The later part of the season brings with it new challanges. You are begining to see the end so now is the time to continue your good work and deal with problems as they arrive.
It seems this year a common problem is splits this year. This could be due to the excessive amounts of rain that have been seen all across the state this year. If you have a split here are some things you can do to try and reduce the damage to your pumpkin so you can get it to the weigh-off..
1.) Clean out all the mushy / infected tissue. I use a plastic spoon since it does not severely damage the pumpkin
2.) Spray the area with a 10% bleach solution
3.) Apply some sort of fungicide to the area to prevent the rotting from spreading
4.) Keep the area as dry as possible (either try and cover it or if you can have a fan blow on the area to ensure constantly dry conditions)
5.) Watch the area and keep at the above list it may take several days to get the problem under control, and remember these steps will only help save your pumpkin. Sometimes a pumpkin is going to rot no matter what you do, but hopefully yours is savable
6.) Important: When you bring your pumpkin to the weigh-off clean out all the fungicide before you load it on the trailer. If your pumpkin has visible fungicide on it we will not weigh it until this is removed, so please do it before hand.
Try and keep some gap space between your pumpkin and the vine it grows on. If your pumpkin has gotten to big to move on your own you can either get another person or pound a stake in the ground and tie a rag around it to physically pull the vine away. Be careful and only do a little pulling everyday. Hopefully you can stay just ahead of your growing pumpkin.
Stay with your spray program:
While it is getting later in the season you still want to keep at spraying your pumpkin plants. With all the rain we have had disease pressure is still relatively high.
Plan on moving your pumpkin:
Now is the time to estimate the weight of your pumpkin (see the early to mid August section) and determine how you are going to move your pumpkin. A tarp will work on most pumpkins in the 200 pound range, an official pumpkin tarp can work for entries up to and over 1,000lb. but you need lots of friends. At least one per 100lb of estimated weight. There is also Bart's tripod system that makes it a one (or two) man operation. The important thing is to start thinking about this important step. We want to see you and your pumpkin so figure out how you are going to get your prize from the garden to the scale.
In order to weigh a pumpkin at the Durham Fair you must submit an entry form so we know how many pumpkins to expect. Even if you think your pumpkin may not make it still send in an entry form since there is NO entry fee, but no walk-in's will be excepted. Get your entry form here and mail it today.