallow tunnels straight into the ground.
I’ll keep searching for answers to this question.
Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will be harvesting rich, ripe pumpkins.