Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A New Personal Best Pumpkin at 924.5 Pounds

Last night we cut the pumpkin from the vine and much to my surprise and relief the bottom of the pumpkin hadn't rotted out. This morning I hauled my pumpkin and the kids pumpkin to the weigh-off at Jared's Nursery. Hauling a giant pumpkin is a real hoot. People wave, honk their horns and take pictures the entire way to the weigh-off. 364 days a year you can get teased some for being a giant pumpkin grower. Let's face it, the cool crowd on South Beach don't spend a lot of time growing giant pumpkins. But on the 365th day Heidi Klum could be standing next to a nice, orange giant pumpkin and people might not even notice her.

Pumpkin weights this year were way down in Colorado because many growers lost pumpkins due to rot and splits this year but there was still a good number of pumpkins at the weigh-off. My children took first place with a 146.5 pound pumpkin in the children's division. They did a very good job of taking care of their pumpkin this year. Later my pumpkin was weighed and came in at 924.5 pounds. A new personal best! Not as big as I thought it would be this year (after the pumpkin split the pounds went from 20 down to about 7 per day) but it is still the biggest and best looking pumpkin I've ever grown (let Jerry Seinfeld know that giants don't have to be ugly). Overall my pumpkin would have been in 2nd place for weight and won the Howard Dill award for the prettiest pumpkin but it was disqualified because of the splits. It looks like my pumpkin may end up being the heaviest Colorado grown pumpkin this year (Joe Scherber lost his 1,475 pound pumpkin last week due to rot) that goes to the scale.

Top honors for the day went to Ron Hoffman of Wyoming with a nice 1,012 pound pumpkin. I was very happy for Ron. He is a great grower and deserves the win. A well deserved second prize went to Gary Grande who beat out his brother by nine pounds.

Got the seeds out of my pumpkin tonight. Not a ton of them because of some rot that had started inside but I was happy to see some at all. These seeds are now officially the 924.5 Johnson (1204 Scherber x 1810 Stevens).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another Big One that Got Away

I feel for Joe Scherber today. Yesterday he lost a pumpkin that would have been a new Colorado state record to a spot of rot. He was exactly one week from cutting the pumpkin off the vine when he found the spot. He and I measured the pumpkin and it estimated at about 1,447 pounds. Joe is 6'4" and that will give you some perspective to the size of this pumpkin. The pumpkin was thick on the inside and flawless. The pumpkin was grown from the 1725 Harp seed (a seed from a former world-record pumpkin) and he crossed it with a cloned plant that grew a pumpkin that was also 1,725 pounds (1725 Sweet) and was a world-record for one week last year until the 1,810 pounder went to the scale. So the seeds from Joe's pumpkin should have some great genetics. Thanks for the seeds Joe. I know what I will be planting next year.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Come to the Biggest Pumpkin Weigh-off in Colorado

The much anticipated 6th Annual Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Pumpkin Weigh-off will be held on Saturday, September 24th. Last year, more than 3,000 people attended this event that featured 1,500+ pound pumpkins measuring more than 14 feet in circumference.

“We saw some amazing pumpkins last year and look to see some giants again this year.” said Gary 'The Wiz' Grande, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers (RMGVG). “It is always fun to see the children’s faces the first time they see the pumpkins. They are something straight out of a fairy tale and we might see a new state record this year." The current Colorado record was set by Barry Todd of Littleton last year at a whopping 1,308 pounds.

“The weigh-off is a celebration of our growers’ hard work and is a fun way to kick-off the fall season,” said Jamie Johnson, Vice President of the RMGVG who was featured on NBC’s The Marriage Ref this summer with his pumpkin. “It is a great event with food, straw mazes for the kids, music, face painting, haunted house, audience voting and of course, some really amazing giant pumpkins.”

The record for the world’s largest pumpkin was 460 pounds until 1981, when Howard Dill, a grower in Nova Scotia, came up with one that was close to 500 pounds. He patented the seed, and growers around the world jumped to buy Dill’s Atlantic Giant. As they crossed and re-crossed varieties, the pumpkins grew ever larger; by 1994, the symbol of Halloween had passed the 1,000-pound mark. The world record pumpkin was grown last year by Chris Stevens of Wisconsin and weighed an amazing 1,810 pounds.

The event will take place at Jared’s Nursery in Littleton, 10500 W. Bowles Avenue, starting at 10 a.m. with the junior division, followed by the giant pumpkins at 11 a.m. Admission is free to the public.

For more information about the RMGVG weigh-off or to get more information on how to grow giant pumpkins or vegetables post a comment below

To watch a short video of last year’s RMGVG pumpkin weigh-off event visit

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Home Stretch

We are coming to the end of the season now. 1 1/2 weeks until we cut the pumpkin off the vine. Gave the plant some seaweed today along with a little SO-PO-MG (sulfur, potassium and magnesium) 0-0-22 to squeeze a few last pounds out of the plant. The plant looks pretty hammered these days. A few new vines are keeping the pumpkin going but probably half of the leaves are on the verge of death. Hot summer days and powdery mildew that popped up over the last three weeks have taken their toll. Last I checked the pumpkin was still putting on 4 pounds a day. I suspect the pumpkin will be estimating around 970 pounds by the weigh-off next week.

If you would be interested in giving this a try next season visit my Pumpkin Growing Store.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monster Big Pumpkins

A great grower who I've been privileged to spend some time with talking pumpkins over a plate of buffalo wings is Ron Wallace. Super nice guy and former giant pumpkin world-record holder (1,502 pounds). I just found out that Ron had the big one get away from him. In the later part of August he had a pumpkin estimating at about 1,780 pounds go down on him because of a pin hole split after 4 inches of rain. It still had more than 40 days of growing left and based on his best estimates it would have ended up around 2,100 to 2,200 pounds! just amazing.

As for my little pumpkin, it is still growing as of the last measurement. Two weeks from today I plan on cutting it off from the vine. At this point the pumpkin still seems solid so I think there is a descent chance of it making it. Today I'll be giving the plant some seaweed and calcium.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The 656 Johnson AKA Jerry

I took the final measurements on "Jerry" today because I will be cutting it open to get the seeds out. The 868 measures 142 inches in circumference and has an estimated weight of 656 pounds. So now the pumpkin (pictured below) will be known as the 656 Johnson (868 Johnson x 1725 Harp).

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Last Round of Calcium

There are studies that show that calcium can preserve the shelf life of some fruits and vegetables. I gave my 1204 plant one last round of calcium in the hope it might give me one more day on the vine. The pumpkin these days is looking ripe on the outside. Probably won't last more than a week or two now. I haven't measured it since Monday and it was still growing then but I don't expect it to still be growing now. A local garden center, Timberline Gardens, has offered to weigh the pumpkin and put it on display. I'm hoping it will last long enough to do that.