Gulf Coast Research
and Education Center
5007 60th St. E., Bradenton, Florida 34203-9324
SInstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
GULF COAST RESEARCH & EDUCATION CENTER
IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
5007 60TH STREET EAST
BRADENTON, FL 34203
Bradenton GCREC Research Report BRA1992-21 November
PUMPKIN VARIETY EVALUATION
D. N. Maynard1
Pumpkins are grown mostly for sale during October and November for decorative
purposes. Statistical data on production in Florida are not available, but it
is estimated that only a few hundred acres are grown in the entire state.
Production from this acreage is not nearly enough to satisfy the demand, hence
considerable tonnage is shipped into the state, primarily from the midwest.
Previous evaluations of pumpkin varieties in Florida were made by.Greene (1974)
in Quincy, Howe and Waters (1983) in Bradenton, Gilreath and Maynard (1986) in
Manatee County and by Elmstrom et al., (1988) in Manatee County and at Leesburg.
A number of new varieties have been released since these trials were conducted.
Because of the potential for increased pumpkin production in Florida, an
evaluation of 18 commercially-available varieties was conducted in the summer and
fall of 1992 on a commercial farm in Manatee County.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Varieties in this trial (Table 1) were mostly typical Halloween pumpkin
(Cucurbita peoo) types even though fruit size ranged from miniature to large.
Three varieties, 'Big Max', 'Big Moon', and 'Prizewinner', although frequently
grown and used as pumpkins are actually squash (Cucurbita maxima).
This trial was conducted on a commercial farm in Manatee County using practices
employed by the grower for pumpkin production. Beds were formed in early July
by incorporating 200 Ibs 2-18-4 (N-P20 -K2O) per acre and banding 1200 Ibs 10-0-
20 per acre on each shoulder of he bed prior to application of white
polyethylene mulch. The final beds were 8 inches high and 36 inches wide. Beds
were on 13 ft centers with four beds between seepage irrigation/drainage ditches.
Pumpkin seeds were planted through holes punched in the polyethylene at 3 ft in-
row spacing. After thinning, each 30 ft long plot contained 10 plants, and plots
were replicated three times in a randomized block design.
Pumpkins were harvested 8 to 12 October. The miniature and very small-fruited
pumpkins were counted and weighed in bulk and larger fruit were weighed
'Professor of Horticultural Sciences and Vegetable Extension Specialist. The
cooperation of Hunsader Farms is gratefully acknowledged.
individually. Five representative fruit from each plot were selected for
measurement with calipers and fruit rind color was assessed by comparison with
recognized standards (RHS Colour Chart). Later, these colors were converted to
a 0 (light yellow) to 5 (dark orange scale) for statistical analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The number of fruit produced per acre ranged from 819 for 'Big Moon' to 22,189
for 'Jack-Be-Little'(Table 2). Fourteen other varieties produced a similar
number of fruit as 'Big Moon', whereas no other variety produced as many fruit
per acre as 'Jack-Be-Little'. The number of fruit produced per plant varied from
0.7 for 'Big Moon' to 19.9 for 'Jack-Be-Little'. Thirteen other varieties had
production per plant similar to that of 'Big Moon' and no other variety produced
as many fruit per plant as 'Jack-Be-Little'. Fruit yield varied from 46 cwt/acre
for 'Oz' to 467 cwt/acre for 'Prizewinner'. Two other entries had yields similar
to 'Oz', and one variety had yields similar to those of 'Prizewinner'. Average
fruit weight varied from 0.3 lb for 'Jack-Be-Little' to 50.4 Ibs for
'Prizewinner'. Two other varieties had average fruit weight similar to 'Jack-Be-
Little'. Eight entries produced fruit that had height:width ratios greater than
one, whereas 10 varieties had fruit with height:width ratios less than one. The
range was 0.60 for 'Jack-Be-Little' to 1.09 for 'Big Moon' and 'Happy Jack'.
Rind color was lightest in 'Big Moon' and 'Jack-Be-Little' and darkest in
'Prizewinner'. Twelve other varieties had rind color similar to that of
Pumpkin yields in this trial exceeded those obtained in previous trials in
Florida (Elmstrom et al., 1988; Gilreath and Maynard, 1986; Greene, 1974, and
Howe and Waters, 1983). The general pattern of the highest per acre yields being
produced by varieties that produce very large fruit was repeated in this trial.
The distribution of fruit according to weight (Table 3) provides an index of the
tendency of a variety to produce fruit of uniform or variable weight. For
example, 'Jack-Be-Little' fruit were all less than 1 lb and 'Big Max' and
'Prizewinner' fruit were all more than 20.1 Ibs. On the other hand, 'Aspen',
'Big Autumn', 'Happy Jack', and 'October' produced fruit in four of the weight
Based on the results of this trial, outstanding varieties based on yield and
color in each size class were:
< 1 lb
Small: Baby Pam
Medium: Autumn Gold
5.1-10.0 lb Wizard
> 20 lb
For the jack-o-lantern trade, pumpkins weighing at least 8 Ibs and not more than
18 Ibs are preferred. Larger fruit are useful for individual display purposes
and smaller fruit often are used in combination with other pumpkins and fall
decorations. In almost all cases, a bright or deep orange color is preferred to
a light orange or yellow.
The information contained in this report is a summary of experimental results and
should not be used as recommendations for crop production. Where trade names are
used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.
Elmstrom, G. W., P. R. Gilreath, and D. N.
potential commercial crop for Florida.
Maynard. 1988. Pumpkins: A
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.
Gilreath, P. R. and D. N. Maynard. 1986. Pumpkin variety demonstrations.
Bradenton GCREC Res. Rept. BRA1986-1.
Greene, G. L. 1974. Performance of pumpkin varieties at Quincy, Florida
during 1971 and 1972. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 87:136-139.
Howe, T. K. and W. E. Waters. 1983. Pumpkin variety evaluation. Bradenton
GCREC Res. Rept. BRA1983-3.
RHS Colour Chart. Flower Council of Holland. Leiden.
Table 1. Pumpkin varieties and seed sources.
Variety Fruit Size' Type2 Source
Aspen Large F, Market More
Autumn Gold Medium F Market More
Baby Pam Small oP Harris Seeds
Big Autumn Medium F Market More
Big Max Very Large OP Abbott & Cobb
Big Moon Very Large OP (PVP) Abbott & Cobb
Connecticut Field Large OP Market More
Frosty Medium F, Abbott & Cobb
Funny Face Medium F Abbott & Cobb
Half Moon Medium OP Abbott & Cobb
Happy Jack Medium OP (PVP) Abbott & Cobb
Jack-Be-Little Miniature OP Abbott & Cobb
Jack-O-Lantern Medium OP Harris Seeds
October Medium F, Market More
Oz Small F, Harris Seeds
Prizewinner Very Large F, Market More
Spirit Medium F, Abbott & Cobb
Wizard Medium F, Harris Seeds
'Miniature = fruit less than 1 lb, Small
to 10 lb., Large = fruit 10 to 20 lb.,
= fruit 1 to 5 lb., Medium = fruit 5
Very large = fruit larger than 20 lb.
2F, = hybrid, OP = open pollinated, P.V.P. variety protected by Plant Variety
Table 2. Pumpkin yields, average
fruit weight, fruit per plant, height:width ratio and color.
Fruit Weight Avg Fruit Fruit per Height:
Variety No./A1 (cwt/A)' Wt (Ib) Plant Width' Color3
Prizewinner 931 d4 467 a 50.4 a 0.8 d 0.98 a-e 4.7 a
Big Max 1117 cd 458 a 41.0 b 1.0 cd 0.95 b-e 4.1 ab
Big Moon 819 d 339 b 41.3 b 0.7 d 1.09 a 2.3 c
Connecticut Field 1526 cd 217 c 14.2 c 1.4 cd 0.95 b-e 3.4 b
Autumn Gold 2867 c 202 cd 7.1 e 2.6 c 0.95 c-e 4.2 ab
Wizard 2532 cd 186 cd 7.4 de 2.3 cd 0.97 b-e 4.2 ab
Spirit 2345 cd 182 cd 7.7 de 2.1 cd 1.04 a-d 3.9 ab
October 1899 cd 182 cd 9.5 de 1.7 cd 1.07 a-c 3.7 ab
Big Autumn 1750 cd 163 c-e 9.2 de 1.6 cd 0.91 e 3.8 ab
Funny Face 2010 cd 162 c-e 8.1 de 1.8 cd 1.04 a-d 3.4 b
Frosty 1713 cd 162 c-e 9.5 de 1.6 cd 1.08 ab 3.5 b
Happy Jack 1824 cd 160 c-e 8.8 de 1.6 cd 1.09 a 4.1 ab
Jack-0-Lantern 1936 cd 157 c-e 8.1 de 1.7 cd 0.95 b-e 3.7 ab
Half Moon 1601 cd 144 de 9.2 de 1.4 cd 1.06 a-d 4.0 ab
Aspen 1191 cd 133 d-f 11.0 cd 1.1 cd 1.03 a-e 3.7 ab
Baby Pam 5324 b 94 e-g 1.7 f 4.8 b 0.79 f 4.4 ab
Jack-Be-Little 22189 a 68 fg 0.3 f 19.9 a 0.60 g 2.3 c
Oz 1787 cd 46 g 2.6 f 1.6 cd 0.93 de 4.1 ab
1Acre = 3350 Ibf.
21.0 = a round fruit.
0 = pale yellow to 5 = deep orange.
Mean separation in columns by Duncan's multiple range test, 5% level.
Table 3. Fruit weight distribution of the total yield of pumpkins. Fall 1992.
Fruit Weight, lb
< 1 1.1-5 5.1-10 10.1-15 15.1-20 20.1 >
Variety Percentage of Fruit
Aspen 0 c' 4 ef 38 e 43 a 15 b 0 d
Autumn Gold 0 c 14 c 80 a 6 de 0 c 0 d
Baby Pam 1 b 99 b 0 g 0 e 0 c O d
Big Autumn 0 c 10 c-e 52 de 34 a-c 4 c 0 d
Big Max 0 c 0 f 0 g 0 e 0 c 100 a
Big Moon 0 c 0 f 0 g 0 e 5 c 95 b
Connecticut Field 0 c 0 f 21 f 33 a-c 39 a 7 c
Frosty 0 c 2 ef 61 b-d 35 ab 2 c 0 d
Funny Face 0 c 13 cd 65 a-d 22 b-d 0 c 0 d
Half Moon 0 c 3 ef 69 a-d 25 a-d 3 c 0 d
Happy Jack 0 c 8 c-f 72 a-c 19 b-e 2 c 0 d
Jack-Be-Little 100 a 0 f 0 g 0 e 0 c O d
Jack-O-Lantern 0 c 10 c-e 71 a-c 19 b-e 0 c 0 d
October 0 c 4 d-f 57 cd 33 a-c 6 c 0 d
Oz 0 c 100 a 0 g 0 e 0 c O d
Prizewinner 0 c 0 f 0 g 0 e 0 c 100 a
Spirit 0 c 10 c-f 76 ab 14 c-e 0 c 0 d
Wizard 0 c 23 b 58 cd 19 b-e 0 c 0 d
'Mean separation in columns by Duncan's multiple range test, 5% level.
The Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
The Gulf Coast Research and Education Center is
a unit of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sci-
ences, University of Florida. The Research Center
originated in the fall of 1925 as the Tomato
Disease Laboratory with the primary objective of
developing control procedures for an epidemic out-
break of nailhead spot of tomato. Research was ex-
panded in subsequent years to include study of sev-
eral other tomato diseases.
In 1937, new research facilities were established
in the town of Manatee, and the Center scope was
enlarged to include horticultural, entomological, and
soil science studies of several vegetable crops. The
ornamental program was a natural addition to the
Center's responsibilities because of the emerging in-
dustry in the area in the early 1940's.
The Center's current location was established in
1965 where a comprehensive research and extension
program on vegetable crops and ornamental plants is
conducted. Three state extension specialists posi-
tions, 16 state research scientists, and two grant
supported scientists from various disciplines of
training participate in all phases of vegetable and
ornamental horticultural programs. This interdisci-
plinary team approach, combining several research
disciplines and a wide range of industry and faculty
contacts, often is more productive than could be ac-
complished with limited investments in independent
The Center's primary mission is to develop new
and expand existing knowledge and technology, and
to disseminate new scientific knowledge in Florida, so
that agriculture remains efficient and economically
The secondary mission of the Center is to assist
the Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS campus
departments, in which Center faculty hold appropri-
ate liaison appointments, and other research centers
in extension, educational training, and cooperative
research programs for the benefit of Florida's pro-
ducers, students, and citizens.
Program areas of emphasis include: (1) genetics,
breeding, and variety development and evaluation;
(2) biological, chemical, and mechanical pest manage-
ment in entomology, plant pathology, nematology,
bacteriology, virology, and weed science; (3) produc-
tion efficiency, culture, management, and counteract-
ing environmental stress; (4) water management and
natural resource protection; (5) post-harvest physiol-
ogy, harvesting, handling and food quality of horti-
cultural crops; (6) technical support and assistance to
the Florida Cooperative Extension Service; and (7)
advancement offundamental knowledge ofdisciplines
represented by faculty and (8) directing graduate
student training and teaching special undergraduate
r The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida.
Q A statewide organization dedicated to teaching,
research and extension.
i Faculty located in Gainesville and at 13 research
and education centers, 67 county extension
offices and four demonstration units throughout
J A partnership in food and agriculture, and natural
and renewable resource research and education,
funded by state, federal and local government,
and by gifts and grants from individuals, founda-
tions, government and industry.
J. An organization whose mission is:
Educating students in the food, agricultural,
and related sciences and natural resources.
Strengthening Florida's diverse food and
agricultural industry and its environment
Enhancing for all Floridians, the application
of research and knowledge to improve the
quality of life statewide through IFAS exten-