Friday, May 22, 2009

Michelle Lofthouse's Early Season Activities!

Good morning, Growers!

I have a very special dispatch this morning from Michelle Lofthouse, Pumpkinmania's multi-year champion, and current women's world record holder.

Here's how Michelle does it.:

Hi Stuart!

I can't wait to see the results of your efforts as well. Attached are some photos of our beginning efforts. The bathtub photo shows the seeds after they were sprouted in moist paper towels and then put in peat pots that are on seed starting mats and kept under heat lights to maintain 85 degrees. All of these are up now. Four plants are currently in the lower patch and will be culled down to two. I always start with a small cage around each planting zone to protect from birds.


Hi Michelle!

Many, many, many thanks for your update! It's great to hear from you! I'll post it and your photos when I receive them, on the blog.

Indeed...It's been a very busy workshop season. The good news is that I think there will be some big pumpkins grown by first-time growers in the fall. I cannot wait to see how they all do...!

Have a great week-end, and thank you very much again!



Greetings Stuart!!

I am thoroughly impressed with the amount of workshops that you have given this season. How do you find time for your own pumpkins? I'm right in the middle of putting out seedlings. Four are planted in the traditional lower bed but I'm also trying to prepare the north bed for four more as well. I have plenty of seedlings this year as I tried the 'paper towel' method and achieved 100% germination. So now I have 14 seedlings to try to do something with!! There is currently a cover crop on the north patch which I will cut down with the weeder and then run the tractor tiller to turn it all under as green manure. I still need to pull some rogue weeds out of it first though! Water is going to be a MAJOR concern this season as you well know we don't have enough of it!! I might try some shade cloth over the entire patch with misters as needed.

This year's soil prep included copious amounts of manure as well as tilled in cover crop, gypsum and a product called, 'Activate' which contains shale from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.

Good luck to all this season as we all watch our water usage carefully and come up with conservative ways of cooling the plants.


P.S. Photos to follow.


Hi Michelle!

How are you?

I am fine, just catching my breath between workshops. I've been booked pretty solid this season.

Any news to report with your efforts this season?

I hope all's well!



What about your early season efforts? How are your seeds or seedlings doing?

Have a great week-end!