Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Pumpkin Plants are Growing Nicely

Today I took the pumpkin plants out for their first direct sun of the season. It was the first day in a while that it hasn't been too windy or too cold or that we even had some consistent sun. The plants seemed to like it. In past years the leaves tended to droop after a little while when the plants got their first direct sun light because they weren't used to the intensity. This year I added some additional wattage to the grow "closet" and that seems to have helped. (note to DEA: the glow from the closet is not illicit. Please don't kick the door down.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Order Giant Pumpkin Seeds from The Pumpkin Man!

Welcome to the redesigned Tell me what you think of the new design!

Would you like to take a shot at having the biggest jack-o-lantern on your street or maybe a world record pumpkin? I've got some of the best genetic seeds in the world for you. Order now to grow a giant! It is a great activity to do with your children or to show the neighbors who is the best gardener in the neighborhood. Each seed are the same type of seeds that competitive giant pumpkin growers use and have world record genetics. Shop giant pumpkin seeds

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Grow Time

Every seed germinated and it is pumpkin plant growing time. My experience is that for the first few days after the plant pops out of the seed starting mix the plants grow really fast and then they slow down for a bit and then take off again later. The seeds that I've planted are two 1204 Scherbers, two 1306 Mohrs, a 868 Johnson and a 1325 Sperry. My kids will probably grow one of the later two plants. They did a great job of choosing their seeds, preparing the seed starting mix, filing their seeds and soaking them. They decided not to use the paper towel method to get their seeds started but I suspect the seed will be popping out the soil any day now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Aggressive Pumpkin Plants

I checked the seeds that I started and three of the four of them have germinated so I have transferred them to their peat pots. The 1306 looks to be aggressive plants. Both of those seeds had roots that were already an inch long. One of the 1204 Scherber seeds hasn't germinated yet so I decided to start a 1325 Sperry as a backup. I like the 1325 genetics. It is a cross of a 1161 Rodonis (same seed that grew the world record 1,810) and a 1725 Harp. The 1725 is a seed from the former world record pumpkin. Steve Sperry said that the 1725 was "the fastest growing, best looking plant in the garden" until it had a blossom end split in late August. It is impressive that the 1725 was the best looking plant when the biggest pumpkin that he took to the scale last year was 1520 pounds. I figure it is a seed worth growing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Giant Pumpkin Seed Starting. Let the Season Begin!

Tonight I sanded the edges of my pumpkin seeds and I am soaking them now in warm water with a drop of seaweed and a little humic acid to help them germinate. After an three hours of soaking I will transfer the seeds to lightly moistened paper towels that will be folded around the seeds and put into Ziploc bags. The Ziploc bags will then be placed at the back part of my computer where it is usually about 85 degrees. An ideal temperature for pumpkin seed starting is between 85 to 90 degrees. In 24 to 48 hours a little root will come out of the bottom of the seed and at that time I will transfer the seeds to my seed starting mixture in peat pots.

For my seed starting mixture I use 80% ProMix BX, about 20% earthworm castings, some myco, and this year I'm going to add a little BiotaMax to the pots. BiotaMax is a combination of friendly bacteria and fungus that will help protect and feed the pumpkin plants. About 48 hours after putting the seeds in the pots they will start popping through the soil. I have the pots in a closet with grow lights and a space heater so I can keep the plants at about 85 degrees. About two weeks later I'll be taking the plants outdoors.

The seeds I am growing this year are the 1204 Scherber (1421 Stelts x 1725 Harp) and the 1306 Mohr (1161 Rodonis x 1288 Wallace). The weight of the pumpkin that the seed came from is the number and the name following is the last name of the grower that grew the pumpkin. The numbers in brakets after it are the female and male pollinator for the seed. Both of these seeds came from Colorado growers. The 1725 Harp pollinator for the 1204 Scherber is a seed from the former world record pumpkin. The 1161 Rodonis in the 1306 Mohr is a seed from the same pumpkin that grew the world record 1,810 pound pumpkin so there are some great genetics in these seeds.
We are off to the races! Hopefully we will be reporting giant pumpkins from these seeds come September.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pumpkin Season is Springing Upon Us

Yesterday was the annual Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Spring Meeting. It had a great turnout and equally as good weather for the event. Seed exchange, lessons on growing techniques and the latest information on soil probiotics biologicals were shared. Giant pumpkin growers have been using natural fungus and bacteria to help grow bigger pumpkins for years. I've been using things like like endo mycorrhizal fungi for years and this last year I tried new bacteria and fungi like Azos, trichoderma and bacillus. This year I plan on using the same produts (except for maybe Azos that I'm not fully convinced yet that the benefits out way the risks with yet) but on a slightly larger scale covering more of the patch than just the stump area and main vine.

Biota Max's has developed a new tablet form of the biologicals I used last year. In 2010 I used the liquid form and it appears that the tablet will be easier to use and it has more varieties of beneficial bacteria which will be great. The idea behind using beneficial bacteria and fungi are three fold:
  • Overwhelm the soil with the good stuff so the there is no room in the soil for the bad bacteria and fungus
  • Build synergistic relationships between the plant and the soil where the bacteria are fixing nitrogen in the soil and bringing nutrients beyond the reach of the pumpkin plant's roots back to the plant
  • Add beneficial bacteria and fungus to the soil that will break down nutrients to a form that the pumpkin plant can use.
  • These three things together are often referred to as the soil food web. A healthy soil is balanced, full of beneficial organisms and feeding the pumpkin to help it grow

This week I will be starting my pumpkin seeds for the season. In keeping with the normal pumpkin growers mentality of "more is better" I've added an additional 80watts of grow lights to my seed starting area.

Today I brought my seed starting mixture (Promix BX), earthworm castings from my worm bins and a little humic acid into the house to begin warming them up so they will be ready for planting time. I'll start my seeds in paper towels and once the tap root comes out I'll put the seed into the soil mixture which will probably be on Saturday. A few days later I should have sprouts coming up and we are off to the races again with great hopes for September and October of this year.