2003 Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin Trial


Charles E. Voigt

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences


Since jack o'lantern and processing pumpkins are such an important crop in Illinois, and around the Midwest, the vegetable research group at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, decided, early in 2003, to pool their collective research on these crops, and to hold a grower field day on September 5.


In addition to the wide variety of pest control and cultural work being done, the group decided that a variety comparison would be a valuable part of such a field day. Dr. Mohammad Babadoost had already collected seed of many cultivars of jack o'lantern-type pumpkins, of the Cuburbita pepo species. Twenty-six of these are included in the replicated trial at the NRES Vegetable Research Farm, on South First Street, Champaign.


In addition, 7 pie or miniature cultivars of the C. pepo species are included for comparison, as well as 3 cultivars of C. maxima "giant" pumpkins. Varieties included are listed at the end of this report.


Each plot consists of three plants, which were started in the greenhouse to avoid ground squirrel predation on the seeds, which has become a terrible problem at this research site. Plots are spaced 25 feet apart to facilitate fruit identification and plot evaluation at the end of the season. Aisles alternate between being 20 and 30 feet wide, to facilitate irrigation and cultivation activities, with each row facing one 20 and one 30 foot aisle, for continuity.


After some delay, the transplanting was completed in late June. The relatively cooler summer temperatures since then have not accumulated degree days as rapidly as normal, making this trial also an evaluation of the earliness of these cultivars. Recent hot weather has moved the planting forward, and some fruit set and maturity is anticipated in time for the field day evaluation. Look for complete results in this year's fruit and vegetable research report.

Cultivars in the Trial                  


Jack O'Lantern Types:

21.       Racer                                    

1.         ACX 101 Harvest Time    

22.       Rock Star                             

2.         ACX 102                              

23.       Rocket                                  

3.         ACX 103                              

24.       Sorcerer                               

4.         Appalachian

25.       Trax Field Pumpkin                      

5.         Aspen

26.       Trojan                                               

6.         Autumn Gold


7.         Autumn King

Pie and Mini  Types:

8.         Big Rock                               

27.       Baby Bear

9.         Connecticut Field

28.       Baby Pam

10.       Frosty

29.       Hybrid Pam

11.       Gold Bullion

30.       Jack Be Little

12.       Gold Rush

31.       Lil Ironside

13.       Gold Standard

32.       Small Sugar

14.       Howden

33.       Sugar Pie

15.       Jack of All Trades


16.       Jack O'Lantern

Cucurbita maxima Types:

17.       Magic Lantern                   

34.       Big Max

18.       Neon

35.       Big Moon

19.       Pankow's Field

36.       Mammoth Gold

20.       ProGold 510