Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Bowling in Northern California
Good evening, Growers!
I received these photos from Ty Hall, Pumpkinmania Judge, Crew Member and also District Manager of Pumpkinmania sponsor, Kellogg Garden Products.
Imagine using giant pumpkins, on a slope, and very large bowling pins.
Have a great evening,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hope's New Home!

Good evening, Growers!

Well, 'Hope' missed the weigh-off but for a great cause! This is the Giant Pumpkin Crew of Mary Bragg Elementary School, in Cerritos. Tomorrow evening, the school's having a fund-raiser as part of their "Trunk or Treat" event: They stopped by to pick up, load, and transport 'Hope' to Cerritos this evening.
It's for a wonderful cause, to celebrate the life of a kindergarten teacher who passed away from cancer last year and her love for big pumpkins. So, I hope you will all show your support, stop by, and try to guess the weight of 'Hope'!
Good luck!
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photo by Coleen Briggs

Photo by Coleen Briggs

Photo by Ty Hall

Photo by Ty Hall

Photo by Ty Hall

Photo by Ty Hall

Martha Senger, Whittier, 'Outie', 9 pounds

Russ and Lauren Price, San Juan Capistrano, 'Acorn' 24.5 pounds

Shannon Paukstis, Placentia, 'Beauty, Ay', 25 pounds

Robert Paukstis, Placentia, 'Beast', 25.5 pounds

David Senger, Whittier, 'Little Lucia', 31.5 pounds

Stacey and Wendy Taylor, Laguna Niguel, 'Thor'(Thorette), 43.5 pounds

Matthew McClain, Altadena, 'Spiney', 51.5 pounds

Martha Treadway, Norwalk, 'Ms. Peanut', 52.5 pounds

Gracie Gilmore, Santa Ana, 'Stella', 90 pounds

Mark Imhoof, Irvine, 'Pee-Wee', 115 pounds

Chuck McClain, Altadena, 'Mary Rose', 147.5 pounds

Mayson Gilmore, Santa Ana, 'Fred', 150.5 pounds

Phil Concan, Garden Grove, 'Hilary', 154 pounds

Linda Hales, Huntington Beach, 'Patty', 155 pounds

Gloria Broming (l.), San Juan Capistrano, 'Gloria's Gourd', 209.5 pounds

John Allen, Corona, 'Mr. H.W. Bill', 375.5 pounds

Russ Price, San Juan Capistrano, 'Angus', 475 pounds

Michelle Lofthouse, Monrovia, 'Gertie', 842.5 pounds

Darryl Gregoire, Altadena, 'Logan', 943.5 pounds

John Sach, Whittier, 'Sunney', 1,059 pounds

Scott Briggs Sets New Pumpkinmania Weigh-off & Contest Record!

Good evening, Pumpkinistas!

History was made yesterday afternoon, when Scott Briggs of Simi Valley's entry, 'Jr.', weighed 1,110 pounds, a new Pumpkinmania Weigh-off & Contest record! In fact, the previous contest record set in 2007, of 861 pounds, by Michelle Lofthouse, was broken by John Sach's, second place effort, 'Sunney' at 1,059 pounds, and Darryl Gregoire's third place finish, of 943.5 pounds, 'Logan'. Rounding out the top five spots were Michelle Lofthouse, Monrovia, the Winningest Grower in Pumpkinmania History, in fourth place with 'Gertie', 842.50 pounds and in fifth place, Russ Price, San Juan Capistrano, with 'Angus', 475 pounds. The final outcome of this year's competition wasn't determined until John Sach's entry was weighed last to the delight and surprise of the 220 attendees, growers, and their family, friends, neigbors, and other supporters.

Growers, attendees, management and staff were treated to sunny weather, clear skies, and the very occasional breeze. The Centennial Heritage Museum sponsored a Victorian tea, the always popular Satin and Spurs Western re-enactment group, face and pumpkin painting using pumpkins donated by Ingardia Brothers Produce, Santa Ana. The Orange County Blacksmith Guild provided rhythm and percussion to the activity of 21 entries, ranging in weight from 9 to 1,110 pounds, being unloaded by the veteran and loyal Pumpkinmania staff. Two new categories were added this year: The Most Classic Pumpkin and The Largest Organically Grown Pumpkin.

Here are the final results:

First Place: Scott Briggs, Simi Valley, 1,110 pounds, 'Jr.', $1,000 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, wreath, pumpkin paperweight, 2008 Pumpkinmania limited-edition T-shirt

Second Place: John Sach, Whittier, 1,059 pounds, 'Sunney', $500 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, wreath, pumpkin paperweight, 2008 Pumpkinmania limited-edition T-shirt

Third Place: Darryl Gregoire, Altadena, 943.5 pounds, 'Logan', $300 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, wreath, pumpkin paperweight, 2008 Pumpkinmania limited-edition T-shirt

Fourth Place: Michelle Lofthouse, Monrovia, 842.5 pounds, 'Gertie' $50 Gift Certificate, Batavis Gardens

Fifth Place: Russ Price, San Juan Capistrano, 475 pounds, 'Angus'

Sixth Place: John Allen, Corona, 375.5 pounds, 'Mr. H.W. Bill'

Seventh Place: Gloria Broming, San Juan Capistrano, 209.5 pounds, 'Gloria's Gourd'

Eighth Place: Linda Hales, Huntington Beach, 155 pounds, 'Patty'

Ninth Place: Phil Concan, Garden Grove, 154 pounds, 'Hilary'

Tenth Place: Mayson Gilmore, Santa Ana, 150.5 pounds, 'Fred'

Eleventh Place: Chuck McClain, Altadena, 147.5, 'Mary Rose'

The top five finishers received 1, one quart bottle of Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed Blend fertilizer.

The fourth through eleventh place finishers each received a Heated Seedling Mat (retail value $35.00) from HydroFarm

Best Color: Russ Price, San Juan Capistrano, $50 Gift Certificate from Cedros Gardens, Solana Beach

Funniest Shape: Martha Treadway, Norwalk, $50 Gift Certificate from Batavia Garden, Orange

Ugliest Pumpkin: Russ Price, San Juan Capistrano, $50 Gift Certificate from Orange County Farm Supply, Orange

Most Classic: Stacey and Wendy Taylor, Laguna Niguel, $50 Gift card from The Epoch Times

Largest organically grown: Scott Briggs, Simi Valley, $50 Gift Certificate from Yamagami's Nursery, Cupertino

Most Experienced Grower: John Sach, Whittier, $25 Gift Card from Walter Andersen Nursery, Poway

Youngest Grower: Mayson Gilmore, Santa Ana, $25 Gift Card from Walter Andersen Nursery, Poway

Guess the Weight of the Pumpkins Contest (Total correct weight: 3,112.5 pounds!)
$50 First Place: Sean McManus, 3,200, Lake Elsinore, Gift Cards from Blue Hills Nursery, Whittier
$25 Second Place: Katie McClain, 3,016, Altadena, from Dr. Earth

$10 Third Place: Diana Saltikov, 3,015, Whittier, from Dr. Earth

I would like to thank the following individuals, sponsors and staff for their critical participation and help. Without them, there wouldn’t be a Pumpkinmania:

Ty Hall, Kellogg Garden Products
Phil Concan, Roadkyll Apparel Graphics
Colleen Mensel, Centennial Heritage Museum
David Ross, Walter Andersen Nursery
Ron Kanemoto, Yamagami's Nursery
Jennifer Van Diest, Blue Hills Nursery
Sharon Stolen, UCCE Master Gardeners
Gary Matsuoka, Laguna Hills Nursery
Ann Molloy, Neptune’s Harvest Organic Fertilizers
Nobo Azuma, YK Flora/HB-101
Ron Hamada, Batavia Garden Nursery
Chris Roy, Orange County Farm Supply
Stanley Szymczyk, Imperial Medical Management, Inc.
Joanne Fried, U-Haul International
Danny Dill, Howard Dill Enterprises
Mia McCarville, Cedros Gardens
Peter Yeager, GreenCure
Sharon and Bruce Asakawa, Garden Compass Media
Sam Ingardia, Ingardia Wholesale Produce
Greg Thiel, Hydrofarm
Milo Shammas, Dr. Earth
Cindy McNatt, Orange County Register
Diana Mathias, The Epoch Times
Casey N.E. Shim
Casey T. Shim
Mark Imhoof
Lauren Shim
Brian Gould
Jessie Chen
Christy Concan

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mr. James Stevenson-In the Hunt!
Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!
In a classic, pre-competition psychological manuever, I received the image above from Jim Stevenson, a Walter Andersen Nursery workshop attendee. Jim will be there, with his pumpkin, tomorrow morning. San Diego County is in the house.
The mental jockeying and parrying Pumpkinmania Eve, is palpable...
Jim has plans to share his seeds from his entry, and distribute them to his neighbors for next season. Who knows, San Diego growers may come to dominate Pumpkinmania?
See you tomorrow! (The Centennial Heritage Museum has spruced up the competition area, and the weather's going to be great!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scenes from the 2008 Ventura County Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off!

Pumpkinmania in 2 days!

Hello Pumpkinistas!

Just two more days until Pumpkinmania! I am very confident that there will be two entries in the 700-800 pound range, so the competition for the top spot will be palpable. Plus, the Pumpkinmania Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Contest announces the addition of two new prize categories to this year’s competition: The Most Classic Pumpkin, prize sponsor, The Epoch Time, and The Largest Organically-Grown Pumpkin, prize sponsor, Yamagami’s Nursery, Cupertino, CA.
Just in case, here are the details:
Event: The 2008 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest
Day/date/time: Sunday, October 26, 2008, 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., entry and grower registration from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., final weigh-off begins at 12:00 noon.
Location: Centennial Heritage Museum, 3101 West Harvard Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704,, for map and directions.
Price: Free to enter, free to attend!
Prizes: Heaviest Pumpkin, First Place, $1,000, Second Place, $500, Third Place, $300, courtesy of Gardner & Bloome division of Kellogg Garden Products. Prizes will be also awarded for Best Color, Funniest Shape, Youngest Grower, Most Experienced Grower, Most Classic Pumpkin, and many more.
Activities: Children face-painting, Victorian tea, blacksmithing demonstrations, Guess the Weight of the (Three Heaviest) Pumpkins, and more.
Rules & Regulations
1. This is an open competition to all growers in any part of the world.
2. The pumpkin must be grown by the grower and in the country where the grower resides.
3. A grower may enter only one pumpkin, and no family may enter more than two entries.
4. Entries will be received between 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. on the day of competition.
5. Entries must be sound, healthy, and undamaged. This means free of rot, holes or cracks through to the cavity, chemical residue, soil, and soft spots.
6. No foreign material is to be included in the weighing. Vine must be trimmed within 1.0” from the stem of the fruit. Judges reserve the right to fully inspect each pumpkin before the weight is announced and official. Refusal to allow inspection of a pumpkin will result in its disqualification.
7. Any pumpkin previously entered in or weighed at any other competition prior to the contest will be deemed ineligible.
8. In the event of a tie, prize(s) will be combined and split equally among entrants.
9. Decision of the judges will be final in all cases.
10. Contest sponsors and staff shall not be liable for compensation for loss or damage to any pumpkins, contestants, their families and friends, or personal property. All entrants completely and totally indemnify the sponsors and organizers of the weigh-off and contest.