Watchrebel
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Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

(original title: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch)

Hello, this is my second post so forgive me if this is not in the correct forum.
I have worked very diligently on my small compost bin for the last 4 months to make sure that it would be perfect for my container vegetable garden project this summer.
Now I have a small pumpkin patch growing and I need some advice. Should I try to transplant the pumpkin plants (I hear that they are fickle when transplanted)? OR should I simply let the patch live in my once and former compost bin? My internet searches have yielded numerous accounts of this happening but I have yet to find the best way to handle the situation. I want the plants to survive and produce pumpkins and I'm afraid that leaving them in the small 18" long x 13" wide x 1' deep container will inhibit their growth. But I am also nervous that I will do irreparable damage if I attempt to transplant.
My apologies as I know that the pic is sideways. :oops:
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jal_ut
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

They won't yield anything left in the container. Trans plant them out into the ground. Be advised that pumpkin vines get huge. They will need some space.

Take a look at this page.
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Watchrebel
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

Holy pumpkin that was helpful! Thanks for the info. I have plenty of space and a feeling that I have the perfect place in mind for the transplant. The only problem is that the soil here is very sandy and very salty. I plan on just transplanting the plants and all of the compost that they are now growing in just to be safe. Are there any other soil prepping precautions that I should take. I'm guessing that with the age of the plants currently that I need to make this transplant happen quickly. Any thoughts out here on the forum?

Cheers,
Watchrebel

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

Is there a bottom on that bin or is it a frame sitting on the ground, so that the plants could root down in to the soil? If it has a bottom, then definitely they all have to come out of it. If they can root down through it into the soil, then one or two of them could stay there -- assuming it is in full sun and that there is room for the vines to spread outside of the bin.

You are right about transplanting them sooner rather than later, before the roots grow together too much and the leaves start shading each other out. You will want to amend your sandy soil with compost/ well aged composted manure. And you will need to add fertilizer/nutrients through the season. I don't know about the saltiness and how that could be addressed.
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

My father once threw a package of gourd seed on a pile of old ensilage. (chopped, composted, corn with stalks) He didn't even cover them. He had so many gourds he piled them in his front yard with a free sign on them. You can plant things closer if your growing medium is rich and fluffy. A plastic container will be too hot and the roots won't have room to grow.

Watchrebel
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

rainbowgardener wrote:Is there a bottom on that bin or is it a frame sitting on the ground, so that the plants could root down in to the soil? If it has a bottom, then definitely they all have to come out of it. If they can root down through it into the soil, then one or two of them could stay there -- assuming it is in full sun and that there is room for the vines to spread outside of the bin.

You are right about transplanting them sooner rather than later, before the roots grow together too much and the leaves start shading each other out. You will want to amend your sandy soil with compost/ well aged composted manure. And you will need to add fertilizer/nutrients through the season. I don't know about the saltiness and how that could be addressed.
There is a bottom on the container and as I have said I am extremely nervous about the transplant process because the rash of..... er..... "fertilizer" that I will get from my mother-in-law if the plants die with most likely be too much to bear! :shock: She has an extremely efficient green thumb!! :twisted: Makes me feel like a :>
So I NEEEEED these pumpkins to survive and thrive hahah. Anyway, I am planning on digging a one and a half foot deep square that is 32 inches long and 18 inches wide. Roughly the dimensions of the compost bin that the pumpkins are growing in now. Then I will lift out plants and compost together and place into the hole. Water and wait for pumpkins. Anything else I should do? Manure & fertilizer? Any specific type and/or brand of fertilizer that I should use?

I am enjoying this forum and thank you to all the members for the help,
Watchrebel

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

I can't really tell from the picture, but it looks like that might be a bunch of pumpkin plants in the bin. If that is true, you don't want to put them all together in the same space. Maybe two or three of them - IF they have a lot of room around where you plant them to spread out in to.

You do know that pumpkin plants get VERY big? I don't grow pumpkins because I don't have room for them. It depends on which kind you have, pumpkins range from very small to giant and the bigger pumpkins grow on bigger plants, but they all tend to spread out. Here's something about spacing:

Vining pumpkins require a minimum of 50 to 100 square feet per hill. Plant seeds one inch deep (four or five seeds per hill). Allow 5 to 6 feet between hills, spaced in rows 10 to 15 feet apart. When the young plants are well-established, thin each hill to the best two or three plants.
https://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/pumpkin.cfm

It doesn't matter what brand of fertilizer

pumpkin plants are heavy feeders. You'll probably benefit by feeding your pumpkin patch a couple of times throughout the season. Before planting, you can always mix in some compost or well-rotted manure with the soil when creating the mounds. After the plant is established, you can help it with a dose of fertilizer every month or so, after the flowers appear. The fertilizer you use should be low in nitrogen and high in phosphate and potassium. 5-15-15 or 8-24-24 fertilizer ratios work best. If you use a fertilizer with too much nitrogen, your pumpkin plants will become very large but won't produce any fruit.
ttp://www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com/wa ... pkins.html

and remember they will need plenty of water as well.

If no rain falls in your area, a slow, deep soak will be needed every 7-10 days. Continue watering until consistent puddles form on the surface of the soil.
(same article as above)

but the 7-10 days is when the plant is well established with good root systems. When you just transplant them, you will have to water more frequently.

Good luck!
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

I think with the number of plants I seem to see in there, you can be somewhat careless and still have a few plants to grow to maturity.

I would try lifting them out, then with an old kitchen knife, just cut the mass apart like a big cake into -- say 4 -- pieces and plant each quadrant in large holes like you described maybe 6 feet apart.

Note though, that you have no way of knowing what kind of fruits you will get from these. Pumpkins are often grown in same or close proximity fields to decorative fall gourds or other non-edible varieties and they can cross with weird results. You won't know how big they will be or if they will taste any good until they are harvested. They should be fine for decorative use though.

Depending on what your expectation is from a season of care and large growing space they will occupy, not to mention fertilizer and water, you may want to buy seeds for pumpkins that you WANT to grow. At this stage, it won't make much of a difference in starting time.
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Watchrebel
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

I have plenty of space and I am not expecting anything other than to give this impromptu growth of pumpkin plants a chance to produce something in the gourd family. For me a complete beginner, any form of gourd even one the size of a quarter would be considered a success considering this is more of a rescue than a planned attempt.

Thanks for the replies everyone

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TheWaterbug
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

jal_ut wrote:They won't yield anything left in the container. Trans plant them out into the ground. Be advised that pumpkin vines get huge. They will need some space.

Take a look at this page.
James, I think this picture of yours illustrates their space needs even better :)
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Watchrebel
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

Excellent pics and thank you so much for sharing.
So..... I thought I had plenty of space based on the amount of plants that
are currently growing in my compost bin. Tomorrow is the BID DAY!
Pumpkin Transplant Day.... PT-Day? haha

Now I have a few more questions:
1) My planned planting area is 4 feet wide and 20 feet long. Based on what you see in my picture will this be enough space? Best guess is fine and please be honest. I can stretch it to 5 feet wide but that will lead me into my next dilema.
2) Next dilema; At 4 feet I will have a foot of space to create some sort of "critter barrier". I will need to protect against rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos at the bare minimum. The entire 20 feet long planting space will have woods that run the length of one side. What is the best approach to protecting against varmints & critters? This is the most fertile part of my yard and the only place that I have confidence in planting these pumpkins.
3) How deep do I need to dig in order to plant these pumpkin plants? They are currently growing in a plastic bin that is approx. 1 1/2 feet deep. Should that be the depth to which I dig to plant them?
4) I have manure, the compost they are growing in, top soil, two bails of that have been sitting since halloween, potting soil, and miracle grow fertilizer. Is there anything that I can add other than water to help ensure survival? Is there anything that I should not add from my list?

Sorry for the baragge of questions but I really want this to work out. One viable gourd variety will be considered a huge success IMHO. Either decorative or edible it doesn't matter. Anything more will most likely have me so hooked on gardening that I will till up 75% of my back yard the next day and attempt to never have to buy vegetables again hahaha.

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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

Ok, be advised that each of those little plants will make a vine that may go 20 to 25 feet long. They may also climb up fences and or trees. You can plant them all in that area you have, but be assured they won't stay within bounds, but the vines will go out in all directions. You can dig your amendments in before planting them. They only need to be planted as deep as the bin they are in so that the ground level now is the ground level when transplanted. Do not put the crown of the plant deeper than it is now. The vines will also send roots down at the leaf nodes and it will have a root system that goes as wide as the vines reach. Water well after transplanting.

Critters. I put a radio in my corn patch and tune it to the hard rock station. Keeps the critters out.

Haven't had much trouble with critters bothering squash or pumpkins. I don't have as many different critters as you name though.
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TheWaterbug
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

Watchrebel wrote:2) Next dilema; At 4 feet I will have a foot of space to create some sort of "critter barrier". I will need to protect against rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos at the bare minimum.
I have problems with squirrels and peafowl (mostly the latter), and I made a whole mess of these to protect them:

Image

I have a more complete description of the materials and construction in this thread here.

Although I mention squirrels a lot in my prior threads, I've come to the conclusion that it's mostly peacocks that are doing the damage. These cages should protect against any of the critters you listed except for the raccoons.

I'm pretty sure the raccoons would be able to lift these up, unless you used some very long stakes. Then they'd steal your ATM card and withdraw all your money. They're just incredibly clever, dextrous, and strong.

Do raccoons like young squash? I know peafowl do, but if I keep them protected for the first 3-4 weeks the rinds get hard enough and the fruits get large enough that the peafowl can't damage them too badly.
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Watchrebel
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Re: Help me please. Compost bin pumpkin patch

jal_ut wrote:Ok, be advised that each of those little plants will make a vine that may go 20 to 25 feet long. They may also climb up fences and or trees. You can plant them all in that area you have, but be assured they won't stay within bounds, but the vines will go out in all directions. You can dig your amendments in before planting them. They only need to be planted as deep as the bin they are in so that the ground level now is the ground level when transplanted. Do not put the crown of the plant deeper than it is now. The vines will also send roots down at the leaf nodes and it will have a root system that goes as wide as the vines reach. Water well after transplanting.

Critters. I put a radio in my corn patch and tune it to the hard rock station. Keeps the critters out.

Haven't had much trouble with critters bothering squash or pumpkins. I don't have as many different critters as you name though.
Right on!! I am truly envious of your yield and gourd garden jal_ut!! Also thank you for all of the advice and tips that you have provided in this thread. Without them I totally would not be attempting this and would most likely have left them in the bin. I cannot wait to post pictures of my process along the way as I hope that further advice will be offered so that I learn how to become better at this truly masterful skill that is gardening.
I plan on getting them into the ground no later than 11am CST tomorrow and I will totally tryout the radio repellent.
TheWaterbug wrote:
Watchrebel wrote:2) Next dilema; At 4 feet I will have a foot of space to create some sort of "critter barrier". I will need to protect against rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos at the bare minimum.
I have problems with squirrels and peafowl (mostly the latter), and I made a whole mess of these to protect them:

Image

I have a more complete description of the materials and construction in this thread here.

Although I mention squirrels a lot in my prior threads, I've come to the conclusion that it's mostly peacocks that are doing the damage. These cages should protect against any of the critters you listed except for the raccoons.

I'm pretty sure the raccoons would be able to lift these up, unless you used some very long stakes. Then they'd steal your ATM card and withdraw all your money. They're just incredibly clever, dextrous, and strong.

Do raccoons like young squash? I know peafowl do, but if I keep them protected for the first 3-4 weeks the rinds get hard enough and the fruits get large enough that the peafowl can't damage them too badly.
If I had peacocks feeding in my garden I might take up photography!! I guess that is both a blessing and a curse haha. Sorry, I live in South Mississippi and I have only seen peafowl in captivity. Totally appreciate the cage specs and if push comes to shove I will build myself a few. Actually already have the materials needed on hand. As for the raccoons you would not believe what they did to my first compost bin. My first attempt at a compost bin had a cloth cover with plastic sides and stood about 4 ft tall. The very next morning after putting it together I woke to an upended compost bin and raccoon poop littering what was left of the initial compost material. So I then went with two plastic bins secured with hinges and a padlock. I still find new claw and teeth marks on the bin and have contemplated extermination with extreme prejudice!! haha Also thanks again for all of your input and suggestions. Great forum y'all have here.

Best,
Watchrebel

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jal_ut
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Peafowl? Sounds like Sunday Dinner?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Image

Image

Image

The links I posted earlier don't seem to work any more?????????? Try this.
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jal_ut
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Critters causing grief?
Could always use the "Three S" method...... Shoot, Shovel, Shut up.
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

jal_ut totally has you covered on this one.

Pumpkins are obnoxious and I'm not growing any next year. :evil:

I'm not sure if anyone has said this yet, but each plant will sprout several vines. Pumpkins are basically weeds. Put stakes in the ground to create a barrier and force each vine into the direction you want them to go.

Don't be afraid to cut extra vines off or clip the ends when they've gone too far. If the vines get going to much, the plant will put all it's energy into producing those vines and will rot it's fruit off in order to keep the growth up.

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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

jal_ut wrote:Critters causing grief?
Could always use the "Three S" method...... Shoot, Shovel, Shut up.
ROTFL!! :-()

Yes my friend, I am the proud victor of many a rabbit war!

Awesome looking garden jal_ut!

Met my wife while going to school in Provo btw. :)

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Francesco Delvillani
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

What's the heaviest pumpkin you have ever grown?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

I grew up on a farm out in the boonies of Northern Utah. My Dad had milk cows, farmed 150 acres and also for much of his life held an 8 to 5 job also. If he wasn't workin, hauling hay or milking, he was sleeping. When I was 12 he had a bunch of ground squirrels that had totally wiped out 2 acres of his upper field. He handed me the 22 rifle and a carton (500) of shells and said, "Go kill those D------- squirrels!"

Well I confess, I didn't totally wipe them out but reduced their numbers so that he could get a crop. I reckon at times it becomes necessary to defend what is ours?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

So Watchrebel, how about a report? How did it go? Did you get a pumpkin? Pics?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Quote: "What's the heaviest pumpkin you have ever grown?"

I am thinking a bit over 100 pounds. The variety I plant is Big Max. I also like Jack-O-Lantern. I don't grow any of those humongous things you need a forklift to move.
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Francesco Delvillani wrote:What's the heaviest pumpkin you have ever grown?
305 lb Atlantic Giant, for Halloween 2013.

2014 and 2015 were disappointing :cry:
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

Hey! Good to see you here WaterBug! :D
Hope your garden does well this year. :-()
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

applestar wrote:Hey! Good to see you here WaterBug! :D
Hope your garden does well this year. :-()
Thanks! I haven't been posting much on HG because I've been spending a lot more time posting questions about beekeeping.

That's not to say I don't still have plenty of questions about gardening! My Atlantic Giants last year were pretty much a failure :( , but I'm determined to redeem myself this year.

I've tilled in an entire truck bed full of mulchy-composty-stuff into Atlantic Giant patch, and each of 4 planting sites is getting 4 cf of steer manure. I bought seeds from the Prince Edward County Pumpkin Grower's club, and I should be ready to plant in just a few days.
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

I put a radio out in the corn patch tuned to the local radio station. It seems to help with keeping out raccoons and skunks. Might give that a whirl if you won't offend the neighbors with it?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

A victor #3 set on the doorstep of my beehives, helps keep the critters from eating bees. (raccoons will come and scratch on the front of the hive till the bees come out to fight then he sits there and eats the bees.)
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

i just got into a fight with one of my massive kabocha squash vines. unfortunately, during our brawl a giant (13" diameter & 8" high) fell off the vine. it definitely wasn't ripe yet because it was yellow-orange and i think it should be green and dull when it is ripe. is there any way at all that i can ripen this sucker?

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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

I haven't grown "massive kabocha squash vines". Can you let us know how this turned out? Did the squash ripen?
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Re: Pumpkin plant size? How to protect from critters?

When you see a pumpkin forming and it is about 8 inches wide, go pull the vine toward it and then sit it up on its blossom end and put a piece of cardboard under it. The cardboard keeps the underground critters from chewing holes in the bottom of the pumpkin. By sitting it up on its blossom end it will form nice and round, not lopsided. Remove other blossoms or pumpkins from the plant so it has only the one to feed and nourish. Water the plant and stand back and watch a pumpkin grow.
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