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Fertilizing and Watering

Subject:  Casual gardener looking for advice. (Midwest USA)

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Steve's Garage

New Castle, Indiana

I have done all the usual research regarding pumpkin growing but I thought coming to consult with people who do it all the time would be better yet.

So basically I'm just growing some pumpkins out in my field and just bought regular seeds at the store. I've got three types going; small decorative(can't remember the name), pie pumpkins(medium size), and then the jack o latern variety. My two smaller types took off like gangbusters but the jack o lantern vines are pretty weak and only within the last week got a properly pollinated fruit going. The soil is exactly the same where those are so I was thinking I may need to try to boost it with some phosphorus fertilizer or something. Thoughts?

Also my wife was asking about 'turning' the fruits to try to keep them round, but I figured doing that might damage the stem. They are developing on grass so I wasn't too concerned about rot.

Sorry these are pretty much basic questions but I'm a noob. I'd like to get a good crop going one of these years.

7/24/2021 9:14:39 AM


Syracuse, NY

By the time you read all the replies here, you'll have forgotten all that I tell you, which will be sparse but hopefully helpful, lol! I suppose that if the plants are growing at different rates, not to worry as the Field Pumpkin (FP) ones have a longer time to fill up those bigger fruits and right next to the others look slower at doing it - just in my opinion - tortoise and the hare; I will ALWAYS recommend to others initially to water any plant whether ailing or not ANY time you water (2X, 3X a week, as you wish) with Miracle Gro formulated for whatever stage the plants might be in at the time, which is 15-30-15 now or a BALANCED formulation such as 10-10-10 or slightly (and NO) higher (than) like 20-20-20, but I've never seen other than 24-8-16 off-the-shelf (general-purpose, to START with) and 15-30-15 or 10-50-10, the last two known as 'Bloom Booster' types for more flowering and rooting of it all. We don't wanna upset the plants that have 'babies' on them once they do...Rattlesnake growing - NO sudden moves, lol. 1 TBSP. per gallon of H2O, nonetheless - don't 'more is better' it. SO, avoid anything with super-exaggerated #s other than P at this time.

7/24/2021 2:21:39 PM


Syracuse, NY

Not sure of how many to keep on each plant but bigger comes from fewer on each, so, down to at least ONE per plant for the biggest(s), lol. Any fewer, you can have an IMAGINARY one of 400 lbs, lol! And a nice plant, only.

Turning the fruits can ONLYYYYYYYYYY be done to get the fruits at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular) to the vine, like a punching bag hanging down from its mount; This MUST be done during the DAY and only a TINY amount each time over 3-4 days or until accomplished and NEVER at night when any stems or vines are less pliable. That having been said, if you can still slip ANY material under each of your best fruits with any help raising the fruits as little as possible, in MY case pieces of pink Owens-Corning housing insulation (NOTHING that can ever rot) up to the intended size of the fully-grown fruit, now'd be the time to do it - grass rots underneath anything eventually and there is a 'dimple' formed also that'll inhibit your fruit-moving efforts as well.

Definitely also see the Field Pumpkin Growing forum once you've absorbed my rant's vital data, lol;

ALL are my honest opinions and I'll be doing most of it in a few minutes also, lol - my biggest is a warball-sized 1985 Miller X self and I am SOOOO far behind!---please pick and choose amongst my and others' very knowledgeable replies and I hope you grow the (Great)est (Pumpkin)s you've been wishing for---eric g

7/24/2021 2:22:02 PM

Little Kins

Grittyville, WA

Some commercial strains are designed to produce one pumpkin per plant. I think they want uniform maturity dates. So vigorous vines may not be what they are breeding for. If you get one pumpkin per plant, maybe that's exactly what it was bred to do.

Plant a different variety or at a different spacing to affect the abundance of pumpkins?

That's my guess.

7/24/2021 3:06:56 PM

Little Kins

Grittyville, WA

That's probably part of their disease and profit strategy... Short crop cycle. Your strategy for getting a good crop... should be to try more varieties and experiment with different ways of growing them?
Welcome to bp. Post some pics:)

7/24/2021 3:16:26 PM

Steve's Garage

New Castle, Indiana

Oh insulation! I never even thought about that. That would make a good cushion and yes..it definitely won't rot...won't catch fire either!

You know you guys make a good point in that the biggest variety I have here has the weakest vines....probably because the fruit needs to be bigger.

I'm also wondering if I need to lop off the end of my main vines on the medium sized ones because I'm looking at two and three healthy fruits on them already.

7/24/2021 4:14:39 PM

big moon

Bethlehem CT

welcome to bp.com! I grow a bunch of different varieties and types of pumpkins and squash. I pretty much let them do their thing once they start vining. I wouldn't worry about them as much about rotting etc. They are ready so much faster than the Atlantic Giant's. Get them out of the field when they are ripe, That will reduce the chances of them rotting or a mouse or deer eating them. As far as fertilization goes, here is what I do. WHen seeding the plants I use a general purpose fertilizer like a 10-10-10 fertilizer or if you prefer an organic fertilizer like espoma plant tone will work great. THe plants get a handful or two at planting time. Making a ring around the plant. About a month later they get another couple handfuls of fertilizer right before the vines really take off. Usually that will get them through. This year has been really wet so the other day I did my best to broadcasst some more into the plants and also around the vines to help give them a boost and get them a nice green color. I wouldn't worry too much, it sounds like you are doing well. You are more than halfway there!

7/24/2021 5:08:16 PM


Syracuse, NY

Yeah, not the fuzzy kind of insulation for within walls and such, which IIIIIIIIII had not ever thought of (maybe it'd work, lol) but a rigid type, such as RIGID by DOW or someone; I just like it to be under any fruit I get to in time, on up to 3/4-inch 4' X 4' pieces when I was really crazy about it. Now, it's 3' X 4' and 1/2- to 5/8-inch, so I can fit it into my car, lol.
I moved my 1985 X self and followed my very own advice today - first time for everything! At this time I can move the material with the fruit on it - probably less chance of damage---eg

7/24/2021 9:04:42 PM

Steve's Garage

New Castle, Indiana

Ohh you mean Styrofoam! I think I actually some foam board in the garage somewhere. Previous owners left a bit of it probably assuming I'd be using it to prevent pumpkin rot....

7/25/2021 10:26:19 PM


Syracuse, NY

BAGLOL (Bust A Gut Laugh Out Loud)---eg

7/25/2021 11:21:26 PM

Total Posts: 10 Current Server Time: 9/29/2023 3:47:06 AM
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