Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pumpkin Season is Springing Upon Us

Yesterday was the annual Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Spring Meeting. It had a great turnout and equally as good weather for the event. Seed exchange, lessons on growing techniques and the latest information on soil probiotics biologicals were shared. Giant pumpkin growers have been using natural fungus and bacteria to help grow bigger pumpkins for years. I've been using things like like endo mycorrhizal fungi for years and this last year I tried new bacteria and fungi like Azos, trichoderma and bacillus. This year I plan on using the same produts (except for maybe Azos that I'm not fully convinced yet that the benefits out way the risks with yet) but on a slightly larger scale covering more of the patch than just the stump area and main vine.

Biota Max's has developed a new tablet form of the biologicals I used last year. In 2010 I used the liquid form and it appears that the tablet will be easier to use and it has more varieties of beneficial bacteria which will be great. The idea behind using beneficial bacteria and fungi are three fold:
  • Overwhelm the soil with the good stuff so the there is no room in the soil for the bad bacteria and fungus
  • Build synergistic relationships between the plant and the soil where the bacteria are fixing nitrogen in the soil and bringing nutrients beyond the reach of the pumpkin plant's roots back to the plant
  • Add beneficial bacteria and fungus to the soil that will break down nutrients to a form that the pumpkin plant can use.
  • These three things together are often referred to as the soil food web. A healthy soil is balanced, full of beneficial organisms and feeding the pumpkin to help it grow

This week I will be starting my pumpkin seeds for the season. In keeping with the normal pumpkin growers mentality of "more is better" I've added an additional 80watts of grow lights to my seed starting area.

Today I brought my seed starting mixture (Promix BX), earthworm castings from my worm bins and a little humic acid into the house to begin warming them up so they will be ready for planting time. I'll start my seeds in paper towels and once the tap root comes out I'll put the seed into the soil mixture which will probably be on Saturday. A few days later I should have sprouts coming up and we are off to the races again with great hopes for September and October of this year.


Anonymous said...

I just bought three of these tablets. When will you start applying to the entire patch? Is it a one time deal or do you apply all year?


Jamie said...

Sorry for the delayed reply. The world champ applied the tablets throughout the year last year. I think it is important to apply early in the season in the very least to build up the good so they outnumber the bad in the patch. I'm going to apply in the next three weeks and then again in early June when the vine starts running.