Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mardena Waller in Santa Barbara: Coming on Strong!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Who says that you can't plant pumpkins in June and still get great results?

Here are some pictures of Mardena Waller's vine in Santa Barbara and a relevant question:
Our giant pumpkin is coming on strong (see attached photos). We planted it in mid-June. The stalk rises about 1 foot above ground. There is a little rhubarb patch nearby. Recalling the talk you gave in Santa Barbara earlier this year, you described how it would be necessary to select 1 or 2 young pumpkins for giant grooming and to lop off the rest. Are we at that stage yet? Any advice you have regarding selection and lopping would be appreciated.
Generally, you want to allow 1-2 pumpkins to grow larger in size than a basketball before culling other pumpkins or pinching flowers. The reason is that in some cases, a female flower may have received enough pollen to set fruit, but not enough pollen to fully mature. So, once a pumpkin achieves this minimum size, it should fully mature, which may mean 80, 800, maybe 1,800 pounds under the right conditions. Also, since the 1 or 2 pumpkins remaining are utilizing a lot of the resources of the plant, even though there may be many flowers still blooming and even other pumpkins setting, they normally will not mature. So, it's not eve necessary to cull pumpkins or pinch flowers.