Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ouch! Hail is the Colorado Gardner's Worst Enemy

My pumpkin plant got pummeled yesterday. One inch sized hail really tore the leaves up and it might have gotten the end of the vine which would be a little devastating. It is important that you grow the pumpkin on the main vine and if the end of the vine is cut then that means the vine won't grow anymore. 800 pound pumpkins have been grown on secondary lines but that is the exception.

I'm holding onto a thread of hope however. The hail might have been a blessing in disguise. According to the following study, pumpkin plants that received early season hail before fruit set actually yielded higher average weight than plants that had no hail damage. Anyone else want to rip 75% of their leaves off their plant?  ;-)

I'm guessing that one of two things happened with this study. Either the early season hail damage caused more energy to be put into root growth which yielded bigger weight gains in the end or there were some other outside factors that came into play.

Haddie's plant is doing fine. Our plants are at two different sites and her plant didn't see any hail.


Unknown said...

FINALLY. Some drama to this blog.


Jamie said...

Honey, don't confuse drama with catastrophe. And stop praying against me! ;-)

Unknown said...

OOOOOOOHHHH, my poor pumkins were all but destroyed yesterday. I am in Castle Rock, and we had a bad storm move through. Almost all the leaves on my four vines are shreaded. The pumpkins themselves have some marks from the hail, but my question is, will they continue to grow. It is late in the season, and I am wondering if all is lost....what happened with your vines last spring?

Jamie said...

Sorry to hear about the trouble. Hail and bad weather can be very discouraging. Pumpkins are very resiliant however. The key will be how the vines held up. Damage this late in the season will definetly slow the pumpkin down, but you would be suprise how many pounds you can add on a pumpkin after most of the plant has been lost. I great grower back East was telling me a couple of months ago how they last all of the plant from the stump to the pumpkin late in the season from powdery mildew. Everything was tore out. All they had was the pumpkin and the back vines and that pumpkin still put on 400 pounds. If your vines are okay you will have a chance to keep it growing. What I would do is measure the circumfrance every day for the next few days to see if it is still growing. If it isn't growing then take it off the vine and store it in a cool place. If it is still growing then you are still in business.