Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
If you haven't started already, it isn't to late to get some giant pumpkin seeds for this season. Competition quality seeds started at this point could get you a pumpkin over 300 pounds by the end of the season and it is a lot of fun to do as a family (or to just show up the neighbors come Halloween time).
Sunday, May 29, 2011
I would prefer not to use calcium nitrate on my pumpkin plants because it is a chemical fertilizer but because of high potassium levels in my soil I am concerned about calcium uptake so I will probably do 2-3 foliar applications on calcium nitrate this season.
I've read a lot about the importance of calcium uptake and movement through the vascular system of the pumpkin plant this off season and I'm convinced that calcium being transported to the pumpkin is critical in fruit set and the pumpkin going heavy so I'm doing what I can to make sure that the plant is getting the calcium that it needs. Hopefully by doing and additional watering I can solve or reduce the issues I had last year with the pumpkins going very light.
If you would like to try the products mentioned try my Giant Pumpkin Growing Kit.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
If you would like to try Azos try my Giant Pumpkin Growing Kit.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Three weeks ago I was complaining because the patch was too dry. Two weeks ago I was complaining because it was too cold. One week ago I was complaining because it was too wet. Today I’m complaining because of too much hail.
Some growers just can’t be happy.
Wishing for some warmer days so I can get the main going a little more. Hard to get the hoop house to 80 degrees for more than a couple of hours these last two weeks. The rain is good for the patch but this much is overkill. Some low 80s so I can get the hoop houses to about 90 degrees would get those mains growing a little faster so I can get them on the ground and get them running.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
1. do you use special seeds?
Yes! Atlantic Giant seeds are the only variety of pumpkin seed that will get over 500 pounds and the Atlantic Giant seeds you get in the hardware store probably aren't going to do it for you. You need seeds that have had controlled crosses of the best seed stock to get the real giants. With them to grow a pumpkin over 100 pounds is not very difficult. If you haven't already started some seeds now is a perfect time! Get seeds from the Pumpkin Man at http://seeds.denverpumpkins.com.
2. What do you feed a giant pumpkin?
A well composted soil that is balanced is key to growing a giant pumpkin. Most of what will determine if you are going to grow a giant pumpkin happens before you even put the plant in the ground. A great soil comes through some hard work and soil tests to make sure the levels of nitrogen, potassium, potash and calcium are in the right ratios.
3. What do you do with the pumpkin at the end of the season?
I'll usually put it on display in the driveway until Halloween. It is real hoot to see people's reactions when they drive by.
4. How much time does it take to grow a giant pumpkin?
Most competitive giant pumpkin growers will spend about an hour a day on a plant. Wives/husbands of pumpkin growers are referred to as pumpkin widows during the growing season.
5. What is the secret to growing a giant pumpkin?
The real secret is that there are about 1,000 little secrets. Giant pumpkin growing is wonderfully complicated. Soil sciences, genetics, plant biology, chemistry and more go into growing a state or world record. Rarely does a giant happen by accident. The good news is that most growers will tell you anything that you want to know about growing a big pumpkin if you ask. As a matter-o-fact you probably won't be able to get them to shut up once you get them started. Lol
Got a question for The Pumpkin Man? Leave a comment by clicking the Comment link below.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In the second hoop house I've put the 1308 Todd (50 Todd x 901 Hunt). This was a plant that I was seriously considering planting at the beginning of the season. The plant that Barry gave me is a very nice looking one with a very thick stump on it. This plant is very intriguing because Barry didn't start the seed that grew the 1308 until the end of the first week of May because he wasn't even planning on growing last year. He still had a pollination about the same time as the other main growers in Colorado and the pumpkin grew right until picking the 2nd week of May. The 901 Hunt that was crossed into that pumpkin went 26% heavy last year and thumped like cement. I'm hoping the aggressiveness of the 50 Todd with the heavy of the 901 will produce a pumpkin that will fix some of the problems I had last year.
In with the 1308 Todd is the 1204 Scherber (1421 Stelts x 1725 Harp). My good 1204 was frost bitten unfortunatley and this plant was slow from the start but it started to take off this last week so I have hopes for it. It had a very nice root system on it when I pulled it out of the pot. I love this cross and would love to put Joe's 1725 clone into it.
In about two weeks I'm going to have to decide which plants to go with. I'll look at the color, growth, and overall health of the plants when I make my decisions.
With the cold weather and snow today in Denver I've got the space heather going in one hoop house and in the other hoop house I have the heat lamp and a 75 watt bulb. All of the plants looked really happy this morning which was good.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Giant pumpkin growing is an interesting hobby because, although it is competitive, growers really help each other. You can pretty much ask any grower in Colorado how they grow and they would pretty much tell you everything that they know. Growers realized early on in this sport that you can't learn everything these is to know about pumpkin growing in three lifetimes on your own. Only by sharing and helping each other can you learn the techniques to grow a giant.
Late last fall I and my wife were invited to be on NBC's The Marriage Ref (show to air this Summer). I needed a giant pumpkin for the show and the growers really stepped it up for me, particularly Gary the club president. No questions asked, people wanted to help.
I think it has been three years in a row now that one of the Colorado giant pumpkin weigh-offs has taken 2nd place for most improve site in the world. That is a real testament to quality of the growers here.
I am grateful for the great Colorado pumpkin growers.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
This evening I put the plants in the ground. I've had clear plastic over the planting area so to help warm up the soil and it seemed to work fairly well. The soil was relatively warm a foot down which will help the roots want to grow and help minimize shock to the newly transplanted plants.
In each planting hole I put a touch of Azos, some myco, humic acid and a touch of earthworm castings. I loved the smell of the soil. Sweet and healthy.
After planting the plants with the first true leaf in the opposite direction of where I wanted the main vine to run I gave each plant a deep drink with a small touch of liquid seaweed in the lightly warmed water.
I pot two plants in each hoop house and when the plants have grown to the point that the leaves are touching I'll take out the weaker plant and then we hope and pray that we chose the right plant.
At this time of year the plants can be deceptive. A vigorous growing plant doesn't necessarily indicate that it will grow the biggest plants. Some plants genetically just want to grow salad which doesn't do a competitive giant pumpkin grower much good.
I usually look at the leaf color, leaf health, stump area and then throw some dice to decide which plant to go with. There is some science but it is mostly just a got feeling with a touch of experience.
In one hoop house I have a heat lamp and in the other hoop house I have thermostatically controlled space heather. These will keep the plants warm on cold nights. The next few days the evening lows look pretty kind for this time of year.
Tomorrow morning we will see which plants look happy.