Monday, December 19, 2011

Field Notes on Science and Nature Michael Canfield

 Meriwether Lewis' journal notes describing the Eulachon fish, February 24, 1806

Notebook entry from Olorgesailie, Kenya, 2003 by A.K. Behrensmeyer,
National Museum of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution

Field Notes on Science & Nature
edited by
Michael R. Canfield

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I just finished a fascinating book that I think would be worthwhile reading between now and spring. The title of the book is Field Notes on Science & Nature, edited by Michael Canfield, 2011, Harvard University Press, 297 pages, $27.95. Since I try to document my giant pumpkin seasons and other horticultural activities as best I can, and have for years, I've been curious how serious archaeologists, sociologists, paleontologists, and other field researchers use and keep field notes and journals. Now I know. Fortunately, I am happy to report, I'll need to revise my methods slightly, so it won't be necessary to try and recreate several seasons' of giant pumpkin cultivation observations and notes, in addition to ongoing projects involving succulents, bromeliads, dragonfruits, and most recently, coffee! For that alone, it was worth reading this book!

It is available on Amazon and also at the Newport Beach Public Library for those pumpkinistas in the vicinity. To give you a flavor of the book, I've included a couple of actual examples of how scientists take field notes and use journals.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Franchi Sementi

More seeds!

Good evening, Pumpkinistas!

A recent article in the Financial Times mentioned Franchi Sementi, Italy's oldest family-owned seed company, founded in 1783, and the fact that they have a global following. Their U.S. distributor's website is: Plant seeds are such an affordable luxury, that I find them very hard to resist. These Franchi seeds were no exception. The paper seed packets are huge, 5" x 7", very substantial. They are now safely stored in a relatively dry, cool, dark place, waiting patiently for the spring.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

2012 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

One of the more anticipated events of winter is the arrival of many and different seed catalogs in the mail. I've been ordering hard-to-find and rare squash and pumpkin varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for a few years. (I've ordered from them twice in the last month. I am planning on growing some cherry tomatoes in the spring again for Michelle.) Their latest catalog arrived yesterday and it's a 196-page beauty that you'll refer to over the next 12 months.

U.S. gardeners can request one at:
and international gardeners can download a PDF here:

Have fun!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ross in Washington State's Season!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

I received these great pictures and a brief account from Ross in Washington, near Lynwood:

"This years fruit of the vine. The largest was an unofficial 225 lbs. I made lots of mistakes, had stem splits on all the vines, and what I thought was going to be the largest got the mold. These are progeny from the seeds that you gave me in 2010 when you spoke at Emery's Garden nursery . Unfortunately, they went out of business. I've cleaned up the patch and wheelbarrowed two pickup loads of horse apples to compost over the winter. I'm looking forward to next year."  

It's very gratifying to know that a workshop attendee, now giant pumpkin grower, has had success growing a monster.

Thank you very much for sending in your update and pictures and good luck in 2012, Ross!     

A Report From Germany!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas! 

Or, perhaps even better, Guten Nachmittag, Pumpkinistas!

I received an update from Janni, a veteran Pumpkinista and vegetable grower in Germany and she included these great images of her season and the following report:

"Hi Stuart

I'm still alive. Even if I had a bad season.
Storm and hail too. I lost many good plants.
Here are some pictures from my Pumpkin year.
I hope they all enjoy it.

My best weighed 334.7 Höllein 11 UOW(631 Jaser 07 x 641 Jaser 09)
And one was really orange beauty.
A cross, made ​​from the best two orange Pumpkins is Germany.

 Best regards from Germany, to all Pumpkinistas.

GermanPumpkinWorld (Janni)"

I visited Janni's website and I saw that she's also growing chilis!

Vielen danke, Janni!