URI researching “disease resistant” varieties of pumpkins

KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Pumpkin farmers in Rhode Island are battling a fungus that covers the leaves of their pumpkin plants and reduces the weight and size of them.

Now a University of Rhode Island researcher is studying varieties of pumpkins that are supposedly disease-resistant, in order to identify the best varieties for farmers to grow in the future.

Plant science professor Rebecca Brown and her students, planted 17 varieties of pumpkins in a 3-acre section of URI’s Agronomy Farm in June.

They collected data on disease responses throughout the growing season, counted how many pumpkins were marketable from each plant, and weighed and measured each pumpkin when they were harvested in late September.

Brown says while this summer’s drought did not interfere with the research or affect the pumpkin size, it did affect the density.

As a result, seed varieties that were supposed to grow pumpkins to about 25 pounds instead produced 15-pound pumpkins.

In the second stage of the project, URI Master Gardeners were given pumpkins grown in the trial to place on their doorsteps.

The gardeners will then report to Professor Brown when the pumpkins begin to rot.

This will help researchers determine the “doorstep life” of a pumpkin.

See Pinpoint Weather Meteorologist Pete Mangione’s full report in the video above.