Friday, August 28, 2009

Gary Tovey: First Season's Results!
Good morning, Pumpkinistas!
I received these images and the following report from Gary Tovey about his first season:
"Hi Stuart,
Things are beginning to wind down here as well. One of my two pumpkins looks like it took itself out in the last few days by falling over on its stem. The other is still doing well, but I'm battling powdery mildew in the patch and it's starting to win. Hopefully it will continue to add weight right on to the end.
Very happy with my first effort.
Thanks for your help!- Gary"

It's my complete pleasure. I am glad you had such a great season!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Final Days: 2009 Season Draws To A Close!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

As the 2009 season draws to a close, I thought it would be timely to post pictures of the biggest pumpkin in my patch... Based on its dimensions, I am looking at about 200 pounds, or roughly 120 pounds LESS than last season! As you can see, it's just beginning to turn orange. The vine was ravaged by powdery mildew. From the time I first spotted the fungus to its present very dried-out state, was 12-15 days, so everything happened very quickly!
I believe that a little more focus on my part would have resulted in a bigger pumpkin. This pumpkin was actually the second fruit that set. The first pumpkin is about half the size of this one, and set on the primary vine. Unfortunately, its stem was only partially attached to the primary vine, which resulted in less than optimal nutrient and water uptake...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

North Stars Shining Bright!

Hello, Pumpkinistas!

Not to be outdone by the Southern Rebels, here's the latest update and picture from the North Stars, Kellogg Garden Products' Lockeford, CA giant pumpkin growing team:

"Hi Stuart,

Attached is a picture of the North Stars' Pumpkin.
It’s doing very well…and stylish too (in a Gardner & Bloome hat)!

Nice shade structure, but I think you might need a few more hats!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Images published with the permission of Susan Glousher
"It is a bronze medal approx 2 1/2 inches. The same medal was used for the Olympics which was held in Paris the same year. On side 1 it has a picture representative of France's national emblem "Marianne" with an oak tree to her left and the Paris skyline on her right. On side 2 it depicts a woman, presumably Victoria the Goddess of Victory, carrying a winner on her shoulders. The winner is holding the Olympic Torch. On the same side there is a plaque where the recipient's name is engraved, in this case W Warnock. The medal designer is J. C. Chaplain (1839-1909), one of the most well known medalist of the late 19th century."

Published with the permission of Susan Glousher

"I have also attached pictures of the three pumpkins on the wagon in William's garden. They were apparently 403, 385, and 370 lbs. respectively. This image is from my collection taken by Reuben Sallows, a renown Canadian photographer who was from Goderich."

Published with the permission of Susan Glousher

By Mr. WM. WARNOCK, Goderich, Ont.

Who grew a single specimen of Rennie's Mammoth Squash weighing 365 pounds, and exhibited at the Worlds Fair, Chicago, in 1893. Also a squash weighing 403 pounds, which was exhibited at the St Louis Exposition in 1904. My land is made in good condition, being heavily manured every year, it is of a gravelly formation with about sixteen inches of clay loam on top. A three hundred pound Squash can be grown on any part of it by the following method of cultivation: For each
hill I intend to plant, about the first of April I take two good wheelborrow loads of hen manure, and mix with four barrows of good soil taken from some other part of the lot: this is mixed a second time in the middle of April. The first of May I add four barrows of well rotted manure and mix thoroughly, then about the eighteenth of May make the hills and plant, dig out a space seven feet in diameter and fourteen inches deep, fill in my compost mixing, and with it some of the best earth which was thrown out, and when finished, the hill will be about ten feet in diameter. and six inches higher in the centre than the surrounding level. Then plant the
seed. Hills want to be about twenty feet apart; work the ground well until the plants commence to run. When about three feet long, I mulch the ground all over for twenty feet in diameter around each hill with Horse manure three inches deep, and stake the vines down with sticks to keep the wind from rolling them about, so that they may root at every joint. It is of great advantage to keep the vine from fruiting as long as possible, by pruning all fruit off until about the last week in July; this will give time enough to mature a Three Hundred Pound Squash by the first of October, for there must be a big vine to produce a big squash. I practice fertilizing a
few of the first bloom that come, when I think the vine is strong enough to grow a good specimen, by cutting off some of the fresh false bloom, trim the corolla or flower leaf off, and rub the stamen in around the fresh fruit bloom. This is necessary when fruit bloom opens on a morning that is unfavorable for bees to do their work, and it assures the setting of the specimens just where you want them. It also gives extra vigor to the growth of fruit to be well pollinized. When the first perfect specimens have set well, say four or five inches in diameter, cut all other fruit and blossoms off, and nip the ends off vines and all bloom that shows twice a
week, so that the vine is not exhausted with the great quantity of false bloom that would naturally come. Now while the great growth of the Squash is going on I use liquid manure twice a week along three or four of the principle vines of each hill, often six pails to the hill if it is in a dry time. Great care must be taken to give plenty of water; for instance, in 1893, when I grew the great specimen that was the largest on exhibition at the Worlds Fair, it was a dry time with us at Goderich, and having the advantage of the town water service, I sprayed each hill twice a week through August and the first two weeks in September, drenching the ground each time.
P.S. I expect all have heard of feeding Squash and Pumpkin by injecting milk or other stuff . This is a ridiculous silly humbug. I have practiced several methods along this line when I was younger, but it only makes me ashamed to confess it, and I am now quite
satisfied the only thing that will increase the size of the fruit comes out of the vine, and the vine must get its support from the natural roots.

The Early History of Giant Pumpkin Cultivation: Mr. William Warnock

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Much has been written about Howard Dill and his experiments in cross-breeding that eventually led to the creation and patent of the 'Dill's Atlantic Giant' pumpkin cultivar. In fact, Howard Dill became even more famous in 1979 and heralded a new era, when he grew a 438 pounder that eclipsed the record that had stood for 76 years, the 403 pound pumpkin grown by William Warnock, in 1903.

Who was William Warnock? To find out, I contacted Susan Glousher, William Warnock's great granddaughter, in Ontario, Canada. Ms. Glousher was most gracious, and gave me permission to reprint Warnock's classic "How To Grow Big Squashes", his medal from the 1900 Paris World's Fair/Exposition Universelle for growing a 400 pound pumpkin, seen above, and gave this description of her illustrious ancestor: "William was a great writer and I believe quite well read. I have another article he wrote for our local paper called the Moralities of Horticulture (1908) that I think is brilliant. He also frequently wrote to the Canadian Horticulturalist, which I have a couple entries from their archives as well. He loved Horticulture and the fraternity created by it...his passion is quite evident in his writing. William named his son Linneaus after Carl Linneaus the Father of Taxonomy."

Thank you very much, Susan for sharing these precious materials and your account of your great, great grandfather, William Warnock!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Long Beach, CA
Good morning, Pumpkinistas!
A friend and fellow dragon boat paddler, Patricia in Long Beach, CA has embraced giant pumpkin cultivation and has the following update and link to her website below:
"Hi Stu,
Our pumpkin is late in coming, but we finally have two babies on different vines. I hope you don't mind, I've linked to your site on my website... I wonder if you would mind linking to ours on yours...
It's been several years of 'Giant Pumpkin' growing:
Thanks a bunch! Doing a lot of work, and having lots of fun!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Linus on August 12th 2009!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

It appears that the Southern Rebels are continuing their dominance in the competition between Kellogg Garden Products Ontario and Lockeford, CA facilities! It's tough to estimate the exact weight by looking at a picture, but Linus is certainly a giant pumpkin. It's just beginning to turn orange, so it still has some growing to do. Plus, I can see that the foliage still looks healthy, so we'll see how many more pounds the pumpkin can gain before the fall.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jim Fredricks' Pumpkin is Available!

"Hi Stuart,

I am looking to sell my pumpkin. I live in an area that has no garage or space to keep it once harvested. It is currently covered while growing. When I weigh it, I will have fun and get the news out here for the weighing. September 5th is when I plan on doing things. Once people see the pumpkin, it would be toast if left alone outside! It currently stands at 680 lbs. estimated weight. It should go into the low 700's, maybe mid 700's, depends how long it grows out. I think it will weigh heavy, but we will see. The fruit is worth over $700 dollars at that size, but I will take half of that at $350. I'm not doing it to make money, but it does help cover growing costs. The fruit would need to be picked up September 5th at my house in Santee, CA. Here are some pictures of it. I can't get a front end picture until the pumpkin is uncovered when done.


If you are interested in knowing more about Jim's pumpkin, you can e-mail him at:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Li and His Pumpkin!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I received these great photos of Li in Santa Barbara from Mardena Waller! The pallet is a great touch to keep the pumpkin from botton rot and improving the air circulation.

Looking forward to seeing future updates!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eric Vossbrink's Giant Sunflower
Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!
This in from Eric Vossbrink in San Diego! Since, it's nice to grow other things besides pumpkins too. Plus, Eric's giving away seeds!

Although my pumpkin was small by many standards, here is a pretty good sunflower from the garden.

Width: It’s 16″ across. 18: with the fold
Weight 9.4 lbs.
Height of plant: 10′4″
Circumference of the stem at root ball 8.75″

This plant was a monster to get out of the ground. I had to cut it down rather than knock it over and pull it out by the roots.
We took out 14 plants today many heads at 12” or more.

Anyone wanting seeds from this one can contact me at this page:

Leave a comment and I’ll contact anyone interested."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Linus, August 4, 2009

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!
The Southern Rebels of Kellogg Garden Products' Ontario Facility e-mailed me this picture of their giant pumpkin, Linus, yesterday. With the sun and heat we've been experiencing this season, it's important to shade the pumpkin. Judging by the still pale yellow color, their pumpkin looks like it's still a long way from maturity... 300+ pounds, maybe more?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Tams' 50-Poind (so far) Pumpkin!
Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!
I just received this great image of the Tams' giant pumpkin in Cupertino from Poli Aki, the Water Wench. Romy Tam and her brother attended the workshop at Yamaghami's Nursery earlier this season and are obviously doing very well.
Romy's been chronicling her giant pumpkin growing experiences at: which includes topics beyond giant pumpkin cultivation. Most recently, Romy culled her fruit down to just one hopeful contender for Yamagami's own giant pumpkin weigh-off in the fall.
Have a great afternoon!