Friday, January 30, 2015

Giant Pumpkin Growing: A Year Around Hobby

Was out in the pumpkin patch this fine January evening forking in some peat moss.  The last of the good weather for awhile, but we had some uncommonly warm temps this last week and the patch had finally dried out enough and I had a moment to get away from work at 5:30 this evening to turn the soil.  I want to get my organic matter a little higher and peat moss is a good way to do it.  Peat moss is a good way to break up our Colorado soils and help it breath a little better.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Next Season's Pumpkin Seeds: A Remake of Great Genetics

I've finally landed on what seeds I'm going to grow next season.  This year I'm growing all white, which is a first.  To me the seeds are just too good to not plant them.  I'll be growing a 282 Scherber and a 1415 Scherber.  Basically they are pretty much the same seed.  The 282 is a selfed clone of the plant that grew the world record 2,009 pound pumpkin.  The 1415 is a selfed 282 seed that probably would have ended up as a new Colorado state record but the pumpkin went down a few weeks prior to the weigh-off.

I plan on selfing the 1415 seed which would make it a fourth generation selfed seed.  The 1725 world record came from a selfed 1385 seed.  The 282 seed was a selfed seed.  And then the 1415 was a selfed 282 seed.  So far this line has done very, very well and I'd like to keep those genetics going.

The cross I'm even more excited about is crossing the 282 seed with a 1409 Miller.  The last two world record pumpkins came from a 2009 Wallace seed.  The 2009 Wallace is a cross of a 1725 Harp x 1409 Miller. The 282 seed is a selfed clone of that same 1725 Harp.  In a sense this is as close to a remake as someone could get.  My son and daughter are both going to grow 1409 Millers (thanks to the kind growers who got me the seeds over the Christmas break!) and I'm going to cross and reverse cross the 282 and 1415 plants with the 1409 plants every which way I can and then hope one of them works out as well as the 2009 Wallace seed has done.

Rise of the Giants & the Heart of Pumpkin Growing

I went on vacation this last weekend and took on the flight with me my copy of the Rise of the Giants movie.  I personally really enjoyed this documentary.  I know or have talked with a lot of the growers in the film and it was fun to see them all.  Also fun to see a few and hear the stories of some of the growers that I don't know much about.

If you want to learn how to grow a giant pumpkin this probably isn't the ideal film.  If you want to understand the culture in giant pumpkin growing and what motivates many of these growers then this will be an enjoyable 1 1/2 hours for you.  The movie isn't technical.  It covers the basics, but also gets into the comradery, passion and motivation for growers.  Also gets into some of the heartache and pain of being a giant pumpkin grower.

Almost all giant pumpkin growers are a little strange.  You have to be a little crazy to be dedicated to a giant fruit.  But at the same time giant pumpkin growers are some of nicest people you could meet if you follow the rules of the community.  There are a number of unwritten rules of etiquette in giant pumpkin growing.  Most are common sense but others have evolved with time and are expected to be followed to the letter in some cases.  Regardless of all of that this movie seems to try to get at the heart of pumpkin growing and probably has done the best job of any film to date. 

You can learn more about the movie at