Adaptation and Market Potential of Jack o' lantern and Miniature Pumpkin Cultivars in Eastern North Carolina

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Entomology, Box 7626, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 29695.
  • | 2 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Box 7609, North Carolina State University, NC 27695.
  • | 3 Department of Plant Pathology, Box 7616, North Carolina State University, NC 27695.

In 1998 and 1999, a total of 27 large-fruited and 15 miniature-fruited pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) cultivars were evaluated for adaptation to eastern North Carolina grow- ing conditions. Test categories were yield (fruit number and weight); fruit characteristics (shape, rind and stem attributes); and susceptibility to edema (wart-like growths on fruit exterior), foliar diseases, preharvest and postharvest fruit decay, and viruses. Yields of large pumpkins ranged from over 3,200 fruit/acre (7,907 fruit/ha) for `SVT 4613367', `Autumn Gold', and `Gold Standard' to less than 1,000 fruit/acre (2,471 fruit/ha) for `Gold Rush' and `Progold 200'. For miniature pumpkins, over 33,000 fruit/acre (81,542 fruit/ha) were produced by `Touch of Autumn', `Lil' Pump- ke-mon', and `HMX 5682', whereas `Mystic' and `Progold 100' produced less than 7,000 fruit/acre (17,297 fruit/ha). `Gold Rush', `Howden', and `Progold 510' (large), and `EXT 4612297', `Lil' Goblin', and `Lil' Ironsides' (miniature) appeared the most susceptible to foliar diseases. Preharvest fruit decay ranged from 0% for `Howden' and `EXT 4612297' to over 20% for `Lil' Goblin', `Jumping Jack', `Peek-A-Boo', and `Tom Fox'. Virus incidence on fruit and foliage was low on virus-resistant cultivars ('SVT 4613367' and `EXT 4612297'), and ranged from 4% to 74% for nontransgenic cultivars. Virus incidence and/or severity on foliage and fruit were not related. `Early Autumn' (large) and `Touch of Autumn' (miniature) were the most prone to edema. `Aspen' and `Magic Lantern' (large) and `Baby Pam', `Lil' Goblin', and `Spooktacular' (miniature) were the most susceptible to postharvest fruit decay. Fruit characteristics are discussed in relation to marketability and possible consumer appeal to pumpkins.

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