This evening I did a foliar application of calcium on the pumpkin plant and on the sprouting cover crop I put in last week. The hope will be that the calcium will get taken in by the cover crop and then when I till that into the soil it will be ready for next year's plant.
I'm pretty sure, after talking with some other growers on bigpumpkins.com and doing some reading that my 282 plant had bacterial wilt. It basically gums up the sap in the pumpkin plant and eventually kills younger plants. From what I've read "adult" plants can kind of fight it off to a certain degree. I think my 1985 plant has it some. The leaves have drooped slightly for the last month when the sun is out. Not nearly as bad as what the 282 plant was doing and how my kids plants do now, but for a month the plant just hasn't looked quite right.
The kids plants leaves droop when it is only 75 and sunny these days but perk back up when it clouds up or in the later part of the afternoon. That is one of the signs of bacterial wilt. My daughters 282 has had the main vine tip die off by about 3 feet. Her plant has the same kind of gold color of the leaves near the stem as well. My son's seems to be doing better in some ways but the growth on the pumpkin is slower than on my daughters.
One of the signs of bacterial wilt is if you cut the vine and then put the pieces back together and pull it back apart the sap kind of strings out. All three plants are doing that. I need to find a healthy plant and try the same things and see what it looks like for comparison.
The prevention of bacterial wilt is the same as yellow vine disease. Kill the bugs that spread the bacteria that causes the disease. I took my insecticides up a notch this year, but I guess it wasn't enough. Only saw one squash bug and one cucumber beetle all year, but it only takes one.
For now, the 1985 pumpkin is still growing and based on the improved vine growth it isn't overly affected right now. However, it is only putting on about 8 pounds a day right now, which is about what it has been doing for the last month.