Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another Giant Pumpkin Exhibition Site in Hawaii!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Is it just me, or are your seedlings doubling in size every 36-48 hours because of the great weather we've been having? In fact, I've lengthened the watering time in Huntington Beach from 15 minutes a day to 30 minutes a day, starting at 5:00 a.m., in order to address some of the early to late afternoon heat stress I've noticed with my plant.

My father, Casey, is growing a giant pumpkin seedling/vine in Kula on the island of Maui. The giant pumpkin cultivation is just part of a 6-acre farm that also grows coffee, proteas, and even some koa trees. During the coffee season, he also runs farm tours for local and tourist groups.

Here's the web address for Shim Farm Tours:

I don't know if the giant pumpkin seedling and soon to be vine will be featured on the farm tour so you may have to ask about it! Then, perhaps it will.

Please stop by if you're going to Maui this summer or early fall!


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another Mound, Another Grower: San Juan Capistrano

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Saturday afternoon, I helped an old friend of mine, Michael Altstatt plant some giant pumpkin seedlings in his backyard in San Juan Capistrano. Because of gophers, we lined the sides and bottom of the hole we dug with chicken wire, and then put up a 3' high chicken wire fence around his finished mound. This is Michael and his family's first time to grow giant pumpkins. So, perhaps we overdid the gopher security a bit. We'll see. They can be very challenging.

The Old Farmer's Almanac indicated that Saturday, May 27th, was the beginning of a new lunar cycle so Michael's timing was impeccable.

The warming weather this week is nearly ideal for encouraging that initial growth spurt from seedling to vine. The Old Farmer's Almanac also mentioned that the time to begin fertilizing is once your vine is 1 foot tall. So, it should be getting close to begin your fertilizing programs!

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Powdery Mildew Treatments

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

A number of workshop attendees inquired about what to do about the scourge of the Pacific Coast, powdery mildew.

I did a little research in the archives, and found this gem for you:

Have a great morning!,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Giant Pumpkin Exhibition Patch in Hawaii!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I have received word from my cousin Michelle in Honolulu, that her giant pumpkin seeds have sprouted. So, there will be another giant pumpkin exhibition patch this season!

Please stop by if you happen to visit Honolulu during the next few months, (maybe longer since the great weather should extend Michelle's vine's life.) I suggest calling first, just in case.

94-101 Waipahu Depot Road
Waipahu, HI 96797
(808) 671-3175

Ishiharaya, famous for its signature line of Plantation Tea Cookies (senbei), was originally founded in 1920, making it one of the oldest businesses still in operation in Honolulu. Michelle is the official spokesperson and her boyfriend Ira is responsible for making their cookies and is also the grandson of the founders of Ishiharaya. (I know that whenever I see Michelle, she always has something very delicious and creative to eat with her from the store.)

The warm weather is having an almost magical effect on the growth of my seedlings, I hope it's having the same effect on yours!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Many seedlings, many workshops!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am extremely happy to report that the 2006 giant pumpkin growing workshop season ended on a great high note, last Saturday! Thank you very much to all the enthusiastic and interested giant pumpkin growers that attended this year's workshops!

The workshops at Orange County Farm Supply and The Los Angeles County Arboretum went very well, with approximately 25+ seedlings given away in total. Plus, two giant pumpkin seedlings were planted in the Organic Garden, located right outside of the gift shop, under the careful eye and care of Marciela Liniero, Horticulturalist at the LA County Arboretum.

Speaking of which, here are the locations for this season's public giant pumpkin sites:

1) The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

2) Descanso Gardens

3) Fullerton Arboretum

4) Laguna Hills Nursery

5) Orange County Farm Supply

So, if you're in the area, or happen to be visiting, please stop by and see how the seedlings/vines are doing.

The warming weather is ideal for those growers who planted their seedlings last week because the cool weather then allowed their seedlings to adapt to their new environments with little temperature stress.

Well, I am looking forward to the next 4-5 months with very great anticipation! Please keep me abreast of your progress, triumphs, and discoveries! My e-mail address is:

Let the growing begin!


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thank you to Gary Jones of Armstrong Garden Centers!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

As part of this Saturday afternoon's workshop at The Los Angeles County Arboretum, in addition to complimentary giant pumpkin seeds, attendees will also receive a peat pot to germinate (some of) them in through the kind generosity and support of Gary Jones, of Armstrong Garden Centers Gary and Armstrong Garden Centers are big supporters of Pumpkinmania! and the giant pumpkin workshops too!

So, if you happen to visit an Armstrong Garden Center retailer over the next few months, please be sure to mention Gary's involvement and participation with the Southern California giant pumpkin growing community.

Have a great morning!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Team Verizon: Will 2006 Be The Season?

The Team Verizon growers received their seeds May 13th.

Last season, Linda Hales dominated this group with a 110 pound effort named Pammy. Given the high quality of seeds I received from Danny Dill, at Howard Dill Enterprises,, this year, there's a chance someone at Verizon with the will and discipline, can unseat Linda.

Have a great morning!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Workshop & University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, Orange County

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

The first giant pumpkin growing workshop ever to be presented at The Huntington Library in San Marino went well! There were about 25 attendees, and everyone who wanted a giant pumpkin seedling received one. The questions and insights from some veteran pumpkin growers in attendance were particularly helpful. It looks like we'll build on this year's momentum and have another one next season. Ms. Hannah Palmer, the Director of Family Programs, will be trying to grow a very healthy, Rivard, from a 936 pound parent, with the input and advice of her father.

Also, on the morning of May 13th, roughly one dozen 'special' giant pumpkin seedlings were distributed to various UCCE Certified Master Gardeners at the Orange County monthly meeting, with the gracious help of Phil Concan, a fellow master gardener and the owner of Roadkyll Graphics and Screen Printing, and long-time supporter of Pumpkinmania!. I delivered the seedlings last Friday afternoon, and Phil got them safely to the master gardener meeting Saturday morning. They are a very crafty and resourceful group, so I expect some serious entries from them in October.

The last two workshops of the 2006 season will be held this Saturday, May 20th. At 11:00 a.m., I'll be at Orange County Farm Supply, 1826 W. Chapman Avenue, Orange, (714) 978-6500, then, at 2:00 p.m., at the Los Angeles County Arboretum,, 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, (626) 821-4623. Again, there will be many more, limited-edition, super premium, pedigreed giant pumpkin seedlings given away than ever before. Plus, at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, we'll be planting some seedlings! So, Los Angeles area giant pumpkin aficionados will be able to study, observe, and monitor a vine other than their own through the fall.


P.S. I'll be planting my seedling(s) this Tuesday or Wednesday evening, depending on the moon, replete with the Hawaiian planting chant!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Workshop Update/Germinating Your Seeds

Good morning, Pumpkinistas,

Last night, I spoke at the Orange County Organic Gardening Club's May meeting. I was very pleasantly surprised that about 35 members attended. I gave away 12 "pedigreed" giant seedlings to interested and anxious members, and seeds from Paul Rys that are part of his giant orange pumpkin genetics research.

If you're interested in participating, Paul can be reached at:

Mr. Paul Rys (Pronounced ‘Rees’)
P.O. Box 1502
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406
(805) 235-1302 (The best time to reach Paul is in the evening.)

(Mr. Rys is conducting a 6-year project to produce giant brilliant orange pumpkins. The pumpkin seeds you’ve received have a 75% chance of producing a giant brilliant orange pumpkin. For pictures of some of Paul’s award-winning pumpkins, please visit: and search for “beautiful pumpkins” or “Paul Rys”.

In order to keep the seed pure, please plant and keep one final vine, and please keep one half of the seeds from any pumpkin(s) grown for Paul to continue his project in the fall of 2006/winter 2007. Please make sure that no other “Cinderella” pumpkin vines or other “Atlantic Giant” pumpkin vines are within 500’ of your vine. All other cultivation methods for growing giant pumpkins will apply.)

This Saturday I'll be presenting at The Huntington Library, in San Marino, at 10:30 a.m.. If you're in the area, please stop by. Again, I should more giant pumpkin seedlings than ever before to give away.

Finally, if you've been waiting to sprout your giant pumpkin seeds, NOW would be a good time to start. The best lunar seedling transplanting time will be May 16th and 17th. I placed my pre-soaked giant pumpkin seeds for my 2006 growing efforts into their respective peat pots last night at around 9:30 p.m..

Have a great afternoon!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pumpkin Seedling Hawaiian Planting Chants!/Brilliant Orange Giant Pumpkins!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Well, the workshop season is in full swing! Attendance has been outstanding this season. Most recently, which means last Tuesday evening at Laguna Hills Nursery, there were 26 returning and new growers! As I've mentioned before, I have the liberty of having more giant pumpkin seedlings to give away as workshop prizes this season. So, Tuesday evening, 12 seedlings were given away to good homes and gardens.

Over the next few weeks, giant pumpkin growers all over Southern California will be germinating seeds, and then planting seedlings. There is a chant that you may consider using as part of your transplanting ceremony:

He ipu nui!

O hiki ku mauna,

O hiki kua,

Nui maoli keia ipu!

English translation:

A huge pumpkin (gourd)!

Growing like a mountain

To be carried back

Really huge is this pumpkin!

This chant is from a great book titled, Hawaiian and other Polynesian Gourds, by Ernest S. Dodge, Ku Pa'a Publishing, 1995.

I've been approached to participate in a giant pumpkin research project being conducted by Paul Rys, of San Luis Obispo. Paul has been working on creating beautiful orange giant pumpkins for the last 6 years. Paul has shipped me some seeds that will produce bright, beautiful orange pumpkins 75% of the time and is looking for growers that would like to try them. We are looking for between 15-20 growers who are willing to grow one vine this season, and then return the resulting seeds back to Paul. If you go to and search for beautiful pumpkins, you'll see what I mean. Paul has grown award-winning giant pumpkins for their appearances in the past, and I am happy and excited to be part of this research. Please e-mail me at: for details on how you can participate too!

Have a great week-end!