Sunday, August 24, 2008

The 23rd Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show!

Good evening, Growers!

Man cannot live on pumpkin alone. With that thought in mind, my dad, Lauren and I stopped into the The 23rd Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show at the Los Angeles County Arboretum before the Full Moon Party and Luau, on the advice of Joe Stead, an instructor at Orange Coast College who let all of the UCCE Certified Master Gardeners know about it at our August 9th monthly meeting. Joe wasn't exaggerating when he said that this one of the biggest if not the biggest cactus and succulent show in North America. There were thousands of specimens on display, and even more for sale. Plus, we attended a few lectures on propagation, cultivation, and even how the winning entries were selected for the trophy table. I was able to pick up some tips that I think can easily applied to giant pumpkins...

This was our first time to visit this show, but it will not be the last!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good evening, Growers!
Alas, it appears that Hope, at least for the time being, is taking a break. Please note the very ragged state of the vine and leaves in just a week's time. Also note the rather vivid orange color that indicates a maturation of the fruit. There is a little new leaf and vine growth, but the emphasis should clearly be placed on little.
The only course of action at this time is a radical vine transplant procedure, ideally from one of Michelle Lofthouse's vines below...
If not, it looks like 350 pounds will be this year's effort.

Let's Luau!

Images of The 2008 Patch Tour & Full Moon Party & Luau
Good morning, Growers!
Forty or so dedicated and moonstruck giant pumpkin growers, friends, relatives and neighbors from Canada to San Juan Capistrano participated in The 2008 Patch Tour & Full Moon Party & Luau yesterday.
From top to bottom, Jen Van Diest's patch was an impressive display of some very large, still growing pale pumpkins. Then it was time to head north!
To the strains of The Sons of Makaha and Martin Denny, tour particpants gathered at Michelle Lofthouse's Autumn Leaf Farm in Monrovia to enjoy delicious potluck contributions that ranged from Hawaiian tacos, to sushi, to barbecued teriyaki, the maiden dish on Michelle's never-used barbecue. Natalie aka 'Noodles', Michelle's Clydesdale, provided much of the evening's entertainment, greeting all party-goers with a friendly sniff and many photo oppurtunities. After the sun went down, and the tiki torches were and lanterns lit, the giant pumpkin faithful were treated to a spectacular full moon viewing.
Michelle's pumpkins were awe-inspiring to all, and now all attendees know what it means to bury your vines.
A huge mahalo nui loa to all that made last night's event a huge and fun success!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Inside the Gourd Tunnel

Grown to celebrate The 2008 Patch Tour & Full Moon Party & Luau!

A Mere Sampling of the Crop

Overhead watering system

Outside the 30 Foot Gourd Tunnel

Highlights of The Fullerton Arboretum's Pumpkin Patch!
Good evening, Growers!
I had an opportunity to visit the Fullerton Arboretum's pumpkin patch this afternoon. It's a real treat. The management and staff at the Fullerton Arboretum obviously dedicated themselves to the creation of a very unique experience for tour participants. There's even a patch of Full Moon pumpkins grown to celebrate the 2008 Patch Tour & Full Moon Party & Luau! Eat your heart out Beijing!
Head left after you enter the arboretum and follow the signs. Be sure to explore the enchanting 30 Foot Gourd Tunnel near the Children's Garden.
Have fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hope at 330 pounds
Good afternoon, Growers!
Well, I followed my own instructions. Yes, I put up a small shelter over Hope. This year, fruit set in a relatively shady area of the patch, so until now, shade hasn't been necessary. The only time the sun is shining directly on the pumpkin is noon.
A few growers have remarked that it looks like my leaves are still green and untainted with powdery mildew. Nothing could be further from the truth. (The key is normally taking pictures in the late afternoon or early evening.) The dreaded fungus is aggressively attacking all leaf surfaces.

Friday, August 08, 2008

David Ross, Garden Doctor!

Good evening, Growers!

The Masters & Institutional Division of Pumpkinmania has been a lonely place the last few competitions. This season has changed everything. This is David Ross' giant pumpkin in San Diego. David, as you will recall, is the manager of Walter Andersen Nursery, in Poway, CA.

Well done!