Monday, April 17, 2006

Big, bigger, biggest-From the San Diego Union-Tribune, April 16, 2006 edition

For some of us, it's a little early for pumpkins – we think in terms of Halloween jack-o'-lanterns, and Thanksgiving pies. But it's almost time to plant the tiny seeds from which pumpkins grow some cases from which ponderous pumpkins grow.
A free workshop, “Extreme Gardening: How to Grow a 500-Pound Pumpkin,” will be held 10 a.m. April 22 at Cedros Gardens, 330 S. Cedros Ave., in the design district of Solana Beach. Master Gardener and “Giant Pumpkin Kahuna” Stuart Shim will guide beginning and experienced gardeners of all ages through the hour-long workshop. Shim promises that the event will be fun, informative and intriguing for all who attend.
Shim has been growing giant pumpkins since 1993 when he saw an article in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal about “Mr. Dill and his Wonderful Seeds.” Howard Dill “invented” the Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Seed, and was offering free seeds. Shim sent away for some and started growing prodigious pumpkins. “It was a life-changing experience,” he said.
Shim, an Orange County financial adviser, initiated his clients into the wonders of giant pumpkin growing during a slump in the market, and conducts an annual giant pumpkin growing contest.
“My biggest pumpkin was 523 pounds in 2003,” he said. “If you've got good seeds and you prepare the ground properly, the chances of growing a 200-pound to 300-pound pumpkin are pretty good.”
Reservations are required for the workshop: Call Mia at (858) 792-8640. Free giant pumpkin seeds will be given to everyone attending. For more information about growing giant pumpkins, log on to