On Wednesday I transplanted the giant pumpkins in Bri’s Pumpkin Patch here at the property.
Bri, my horsey, is no longer with me. Last year I used her 2000 sq foot corral as the giant pumpkin patch and I got a New Mexico State Record-421 lbs for Giant Pumpkin last year. I think she is watching over them! I miss her terribly.
Here’s how I plant the pumpkin transplants that I started in the house.
1. First I dig out an area about 4 feet around and 1-2 feet deep where their root system will grow. This year I added generous amounts of compost, 1/2 cup of mycorrhizal, 1 cup humate, and 1 cup of worm castings and mixed it into the area. (I did not add any fertilizers as my soil test I had done in Spring said I was high in nitrogen, potassium, and potash, which is your basic fertilizer ingredients. (This is weird because the pumpkins usually use up all available nutrients by the end of the season. The only thing I did last fall was put some chicken manure on top of the ‘holes’. I didn’t even dig it in but I think the nutrients leached into the soil from the winter snows and increased the levels.)
2. Then I dig a small hole where I place the pumpkins and I add another handful of worm castings and 1/2 cup more of mycorrhizal (it’s dry granule stuff) and mix them together. This way the castings and mycorrhizal will be right in the immediate root zone in the beginning and the bigger amended area will be accessible as the root system grows.
3. I carefully peeled off the peat pot including the bottom so not to disturb the roots but if the pumpkin is root bound, I must carefully squeeze the roots to loosen them up so they can grow outwards. This year I didn’t have to do that. I placed the pumpkins in the bottom of the hole opposite the first true leaf so it grows in the direction I want and put the amended soil back around the root ball. I make a well around the plant so I can add water right to the root zone.
4. In a 5 gallon bucket, I added 1 tsp/1 gallon of water of liquid seaweed and about 3 drops of Super Thrive/1 gallon of water which helps immensely with transplant shock. Super Thrive is super expensive and super good. It has lots of the B vitamin complex in it which helps with stress-just like for us! I first watered the well 2x to make sure all the soil was soaked around the plant, then I added the liquid seaweed/thrive in water to the well.
5. I put the Seaweed and Thrive with the water in each day for about 5 days, then afterwards I normally give them water with fish emulsion once a week but for now since my nitrogen is high I will wait awhile. I do water every day with about a 1/2 gal of water right now.
6. I don’t put fertilizers in the water every time I water, normally just once a week. I will also add other things to the water once a week but will discuss that as I go along in the season. I still have to do a drip system for the pumpkins and will hand water them until I get it up and running.
7. I cover the transplant with a small piece of row cover to help it in it’s transition with the intense sun and wind and keep rabbits away. I tack it down with rocks.
8. On Thursday I put the low tunnels I previously made over the already covered pumpkins to protect them from the heat and wind even more. Low tunnels are like high tunnels but only go over the plants. You can’t walk inside them-they are low! They will stay on till the plants grow out of them at the end. So far they are looking good. The soil is nice and warm at 70°F.
9. Saturday (today) I put the shade covering over the low tunnels as the sun is sooo intense right now. I can take it off once they adjust to the outside elements.