Monday, June 25, 2007

An Update from Sean & Sons

Good afternoon, Growers!

These great pictures and update are from Sean and his sons, Dominic and David:

Hi, Stuart,

Here's a late morning in May. Dominic and David are helping to measure the hole. And David helped mix the soil and put our pumpkin "Jack" in the ground. It is now late June and Jack just started to vine.

Many thanks!


Friday, June 22, 2007

The Latest from My Patch
Good afternoon, Growers!
Here's a couple of pictures of the seedlings in Huntington Beach as of last Friday afternoon, June 15th.
Have a great week-end!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Alex & Carmen Morales' Best Season!

Good morning, Growers!
Thank you very much to Alex and Carmen Morales! They are veteran giant pumkpin growers and loyal workshop shop attendees! Thank you very much in particular for your patience at this year's Orange County Farm Supply symposium. There was an unexpected delay before the seedling drawing. It was nice of you to stay!
These pictures are great!
"Hi Stuart, Here are pictures of our pumpkin plants, one for me and one for my wife. This is the best year ever for us!
Only 1 1/2 months old!
Alex and Carmen Morales , Montebello, CA."

An Image From One of Our Sponsors!
Good morning, Growers!
This image of square/cube-shaped watermelons was submitted by Mr. Nobo Azuma of HB-101, one of our latest sponsors. Yes, it's possible to grow cucurbits in molds. These were grown by a Japanese commercial watermelon grower in order to save shelf space and better utilize growing space.
Have a great morning,

Larry Stice's Mound Mixture

Good morning, Growers!

As promised, here's the recipe that Larry used in his mound:

  • 12 cubic feet of Kellogg's compost as pictured above.
  • 90 pounds of blood meal
  • 50 pounds of kelp meal
  • 10 pounds of green sand
  • 1 cubic yard of composted horse manure
  • Undisclosed/"Forgotten" amount of fish meal

I'll be making an on-site inspection along with appropriate officials from the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA in the next couple of weeks and I'll update you on Larry's progress.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Speaking of Big...

Good evening, Pumpkinistas!

As many of you have heard at my workshops, soil and mound preparation is critical to successful giant pumpkin cultivation. Usually, right after I extensively explain why it's necessary to dig a deep hole and prepare a mound to transplant one's giant pumpkin seedling into, invariably a hand shoots up and the question, normally in a high-pitched, whiny voice comes: "Do I have to dig a deep hole?", as if the questioner is special, and if I say they don't have to dig a deep hole, that they'll still have a chance at growing a big pumpkin?

Well, the pictures you see above are not for Those People.

These pictures chronicle the hole digging efforts of Mr. Lawrence Stice, mentioned yesterday as the grower/human parent of the seedlings for Kellogg Garden Products. Yes, Larry's missile silo, I mean hole, is roughly 6 feet deep, and 5 feet in diameter. This is the kind of hole I can only dream of. It helps to have relatives with access to heavy equipment.

In fact, I believe that it is the largest hole ever dug in Southern California for the express purpose of raising a giant pumpkin! If anyone has proof of a bigger hole, please send it in. I will be happy to post the evidence to this blog.

Stay tuned for a list of the ingredients and soil amendments that went into Larry's mound!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Big News!

Good evening, Growers!

I am extremely pleased to announce that Kellogg Garden Products,, the premier sponsor of Pumpkinmania! and my giant pumpkin related activities in Southern California and beyond, will be growing their own vines this year! Yes, Ty Hall and Toby LeBron have taken up the gardening gauntlet and have made mound preparations for their 2007 efforts! Lawrence Stice, an avid gardener, Orange County Farm Supply workshop attendee and fireman, who you will all get to know better as the season progresses, germinated some extra special seeds for Ty and Toby. The transplanting is scheduled for Thursday or Friday of this week, at Kellogg's facilities in Carson.

I am sure that having an unlimited supply of Gardner & Bloome soil amendments and Dr. Earth fertilizers will help them grow a monster.

We shall see...

Have a great evening!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Low Water Giant Pumpkin Growing Tips!
Good evening, Growers!
Now that most of you have your seedlings in the ground, and will soon be in the thick of the season, I thought that it would be timely to review some low water giant pumpkin growing tips and techniques, and to elaborate why they are important and will help you achieve better results at the same time.
  • Grow your seedlings and giant pumpkin vines in a well-prepared mound. This will allow you to concentrate water and nutrients to your vine in the most efficient manner.
  • Water early in the morning. Not only will this allow the vine or seedling the maximum amount of time to uptake water before the heat of the day, it will also reduce evaporation in the cool of the morning. I use an inexpensive, battery-operated timer on a soaker hose.
  • Remember to mulch around your seedling. This will reduce the amount of water, fertilizer and control weeds. Plus, mulching will help regulate and moderate soil temperature fluctuations. A 3"-4" deep layer of organic matter should work for most growers.
  • Weed your patch. Weeds will rob your vine of valuable water and nutrients.
If you have any additional suggestions, please let me know. I'll be happy to post them!
Have a great evening!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Garden Gossip Radio Show!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Thankfully, Lisa Cullen the host of the Garden Gossip radio program brought her camera last Friday and documented the event! Lisa's on the left, and Leana, last week's co-host is on the right. Thank you to all of you who took the time to listen the broadcast on their website! We're holding the giant pumpkin seedlings that I gave to them to plant in their own gardens. We all had a great time and I am looking forward to how they do with their seedlings!

The sun is finally making its appearance and just in time!

Have a great afternoon!


Monday, June 04, 2007

Island View Nursery: Final Stop on the 2007 World Tour!
Good evening, Growers!
I wanted to give you an update on the new giant pumpkin grower colony in Santa Barbara County! The workshop at Island View Nursery last Saturday morning was a great success. There were 25+ of the new giant pumpkin faithful in attendance and the questions and enthusiasm were abundant. Christie Boyd and her staff set up chairs and a table underneath a huge sycamore, and were part of the attendees. In addition, I am very happy to report that there will be 10 giant pumpkin seedlings planted at Island View Nursery's perimeter and Christie's planning a weigh-off for the attendees of the workshop in the fall.
Have a great evening!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Update from Mark Imhoof!

Good evening, Growers!

I received this great picture and update from Pumpkinmania's own Senior Technical Advisor and perennial Orange County Fair winning giant pumpkin grower, Mark Imhoof:

Hi Stuart,

It sounds like your seminars are going well. I remember going to one a few years ago, and look to what it has led to.This year's 'crop' will be a bit different than in previous years. I planted in April rather than in February (for the fair), so I'll have more days of sunshine during the growing season. I had ten seedlings that have now been thinned to 6. There are two grouping of three in the same oval shaped mound, with the plants about 5 foot long. The goal here is to have two plants on opposite ends of the mound. I also planted along the middle of my back fence rather than in the corner of the yard, meaning that I should have 180 degrees of area for the plant to grow into. The last few years, I planted in the corner, restricting the growth to 90 degrees. The goal now is to keep the dog away from the plants and the fruit. The dummy eats everything. -- Mark

Dear Mark,
Thank you very much for your update and good luck in July!

The 2007 Seedlings Have Been Transplanted!

Good evening, Growers!
Taking advantage of Thursday, May 31st's Blue Moon, I transplanted my seedlings into the mound I prepared a couple of months ago. As you can see, two seedlings were planted, a soaker hose spiraled around the mound, and then a medium size cardboard box placed over the top of the mound to protect the seedlings. All told, it took about 20 minutes. Because of the anticipated cool weather, I set the time for 15 minutes per day, every morning at 6:00 a.m..
The images above this text, were taken this afternoon, the images below this text were taken Thursday. As you can see, it looks like the seedlings have taken, since they are roughly 3 times bigger today than they were on Thursday.
So, my season has begun!
Have a great week!