Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Scientific Name: Cucurbita maxima.
Family: Cucurbitaceae

 

 

Pumpkin is one of popular vegetables among the Sri Lankans. It is native to Central America, Pumpkin is a nutritious vegetable vine plant which date back many centuries.  It was one of the major ingredients of the staple diet of native Americans and colonists. It can be prepared various ways. There are about 26 species of cucurbita.


The spherical shaped fruits range in weight from less than 0.5kg to more than 50kg. Its ability to grow to such a large size makes it the largest fruit in the plant kingdom. The pumpkin plant which grow up to 25 feet long produces both male and female bright yellow coloured flowers with five petals. The female flower has a little pumpkin at the bottom. The leaves are lobed with 3 or 5 lobes. Pumpkins were used to treat bladder problems and as a pain killer. Its seeds are an excellent source of fat and protein.


Climatic Requirements
It can be cultivated up to 500 AMSL as well as dry and intermediate zones.

Soil

Well drainage soil with high amount of organic matter important to well growth. Optimum pH range is about 5.5-7.5.


Land Preparation

Turn over the soil up to 20-30 cm depth. Moderately rough texture is important.
Apply 5kg of decayed organic materials per pit and mixed with top soil. Fill the pits with this texture up to 10 cm height.


Recommended Varieties
ANK Ruhunu

 

It is a local selection and recommended for intermediate and dry zone up to 500m from mean sea level. It has small fruit size (2-2.5kg) thick peel and yellowish flesh. It is a short aged crop(2-2.5 months)


Local variety

 

Shape and size varies
Suitable for rain fed cultivation during the season.
Flesh is yellow-orange in colour
Seed Requirements
Seed 1kg/ha
Planting time
Ruhunu
It can be cultivated during any season with irrigation facilities.

Local varieties
It is advisable to cultivate during the season.
Planting
Yala - May
Maha - October
Spacing
Ruhunu 2.5 X 2.5m
Local varieties 3 X 3m

Fertilizer Recommendation
Fertilizer application (Kg/ha)

 

Urea  

Tsp   

Mop   

Basal dressing

75

195

60

Top dressing 1 (4WAP)

75

-

60

Top dressing 2 (8WAP)

75

-

60

WAP- Weeks after planting

Irrigation

Regular watering is important up to seed germination. After germination water should be applied once in 5-7 days.


Weed Management

Weeding should be done at three weeks after germination. Hand weeding is most suitable. A mulch of straw can be used to prevent weed growth.


Disease Management
Downey Mildew

 

Yellow colour, triangular shape spots appear on the leaves. Leaves turn in to brown colour and get wrinkled. Ash colour spores are visible on lower parts of the leaves.


Powdery Mildew

 

 

It is fungal disease. Leaves become yellow in colour. White colour spores are visible on both sides of the leaves.

Control
Discard host plants and weeds belongs to family cucurbitaceae.

Soft rot (Phythium spp)

 

It is a fungal disease. Rotting is visible on lower portion of the stem and on the surface of the fruits.


Control
Avoid high moisture and relative humidity, improve soil aeration, use recommended fungicides


Mosaic Virus

 

Green and yellow colour spots are visible on leaves. Leaves become curly and wrinkled. Also patches appear on the leaves.

Control
Destroy infected plants.
Control vectors like white flies by insecticide application.

Pest management
Gall fly

Female gall fly lay eggs on small pods and the larvae feed on flesh of the fruit. Due to this damage the flower and pod drop. Sometimes rotting of pods also occurs.

Control
Cover the pods with straw
Use pheromones traps
Destroy infected pods

Usage of insecticides

Mix the recommended amount of lebycide mixed with water. Add 25g of sugar in to 1 litre. It can be applied flowering stage once in two weeks.


Harvesting
Powdery appearance on the fruit is the best stage for harvesting.

Ruhunu

- 40 days after flowering

Local Varieties

- 60 days after flowering


Yield
15000-25000kg/ha

Post harvest practices

 

Matured fruit of pumpkin can be stored in dry place for 6-8 months.