Preparing the Garden for Planting
On this week’s episode, Travis is explaining how to plant downy mildew resistant pumpkins in the vegetable garden. In order to clean up the garden area from a previous harvest, Travis likes to use the Double Wheel Hoe with the Sweeps attachment. This makes uprooting larger weeds and cleaning everything out the garden quick and easy. Then, Travis took two posts and placed them at either end of the row and ran a string between them. He used this in order to make a straight row to create furrows where he planned to lay his drip tape irrigation. The pumpkins were planted on about 5-foot spacing to ensure they had enough room for the growth stages in the garden. After making the furrows, Travis added some good compost to lightly side dress the bottom of the trenches in order to give the plants a good amount of nutrients to start off within the vegetable garden. Once that is done, he uses his Double Wheel Hoe with the Drip Tape Layer Attachment to lay the drip tape in the furrows he has created. As well as, add all the fittings he will need for the drip tape and check to make sure they are all working correctly in the vegetable garden. Once the furrows and drip tape has been layed and set up we are ready to plant downy mildew resistant pumpkins in the garden area.
Importance of Drip Tape
When planting crops such as pumpkins, drip tape irrigation is an important component for the success of planting and growing pumpkins in the South. Due to our weather conditions, we have several problems with downy mildew because of the humidity and moisture levels that we experience throughout our growing seasons. Since drip irrigation applies water effectively to plant roots and reduces moisture on leaves this is the perfect solution for decreasing downy mildew problems in the vegetable garden. Overall the benefits of having buried drip tape is the ability to conserve water, feed plants effectively, reduce disease pressures, and have a more manageable garden area.
Downy Mildew Resistant Pumpkins
In the South, we benefit from planting downy mildew resistant pumpkins because we do not have to struggle with downy mildew pressures destroying our plants and we can overall get better production from within the garden area. The first downy mildew resistant variety is a pumpkin and butternut squash hybrid. This crossed variety is made between an heirloom Seminole Pumpkin that contains a resistance package and the Butternut Squash which has the taste profile in order to get a good combination of the two to grow in the garden. The next downy mildew resistant variety is the Chinese Tropical Pumpkins which is similar in appearance to the Fairytale Pumpkins. On the second row, Travis is planning to plant the Orange Bulldog Pumpkins which was a variety developed by the University of Georgia. When planting these varieties he is going to direct seed in two rows and plant them about a foot apart because that’s how the emitters on the drip tape are spaced along the garden row. Once the seeds are placed on the drip tape emitters, Travis will simply take the Dura Rake and cover the seeds and pack them along the row in the garden area. After around 90 days the pumpkins are ready for harvest once the plants die back, fruits have reached full color, and the stems have hardened. If you struggle with growing pumpkins in the garden because of your weather conditions try giving these downy mildew resistant pumpkins a try during your next growing season.