Monday, May 30, 2011

The Box is Off: Week 2 Begins

Good evening, Pumpkinistas! 

These are the latest pictures of this year's efforts one week after transplanting. The pictures were taken this morning, about 11:00 a.m..You can see the second leaves just developing in the middle photo. These leaves will eventually become the primary vines, which will be growing to the right---> when they begin developing in the coming weeks (and viewed from the garden's gate.) The watering system is working fine and I've removed the box that was keeping them protected from the wind, rain, and to some degree, insects.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Progress in New York!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Pete Yeager was kind enough to send these latest images of his New York-based, giant pumpkin cultivation efforts. Yes, that is a 4' deep hole in the top picture. Pete says that his plants have doubled in size since they were transplanted.

For more details, including a specially designed cage to protect his vines from animal damage, please visit Pete's company garden blog at:

Et tu, Pumpkinistas?

Monday, May 23, 2011

One of many displays at Farm Supply, in San Luis Obispo

Some of the 'Atlantic Giant' seedlings germinated by Dr. Joe Sabol and his team
A new attendance record was set at Farm Supply's workshop!

The entrance to the indoor retail area at Island View Nursery

Veteran and new giant pumpkin growers at Island View Nursery's workshop

Central Coast Week-end!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

The only out-of-town giant pumpkin growing workshops of 2011 were conducted at Farm Supply Co., San Luis Obispo and Island View Nursery, Carpinteria, May 14th and May 15th. Some of the images of the workshops and workshop venues are at the top of this post. The weather cooperated quite nicely until the end of Sunday's workshop when it started to rain during the giant pumpkin seedling drawing. 
This year's hole was about 42" deep

The finished mound

Soaker hose applied to the mound.

Michelle, patiently waiting for her 1,000 pound pumpkin to appear.

2011 Soil, mound, irrigation, seedling transplanting chronology

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Well, here it is. I have posted pictures of the hole dig, mound creation, soaker hose application, and finally, seedling transplanting, above.

My seedlings were transplanted yesterday morning. Yes, I missed the full moon of May by 5 days, but last week's rainy weather was the reason. It's better not to transplant in muddy soil conditions. Fortunately, because of the cold weather conditions, initial rabid seedling growth slowed down. It's supposed to be cool through Friday, so I left the box open, with the seedlings exposed.

My 2011 season commences!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Report from New York: The Right Stuff

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

This in from Pete Yeager, a first-time grower in upstate New York:


Big news here. Doc Miller my pediatrician / gentleman farmer friend just dropped off a load of finely aged Belgian and Percheron draft horse manure. Big horses should make big pumpkins, and nothing gets any bigger than these horses.

The garden is set-up but the holes are not dug. Hitting a lot of stone and it has been raining every day. I'm sorry to say I may be shrinking from the work as the prospect of 4 feet deep looks darn near impossible without heavy equipment.

There is also the possibility of frost tonight, so I'm shooting for the end of this week.

Thanks again.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Exploding Chinese melons: A Cautionary Tale

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

A very interesting and educational article from the Associated Press about Chinese farmers overfertilizing their giant pumpkin-related plants. More is not necessarily better...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

GreenCure's Seedlings!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Just in: Pete at GreenCure, ( a long-time sponsor of Pumpkinmania, and an excellent organic fungicide, ) e-mailed me this picture of his seedlings and the following update from his patch in upstate New York:


At present 6 of 7 seeds germinated / sprouted. We've had so much rain that we haven't been able to set up our garden and most of the other plants that we started from seed are failing, so I'm coming to work with my overalls tomorrow to try to get the fences set up (keep out the deer) and turn some soil.

I've got to get the horse manure.

Thanks, Pete"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seeds have sprouted in San Luis Obispo!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I have just received an update from Dr. Joe Sabol regarding the giant pumpkin seedlings for this Saturday's 10:00 a.m. workshop at Farm Supply,, 224 Tank Farm Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, (805) 543-3751:

"Hi Stuart...

We have hundreds of seeds germinated, planted and up!!! They are in 4 inch containers now, most of them are outside in the full sun (and morning low clouds).

They are not happy with the very cool weather but... They will be looking good on Saturday morning!!!

See photo taken at 8:30 p.m. last night!!! It might be sideways so lay your computer on the floor?

See you soon, Joe"

There's still time for you to completely re-arrange your entire week-end in order to RSVP and attend this workshop.

Hope to see you there!


Friday, May 06, 2011

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

I have an update from Dr. Joe Sabol about next week-end's workshop preparations at Farm Supply in San Luis Obispo...If you're in need or would like an expertly germinated seedling, you may want to RSVP for the workshop at (805) 543-3751.

"Thanks a million to all four of you (Cara's Mom too) for a very productive planting party this morning!!!

This morning in just over one hour... we planted 12 flats of "germinated seed" which should give us near 100% sprouting record!!!

Twelve flats times 36 plants...OVER 430 giant pumpkin plants will be ready for May 14th to give away and to welcome Stuart Shim back to SLO!!!!

What fun!!!! See two photos!!!


P.S. Thanks Cara and Mom for the delicious pastries, thanks FSC for the soil and quality seeds and flats and 4 inch containers, thanks Paul Rys for some great big seeds, thanks Jill for the coffee...and for judging the sweet pea contest!! Thanks Steve K. for promoting this super fun giant pumpkin contest."

Monday, May 02, 2011

Mason bees released!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

The latest development in the patch was the release of a tube of Mason bees on April 23rd. As you can see in the pictures above, the large tube in the top row is empty. (That's how the bees were shipped to me. The other tubes are for nesting.) So, presumably, they are out pollinating the trees and flowers within a 300' radius of their house.

We'll see how much better this year's pollination goes in a few months!