Monday, January 30, 2012

Worm Casting for Giant Pumpkins

Just before Christmas I ordered some worms for my worm bins. I lost all of my worms last year after a deep freeze in January (the new worms are being kept in the basement). There is nothing better for growing then worm castings and making compost tea. My bins are very basic. A large plastic tote with a fair amount of organic material. It doesn't take much to make the worms happy. I'll throw in table scraps (mostly just vegetables, coffee grounds and occasionally a little flour and the worms seem perfectly happy. I also spray down the bin once or twice a week to keep it lightly moist. In the spring I put the worm castings in my soil mixture that I start my seeds in and I'll also put some castings in the hole that I plant the plants in the pumpkin patch. Worm castings are more rich in nutrients then most composts and rich in soil microbial biomass.

Organic Gardening

My friend Ray has started an organic gardening website that you should check out. Visit to participate in organic gardening forums and read some great articles. He even has a great giant tomato contest that you can participate in this year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Giant Pumpkin Irrigation

For the last four seasons I've used over the top irrigation for my pumpkin plants. Different combinations of sprinkler heads would spray over the pumpkin patch from different angles to water the plant. The problem with over the top irrigation is that giant pumpkin leaves act like umbrellas and in the 2nd half of the growing season you start seeing a lot of dry spots under the leaves. Even to the point that the ground would crack from dryness.

This next season my plan is to us an under the canopy irrigation system using Dan Micro sprinkler heads. I'll be using a system very similar to giant pumpkin grower Thad Starr's. I"ve seen his setup while visiting him a couple of years ago in Oregon. It makes the watering nice in even with great coverage.

Gary "The Wiz" Grande also uses a similar watering system and says it is the best he has tried.