Time waits for no man or a
Be prepared for what your
pumpkin will need
You can take reasonable care of your plant and pumpkin and be rewarded with one near 500 pounds. I would read the below information and write out your own time schedule and what products you plan to use. Keep a record of what happens and when it occurs, most growers have the best success when knowing what works for them
Each year look back on your notes and change the items that didn’t suit you, comparing dates of important events over the years of growing will help you avoid wasting time and money plus reduce the number of unplanned surprises
Numbers. Plants on average do not do well after 150 days. If you have a contest you want to attend and if your using a heated hut in the spring, count back 150 days from the contest. This is when you want your seeds to germinate . One week before planting your seeds indoors turn on your soil cables, allowing soil life to wake up before transplanting. If you are not using a heated hut germinate your seeds when it no longer goes lower than 45F at night, no sooner but later is better. Plants should be one to three weeks old when set outside
This is a schedule for Central Illinois. It can vary by a few weeks, you probably can’t do this earlier than stated but it may have to be delayed 2 weeks or more on wet and cool springs. If you live in northern Illinois or southern Illinois adjust the dates for your area
Check our other “how to” pages for more details, this is just a general timeline to help your reach your goals The start date for plants germinated indoors may depend on your equipment and space, on average plants are usually set out at 2 to 3 weeks of age, using 1 to 3 gallon containers. I would have an imidacloprid insecticide before you start your seeds, water your seedling with this before you set it outside, corn seed maggots may injure/kill your plant in the first 2 or 3 weeks outside.
April 7th, turn on soil heating cables, warming your soil two weeks before planting allows soil life to wake up
April 7th to 14th start seeds indoors for greenhouses, soak them seaweed water 1 to 5 hours them plant into your soil starter at 84F-85F/shut off seedling heat mats after they sprout if you have seaweed add ½ tsp to a quart of water to soak your seeds in. leave lights on 14-16 hours each day after seeds sprout.
May 2nd The soil in my planting sites covered with a small hut but without soil cables was only 62F, you want 65F as a bare minimum
April 23rd set out your main plants (in heated huts) depending on when they germinated
Here are a few items you can add to your planting hole, none of them are a must have item, the 3 main ones would be Mycorrhizae and Azos powder and Imidacloprid You can also use , ¼ cup Mycorrhizae and 2 TBLS Azos powder in planting hole, water in imidacloprid(insecticide) Other products that can be used in planting hole 2 cups Worm Castings, 2 teaspoons of Root Shield Plus, 1 ounce Blood Meal, Essential, Companion, Seaweed and Humic/Fulvic Acid. and Molasses
Use ¼ strength 5-50-17 or 5-10-5 or other high phosphorus fertilizer after 7 days in ground, use this fertilizer at ½ strength 14 days after being in ground
Plants may need to be foliar feed Nitrogen and magnesium during cold temperatures CALCIUM NITRATE Works the best if adding to the soil during cold weather
May 13th If your not concerned with maximum size start seeds indoors for plants that will have no outdoor protection
May 15 start looking out for SVB(squash vine borers) Start watching for Spider Mites
May 17th Could be a time when you want to use a high Nitrogen fertilizer it can be applied in 10’ by 10’ sections so it doesn’t leach away before the plant uses it
May 17th I had my first insect damage, sprayed Bifenthrin(cucumber beetles and squash bugs) and Abamectin(spider mites)
(In 2014) May 22nd was the first night plants were outside without protection(left uncovered)
May 24 You may want to start installing T-tape or other irrigation near plant.
Bird netting may be needed over the plants if birds are tearing your leaves. You may have an insect problem if birds are in your plants
May 26th Is about the time I get spider mites(not every year)
May 27th to June 3rd or later, set out plants with no outdoor protection if you wish treat planting site with products like used above for protected plants( time will vary in your area and year to year weather conditions)
Trim off first two vines on your main vine , some people do this as early as possible others wait. This will help against getting a foaming stump, a deadly condition .Read more in Planting and Growth section
Start watching / spraying insects use Bifenthrin at ½ oz to 1 oz per gallon, will work for cucumber beetles and squash bugs(plus others)
June 1st start fungicides ? (probable July 15 ?)It can depend on humidity Keep an eye on missed tertiary vines, they waste the plants energy
June 15th you may be able to pollinate plant size determines this) Keep soil moisture consistent, surges in water can cause fruit splitting
June 25th keep up with covering vines and killing weeds!!
Depending on plant size and growing area ,some terminating of vines may need to be done
Continue nitrogen and stop 2 weeks before pollination(if they need Nitrogen still feed it mildly) leaf color and plant growth determine if you need more or less nitrogen
June 25th If you plan on doing a single tissue test do it 2 weeks after pollination) its best to follow the directions of the testing company your using
After pollination continue with weak nitrogen, begin using a fertilizer low in nitrogen and slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium like 5-10-15 or similar type
Had my earliest foaming stump on July 5th in 2015 we had a lot of rain, and I had not trimmed back the first two vines, lost the stump to rot.
7/15 to 8/1 you may just now have a pumpkin on your plants that were started without protection
July 17th Pumpkins can weigh approx. 400 pounds or more Watch for nitrogen deficiency you can supplement with a fish fertilizer as a foliar application when needed
WEEKLY if needed, spray Magnesium, Nutri-cal, and or fish fertilizer ,bifen-seaweed-fungicides/pesticides
By 8/1 PM and DM have already gotten you or will shortly, try to prevent it instead of treating it If your pumpkin begins to slow down it may be due to an old root system, foliar feeding may help, also the older part of the plant may need less water than the newest growth
You must continue fighting disease and insects in July August and September, amounts of irrigation can fluctuate Inspect vines for rot
Cover your pumpkin on cool nights to retain heat, do not use heaters on the pumpkin
Whatever size your pumpkin is, we would love to see it at our weight off, my first one was 200 pounds. You can get answers to some of your questions and have a great day. Our weigh off is usually the third weekend in Sept, check the main page of our website for the exact time, it should be announced early In Sept or sooner. If you have questions after reading the “how to” section, email email@example.com