Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Gardner Building

An Afternoon Walk in Downtown Ventura!
After the workshop, I had time for a walk down Main Street in Ventura. I've lived most of my life in Southern California but haven't really visited Ventura before. (In fact, I used to travel to Santa Barbara two or three times a week in the mid 1980s, on business, so I have no excuses for not visiting sooner.) It was fun and fascinating. In just over an hour, I visited the Mission San Buenaventura, peeked down various courtyards, stopped in a couple of used bookstores, and explored the Gardner Building where Erle Stanley Gardner created Perry Mason!
It was like walking around Huntington Beach in the 1970s. I'd like to spend a couple of days investigating Ventura further!

There are some powerful and ancient forces in Ventura!

A fascinating and unusual succulent display

Green Thumb International Sets 2009 Attendance Record!
Good evening, Pumpkinistas!
Seventy or so, new, very patient, and certainly enthusiastic giant pumpkin growers managed to locate, and attend the maiden workshop at Green Thumb International in Ventura this morning! You never know what the response will be when a workshop is presented for the first time. Fortunately, there were plenty of extra seats, but late arrivals had to stand.
The caliber and quantity of excellent questions extended the workshop time by about 30-40 minutes, but it was great to see so many interested new growers! Seedlings were awarded as door prizes, as usual. But I did need to go out to the mobile giant pumpkin seedling greenhouse (my car) in order bring in a few more. I am very glad I brought extra seeds!
I expect some very large pumpkins from this group of workshop attendees. Good luck to all of you!
Tomorrow, it's a short trip up the 101 to Santa Barbara! Hope to see you then!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seedlings are Fine!
Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!
I thought I'd post some pictures of my mound and seedlings for you. So far, so good! The seedling on the right seems to have caught up quite nicely with its older brethren on the left, which was 5-6 days older when they were originally transplanted. I still haven't covered the soaker hose with mulch, but that will happen soon.
Have a great evening!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Daisy, Bellevue Nursery's Newsletter Editor-in-Chief and Mascot

Ken Smith, Owner, Bellevue Nursery

Gretchen Taylor, Kellogg Garden Products and Ken Smith

How many spheres can you count in this picture?
(Correct answer at the bottom of this posting...)

Jack LaRue, renowned giant pumpkin grower (1,420 pounds personal best),
gives tips and advice for Pacific Northwest growing conditions

Marissa, helpful, well-mannered, and lucky, soon-to-be
first-time giant pumpkin grower!

A Super Week-end in Seattle!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!
The world tour triumphantly finished up the last out-of-state dates of 2009 with the Pacific Northwest this week-end. I returned to Bellevue Nursery, Bellevue, WA and Furney's Nursery, Des Moines, WA and presented at Gordon's Garden Center in Yelm, WA for the first time. The weather was very cooperative, and all of this week-end's workshop attendees were engaged, enthusiastic, and inquisitive.
One of the highlights of this week-end was the opportunity to meet Jack LaRue, and his wife Gretchen at the workshop at Gordon's Garden Center. Many of the seedling winners of previous giant pumpkin workshops will recognize his name, since I've been germinating seeds from his pumpkins for years now. So, it was a very pleasant surprise to be greeted by Jack and Gretchen when Gretchen Taylor of Kellogg Garden Products and I arrived at Gordon's Garden Center yesterday morning! Jack graciously consented to share some of his knowledge and experience of growing giant pumpkins with the attendees. Jack even generously provided seeds from his own giant pumpkins too! Jack is an active member (as am I) of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers, so we made sure that the workshop attendees were aware of the many fun and unique activities conducted by this fine organization. My only regret was not being able to have lunch with Jack and Gretchen since I had to catch a flight back to Orange County. I'll make sure to allot plenty of time next year!
(Correct answer: At least 6! Some photo oppotunities are just too tempting...)