Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again; Soil Samples

Time to start thinking about pumpkins. We'll actually thinking about pumpkins for most giant pumpkin growers is a year around thing, but now it is almost time to get back to work again. I took advantage of some very nice Denver weather to get into the pumpkin patch and take some soil samples. To know what to add to your patch during your spring patch prep you need to know what to add to your soil. Each spring and often times in the fall I'll send in soil sample to A & L Western Agricultural Laboratories to get my soil tested.

To test your soil get a clean spoon that is free of rust and dig down to about 8 inches in about 12 different places and put the soil in a zip lock bag until you have about 1 1/2 cups. Don't touch the soil at all with your fingers. A drop of sweat or a flake of rust can throw off the soil testing because of salt that can come from your hand or rust from a shovel. Usually within a week or so you'll get your soil test results and for a few bucks more the results will come with instructions on what to add to the soil.

I usually send my test results to a few local growers and a couple of heavy hitter pumpkin growers asking what I should add to my soil in the spring. The answers I usually get back are somewhat varied (there is a lot of science that goes into soil and plant studies but the science isn't very clear and growers experiences and opinions vary). Based on the feedback I get I'll add additional amendments in April and till that into the ground.

I was pleased to run into a few worms in the patch while digging around. I didn't expect to see any thing time of year. I see lots of organic material in the soil and it has a nice, dark earthy smell to it. If I can get some time away from my website business I hope to grow big this year. I've got to get over 1,000 pounds.

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