Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Exploding cucurbits!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

As we get closer to fruiting, I thought you might find this video which contains footage of exploding cucumbers interesting. 

This can be viewed as a cautionary tale for giant pumpkin growers who over-water and over-fertilize their plants...

Good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mile and Susan Gray's 2015 Season!

Mike and Susan Gray's 2015 Season!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am very happy to let you know that Mike and Susan Gray, veteran giant pumpkin growers and fierce Pumpkinmania! competitors have started their patch!

I am impressed!

June 11, 2015

Monday, June 08, 2015

Tanaka Farms 2015 Workshop!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am happy to report that several dedicated, focused, and inquisitive individuals and families attended yesterday's workshop at Tanaka Farms! The attendees were treated to a very special demonstration of giant pumpkin weighing methods by Mark Imhoof, Senior Engineer and Weigh-off Crew Supervisor. Mark showed the attendees how we use a load cell and a special harness rated to 2,500 pounds to weigh the Pumpkinmania! entries. 

Another special treat was the kind generosity of Tanaka Farms. All families in attendance were given passes to Tanaka's strawberry or watermelon tours. 

Michelle and I can't wait to go!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mark Imhoof's 2015 Season!

June 4, 2015

Mark Imhoof's in the mix!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Veteran Pumpkinmania! weigh-off attendees will recognize Mark as the person supervising the weighing of the entries and engineering the sling. He's also a long-time giant giant pumpkin grower, and he sent me this picture of his vine which looks mighty nice so far! 

Note the vines are just poking through the fence...

June 5, 2015

Note the vines are through the fence, and on their way to Mark's neighbor's yard.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blue Hills Nursery 2015 Workshop

Giant pumpkin vines can grow in containers

The vine is beginning to fruit!

Blue Hill's' prior giant pumpkin cultivation!

Blue Hills Nursery's 2015 Workshop

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Last Sunday's workshop at Blue Hills Nursery was a little different than most. Jen Van Diest, manager, is growing a giant pumpkin in a large plastic tub (40 gallons+), so I was able to use her vine to show the attendees various parts of the plant! The attendees were even treated to an empirical example of the effects that giant pumpkin cultivation can have on relationships and obsession.

Also, Jen has graciously accepted my invitation to present one of the prizes at this fall's weigh-off and may even have an entry!

 Jen's vine has three fruit on it, so stop my when you're in Whittier to check on its progress and to get some local growing tips and supplies!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Orange County Register/Eventful
2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest
Announcment is Posted!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am happy to inform you that the 2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest announcement has been posted to the Orange County Register's event calendar: Orange County Register Events

Now, you can simply refer your relatives, friends, neighbors, and other suppliers of moral, psychological and emotional support to the link above.

Remember, please save the date! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 8:00 a.m.!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Farm Supply Co., 2015 Pumpkin Workshop

Photo by Gisele Schoniger

Farm Supply Company's 2015 Workshop

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I wanted to post some of the pictures that I took during my trip to San Luis Obispo for Farm Supply Company's May 9th workshop.

A big thank you to Dr. Joe Sabol, Professor Emeritus, of Cal Poly SLO for his priceless help, enthusiasm, work and help with this year's seedlings, and to Cara Crye and her outstanding management and staff for all of the preparations that go into an outstanding event.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Batavia Garden 2015

Batavia Garden Nursery's 2015 Workshop

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am happy to report that Batavia Garden's 2015 workshop was very fun and intimate. We had some new and very enthusiastic workshop attendees that bode well for this year's weigh-off in October. As always, it was great to see Adeline and Ray Ceja!

Thank you very much to Ron Hamada and Keiko Kakiuchi of Batavia, and all of their staff!

2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Announcement

The First Contestants for

The 2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin 
Weigh-off & Contest!
Sunday, October 25, 2015, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Tanaka Farms 
5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Please save the date! This year's weigh-off will be held, Sunday, October 25th!

About the picture:

In a bid to completely psyche out his competition, Pete Yeager, of GreenCure fame, e-mailed me this picture of this year's contenders. Pete tells me that they are all about 500% bigger now, and will be monitored very carefully, until they are transplanted at some future date and ceremony...Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The 2015 "Extreme Gardening: How to Grow a 500 pound Giant Pumpkin" World Tour

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am pleased to announce The 2015  "Extreme Gardening: How to Grow a 500 pound Giant Pumpkin" World Tour!

I apologize for the late announcement. I've been coordinating the schedule and structure of the workshops with Kellogg Garden Products, and it's taken a bit longer than originally anticipated.

Please check back to see additional workshops, since I am speaking with a couple of additional nurseries that have indicated interest in taking up the challenge!

Sunday, May 3, 10:00 a.m.-Batavia Garden Nursery, 1730 North Batavia Street, Orange, CA 92865. Please RSVP and obtain directions at: (714) 637-2360

Sunday, May 9, 10:00 a.m.-Farm Supply Co., 224 Tank Farm Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Please RSVP at: (805) 543-3751. For a map and directions, please visit:

Sunday, May 17, 1:00 p.m.-Blue Hills Nursery, 16440 East Whittier Blvd., Whittier, CA 90603. Please RSVP at: (562) 947-2013. For a map and directions, please visit:

Sunday, June 7, 4:00-5:00 p.m.-Tanaka Farms, 5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612. Click here to register! For a map and directions, please visit:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rise of the Giants-Documentary on Giant Pumpkins and Growers Orange County Premier November 29th, Tanaka Farms

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

LA-based film maker, Daria Matza, has just released a documentary about giant pumpkins and giant pumpkin growers called "Rise of the Giants".

I am pleased to announce that the Orange County premier of "Rise of the Giants" will be Saturday, November 29th, 2014, 4:30 p.m., at Tanaka Farms, 5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612, Admission will be $5.00 for adults, and children 16 and under are FREE. There will be some surprises for the audience and you're invited!

Here are some links to the movie's trailer, and other related information:

See you there!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The 2014 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Results and Images!

(All photos by Stuart Shim unless noted otherwise.)
It was easy to spot where the weigh-off was located at Tanaka Farms

Banners hung in the weigh-off area

Mark Imhoof, Chief Technology Officer shows off his weighing sling for smaller entries

Chris Dunn, 2013 Pumpkinmania! Champion, arrived early to help
and to register his son, Kingston's, 2014 entry.

Glenn Tanaka, owner of Tanaka Farms, shows off his forklift skills

Mike Gray prepares his and his wife's Susan's 2014 entry for unloading

Michelle Shim shows off this year's T-shirt design.

 Photo by Rocky Doke
Photo by Rocky Doke
What if you build it and no one enters?

The Gallery of Girth!

Joshua Fredricks, 35 pounds, Youngest Grower
(Note the special sling!)

 Linda Hales, 95 pounds

Joseph Schaefer, 239.5 pounds, Ugliest Pumpkin
(Joseph works at Tanaka Farms. Since his boss was operating the forklift,
he intelligently decided to work his normal shift.)

Mae Powell, 256.5 pounds, Most Experienced Grower

 Perri Williams, 299.5 (let's call it 300) pounds

Mike Gray, 345.5 pounds, Funniest Shape

Kevin Donahue, 361 pounds

  Pat Mahoney, 490 pounds

Tom Rogers, 646 pounds, Best Color & Third Place

Kingston Dunn, 649.5 pounds, First to Register & Second Place

Jim Fredricks, 810 pounds, The 2014 Pumpkinmania!
Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Champion!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!
Yesterday morning's cool weather almost helped keep the temperature of this year's heated competition in check! After a brutal season that kept many growers at home, the stalwart faithful and lucky contestants dutifully made the pilgrimmage to Tanaka Farms to compete for glory, honor and $1,800 in cash prizes, and products and gift certificates.

In the end, Jim Fredricks of Santee, CA, last year's 2nd place finisher, and a previous Pumpkinmania Champion, regained the crowd and title of the biggest and baddest grower in the patch and $1,000.00 with his 810 pound entry.

Kingston Dunn, 6, of Lomita, squeaked by Tom Rogers of Mission Viejo with his 649.5 pounder to Tom's 646 pound entry, for second place. A surprised and gracious Tom, took third place and also Best Color.

All other participants received Neptune's Harvest fertilizer and highly sought caps, and Jiffy's seed germination kits.

Other winners included:
Funniest Shape, Mike and Susan Gray, Baldwin Park
Ugliest Pumpkin, Joseph Schaefer, Huntington Beach
Youngest Grower, Joshua Fredricks, 3, Santee
Most Experienced Grower, Mae Powell, Pasadena

For the Orange County Register article:

The management of Pumpkinmania! would like to recognize the following individuals and organizations for their support, understanding and hard work:

Tanaka Farms, Irvine, CA
Gardner & Bloome division of Kellogg Garden Products
The University of California Master Gardeners of Orange County
Philippe's The Original, Los Angeles, CA
Roadkyll Graphics and Screenprinting, Santa Ana, CA
Orange County Farm Supply, Orange, CA
Sheridan Gardens, Burbank, CA
Blue Hills Nursery, Whittier, CA
Batavia Gardens, Orange, CA
Farm Supply Co., San Luis Obispo, CA
U-Haul International, Phoenix, AZ
GreenCure, Inc., Conklin, NY
Neptune's Harvest, Gloucester, MA
Beaver Plastics, Alberta, Canada
The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA
Glenn Tanaka
Ken Tanaka
Ty Hall
Mark Imhoof
Phil Concan
Chris Dunn
Casey T. Shim
Casey Shim
Lauren Shim
Michelle Shim

Thank you very much!