How To Grow'em Big
Late Season Protection
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- Cold weather can sometimes come early in the northeast. Your pumpkin can continue to grow right up to the day you cut it free from the vine, only at a much slower rate. These extra few pounds can make a difference when it comes time to weigh your fruit. So extra steps need to be taken to protect your fruit and plant as cooler weather sets in.
Something that can be done to keep your fruit growing is to cover your fruit with a blanket or two when the temperatures at night dip into the 40ís. The blanket will help keep the heat of the day in your fruit for a longer period at night thereby encouraging continued growth. Another step that can be taken to prolong your season is to protect the plant when the threat of frost looms later in the season. Pumpkin plants have no tolerance for frost and even the a slight frost can leave you waking up to leaves that are black and wilted, ending your season. There are a couple things you can do to protect the plant when the temperature dips down to levels where frost is possible.
One thing that can be done, although somewhat labor intensive is to erect a cover over as much of the plant as possible, keeping the heat of the day inside the enclosure and holding the frost at bay. This entails what amounts to a full-size greenhouse or a big cold frame, requiring quite a bit of material and added cost to your effort. Some growers will even use different types of heaters inside the enclosure to keep the temperature up. Another, somewhat easier way to protect your plant from frost is to run sprinklers on a timer over the plant at intervals throughout the night. The water acts to warm the plant surface and prevent frost from forming. In either case, there is added effort involved and it is up to the individual grower as to what extent one will go to keep the plant growing late in the season.