Monday, June 21, 2021

Fungicide and Pesticide for the Plants

 This evening I used a fungicide and pesticide on the pumpkin plants.   I've been doing a lot of extra misting through the foggers over the last week because of some brutal heat with lots of wind and that is going to push disease pressure up on the plants.  To help with that I've sprayed the leaves.  Some growers do chemical applications and others use all organic.  I think there can be a place for both depending on your needs and what you are trying to do.   Either way, you'll eventually run into a situation were one, other or both will be needed in the pumpkin patch and you need to do it before you start seeing the problems.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Pumpkin Tissue Test at Polliniation Time

On Monday I cut a leaf off my pumpkin plant and sent it into Western Labs to get a tissue test.  This is the fourth time I've done a tissue test over the years and I found it invaluable.  What you have in your soil isn't necessarily what the plant is taking up.  The reason for this is if you have too much of one thing in the soil it can actually prohibit the uptake of other things in the soil in some cases.  So a tissue test can let you know what the plant is actually getting into it and what it needs.

I got the tissue test back yesterday, just in time for the pollination of a 4 lober this morning.  I'm really hoping this pollination takes, as the timing and placement is pretty ideal.  I selfed the pumpkin, using two flowers from the 1825 plant that I used to hand pollinate with.  

On average a pumpkin will grow about 90-100 days.   Right now I'm 98 days from the weigh-off, so weather permitting (which almost never happens for me),  I can get all the growth I can out of this pumpkin.

I don't know why, but I'm always surprised by the tissue test results each year, even though they seem to always come back about the same.  Basically anything in the soil that is leachable, I'm deficient in (common with sandy soil).  I thought I would be high in nitrogen and phosphorous.  In particularly phosphorous, because when I put down the monoammonium phosphate in the spring, I thought I was putting down sulfur, so I over did it (oops).  To see in the tissue test I was low in phosphorous was a surprise.   I was also low in nitrogen, copper, zinc and manganese.   So I'll be applying extra amounts of those to the soil and doing foliar applications over the next week of each.

It has been scorching hot in Miday, Utah this last week.   98-99 degrees every day and some days with high winds.  To moderate the temperature in the greenhouse I sometimes run the misters non-stop for hours to keep the temps inside in the 80s.   Today is supposed to be the last of the high 90s and then it drops into the low 90s for the foreseeable future.

Have had a strange thing with new leaves on the main vine.  All of then are shriveled.  Now sure if it is because of the heat or something else, but something I'll be watching.  Side vine leaves don't seem to have the same issue.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Almost Pollination Time; Prepping for a Pumpkin

One thing I came away from the last year's growing seminar was prepping the pumpkin for big growth BEFORE the big growth begins.   In the past, I've more taken the approach of feeding as the demand ramps up.   So typically, around day 28 after pollination the pumpkin starts really kicking it into gear and can start putting on 40 pounds in a day.   So what I was doing in the past, is ramping up my potassium around day 25ish so the supply could meet the demand.  The new thinking is to start ramping up much earlier now.

So four days ago I gave the plant a foliar application of TKO.  A four days before that a little 3-12-12 on the soil.  Today I gave the plant some 7-4-5, with a touch more of potassium, some zinc and manganese.  I did a small amount of manganese because my soil test showed it a little low in the spring.  Manganese is used in seed production and it is looking like the female flower at 13 feet will be opening in the next two days, so I figure now is a good time to add a little more to help with seed production.

I should mention, although I'm pre-loading on potassium a little, nitrogen in the big demand in the plant right now.   The vines on all sides are growing very quickly, so spoon feeding nitrogen is still important.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Frost on the Pumpkin? Not Last Night, but it was close.

 Last night it hit 31 degrees in the pumpkin patch, but the plants were kept safe.  My plant, which is in a greenhouse, isn't protected from overnight lows by the greenhouse.  The temps at night in the greenhouse are the same as the temps outside.  Sometimes even a little cooler at the first part of the evening.  However, if you run a propane heater, which I did last night, you can get it warmer.  The low in the greenhouse got to 37 degrees, but not cold enough to do any damage.

My son's plant, which has grown to the end of his hoop house, was kept nice and warm and did well last night too, under an insulated tarp and with a ceramic heat lamp.  But there was ice on the tarp this morning, so it got cold outside.

Yesterday I gave my plant some liquid seaweed with humic acid on the recently covered vines.   That should help with root growth.

I have a female flower in the vine tip at about 12-13 feet out on the main vine.  So we should be 7-9 days out from pollinating what should be a keeper.  I'll need to send in a tissue sample soon to the lab to see what the plant needs.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Pumpkin Fertilizer and the Choice is Made

I was lamenting what pumpkin plant to pull until a few days ago.   The vine tip on one of the plants got burnt, which is pretty inexplicable, because in the greenhouse that hasn't happened to me before, so that plant has self selected to be pulled today.

Gave the plant some 14-0-14, calmag and seaweed today.  Right now I've been fertilizing small amounts about twice a week.   Once I start using the irrigation rather than hand watering, when I remove the hoop house, I start fertigating small amounts of fertilizer almost daily.

The chosen plant is a couple of feet outside of the greenhouse now and growing nicely.   Side vines are coming on strong now, so this plant will go from looking like a stick to filling the first half of the greenhouse in a matter of weeks.  I haven't checked the vine tip yet, but I'm hoping to see a female flower show up in the next week.  The plant has had a couple of flowers on it already, so I'm guessing a female should show up soon.