Saturday, June 13, 2015

Giant Pumpkin Fertilizer Program: Part 2

In this post I'm going to discuss in some detail the methodology behind my giant pumpkin fertilizer program. Previously I listed out my fertilizer program which is also listed below.  This fertilizer program should work for many environments but should be adjusted to your specific soil needs.  For example, if you have low PH and need calcium in your soil you would probably be adding lime to your soil.  My soil is high PH, high phosphorous and high potassium so you won't see me adding lime or much potassium or phosphorous to the soil.

Looking at the program below, you'll see that in early May I'm trying to get beneficial biology going in the soil early to help protect the roots and add beneficial bacteria and fungi that will help feed the plant.   In the 2nd week I'm also adding a touch of RAW Phosphouous to the soil.  This particular type of phosphorous, when added in the first three weeks after transplant has been shown to increase root mass by 20%.  Who wouldn't want that?

You'll not that in may I'm not giving much in the way of fertilizers to the plant at this point.  What I am giving is being spoon feed in small quantities.  The soil should be built up enough to properly feed the plant.  You'll also note the kelp I've giving to the plant roots.  This will help build the roots system with different plant hormones that comes from kelp.  The main focus of May should be on the roots of the plant.

In June I'm still spoon feeding the plant but adding a little nitrogen.  The RAW Nitrogen and RAW ominA will help support vine growth and in June it is all about the vines.  A good portion of the nitrogen the plant is going to take up in its live is going to be during the month of June.  RAW ominA is a very interesting product that I just learned about this year.  Not only is it a nitrogen source, but the amino acids that are include in ominA can help open calcium ion pathways by the thousands and even millions.  More calcium in the plant means a healthier plant that is more disease and insect resistent.   Since I have soil that is a little high in potassium, which is antagonistic to the uptake of calcium, I was thrilled to learn what ominA could help me do in my patch. 

Around the third week and fourth week of June is pollination time.  So around that time I'm going to give the plant a drench of ominA, humic acid, fulvic acid and calcium.  Some research shows that the newly growing pumpkin can take in more calcium initially so by adding omina, fulvic acid and humic acid I hope to chelate the calcium in the soil to make it available to the plant.  Again small quantities here.  I don't want to give the plant much nitrogen at pollination time because that is going to want to make the plant grow vines and at this stage I want the plant to start focusing on fruit.

In the past I've kind of held off on potassium around pollination time.  Some have suggested it can cause the fruit to abort.  That could be true, but I also want to grow a pumpkin as big as I possibly can so I'm going to give the plant foliar TKO around pollination time to help the fruit and flowering of the plant and then after pollination spoon feed with a little potassium.

About 24-28 days after pollination that pumpkin should really start to take off.  By this time the plant has hopefully grown to a descent size and some of the side vines on the plant should be terminated.  You should pollinate the pumpkin on the main vine after 9 feet (14 feet would be closer to ideal) and the side vines and main vine should have grown big enough that there are enough leaves and root system to support the growth of the pumpkin.  At about day 28-32 the vines on the plant should really start to slow down in growth as the pumpkin becomes the main sink of the plant (aka black hole).

In July and August the fertilizer program is about supporting the pumpkin growth.  The plant is going to pull up a lot of potassium from the soil.  Like I said before, my soil is a touch high in potassium, but even with that the rhizosphere around the root hairs can only reach so much potassium and as that pumpkin rings the dinner bell, we will want to make sure the plant has what it needs.  This is where some foliar applications can be helpful.

You'll note that each month I'm giving the plants some B-Vitamins. Only in the last few years have scientists figured out how B-vitamins help support the plant.  Basically it triggers a systemic response in the plant that makes it more resistant to insects, pathogens, heat and other stresses.  One application will help the plant for about two weeks.

You'll also notice that towards the end of August I'll be giving the plants a little Cane Molasses.  In the later stages a plant will give less sugars back to the microbes in the soil.  A little cane molasses gives the microbes the carbohydrates they need and in return they will have the energy they need to give nutrients to the plant in the late season.

September is about making sure that the plant has what it needs to continue growth of the pumpkin.  In the past I haven't had great growth in September.  That is partially due to weather but I think my plants on bonking in September and are tired so I'm missing out on wait gains, particularly at the beginning of the month.  So a primary focus this season will be better nutrient management in late August and early September to make sure I'm pushing the pumpkin to the end of the season.

This fertilizer program is a guideline. Read your plants to see what they are telling you what they need.  Don't over fertilize, anticipate needs before they happen and watch the weather because that can sometimes influence when and how much you give a plant.  Grow em big in 2015!  If you are looking for discount fertilizers? Visit our store at

May planting outdoors in hoop houses:
Week 1B-vitamin, liquid seaweed, compost tea. With mykos, myco grow, Rootshield and Azos in the planting hole.
Week 2phosphorus, compost tea, fulvic acid, yucca, silica
Week 3compost tea, foliar seaweed, foliar humic acid
Week 4compost tea, fish & seaweed, Azos, Biotamax, Actinovate with iron, Rootshild, omina, silica

June vine running:
Week 5Omina, nitrogen, compost tea, yucca
Week 6TKO, foliar multimineral, foliar fish & seaweed, fulvic acid, calcium, ominA, humic acid
Week 7foliar humic acid, compost tea
Week 8foliar multimineral, foliar seaweed, foliar humic acid, yucca

July fruit (assumed that pumpkin pollination will be around the last week of June):
Week 9foliar potassium, Omina
Week 10foliar fish & seaweed, foliar multimineral, B-vitamins
Week 11potassium, foliar fish & seaweed, biotamax, actinovate
Week 12cane molasses, foliar multimineral, fish & seaweed on the soil, foliar humic acid

Week 13Omina, foliar fish & seaweed, foliar multimineral, compost tea, foliar actinovate, B-vitamins
Week 14potassium, Actinovate, Biotamax, azos, yucca, foliar fish & seaweed, foliar humic acid
Week 15foliar multi-mineral, foliar fish & seaweed, foliar humic acid
Week 16TKO, cane molasses, fish & seaweed on the soil, foliar seaweed, fulvic acid

Week 17foliar multimineral, foliar fish & seaweed, foliar humic acid, foliar actinovate
Week 18TKO, foliar fish & seaweed, foliar humic acid, cane molasses
Week 19potassium, foliar seaweed, foliar humic acid
Week 20foliar potassium, foliar seaweed, foliar humic acid


Ryan Nefcy said...

How the heck! Its been so wet down here in the Springs growth seems to be stunted. The last few days have been a bit more dry and growth seems to be starting to pickup again but I dont have plants anywhere near that size! 3.5 feet ish at max!

Jamie Johnson said...

Not been a great year for growing, but I have two plants that want to seem to grow. That and hoop houses with a heat source in them helped get me through that horrible May. Your plant is at that point now that it should really start to take off. If it doesn't then hit them with a small touch of nitrogen and see if that doesn't get them into gear. All of this rain might have leeched some of your nitrogen.

Ryan Nefcy said...

I kinda leaned that way already and hit them with one dose of 24-8-16. With the warmer days coming I am hoping to see some real growth over the next week. Monday was unreal here, we had near 5" of rain in about 4 hours.

Jamie Johnson said...

5" of rain? That is unreal in this part of the country. That will slow up a plant too. However, warmth a warm soil will make that plant explode into growth.