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Question: 616-3811
My pumpkins did great with a lot of dark green leaves. We used 10-10-10 fertilizer , when we planted them. Some of them were 25 lbs. and were numerous. Unfortunately, most were rotted in the center. We used a liquid spray fertilizer through the year. What is the problem? Mike, Westerly, RI

Mort's Answer:
You had too much of a good thing. Either the liquid or granular would have been enough fertilizer. I prefer granular in the spring. 10-10-10 is really potent and should only be used sparingly or on potatoes. Next year use only 5-10-10 and no liquid.

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Question: 977-3013
The past few years i have had wonderful success growing pumpkins. Last year I had a 600 pounder. I have very rich soil and use 10-10-10 every year. My pumpkins are rotting in the middle this year. I was about to side dress some smaller plants. What should I do? Joe, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
You have too much TLC. In this case it is nitrogen. With the excessive rain in June, the soil held the accumulated fertilizer. Your shallow water table in your area did not help. I would back off from using any more this year. Next year cut the nitro with 5-10-10. You may be saying, "Oh, my gourd ", this year.

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Question: 1227-515
Last year six of my 22 pumpkins exploded. They were a healthy looking 20 inches in diameter. Is this abnormal? Jim, Wilimantic, CT

Mort's Answer:
Abnormal, but not uncommon, especially among entrants in growth contests. Excess nitrogen and other chemicals can build up and escape in the form of gas. Next year back off on the fertilizer applications by 25%. This may bring you to about even.

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