Pumpkin Update: Time to Bury Some Vines!

Good news: My pumpkin seedlings are all grown up! The 1400 Lopresti is taking off with the help of a sunny plot and a heater at night. The 1421 Gaboury is much smaller because it’s not in the sun as much, and it gets cold at night which is stunting its growth. The 1695 Gaboury (the plant at the Bangor Community Garden) is also growing slow because of the cold, but it is bigger than the 1421 Gaboury since it is in a sunnier spot. I posted photos of them all below. This is a great example of how environmental factors (temperature, sun, etc) can play a huge part in the early season.

This is the Big Momma: the 1400 Lopresti. She is starting to grow out of her greenhouse!

 1400 Lopresti in her hoop house

My other pumpkin in the yard is the 1421 Gaboury. She does not get nearly as much sunlight and does not have a heater to keep her warm at night.

 1421 Gaboury in her hoop house

This is the 1695 Gaboury. She is at the Bangor Community Garden. I only get to water her and tend to her 1-2 times a week, but she is still growing faster than the 1421 Gaboury (probably because she gets more sun). Some of the leaves don’t look too great, but I think she’ll grow out of it.

 1695 Gaboury

My 1400 Lopresti has some huge leaves, and her primary vine is starting to extend out. As the vine grows, I bury it with dirt to encourage new root formation. Take a look at this picture, and I’ll explain:

 Two root nodes coming out of one end of the pumpkin vine

See those two white dots on the vine? Those are the beginnings of new roots. Normally there is one root that will form from the bottom of the vine, and one that will form from the top (or sometimes the vine twists and it’s sideways like this one). You don’t have to do anything to get the bottom root to form. It will just naturally grow down into the ground. However, if you want to get a root going from the top (or sides, or whatever), you need to cover the vine with soil. The benefit of having an extra root is that your pumpkin will be able to suck up more water and nutrients. This is what my vine looked like after burying:

 Using Mykos and Azos while burying the vines.

Take note of two things:

  1. When I buried the vine, I made sure not to bury that little leaf to the right of the mound of dirt (it’s easier to see two pictures up). Those leaves are VERY important because that is the start of a secondary vine that will go off perpendicular to the main vine. DO NOT bury those! If anything, wait for it to grow out a little so you don’t smother it.
  2. As you can see in the photo, I am showing you some extra stuff I’m adding to my pumpkin. This is my first time using this stuff, so we’ll see how it goes. The first product I’m using is Mykos. This stuff is mycorrhizae, a fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the pumpkin. This is beneficial because the mycorrhizae increases the pumpkin’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. The other product I’m using is Azos. These are a type of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen into a more bioavailable form for the pumpkin roots. Nitrogen is a huge factor in plant growth. I applied both of these around the “roots” that were getting buried.

I’m excited to try these new methods to see if I can reach my goal of a 1000 pound pumpkin. Even more exciting is that all my new methods are organic, so I feel safe using them in the same garden that I grow my food in. Happy pumpkin + happy garden = happy Sarah. 🙂