With all things giant pumpkin related a good place to start when learning about any of this, is to see what the growers in the US are doing. One big thing to remember is that they have been doing this for a long period of time, and for us here in NZ, we are in our infancy.
Now information is easily available thanks to this thing we have called the internet, so from infancy to being a teenager in the growing world is relatively easy. It is all the small things that sometimes make it a little bit harder for us. One of them is the variety of products we have here, not a lot are specific to giant pumpkin growing.
And the other thing, is that giant pumpkin growing is a big thing overseas. Here it is viewed by some as a quirky hobby, with a lot of our industry set up for pure agriculture, this all leads me onto the soil test.
What is out there
Well… correct me if I am wrong (please do) here in NZ there is no actual test specifically for giant pumpkins, there are tests for pumpkin and squash, but no such service that goes down to the detail that you can get in the US for giant pumpkins.
One of the labs that is used a lot in the US is Western Laboratories, a lab where they offer a giant pumpkin test, and even a season long monitoring programme, which consists of 15 tests in total for around $515. Now this of course is for those big growers out there going for gold.
Now your probably thinking “where is this going?” well lucky for you I am going to tell you. The good folks at Western Laboratories have a tutorial part on their site, which you get to by CLICKING ON THIS LINK click login to tutorial, or tutorial down the bottom, and then use soil as the user name, password is blank. Then have a look around the giant pumpkin folder.
This gives examples of the type of information they provide growers, and it might be of help matching up your own soil report. But for me, I will use it more for next years soil test (only getting one done this year) and show to the guys doing the test here, and seeing if they can produce something similar.
Now here is my soil test
So here is my soil test, it is in PDF format which you should be able to view fine, or download. One thing to remember is that I went with the standard options for pumpkins/squash, in hindsight I maybe should have asked for some more tests to be done, but hey, it’s all about the learning.
What am I going to do
I haven’t come up with a definitive plan, and would love to hear suggestions from anyone, either email me or leave a comment below.
The note on nitrogen is a good one, with the trouble I had with the auger probably did meant he sample was more 7.5cm then 15cm, so I am going to look at that figure as half. Also I am going to try to get the calcium up, and the PH is a little on the low side.
That is the two areas I will be focusing on, and will see how the season unfolds.