Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE04-516.
This study initially set forth to investigate the use of the PSNT to potentially reduce the amount of sidedress fertilizer applied to pumpkins. However, due to excessive rainfall throughout the growing season, the PSNT indicated that all of the plots in my experiment required a sidedress application. Accordingly, various rates of fertilizer were applied to determine if different rates of fertilizer significantly affect pumpkin yield, rind color and handle quality. Although more data needs to be collected, my initial observations indicate that low rates of fertilizer (25 lbs N/A) may be sufficient to maintain pumpkin yield, rind color and handle quality. This could reduce the amount of excess fertilizer applied with the standard sidedress rates and could also potentially reduce the cost of fertilizer to the grower. However, it is important to remember that the pumpkins followed a crop of peas (that received a broadcast fertilizer prior to planting), which more likely affected the PSNT. Even more importantly, the lowest rate of fertilizer was 25 lbs N/A and resulted in average pumpkin yield and quality. Considering that the NJ Recommendation Guide recommends a total season fertilizer application of 50-100 lbs N/A, there is a potential to reduce that rate by 75% and not affect the pumpkin crop.