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I planted two Giant Atlantic pumpkin plants in my garden around 9 weeks or so ago. The male flowers where the first to show, many of them but haven't bloomed and are quite firm to the touch still. Since then three females (1 on one plant, 2 on the other) have grown, bloomed and started to wilt (in the last couple of days) without any sign of the males blooming so that I can pollinate.

I understand that the male pumpkins are supposed to bloom first. Is something wrong? what? and is there anything I can do?

More details

They were bred indoors for the first 6 weeks and transplanted outdoors in new soil/compost 13 foot holes. The rest of the garden (which they are now creeping over) is old soil, which I've been loosely mixing with compost as they grow over it. I've watered them 4-8 litres a day, at the base and also via funnel to the roots. Once or twice a week, adding high potash feed. There's not much else in the garden except some very new sunflower sprouts. I don't know the pH of the soil and have no way to find out.

I am in the U.K. (Scotland) it's been a combination of hot and sunny and cold and rainy although the soil has been no lower than 12C the entire time, that I can see. For most of their life they have been under a plastic, flexible greenhouse-type cover (until the last week or so).

(This is also my first foray into gardening)Clockwise: Female flower before then after flowering and most developed male flower I have

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    This is a bit odd - the first flowers on these pumpkins are usually female, rather than the other way around. I assume, when you say 'the male plants' were the first to show, you actually mean male flowers? – Bamboo Jun 28 '17 at 22:52
  • Sorry, yes. Flowers. No blooms though. Still quite tough to squeeze as well. – Ross Drew Jun 28 '17 at 22:54
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    Okay, well it is at least producing both sexes of flower - its early yet, we're not quite into July, so just keep watching - more female flowers will arrive, and more males, its just making sure you pollinate when both are present and mature . The only thing is, did you dig over and enrich the whole area with well rotted compost prior to planting? Better results if that is done, but I wouldn't worry too much at this stage. Oddly I've just read that for other pumpkin varieties, the male flowers do appear first...I don't think there's a major problem at this stage – Bamboo Jun 29 '17 at 10:31
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    Well the fact the compost was added where the roots are is the most important and useful thing - this link garden.org/learn/articles/view/290 explains about the flowers - its American, but has some good information – Bamboo Jun 29 '17 at 13:01
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    Yea, and they should... – Bamboo Jun 29 '17 at 13:18
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I don't know what's going on with your pumpkin. Usually male flowers form and bloom first, except for some varieties, maybe. Maybe it's a partially gynoecious variety, which would mean it should mostly produce female flowers. It might be a mutant, though, or maybe there is a pest or disease that is influencing it with regulators.

If you'll plant this kind again in future, and suspect the female flowers will blossom first, again, you might try planting another variety of the same species with it for pollination, unless you'll be saving seeds and don't want a cross. You may also try growing other giant varieties (like Weeks NC Giant), which may not have the same condition.

As for this year, if you don't want to wait it out and see what happens, I would personally try nipping all the flowers off and giving it some phosphorus. If this pumpkin is like cucumbers and melons it should grow new flowers faster if you take the old ones off, whether or not they're mostly female still. I don't know why the male ones would form without blooming unless something is preventing them from blooming or unless they do bloom, but just not when you're looking.

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Turns out this isn't really a problem.

(I waited to see if any of the commentors who suggested this would post an answer)

It's unusual that male pumpkins bloom after the female ones but not unheard of. A matter of weeks after posting this question I started to get many male and some female blooms in a much more expected pattern.

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