Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nitrogen for Vine Growth

One of the reason I started this giant pumpkin growing blog is so that I can look back on previous posts to make comparisons and remind me what I've done.  This season I start my pumpkin plants about 10 days earlier than usual.  Although that gave me some problems early, it looks like they are in good shape now.   I need to come up with better strategies for the early season, because of my environment, but it isn't how you start the race, but how you finish.  

I just went back two years ago and four years ago and took a look at the pictures of my plants on the same number of growing days using this blog.   I was surprised to see that my 747 plant is ahead of the plants from both of those years by a couple of days and the 1685 plant is on par with the plants from those years.   I figured I was probably just a little behind.

I suspect I'll be pollinating pumpkins sometime in the next two weeks, so right now I want to grow out this plant as much as I can.  The previous weeks were about root growth, now we transition to growing the plant big.

Today I have my plants their first real dose of nitrogen to help support the vine growth.  The plant is going to need a lot of nitrogen to support the vine growth over the next month, until the pumpkin starts taking off, so you need to make sure it has what it needs.  I gave my plants some blood meal (which is a good source of nitrate nitrogen and iron) and NPK Grow formula (7-4-5).   I am just spoon feeding them however.  About a 3/4 tablespoon of each poured down a drench.  During vine growth the plants need a little more nitrate nitrogen and the blood meal gives them what the need.  The ammonia sulfate in the NPK Grow formula is the easiest form of nitrogen for plants to take up, so it fairly immediately used by the plant.

I also gave the plants a little B-vitamins.  These put the plant on systemic alert and will help the plant when I take the hoop houses off of them in the coming days.

Coming days will finally be warming up in the low 80s, which will be good.  Nighttime lows will finally be in the 40s, which isn't ideal, but compared to what I've had I can get the plants out of the hoop houses without much fear of them freezing. 

The lows tonight are for around 39 degrees, but the 747 had outgrown its hoop house yesterday, so I added an extension on it.   Will be tilling this cover crop in starting this next week.  I'll slowly start tilling it as the plant grows out.

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