Saturday, August 20, 2011

disaster strikes!

Since Stuart mentioned about cover crops, so I wanted to include a picture of a cover crop I grew at my patch a couple years ago. This was a mix of rye, peas, and hairy vetch. They can grow pretty tall given time and water. They are very good for your soil.

A horrific site in any patch that will give any grower nightmares! An empty spot where a once growing pumpkin used to be! Say it ain't so!!!


Here is a pictures of my friend Vince who grows at my house. He grew the 1610 lieber plant, a very highly planted seed in 2011 with great expectations for big and orange from the pumpkin community. Unfortunately Vince had a beautiful and fast growing pumpkin that went down to rot at day 20! He had just cut off his back up pumpkin and chopped all vines just before this happened. He put a lot of work into this plant with a terrible ending tragedy! This picture was taken a few weeks before he lost his fruit and the top picture shows a recent photo of where his pumpkin was lost on the sand. The plant is no longer alive. Silence please for a few seconds.... I can report some good news that Vince has another plant at his house and the pumpkin looks to be growing well for him there. So at least he won't have a zero year! What a tormenting hobby this can be:)

My personal pumpkin plant has been under constant attack by caterpillars, sow bugs, powdery mildew, and any other creeping thing at my house! lol. Been very hard with all of these attacks. I think I have over 5000 of those sow bugs in my patch. I keep killing them, but they breed like rabbits. I never knew these bugs to be damaging to adult plants, but they have proved me wrong. They bite your vines, leaves, roots, etc. Anyway, been a tough year in the Fredricks patch, we'll see if my plant can survive a little longer and at least give me a pumpkin for Halloween.

Jim Fredricks, San Diego

Friday, August 19, 2011

$2,000 School Garden Grant Program!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

I know that many of the individuals interested in growing giant pumpkin are teachers and students. A collaboration between, The Whole Kids Foundation, Whole Foods Markets, and FoodCorps is taking applications for any non-profit school to receive $2,000.00 for their school garden.

I hope that some of the school-based giant pumpkin growing community takes advantage of this program.

Applications will accepted until December 31, 2011 and grant recipients will be notified in February, 2012. For specific details please refer to the link above.

Good luck!
Cover Crop Basics...

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

For those growers whose seasons may have ended abruptly and certainly for no good reason, it may be time to begin your strategy for the 2012 season. So, I thought that this video Peaceful Valley, might be helpful for any growers that might want to consider planting a cover crop to help improve the quality and tilth of their growing area in preparation of the spring: Some preparation this fall, will pay large benefits in the spring, plus you'll save on fertilizer and soil amendment costs too.

Please send in any images of or experiences with your cover crop, and they'll be posted here for all to enjoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Susan and Mike in Baldwin Park:
Appointment with Destiny?

Good evening, Pumpkinistas!

Susan and Mike's efforts in Baldwin Park continue to astonish as you can tell in these photos. Note that the leaves on their vines are still a very nice dark green and that their pumpkin, although already pretty large, is a nice pale color. Normally this indicates that the season is still young for the pumpkin and vine. Now, it will be a matter of putting on weight and girth, slowly but steadily.

Nice picture on top with the sunlight making the leaves glow in the foreground.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Michelle enjoying the view!

Russ Price in Rancho Santa Margarita!

Good evening, Pumpkinistas,
It's great to be able to report on a happy story. Russ Price, veteran grower and campaigner for a number of years, has quietly grown a monster pumpkin in an undisclosed location in an industrial office complex, in Rancho Santa Margarita. Michelle and I took a look and some pictures of Mr. Price's triumph earlier this week. As you can see, it has a great color in addition to being quite large. Would you believe that this giant and another smaller pumpkin, were grown in area that is roughly 16' by 18'?

Well done!
 Be careful when trying to move a giant pumpkin. 

 Plan B

The current state of the patch

Moving a Giant Pumpkin: Dos and Don'ts

Good evening, Pumpkinistas,

Well, the previously heralded fruit is now a moldy, foul-smelling reminder of how carefully one must be when moving a giant pumpkin. Yes, I succumbed to needing to move it "Just 3 more inches!", when I heard the unmistakeable sound of stem separating from pumpkin. For those of you who haven't experienced it, it's like several celery stalks being snapped at once, then whimpering, followed by several hours of self-loathing.

Fortunately, I have a back-up pumpkin, christened 'Plan B', pictured above. If nothing else untoward happens, I may have a 200-300 pounder by October. We shall see. The powdery mildew spores have attacked with an unusual vigor this season.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pumpkinmania! 2011 Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Competition, October 22, 2011!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

I am very happy to announce that this year's Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Competition will be held Saturday, October 22, 2011, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Island View Nursery, 3376 Foothill Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013, (805) 684-0324, website:! This year's weigh-off will be part of Island View Nursery's Fall Festival, so you'll be able to enjoy live music, interesting and fun activities, food, and more in addition to seeing some of the best giant pumpkin growers from Southern California and beyond compete for glory and immortality.

Since the royal couple Prince Andrew and Kate were just visiting the polo grounds next to Island View recently, there's even talk of a Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Look-A-Like Contest to add to the days festivities. All input regarding this idea is welcome.

So, please save the date!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Transplanting day!

 Keeping the ground moist!

Susan & Mike in Baldwin Park: In the Game!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Susan and Mike in Baldwin Park are having a great season.

As you can see from the images, from a mere seedling the amount of vine and leaf growth and fruiting, in ten weeks, has been staggering.

Now that they have a couple of "baby" giant pumpkins, the real fun and growth begins!

Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Meanwhile, back in San Diego...

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Rob Smith, geneticist and avid giant pumpkin grower, has successfully combined canine and plant DNA, the results of which you can see above. The question is how big the eventual pumpkin will be, and if will be able to play fetch, maybe even with itself.

Thanks to Rob for his update! I've forwarded his research to the Nobel people in Stockholm for a possible nomination.