Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The (Pumpkin) Iceman Cometh

While in Canada for the Holidays with my inlaws the Iceman was was kind enough to swing by and pick me up and take me out to his home and pumpkin patch. Eddy is a super nice guy and I really enjoyed time with him talking everything pumpkins and touring his 4 acre property. Eddy's seed collection is extensive (to put it mildly) and his generosity is legendary. He has at least 4 large boxes full of great and classic seeds and his patch setup is very impressive.

Eddy grew a 1011 pound pumpkin two years ago which beyond impressive. When you live in a place with a short growing season, cool days and cold nights you have to do something special. Especially when there is a risk of snow as late as June. Eddy has 6 green houses with an additional one being built that has heating cables throughout the ground, diesel powered heaters, and an extensive watering system. That is the only way a person could grow a pumpkin that far north and at that altitude. It was fun comparing challenges of growing in Colorado and Alberta and what needs to be done to grow in high altitude locations. Got some good ideas from the Iceman that I'm going to try next year.

Even with the extensive seed collection that Eddy has he has decided to start growing his own seed lines and he is starting with the classics. He has acquired some of the best seeds from 7 to 12 years ago and he is going to start with some of the origional genetic lines in the hopes of creating some powerful seeds with some very interesting crosses. It will fun to watch to see what happens in Alberta over the next few years.
Thanks for the time and the advice Eddy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pumpkin Sophmore Slump

The Biz passed the torch to me. The 2nd year curse. Thad Starr brought it up to me this last week and previous to that I had never really thought about it. I believe the 2nd year curse comes as a result of trying to do to much in the second year and not re-doing all of the good things you did in the rookie year. To avoid the sophmore slump my plan is to mitigate risks by adding hail netting, growing great genetic seeds and growing more plants. Outside of lowering my soil ph (it was very high at 8.0 this last year), starting a new patch and doing a new vine pattern I'm not planning to change anything else.

Thad explained to me the pattern that he has been using and I really like the idea. Last year I kind of used the Christmas tree pattern, but I liked the idea of a diamond pattern that Joe Scherber talked about which in theory would push the main out faster by shortening up the first couple side vines and putting more leafs closer to the pumpkin. Thad's pattern is a variation of that where you curve the vines back towards the stump before the fruit and then bend then up close to and after the fruit. This will allow me to better use a somewhat limited space and give me the diamond vine pattern that I think will push the pumpkin better late in the season and get the main out quicker.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Obsessive Pumpkin Grower Needs Your Help

In order to keep me from changing my mind AGAIN on what seeds to plant next year I am posting it here and asking that you make sure I give dirt to the following next year:

1566 Rodonis (1450 Wallace x 1231 Pukos) - grew the biggest pumpkin in 2008, 9 pumpkins over 1,000 pounds this year. The 1156 seems to grow very well in cooler weather which is great for Colorado's cool nights, it throws a lot of female flowers and seems to be a good steady grower. I think the 1450 has all of the best of the 1068 Wallace but has worked out some of the reported flaws.

1363 Werner (985 Werner x 1450 Wallace) - Two pumpkins over 1,000 pounds this year and rumor has it that Quinn Werner liked it so much he will be planting it again this next year. I really like the cross. Both the male and the female have produced pumpkins over 1,500 pounds.

1269 Hunt (901 Hunt x 1631 Mckie) - The dark horse of my seed lineup. The 901 this last year tried to make a run at the world record but blew up the last week of August at 1269 pounds. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it made it to the scale in October. It may turn out that the 901 just grows to fast and will always blow up. I'm hoping that the 1631 will thicken it up a little and make it a more steady grower. We will find out.

The crosses I'm planning right now are 1566 Rodonis x 1363 Werner, 1363 Werner x 1566 Rodonis and 1269 Hunt x 1450 Wallace (Joe Scherber kindly offered to let me have some pollen from the 1450 he is planning on growing). My backup seeds right now are the 1161 Rodonis, 1000 Grande, 1004 Mohr, 1059.5 Hooker, 1154.8 Doucet and 1180 Deletas. I wish I had one more growing spots to grow on so my 1161 Rodonis could see dirt this year too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Which Would you Grow for Your 3rd Seed in 2009?

I've decided I'm going to grow the 1556 Rodonis and the 1363 Werner next year. I like the look of that cross with the heavy 1450 genetics and the fact that all of the parents on both sides have grown pumpkins over 1400 pounds. The following are the seeds that I am considering for my 3rd spot. I'd love your input on which seed you would grow and the crosses that you like from it. The cross for this 3rd spot would be the most important thing for me.

1269 Hunt (901 Hunt x 1631 Mckie)
1000 Grande (1470 Wallace x 1041 McKie)
1010 Daletas (998.6 Pukos x 898 Knauss)
1180 Daletas (898.0 Knauss x 846.0 Calai)
1154.8 Doucet (1566 Rodonis x 1689 Jutras)
1138 J Johnson (1180 Daletas x 1420 Larue)
546.4 Zaychkowsky (898 Knauss x 1068 Wallace)
924 J Johnson (1231 Pukos x 1028 Sherwood)
1108 Giarrusso (1225 Jutras x 1068 Wallace)
925 Giarrusso (904 Stelts x 1385 Jutras)
1197.5 Hooker (1385 Jutras x 1470 Wallace)
939 Hooker (1566 Rodonis x 1470 Wallace)
1059.5 Hooker (1207 Young x 1385 Jutras)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pumpkin Blog!?

For those first time visitors to my pumpkin blog who would ask why a pumpkin blog, I ask why not! This pumpkin blog represents my entire 2008 season. Everything I did during the growing season can be found in the many posts on this site. 3,290 happy unique visitors to the site since May can't be wrong. lol

Feel free, if you have a lot of free time or if you are a pumpkin lover, to take a look through the site.

2008 Pumpkin Growers Survey

I just completed the 2008 Pumpkin Growers Survey. Not a small task. The survey that I came up with consisted of building an online form, database and a fair amount of time pouring through the data trying to make sense of it. I'm not sure, but I think this was the first such survey and report of its kind. It was a great learning experience for me. About 6.4% of Atlantic Giant pumpkin growers participated in the survey with a number of heavy hitters included. If you would like to participate in the survey and receive the final report you can do so by clicking here. After completing the survey you will be given a link to download the 12 page final report.