Growing giant pumpkins sounds like fun, right? You’re probably thinking about those record sizes you read about. Wouldn’t it be fun to attempt such a feat in your own garden? You’ll need more than just store-bought fertilizer though. You’ll need lots of soil amendments and a few other gardening hacks we’re going to cover below.
It’s no surprise that you’re interested in learning how to achieve some bragging rights in your backyard. Wouldn’t it be fun to break a record? If so, sit back and relax as we help you get started with the best things to add to your soil to grow your first set of giant pumpkins!
Manure is decomposed (composted) animal waste that provides nitrogen and other vital nutrients to the soil. It is not only good for pumpkins, but animal based fertilizers in general are great for all kinds of plants. You can also purchase bone meal and blood meal, which provide organic nutrients in specific ratios. Fish emulsion is another popular fertilizer that provides a balanced N-P-K ratio to plant roots. But composted manure isn’t necessarily considered to be just a fertilizer like those others, even though it provides many of the same resources. It’s considered to be both a soil amendment and fertilizer. That means you can add it as a ratio to your regular soil before planting. Mix up to 3 inches of compost into your topsoil layer before planting.
It’s undeniable that well-composted manure is one of the best things that you can add to your soil. But what are the best kinds of manures to apply to your soil? Actually, any kind of organic manure would usually work to give a nutrient boost to your pumpkin patch. And most growers will obtain whatever kind of manure is locally available.
The most common kinds though are cow and horse manure. You may also use commercially sold chicken manure or bat guano. However, if you’re new to all this, we recommend using the most common which are cow and horse manure. But don’t get us wrong as all kinds of manure will be good as initially discussed. It’s just that cow manure can be better as the cow processes its food more efficiently than other animals and horse manure contains many small seeds, which have passed through the horse’s system unprocessed. So, cow manure is preferred for weed control.
But once you’ve prepared your soil by amending with manure, you can take it a step further by looking up a good compost tea recipe that you can spray on each week and feed nutrients directly into the leaves of your pumpkin plants.
Almost every vegetable, including pumpkins of course, thrives on soil rich in compost. That’s why it’s actually considered a gardener’s best friend. Most pumpkin growers will have their own compost pile. The best thing? You can actually throw everything from leaves and grass clippings to vegetable scraps into your compost pile.
Most gardeners know that it’s very important to never include table scraps with animal matter composition, but I felt the need to point that out in case you’re new to gardening. It is also important that you ensure things you put into your compost pile are free from plant diseases. For example, if your current pumpkin crop had a fungus or other diseases, throwing it to your compost is a big no-no. Why? If your compost is not hot enough, the disease will thrive and will most probably re-infest your next giant pumpkin crop!
Most leaves are fairly neutral in ph and are generally healthy for the soil and your giant pumpkins, which makes them a frequent addition to a grower’s garden. We recommend Oak and Maple leaves. If you don’t have enough trees around your yard and you tend to get bagged leaves from the neighborhood, you need to be careful as not all leaves would be good for your homegrown giant pumpkins. Examples of leaves to avoid are those that come from Black Walnut trees, as they contain the toxin Jugoline which can harm your pumpkins.
If you reside in a town that has a yard waste recycling program, then you're lucky as you can get a good supply of leaf mulch, which is one of giant pumpkin’s favorites!
So that’s it! Those are our top 3 things you can add to your soil to get that giant pumpkin of yours to grow healthy and pretty!
One last thing to remember is that your giant pumpkins would need more nutrients compared to your usual plants to grow as healthy as they can be.
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