Fall Garden Projects-First up-putting the pumpkin patch to rest

Horse manure on top of pumpkin patch

I’ve been really busy this fall around the garden since the Pumpkin Bash. It seems like I never have time to do any projects when the garden is going so I try and get some of the projects done in the fall before the dead of winter. Last week cleaned out the pumpkin patch and then I rented that Bobcat where I spread out about 4 yards of horse manure on top of it. I really needed to dig it in or it would blow away before spring.

giant rototiller-16 hp

So yesterday I rented a giant rototiller (16 hp) and plowed in the 4 yards of manure, 50 lbs dried molasses (it smells so sweet), 50 lbs mushroom compost (are we cooking here?), and 50 lbs of gypsum (for calcium-makes strong bones, I mean strong plants!) in the pumpkin patch.

final pumpkin patch done

Now it looks so beautiful and is ALMOST ready for next spring! I still have to dig in some leaves (in the holes where I will be planting the pumpkin plants next spring) and a little (I mean very little) composted chicken manure to start the decomposition process so they can decompose over the winter and become leaf mold or should I say leaf gold by spring. This will be the third year for this pumpkin patch and boy what a difference three years makes when you add amendments each year. It’s starting to look good and the rototiller just cut through it fluffing it up together. I don’t like to rototill very much because of how hard it is on the soil microbes but felt that I needed to do it for now since this dirt was so void of any organic material and hard as a rock. I think after this year I’ll won’t have to do it again. I will add more mychorrizial next spring to help replenish the soil microbes.

9 comments on “Fall Garden Projects-First up-putting the pumpkin patch to rest

  1. I’ve been following your blog for a couple months so far, and want to thank you for the garden jobs posts. I moved to Northern New Mexico near Mora from Southern California a year ago and need to learn an entire new schedule growing-wise. This helps me a lot. I grew veggies inside a Growing Dome this past spring and summer with great success, but want to grow stuff outside, too.


    • I also moved to SF from San Diego 17 years ago and what a change in gardening schedule and what will actually grow here! I envy that you have a Growing Dome!
      For outside growing, I would recommend doing it in raised beds with some native soil and lots of other stuff=top soil to amend the native soil, horse manure if you have access to it to add organic material, gypsum to help break up the soil and add calcium. My raised vegetables beds are not framed, just mounded up. I will do a post shortly in breaking new ground as I’m in the process right now of creating some new veggie beds.


  2. Your patch looks great. Our pumpkins succumb to some sort of bacterial infection. It was weird. We have to figure out where to put a patch next year and maybe we’ll follow your recipe. I don’t really know why everything grows in our alkaline soil (and grows big too) but I’m gonna chalk it up to luck this year.


    • Hi HDC! Perhaps your patch had some fungal disease in which case next year you could spray the plant and drench them with organic fungicides. They really work in curbing many diseases. Let me look up what I used and where I got them (how quickly I forget after the season!) and get back to you.. As far as why veggies grow here pretty easily is they like a soil with a higher ph-more alkaline which we have no shortage of. Most people back east have acidic soil (sweeter) and need to add stuff to raise the ph. We don’t have to do that here. Now some veggies like the soil with a lower ph but most do fine here.


  3. gene solyntjes says:


    You do a great job with your website of showing people how to do it here! Where do you obtain dried molasses and mushroom and mychorrizal? I have added none of these to my soil.



    • Hi Gene-
      I get the molasses from ‘The Feed Bin’ here in SF. You might want to call them first before making a trip in to make sure they have some. I use it to feed the microbes and the pumpkins love it too. I get the mushroom compost from Newmans Nursery here in town-it’s nice and cheap and the plants and soil love it. I get the mychorriazial in granular form from extreme pumpkinstore.com and it is quite expensive there. I only add it in the hole when I plant in spring and at leach leaf node to help make a better root system for giant pumpkins BUT Santa Fe Greenhouses is now carrying some mychorrizial products in liquid form that you can drench around the root ball when you feed the roots with fish emulsion. I bought some this year and if I wasn’t a giant veggie grower, this is the way to go I believe-less costly. I have a post about it and will have to find it and email you with it!


  4. We get our myco stuff from this place:


    When we’re ready to grow mushrooms we’ll order from Paul.

    I would definitely be interested in preventing the problem we had this year…I want to grow some big pumpkins! 🙂


    • Hi again-
      Putting mushroom compost in the soil is for adding more nutrients and micronutrients back into the soil, just like adding regular compost only with a few other things. It has nothing to do with growing mushrooms although if you wanted to grow them I suppose you could make some good compost from it!


  5. No, I understand. We used a mushroom compost too in our amendments this year. I just meant that Paul Staments is the fungi guy for the different mychorrizial products. This year we purchased a mychorizial product for grasses. Next year it will be for the garden. He also has different fungi for starting gourmet mushrooms. 🙂


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