Sunday, April 5, 2020

Getting the Pumpkin Patch Soil Prepared for 2020

So this last week I took soil samples and sent them into Western Labs so I know what I have in my soil and to get recommendations on what I need to add.  Both patches came back with very similar results.  The one surprise is that the greenhouse patch I expected to have higher nitrogen since I kind of jacked it up last season.  I'm guessing that since I completely laid off nitrogen the 2nd half of the season the plant used a lot of that up.  I also watered in the greenhouse a fair amount this winter to help flush it out.  Last year my nitrates were much higher than in the greenhouse in the spring.  I wondered why at first, but then realized, 3 feet of snow had gone through the soil leaching out the nitrogen during the winter, where the greenhouse didn't have all that water.  So this winter I watered the cover crop much more regularly and deeply.

Yesterday I turned over the soil in the planting area to start killing off the cover crop, get the soil turned more deeply and also to make it a little easier to till.  I've found when you have a thick cover crop the tiller tines slide accross the grass and it can be a challenge to get a deep till.  Turning the soil makes that a little easier.

My plan is to start my 2005 seed on April 13th and then the rest of the seeds on April 15th.  Karl Haist said my 2005 seed was a little bit of a runt, so it may not be mature and I want to see if it will germinate.  If it doesn't I'll go with one of the other Haist seeds that I have to replace it, so I want to give the 2005 a little bit of a head start so I'll know if I need to start another seed.

Then my hope will be to get the plants into the hoop houses around May 1st, weather permitting.  The ideal would be to get the plants into the soil a week after starting the seeds, when the first true leaf starts popping out, but because of my weather, I can't do that.  I start my plants in descent sized pots to try to keep the roots from getting bound, but sometimes I can't get the plants out of the pots for 3 weeks, which is too long.

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