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I am a small-scale farmer in Kikuyu and I have planted several varieties of pumpkins. I wish to be advised on the management of the crop, pest and disease controls from the young stage to maturity.

Also, something on inter-cropping.

David Ngigi

The following are some of the pests that attack pumpkins.

Aphids: Green or black colonies of aphids on the lower side of the leaf. When the population of the aphids is high, the leaves will curl as they suck sap from them.

Control: Use of natural enemies to feed on the aphids, neem extracts, reflective mulch (polythene mulch) and watering can also be done because aphids are common during periods of water stress.

White flies: They suck sap from the plants and they also secrete honey dew on which sooty mould grows.

Control: Use of parasitic wasps to feed on the white flies, reflective mulch, and spraying with botanical pesticides like neem.

Fruit flies: The flies penetrate the fruit when it is still young and grow inside causing rotting.

Control: Crop rotation, destroy all infected fruits and wrapping of the fruits with a paper bag.

Diseases:

i) Powdery mildew

A white powdery substance is seen on the lower side of the leaf.
Control: Use of fungicides, resistant varieties and weeding to get rid of weeds that belong to cucurbit family.

ii) Downy mildew

Pale yellow areas are seen on the leaves. The disease is spread by wind and rain splash.
Control: Avoid wetting the leaves when irrigating and destroy weeds which belong to cucurbit family.

READ ALSO:   Nutritional conditions and Fertilisation of macadamias

iii) Fusarium wilt

It causes rotting of the root and a decay at the stem base near the ground level.
Control: Crop rotation, use the recommended amount of nitrogen fertilisers, destroy infected crops and solarisation of the soil.

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