Yesterday I visited two giant pumpkin growers' patches. It is always fun to sit around and talk pumpkins with other growers and see what they have going. The Wiz is even kind enough to offer food and beverage for the visit which is really nice. The downside of visiting other patches is the pumpkin envy that can ensue. Don't get me wrong, I am satisfied with where my plants are at right now but when you see another grower's plants (and/or pumpkin) and they are nearly twice as big as yours then it can do you some good and some bad. The good is that you can see what the growers are doing and start incorporating it into your own pumpkin growing program. The bad is that it can get you off your own program, make you over fertilize and make you less patient. Slow and steady wins the race in giant pumpkin growing. It is easy to pour on the nitrogen to get a big plant, but that doesn't always translate into a big pumpkin.
What I pulled away from yesterday's patch visits is that when your main is growing nicely but the side vines aren't doing much then it is time to put a little blood meal down (which I gave the plants a touch more of today). That hail netting in Colorado is a must. And that you should never be on the pointy end of a gun when the grower can tell which is the trigger and which is the safety.
In addition to the blood meal I also gave the plants and the patch some compost tea with a descent amount of humic acid in it. The plants got some of the compost tea but most of it was put down around the patch so that I cam make sure there is a bunch of good biology on the outer edges of the root zone. I want to make sure those roots are growing as much as they can right now before I start growing pumpkins.