milk as pumpkin fertilizer

elder(6VA)April 8, 2006

When my daughter was in gradeschool they had a seed growing project using common pumpkin seeds to show sprouting methods. She brought hers home, growing in a cup of basically clay soil, and planted it next to our house. Every day she faithfully poured a cup of milk around the pumpkin plant, and by Fall she had a really large pumpkin. Has anyone out there ever tried milk on their pumpkins? Could it have been the calcium? Any other explanations? The soil was typical that you would expect to find as fill next to a new house, certainly not good garden soil.....Elder

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rainydays(4 WI)

Most likely it was the seed more than the milk that made the pumpkin big. Milk does have calcium in it but it is not in the plant soluble form.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:08PM
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Also, I would add that the milk would have a bad smell and draw rodents in.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 10:26PM
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And yet milk must have a good deal of nitrogen in it, or protein as the old-timers say.

In the Laura Ingalls book "farmer Boy" there is a description of growing a giant pumpkin by isolating one fruit, slitting the stem near the fruit, inserting a rag as a wick with the other end in a bowl of milk, kept full (I forget how it was protected from other milk-drinkers). The pumpkin won first at the fair.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 8:48PM
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wynative(z5 WY)

I didn't get my giant pumpkins planted until May 13th. I think that I will try milk on one hill and see. Be a fun experiment.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 3:01PM
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squarefooterg(md z7)

the milk is a rural myth the only things milk contribute to pumpkins is water and some anti mildew properties nothing else.

so basic it is on those long standing rural legands that has no basis in fact.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 7:55PM
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Since beginning this thread I have done some research on the internet, and have come up with some interesting facts! In New Zealand, commercial growers of zuchinni began using diluted skimmed milk (20%) to control powdery mildew. It worked so well that milk is now the choice spray for this purpose. The growers also discoverd this use of milk as a foliar spray increased plant strength and squash production. I hasten to add they also discovered that a diluted strength of 30% or more was detrimental to their plants.
Diluted skimmed milk is also being used in India as a foliar spray, and scientists there attribute its effectiveness to phosphate rather than calcium. They dilute it in terms of tablespoons to the cup, starting with two when the plants are very young, and increasing to eight when the plants are mature.
There were additional anecdotal instances of success in using milk on plants, but the details were hazy, too much so to be of investigative value.
Like Marie, I intend to experiment, but on a more expendable plant than one coming from expensive seed.....Lou

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 10:01PM
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It's not the nutrients of the milk that help the plant. It's the enzymes in the milk and the bacteria that will breed in it. Composting the milk would have made it even more effective because composting is nothing but breeding bacteria.

A few years back there was an old guy here who composted a mixture of seasoned chicken dung, water, buttermilk and from time to time, he would throw a fish head or two in there. No one else had the vegi's he had. He would keep a 55 gal drum filled with the stuff and a small flame underneath. This probably wasn't necessary in the summer. He only wanted it about 100 degrees.

The girl who was pouring milk on soil was increasing populations of beneficial bacterias in it. The plant did better because it was in a more perfect environment. Once the milk went to outdoor temperatures, the organisms started doing there thing. The refrigerator retards that stuff. These organisms also provide certain protections for foliage and roots. Cuts down on disease.

If you could find someone with a milk cow or a goat and get some of their milk, it would probably be many times better than store bought milk because the object of big business is to kill all of the organisms so the product lasts longer.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 2:03PM
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bluelytes(Washington Stat)

PN BROWN, DANG, you stole my thunder, lol, I was going to use the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "Farmer Boy" for this reference, but ya beat me to it!!


    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 2:21AM
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I hate to belabor the issue, really wish someone would do a study on the value of milk on pumpkin plants, because - today I had a refrigerator delivered, and the delivery guy was looking at my pumpkin plants. He told me that his aunt used a syringe to innoculate her pumpkin plants with milk, right into the stem of the vine. He said her vines and pumpkins were always really big and healthy.
I hope someone out there is actually experimenting with milk. I poured two cups of milk near the stump early on, but it has been some time since I was able to get close to that stump, that's how rampant my growth is. Now, If I could only get a pumpkin to set!.....Elder (Lou)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:18PM
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rainydays(4 WI)

These wives tales of milk from others are about as common as bigfoot sitings. We have had others tell us of there uncle's,grandpa's and dad's that grew pumpkins bigger than our 700-800lb pumpkins back when they were kids. Lets remember that up until the late 70's early 80's the biggest pumpkins were 400 lbs. Now the record pumpkin is 1469 lbs. Milk free... Cows produce one thing that is good for pumpkins...and you don't put this stuff in a is moved with a shovel. Unpasturized milk is good as a foliar spray diluted 10:1 with water. To help prevent powdery mildew. Otherwise a plant has now way of physicaly using milk injected in to a vine.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 9:25AM
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rainydays: conventional wisdom would certainly support what you say - my affliction, and often my downfall, is in too often thinking outside the box.....Elder (Lou)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:41PM
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bluelytes(Washington Stat)

Are you talking RAW milk?? Good LUCK finding any, :( I would give my right arm to get some good RAW (unpasturized) cow milk.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:37PM
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