Saturday, July 16, 2011

Watching the Pumpkins Grow

The next three weeks can be some of the most fun of the entire pumpkin growing season. Competition giant pumpkin growing is all about hope. You hope for a good seed, good weather and good luck. After working with salad for four months now is finally the time of the pumpkins. Vine growth slows down a lot right now (after crazy vine growth for two weeks very little growth on the vines today) as the plant's energy gets focused on the fruit. At about 21 days after pollination the pumpkins typically take off putting on 20 to 40 pounds a day. At about day 30 you find out if your pumpkin has a chance of being a player or not. At about day 60 your hope is gone unless you have a really big one going, but the last 30 days of growth is comparatively small to the previous 45 days.

Both of my plants this year have hope. They are healthy, they've shown the ability to grow vigorously, they have good size, the vines are buried better then I've ever buried the vines before, the soil was prepared relatively well going into the season (I've never seen so many worms in my patch--started out with zero) and the pumpkins have very good genetic backgrounds. Depending on the day I can't decide which pumpkin is going to be bigger.

Initially I would have said the 1204 (aka "Ricky") was going to be king of the patch. Now, at the ripe old age of 12 days, the 868 pumpkin (aka "Jerry") has shown me some interesting stuff. Which one is going to be bigger? Well, the scale won't lie in September and it is a long ways to go between here and there. As the saying goes, "The BS stops when the tail gate drops."

I gave the plants some compost tea this evening along with a side dressing of compost next to some of the newer vines. Also added a new sprinkler so I can do a better job of misting the plants during the heat of the day. It was hot today in Colorado and it is going to be hot for the next 5 days at least. Got some rain again this evening. I think that makes it about 12 straight days that we have had rain.

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