2022 Pumpkin and Squash Hybrid Trial Results

What better day to post the pumpkin and squash hybrid trial results than Halloween?

A pumpkin and squash hybrid demonstration trial was conducted at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston, OH. In order to have mature fruit for the late August field day, the following longer season hybrids were seeded early and transplanted on May 31: Giltedge Gold, Quigley Gold, Igor, Bannack Gold, Death Star, Tons of Fun, Sweet Baby Jane, Spartacus, Garnet Gold, Fireball, Autumn Frost and Icicle. The remaining eight hybrids were also direct seeded on May 31, bringing the total number of hybrids in the trial to 20. Hybrids in the trial included traditional orange jack-o-lantern fruit, other colorful or textured fruit, various edible ornamental squash types, and some recently released hybrids (Table 1).

The trial focuses on demonstrating host plant resistance to powdery mildew, as well as observing general plant health and vine growth. A second function of the trial is to evaluate hybrid fruit size, shape, color, etc. and to obtain some estimates of yield, average fruit weight and number of fruit per acre based on our production methods.

Each plot in the trial was 60’ long and planted on 15’ row centers (0.02A per plot). There was no replication of the plots, all data was collected from a single plot. In-row plant spacing was set at 3.5’ for all hybrids. Despite using FarMore FI400 treated seeds when possible some additional seedling losses occurred due to bacterial wilt infections. Some plants were also lost to mid-season infestations of squash vine borer. Reduced stand is noted in Table 1.

For weed control, Strategy (4pt) plus Dual (1.3pt) plus glyphosate (32oz) per acre was applied pre-emergent followed by Sandea (1oz/A) between the rows prior to the vines running. Hand hoeing and pulling on weekly basis prevented major weed escapes. Based on soil sampling no P or K was applied but ca. 75 lb N was sidedressed using 28-0-0 on June 24.

Table 1. Hybrids in trial and associated development notes. * = reduced stand, BW = bacterial wilt, BLS = bacterial leaf spot

Harvest data was collected on September 1 as the majority of plots showed 95+% mature fruit. From each plot, four representative fruit were clipped and weighed, with all other remaining mature and immature fruit counted and used to estimate yield data per acre. Please keep in mind this report only provides an estimate of yield and fruit potential based on our production methods which are likely quite different than traditional production farms. If harvest was delayed a few weeks later in the season, yield estimates would likely increase as immature fruit become mature.

Table 2. Hybrid trial yield data. * = reduced stand.

For powdery and downy mildew control, fungicides were initially applied July 25 but then re-applied on a 7-10 day schedule throughout the season following proper resistance management rotation guidelines. The last application was made on August 26. Spray applications were made at 36 GPA and 65 PSI using hollow cone nozzles.

 A group photo of all the fruit in the trial can be found in Figure 1, with a basketball and softball for size reference.

Figure 1. Group shot of 2022 pumpkin and squash fruit with basketball and softball as a size reference. On straw bales (L to R) Giltedge Gold, Lemonade, Eros, Fireball, Hermes, Garnet Gold, Spartacus. Large fruit in front of straw bales (L to R) Quigley Gold, Tons of Fun, Igor, Bannack Gold, Death Star, Sweet Baby Jane. Small fruit in front of straw bales (L to R) Autumn Frost, Autumn Pearl, Fort Knox, Winter Blush, Moon Stacker, Icicle, Warty Gnome.

If you have any questions about the trial, please feel free to contact Jim Jasinski, Jasinski.4@osu.edu.

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