Monday, July 5, 2021

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference in Growing a Giant Pumpkin

 Last year I went to the GPC pumpkin seminar.  A number of great speakers at the event.  Joe Jutras, former world record holder for giant pumpkins, gave a presentation and most of it I don't specifically recall, but the part that grabbed me is when he talked about terminating the vines at the edge of the pumpkin patch.  Once you cut off a vine tip, the vine will stop growing.  Because at the vine tip on the plant typically has the vines up in the air, you can't bury the vines at the last leaf node at the end of the vine, because they don't lay down on the ground.  

At each leaf node, a plant will grow a root.   So to get more roots growing at the end of the vine, Joe said he let the plant grow out 2 feet beyond the edge of the patch and then would cut it off after the leaf node so he could get the vine to lay down so he could roots  at that last leaf node.  Brilliant!

Why would that be brilliant?  Well, the difference between a 1,500 pound pumpkin and a one ton pumpkin is usually not one or two things, but 20 or 30 different little things.  Every time you don't bury the vines because it is too hot outside in July or maybe don't bury the vines deep enough you can scratch off a pound or two off the pumpkin and those pounds add up over time.  

Joe, by allowing roots to grow at the last leaf node was capturing probably 45 more leaf nodes around the edge of the patch to grow roots that can help power the pumpkin.  Would those 45 more leaf nodes produce 45 extra pounds on the pumpkin by the end of the season?  No way to really know, but it would be highly unlikely that it not add some positive results on the pumpkin with all of those extra roots powering the pumpkin.

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