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Fertilizing and Watering

Subject:  Thin vines. No meat on 'em.

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Date Posted

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I feel like my plants are doing the Hansel & Gretel act... (And I am the witch.)

I will probably blast them with calcium. Your thought would be hugely appreciated I am kot a good enough grower!

It may look sort of normal but these are the thinnest vines I have seen. I suspect nutrients the surrounding environment has been artficial but favorable.
Thank you!!!


4/13/2019 11:46:50 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Dang this phone!!! Whatever they are missing is critical. I am frustrated.

4/13/2019 11:49:17 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Update... I tested some plamts and found almost no nitate. Which means there is an excess of ammonium. Ammonium interferes with calcium. And the lack of nitrate is not ideal. So maybe I've got this one fugured out. Awesome!!!

4/14/2019 10:06:44 AM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

Make be all the rotten hay...just sayin

4/14/2019 12:20:08 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Hay is not useful for nutrients in March or April.

However, in May/June I think it starts to be an overall positive.

4/14/2019 6:26:16 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

...maybe next may and June...uugh....gross

4/14/2019 7:47:20 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Gross is how things are... Get used to it my pampered friend:)

4/14/2019 8:06:46 PM

Engel's Great Pumpkins and Carvings

Menomonie, WI (mail@gr8pumpkin.net)

Why is it when you ask for advice. When you are given an opinion on what is occurring. You turn around and discount the advice given, do the exact opposite and then try to discredit the person who gave you advice.

4/14/2019 8:55:15 PM


Syracuse, NY

I think the plants are trying to grow as quickly as possible, thereby not having enough TIME to 'thicken up' until the plant is at LEAST out of its 'incubator radius' of 10 to 20 feet or more - think of this: have you ever seen a fully-mature STUMP of a plant in the first two weeks of growth? Probably not, but a few months later...it's a Coke can! - eg

4/15/2019 1:28:55 AM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I am not trying to discredit porkchop. He does a great job growing. I dont really know what his methods are. Yes, I will be doing the exact opposite of his advice. Not removing hay/straw from my method. Its too good for the soil. Is that a problem?

4/15/2019 1:35:02 AM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Eg, we are just having the most awful weather here. I will try some new ideas. I like the optomism. Its possible they will recover and get healthy. I read that silicates can help when the plant has excess ammonium. But yeah my patch is a sht show hopefully pc or engel will post pics of how its supposed to be done :)

4/15/2019 1:40:27 AM

don young

wheres the dirt? you growing in compost pile? or hay bale?

4/15/2019 8:39:17 AM

North Shore Boyz

Mill Bay, British Columbia

As a newbie, you should perhaps take the advice people offer you Mr. Glenomkins. Growing in heaping mounds of rotting hays and straw, on top of unammended “dirt” will continue to give you the results you have been achieving. What’s your PB?

4/15/2019 10:47:17 AM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

My methodology—LISTEN....do as much as I can to replicate to the soil conditions of the guys and gals growing the biggest healthiest plants and fruit possible...been watching now for almost 7 yrs...guess what I don’t see glen...big ol nasty piles of hay...I’m no science major but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason they wait til the “hay” turns black before it should go into the garden...but too each his own, personally I like watching you struggle to “figure it out”...it’s part of the fun, but ya know , some stuff...?... I just do what the pros have already fiquered out...or...?...just keep piling the hay on...it’ll turn eventually...those young roots growing in that composting environment will be fine come May or June ...

4/15/2019 10:52:50 AM


Torrance, Ca.

I pretty much do what porkchop and northshore do. Find one guy you trust that’s grown s few good pumpkins and do just what he or she says. Do this and I promise you a personal best!

Good luck!

4/15/2019 11:40:40 AM


Walhalla, ND.

Glenoma, I’ve looked at your diaries for the past three years. Either I’ve missed your soil sample or it doesn’t exist. Soil sample should be your top priority. I concur with the “All the other comments on this thread. Get ride of all the straw bails. My suggestion is take the year off, clean up rake up your garden area. Till it once in awhile during the summer. Do a soil sample this fall and see where your at. I know your involved in either the 150sqr ft contest and or the old seed contest. Mark off a 10x15 and do the best you can with the mess you got. I’m also not aware of any growers growing potatoes in with the pumpkins. I know your goal is 1000+ lb pumpkin but at the rate your going I don’t see how your going to achieve it. You don’t have to take my advice, but I highly recommend you take the advice of the growers on this site. After all they didn’t get where there at by using your methods.

4/15/2019 11:48:27 AM


New England

I'm a hobby grower so I don't really have a dog in this fight
Composted straw/hay is a great additive in the fall and would be complimentary come spring time if properly composted. Plants will not stay healthy in just a mildly composted/rotting hay/straw mixture...even if you were growing cucumbers and not GP. But you need to compost hay/straw first with regular turning-over before you can utilize it in the garden. Otherwise it's just a mess.

I recommend a soil sample and understanding where you are in order to determine what you need to do to get you where you want to be.

Giant pumpkins will not be successful grown in/on straw/hay bales or thick layers of it. They need proper soil to root and pull nutrients and water as quickly as possible from the earth. And everyone can attest that too much organic matter can be a problem as well. Straw has it's place in the garden and can be beneficial. Perhaps tweak how you are using it just a bit.

Start with a soil sample, utilize only straw that has been composted already, utilize the soil to bury vines and feed the plant efficiently. You will have healthier plants

4/15/2019 1:44:15 PM

Big T Hoff

Hadley Ny


4/15/2019 4:21:48 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

Thanks all I really did not even have soil until I did the heavy hay mulch thing. The round bale is an experiment. I will share my successes and failures. I cannot presume to know if it works until I try it. I do not have a tractor I do have a rototiller but my pbs have been on no till. Im getting worse results where I till. I appreciate the comments and yes I am moving away from thick hay a lot of what you see in my pics is to protect the ground. We had 12" of rain in the past week. Under these extreme conditions I actually dont have enough organics out there to fully protect the soil.

I enjoy reading about you all's successes and failures. No one has all the answers right?

Have a great season everyone.

4/15/2019 4:42:02 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

We just want you to succeed...

4/15/2019 4:48:13 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I do not plan to have thick hay near the plants except for the round bale experiment. But the winter rain here is brutal on bare soil. Cover crops are not as good at protecting the soil. Snow is great it protects the soil...a lot of you get snow and deep freezes. We get heavy cold rain. After three months of the kind of rain we get here... You no longer have soil.

Hopefully some points I am making have value. The points you all have made do have value to me. Thank you.

4/15/2019 4:58:18 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

Joel Holland and C2k aren’t having those problems...biiiig pumpkins...no hay...kapeesh?...

4/15/2019 5:14:24 PM

North Shore Boyz

Mill Bay, British Columbia

Cover crops play an essential role in protecting and preserving soil here in The Pacific Northwest, so whoever told you otherwise on cover crops is mis-informed.

“Cover crops curtail soil erosion by providing ground cover that reduces rain drop impact, reduces runoff, slows water velocities, and increases infiltration of water into the soil. Cover crops are an excellent way to reduce soil erosion, but they also play a major role in much more that reducing soil erosion.”


4/15/2019 6:25:06 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I am not a fan of drawing correlations. Although you are possibly correct in my estimation I think you are jumping to conclusions. Hay is the most obvious thing I do different. Drawing connections is easy, it looks superficially meaningful to draw these conclusions but its different than knowing the truth? I have had some minor pest issues but thats the extent of the logic that supports hay being bad.

My feeling was that lack of careful pruning/ good vine layout was the number one loss of weight for me last year. (-300 lbs) Followed by early harvest. (-200 lbs) and cramped root zone (-200). I do not know where pests fits exactly (maybe -100 lbs?). Its fine to worry about hay but if the comparison is hay vs no hay... Hay is a net benefit (+200) If the comparison is hay vs humic acid, maybe humic wins maybe humic plus a dumptruck load of balanced disease free compost perfectly applied to well prepared ground... maybe that would be (+800). Anyhow 1500-1600 is a realistic target. A lot of choices go into hitting that target it might only take a few days or a few hundred dollars to make that happen. Hopefully it happens this year... but on the other hand I'm in no hurry.

4/16/2019 3:08:07 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

We get cold here its not Puget Sound. I like the idea of cover crops but more of a mountain zone than a maritime zone. Also I get some shade in the winter. Its just a bad setup here for a cover crop. I will experiment with it though ok?

4/16/2019 3:27:45 PM


Walhalla, ND.

Glenoma, Hay in your garden isn’t the only issue. Your hay is making matters worse. It takes work, hard work, which cost nothing in monetary value.There’s a lot of growers that have to deal with what Mother Nature throws at them far worse and they overcome. I’m one of them. Three years ago my first year growing we had more rain than normal. My pumpkins were literally sitting in water. To over come that I put in trenches with nothing more than a spade leading to a hole I dug with a spade 3ft deep. I put in a sump pump I got from the local dump. Sometimes a guy has to do something to overcome nature. Hi heat well that’s a different story. What you have there’s growers out there wish they had. Take what you have and make it work to your benefit. I know your rains are only fall/winter/spring months. A pumpkin plant requires 8 hrs minimum of direct sunlight. You have that. Your a pretty smart guy, you know far more than I do about nutrition ferts etc. Get your growing area up to par and show us what you really can do. If you implement your knowledge into your garden and not just on this site you’ll achieve your goals. Which at this point I really don’t know what your goals are. Do you enjoy the hobby, doing the best you can and improve on your knowledge and weight gains, or do you enjoy more posting on BP how about how everyone else should be doing it.
Don’t get me wrong I’m trying to help you, like everyone else here. I’m glad to hear your at least willing to try a cover crop and doing away with all the hay. That stuff has its place in a compost pile turning itself into a good rich soil then apply it to your garden. We all want all growers to succeed in this hobby. One last thing then I’m done with this thread.
Forgive me for at times I’ve been very blunt. But what else can I say, I’m a retired Army NCO. Just be thankful you weren’t one of my private’s. Lol

4/16/2019 7:03:43 PM


Morgantown, WV


Used to do everything short of BEAT the sense into those silly privates!

Brandon... seriously buddy... pumpkins are WAY EASIER than 18 year olds you're throwing in front of live bullets and bomb rain.

4/16/2019 9:03:09 PM


Southern Plains

"I am not a fan of drawing correlations."


4/17/2019 11:39:16 PM

Big City Grower (Team Green Gro)



4/18/2019 9:56:15 AM

Wolfpack83 (Rebel Rousers)

central Nc

Hobbit, I just retired a couple years ago and you cant call em privates anymore. You have to say private (last name) or, wait for it.... 'warrior'. No shit, can you believe it??
Anyway, Brandon it's always fun reading these experiments. I dont know what the answer is, but it would be boring if we all did the same thing. I like your math. Mine is (-2000): dont know what the hell I'm doing...

4/18/2019 12:08:44 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

No worries about being blunt. Its not realistic for me to compete with Joel or Cindy or Gaderrys at the moment. If I improve my top weight every year then I am happy. Any lofty goals for the future will be based on that. The truth is boring eh?

4/19/2019 6:22:24 AM

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