Video: PMR pumpkins | from Johnny's Selected Seeds

Johnny's Powdery Mildew-Resistant Pumpkins

Hey there! I'm Pete Zuck, Product Manager for Johnny's Selected Seeds. Pumpkins are one of my crops, and I'd like to tell you today about some of our powdery mildew-resistant pumpkins.

'Cinnamon Girl' is our pie pumpkin. We did extensive taste-testing to ensure that this would be a legitimate pie pumpkin that would make a good pie. It also makes a really nice ornamental, with nice color, nice handle, and a nice flat-round shape. It goes really well as a tabletop display, and also, again, a really great option for making a proper pumpkin pie. It's also available as organic seed.

'Pipsqueak' is a great little tabletop pumpkin with bright-orange color and an upright shape. They run about 4–8 pounds. The handles are quite long and can get a little twisty, which adds to the visual appeal. This variety has some of the strongest powdery mildew resistance in our program, so the handles stay very dark through the season. It has a medium-length vine.

'Jack of Hearts' is a small jack with very rich color and a striking handle. This is where you can see the value of the powdery mildew resistance, again, where the handle stays particularly dark, and it gives a really nice contrast with the rich orange color of this variety. It's a great accent for fall displays, as well as a nice option for kids, thanks to the smaller size. These run about 6 or 7 pounds, and are really easy to tote out of a pumpkin patch.

Our next size up, at around 11–13 pounds, is 'Gumdrop'. We named it for its unique shape — it's a little heavy on the bottom. It's also a pretty kid-friendly pumpkin. It has a long, thick handle, with very strong attachment. It's a unique look, and the color, like 'Jack of Hearts', is very rich on this pumpkin. 'Gumdrop' has a shorter vine, so it's possible to space them a little bit tighter for a little higher yield per acre.

Next up is 'Renegade'. This is an exclusive variety to Johnny's, bred by the late Dr. Brent Lloyd of the University of New Hampshire. We thank him for his contributions to our program over the years. This one has proven to be incredibly reliable, in terms of yield and uniformity, of both shape and size. It makes a great choice for wholesale markets, where the product specs are really critical. These will run 14–18 pounds, or about a 40–50 bin count. They have a very round shape and nice color. 'Renegade' has a medium-length vine, and also has very strong handles. They're long enough to grab ahold of but short enough to fit nicely in the bin. It's also on the early side; we call it about 95 days relative maturity. So you'll generally get these ripe in time for your peak market season. It's become one of our top sellers in an essential size class, and this is a really nice producer in that class. We get very few culls with 'Renegade'.

Moving on, this is 'The Boss'. A lot of the great things I said about 'Renegade' are also true of this variety, but it's a little larger size class, running about 18–20 pounds, or about a 35 bin count. So if your market is looking for something a little bigger than 'Renegade', 'The Boss' is a great option. If you're growing in the South, 'The Boss' will give you pumpkins about the size of 'Renegade'. We've done some trialing with this variety in the South, and it has performed very well. The handle, color, yield, and uniformity are all great. And of course, the powdery mildew resistance is strong in this variety. 'The Boss' will take a few more days to mature than 'Renegade', and the vine is a little longer. The shape is generally a little more blocky, but I think this is also an excellent option for wholesale and retail markets.

Last, we have a pumpkin that we have all been very, very excited about. 'Duchess' is about the same size as 'The Boss', about a 35 bin count, but with a very different look. 'Duchess' has what we call a double rib, and this gives it this beautiful pattern that really pops, especially in the low-angle sunlight in the fall. It's not just the looks, though; the performance in this variety has been outstanding in many different trials. The University of Georgia had a trial last year, with many of the top varieties on the market today, from the best pumpkin breeding programs in the world, and 'Duchess' was the best yielding variety in the trial. So it does well in the South, but much like with 'The Boss' — or like with any pumpkins growing in the southern latitudes — it will yield about 20% smaller fruit size, so just be aware of that. We see big yields in the North, as well, with consistent shape and size. 'Duchess' also has a beautiful long handle. Maturity is similar to 'The Boss' — about average — but it has a shorter vine, so you may have a little more flexibility with spacing.

If you're growing pumpkins in North America, you probably experience powdery mildew, and it could be costing you dollars in your yield. So you want to use resistant varieties, and we've got something for just about every market.