Now...early June It's surprising how small variations in conditions can affect the growth of these plants. The plants range from small plants with a few leaves and not ready to vine yet all the way up to those (in ideal conditions) with a longer main vine and big leaves. These plants are the same age. One was in a small hoop house with added soil heating cables while the other was out in the open unprotected. The warm temperatures and strong sunlight should help to warm the soil enough to get the slower ones started so they will vine soon. The small things we do for our plants now pay rich dividends in the future.
PEST.....cucumber beetles are out and about and we don't want them on our plants. Scout your pumpkin plants for small but brightly yellow and black colored beetles. (Check out presentation #2 for a picture). These small bugs can mass multiply and eat your plants and transmit diseases. It is essential to do something to control them and protect your plants. You have a couple choices. There are different methods for control of insects. While some prefer to use chemical insecticides because they think they work better, other growers are dedicated to organic controls. The easiest pesticides for you to get are Sevin or Triazicide which is usually available at places like Lowes. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. For organic controls the current rage is garlic barrier . It has a very strong smell and bugs don't like it. You can try a 'google' search to find it.
Wind protection ...as your plants become exposed to the wind you will need to provide protection from the wind....even gentle breezes can break leaves and vines. The bigger the leaves ..the bigger the problem. Some use silt fence to make an expandable wind break around the plants. It comes in 100 ft rolls with stakes attached at places like Home Depot and isn't to expensive. Bamboo stakes can be used to stabilize the leaves and vines.
Vining... as your plants begin to grow the main vine you will need to 'help' it down onto the soil. Bamboo stakes can be used to provide support so the main vine doesn't crash on the way down. It's important to keep the plant stable until it can start sending out tap roots to anchor the vines. Bamboo stakes can be used to help guide the vines in the direction you want them to grow. Never try to bend the vine to much or to sharply. These changes are best done a little at a time in the hottest part of the day.
watering/misting.....when the temperatures are very hot and the plant is young, the plants will have a hard time keeping their leaves up and not wilting. Small plants will not have enough root structure to keep up. Be sure you provide them with enough water. Misting the plants during the hottest part of the days will help to cool them a bit so they are less likely to wilt. Even if you just spray them with the hose it will help.
It's never to hot to work in the patch and dream about watching the pumpkin itself grow in a few week....