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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 53 Entries.
Wednesday, January 15 View Page
Day 45. 1291.5Pantano19 Yeah, it’s small and slow growing. It’s scrawny, May even utter puny. But, heck, it’s a window sill in the frickin middle of January in Pennsylvania, normally a time the conversation is at a low point. Let’s never let that happen. What’s the chance of keeping this guy slowly growing till the green house can take over in March? Imagine a pollination on April 15th!
Wednesday, January 29 View Page
Day 29. Getting too big for the window sill. (above was day 15, not 45)
Wednesday, February 12 View Page
Day 42 of a long winter. Gotta keep occupied. Weather just too lousy for skiing. 40 deg with warm rain every other day.
Thursday, February 20 View Page
Day 50 – 4 ½ ft. multiple flower buds. What a riot to get a bloom on this thing in the family room. Christmas poinsettias hangin’ in there. They do great outdoors for the summer if I can get a few through the winter indoors. Beautiful deep green leaves.
Sunday, March 1 View Page
Day 50 – 5’ was away this week and set house temp to 60. Probably stunted growth. Put a greenhouse heating pad under pot. 2 flowers started. Leaves much bigger. Why am I doing this?
Sunday, March 8 View Page
Here we go again. El Cheapo green house set up -FAR easier than last year. I left the frame up all winter here, and the plastic slid right into place. Zip tied all around, staked along the bottom pipes and used corner stays. I’m not gonna find It in the cornfield again THIS year! It’s up 2 weeks earlier than last year. Really warm weather lately and early spring. Flowers up, tree buds swollen, few trees in bloom. This just ain’t natural. Will start sifting through my seeds. Have some really good ones this year, including the 1613McCracken that grew my 1291 last year.
Saturday, March 14 View Page
ain’t she pretty?
Thursday, March 19 View Page
Quarantine options – grow a 7 ft vine in the living room
Friday, April 3 View Page
Day 71. Made the turn at the 8 ft ceiling and growing along the lamp chain. Not bad for in the house on a heating pad in front of a west facing bay window. Gotta look at something other than the TV.
Friday, April 10 View Page
HERE WE GO 2020 – A week later than 2019 – spent the last week filling out bank applications for the Small Business Disaster Relief loans and grants – yes took a week, and that's AFTER getting thrown out of 4 large banks ‘cause we weren’t good enough – screw ‘em. Went with our small local bank and got an approved large LOC and they submitted the PPP for us. Hope report next year at this time that my wife’s swim school is still in business – maybe even thriving again. 1st team – Last year 1st team made it to the finals – 1501.5 Wagner ’17 produced a nice crop of 200-300 pounders to put outside the swim school and the 1613.5 McCracken’17 pinched a 8th place at the PAGPGA Weigh off in Altoona at 1291.5. #1 was Dan Wagner with a 1780, whose seed has made it to the first team here this year. 1780 will be matched with the 1797 Checkov – both set in damp paper towel in a baggy today after filing the edge down to the tissue – never failed to germinate a giant pumpkin see doing this. Plan – First Team 1780 Wagner – 1810 Werner x 1501 VanderWielen Today 1797 Checkon – 2036 Glasser x 1821 Checkhon 2nd Team 1613 McCracken – 2145 McMullen ’15 x self 4/15 1501 Wagner 1317 Clemetz x 1148 Wagner 3rd team 1684 Hazeltine – 1826 Wolf x 1706 Kurlich 4/20 Runner up if needed – 1989 Stelts ’19 – 1412 Hazeltine x 2469 Daletas if all else fails 4/24 That will cover all circumstances of all possible calamities - deer, freeze, clutz handing the produce.
Friday, April 10 View Page
File the edge down to a visible fine line of the tissue inside the husk and put in a wet paper towel in a zipped baggy for 24 hours and then set in growing mixture at 45 deg angle 2” deep. Never fails to germinate – unless ya started with a dead seed.
Saturday, April 11 View Page
Added amendments today – sprayed gallon of Borax, acidifier with S04 and S (pH 7.2), Potash, 10-10-10, mycorrhizae, 4 cu ft vermiculite.
Saturday, April 11 View Page
Shallow tilled to get everything started – will do a deeper till when I have time. Will get the ground cables out of the cellar and start the 2 hills this week if the weather cooperates – I have 1 bag of dry sterile mushroom soil left, Miracle Grow potting media, some additional 10-10-10 and kelp meal, and, of course, mycorrhizae. Later will bring El Cheapo green house from the lawn where I was practicing the thermostat, heaters, 24 hr temp recorder (Elitech GSP-6). Surprises not welcome the first cold night after setting out our prized first team in a couple of weeks. ? out of quarantine by then ? – not likely
Monday, April 13 View Page
Cables in
Wednesday, April 15 View Page
Survived 40 mph winds, 50 mph winds, but not 60 mph. Went on a 400’ ride until stopped by my neighbor’s tree line – total loss. Picked up the equipment all over the lawn – it was all set to accept my tomato plants this week and pumpkin seedling next week. Sent for another – price went up from$114 to $140 – nuts. Day 4 since started 2 seeds No action yet.
Thursday, April 16 View Page
Photo didn't accompany the blow away note -
Thursday, April 16 View Page
Photo didn't accompany the blow away note -
Sunday, April 19 View Page
Look familiar? – well it’s a new one, just like the one that blew away – although several significant improvements and a few steps back – improved – the unrippable (and it is) covering is easily large enough to fit over the frame without stretching; the pipes are labeled and have square holes accepting square lock flat head screws with wing nuts. MUCH better directions. The zipper is disappointing – the blow away had an overly large plastic zipper – this one less robust. Thought I could do this in an hour, but the screw holes aren’t perfectly located so that as you get more pipes positioned and locked, tiny fractions of displacement of inserted pipe screw holes make it virtually impossible to get it to line up to pass the screw. One corner assembly took 15 aggravating minutes to get 1 screw to pass – required a hammer. Finally finished – 2 ½ hr. This one is tied down zip tied to stakes at the corners and 2 more on each side, corner staked ropes, and for good measure a separately staked rope angled over the top.
Tuesday, April 21 View Page
Gave up on 1st started 1780 Wagner and 1797 Checkon – no action Restarted my other 1780 Wagner and 2 of my 4 1613’s McCrackens 3 days ago and today started my last 1652 Wagner and a 1686 Steltz. Not nervous yet.
Friday, May 1 View Page
(Out of order - forgot to submit the May 1 entry) El Cheapo # 2 lasted 12 days. Appropriate constructive review furnished to Amazon sellers’ listing. Ordered # 3
Monday, May 4 View Page
Gave up on my 2nd attempt on the 1780 Wagner - started my last 2 seeds of the 1780 Gave up on the 1652 Wagner and replaced with the 1684 Hazeltine ‘18
Saturday, May 9 View Page
El Cheapo #3 (so far I have $374 in these “value” structures) This one had the same construction as the first, with much more substantial pipes, a better fitting cover, better screw and nut hardware and good zipper. They must have read my review regarding the flimsiness of #2. Went up easier than the previous 2, just in time for 35 mph winds with gusts predicted of 50 later this evening. Never to worry. And my last 1780 sprouted ! Fired up all the hardware in the tent - now 3 heaters, commercial thermostat and Elitech temperature recorder. Plugged in ground cables (ground 57 deg to start). Now we're cookin' I think the season has turned in my favor.
Friday, May 15 View Page
FINALLY in the ground – 1686 Steltz out of 1412 Hazeltine x 2464 Deletas(day18 since sprouting) – The Team Leader; 1613 McCracken (22 days since sprouting) and reliable ole 1501.5 McCracken – day 15 - (orange) planted in the opposite direction (same ground as last year) My last 1780 Wagner crumped soon after made a showing. 0 for 3 on that seed. Still have a 1613 McCrack day 22 and 1684 Hazeltine sprout in reserve. AN ENTIRE MONTH BEHIND 2019 ! We had a much warmer May last year.
Friday, May 15 View Page
This, my Giant Pumpkin Growing Friends, is a real Native American Chestnut seedling, supplied as a germinated seed from NY Chapter of the Amer Chestnut Foundation, of which I am a member ($40 membership entitles you to next year‘s germinated seed distribution). This is not a blight resistant seed – that is, does not tolerate the oxalic acid secreted by the American Chestnut blight fungus and will wither and die sometime during first 2-15 years of life. But the hope is that enough of these seedlings can be planted in small coves by Foundation members and are ready for the transgenic blight resistant trees nearing release next year. Millions of these young native American Chestnut trees are already growing in back yards, tree farms, public parks, golf courses and research centers around America. The Foundation will supply these resistant seedlings to those who have already started groves to cross pollinate and start the process of natural selection of a blight tolerant American Chestnut tree to repopulate the forests of our country, as was the case a hundred years ago. This once magnificent tree accounted for 25% of the growth in mid-Atlantic and northern hardwood forests and usually the tallest trees, by far, to be seen by those fortunate to gaze across such a canopy. Consider joining a chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation and join the effort to repopulate our forests with this magnificent tree. chestnut@acf.org Just sayin’
Thursday, May 28 View Page
OK – gotta make a decision – does the 1613 get culled today or not? – I'ts gorgeous, has a thick, not split main stem and bulky expansion at first true leaf. A week older than the almost as gorgeous 1686 Stelts (with monster grandpa) – likewise nice untraumatized mainstem. The 1501, growing in the opposite direction is not as robust but healthy. 2 standbys still in pots bring up the rest of the team. Applied first fertilizer wash yesterday – of course, Jack’s 20-20-20. Wish my wife's small business was in such good shape.
Wednesday, June 10 View Page
Outgrowing the greenhouse and seems at maximal growth phase – at least 9” on the 1613 since yesterday. So far minimal fertilizer – just the few items tilled in to start the season, a mix of 10-10-10; mycorrhizea, kelp, dry Jack 20-20-20 at the nodes when buried, and a couple of waterings with Jack’s. Keeping the fish meal, fish emulsion and the other stuff that comes in gallon jugs in reserve. Maybe the vine knows best how to stay strong and healthy, and I just screw it up along the way.
Thursday, June 11 View Page
First female flower today. Vine 7x4 ft and largest leaf 19”. Started the ritual of cutting tertiaries today. Buried secondaries. The season is officially in full workload.
Friday, June 19 View Page
1501 orange has a candidate at 11 ft – will pass. The only additives so far has been the nodal mix (1/3 mycorhizea, 1/3 10-10-10; a little beneficial bacteria, some dry Jack’s 20-20-20) when burying secondaries and a single foliar spray of Jack’s 20-20-20 with fungicide. Seems to be growing just fine
Friday, June 19 View Page
1613 – 12 ft with a female flower at 11 ft that I pollinated (self because no open flowers on the 1501) to at least have something to look at – multiple other females flowers on secondaries.
Monday, June 22 View Page
Was away 2 days – came back at 84 deg, bright sun and all the leaves looking like umbrellas – forgot to turn on the irrigation soakers that I so laboriously installed the day I left. Designed the pattern with a CAD program last fall, laid it out exactly as planned and forgot to turn on the timer. Ground looked like the Sahara - I don’t know how ANYBODY gets a big pumpkin to a weigh-in. So today, buried secondaries, cut tiny tertiaries and all the dendrils (boy do THEY grow fast!), turned on soakers 45 minutes and then put sprinkler out for half hour. everything perked up. Set soakers for 45min/day as long as we have this hot sunny weather predicted all week. Also set out 4 fans – had them out on the pumpkins last fall, never thought to put them out on the vines in the summer. Saw some other grower do it on bigpumpkins.com so obviously a good idea. So now I spin the electric meter for the entire spring, summer and fall, instead of just spring and fall. Who knows.
Tuesday, June 30 View Page
Everything growing normally, excellent leaf health, male and female flowers, secondaries abound – until this morning – the growing end of the 1613 mainstem – at 14ft has dried up and withered to nothing – have no idea why – looked normal 2 days ago - ? a critter, not likely. The windbreaker aluminum fence is tight to the ground. Hope a dominant secondary takes over the job to use the 12 more available feet of patch. Nuts
Tuesday, June 30 View Page
Pollinated 2 beautiful multilobed female flowers on both plants this morning with pollen from the other. Small growing kins on both vines– nothing at optimal lengths from the base however, but something to look at and back up insurance policies. Drip Irrigation system finalized yesterday – seems to cover where it needs to.
Monday, July 6 View Page
Vines about to reach limits of fencing. 1501 in foreground 19’L x 18” wide – 21 secondaries; 1613 – 25 secondaries - in back is 7 days older but 18’Lx19’W having lost its leader to ? a week ago. A whole army of secondaries on the 1613 are rushing forward to make up the difference, with 2 pollinated fruits and several more candidates still closed. Should get the planned single big player on one of those secondaries. The orange 1501 has several pollinated and growing fruits – last year that seed produced a beautiful 500 lb pumpkin that imploded in early September. Maybe another big one there too, but plan to harvest 4-5 250’s-300’s to put out side my wife’s swim school again this year. Nice soybean field planted next door this year – usually corn. Nice change
Tuesday, July 14 View Page
Vine has reached the limits of the fence and almost all secondaries terminated on the 1501. The vine is in the best health I’ve ever had – by far. Limiting watering and fancy fertilizers – just nodal mix (see above) and weekly foliar Jack’s 20-20-20. 3rd application Heritage today and switched to Jacks 10-30-20 foliar spray today - The 1613 still has a little room to grow, and because I lost the main vine growing tip, allowing about 6 secondaries to proceed forward – all have small female flowers. Both vines have a growing fruit, DAP 1501-14 and the 1613-13 – both were 30” circ 4 days ago, 33” 3 days ago” 36” 2 days ago, 40” yesterday and 46” today! That 2” rain dump we had a few days ago is paying off.
Friday, July 17 View Page
The main candidate on the orange 1501 up to 65” circ and est wt 107 lb. The best on the 1613 62” but only about 87 lbs. 1501 vine done growing =- no room. Has only 5 growing fruits and about a more small female flowers and the weirdest looking 1st secondary that is huge, flat and appears to be a conjoined twin vine – double female flowers. A small kin about halfway down that branch is sticking straight up! Switched to Jacks 10-30-20 foliar application today with Heritage and Merit. Vines in EXCELLENT shape – best ever. Used the LEAST fancy additives this year, No fish emulsion, teas, etc. Just nodal mix (see above) and Jacks foliar sprays. Did apply phosphite once – plan at least another application. Sure hope we have a normal weigh in this year and that the crazies don't cancel it in their fanatical rush to save the human race.
Friday, July 24 View Page
Went to the lake for a week – 1501 more than doubled his weight to est 248 lb. Hmmm, if it keeps doubling every week till weigh off 1st week of Oct -- should be about 250,000 lbs. That’ll do.
Sunday, July 26 View Page
Yesterday Applied 6 scoops of Jack’s 10-30-20 in an applicator to entire 900 sq ft patch – mainly foliar but last 1/3 as under-the -leaf ground spray around main stems. 8 hrs later, 1 hour of water sprinkler x 2. Gained 28 lbs in 1 day. Now 307. Hey, this minimalist program of weekly Jacks, q7-10 fungicide/insecticide and monthly phospite, deeper burying of secondaries, cutting ALL dedrils and most flowers has given me the healthiest vine this late in the season ever.
Monday, July 27 View Page
Not helpful
Friday, July 31 View Page
The 1501 up to 119” circ and 419 lbs – 23 lbs/day not a blow out but if continues to weigh-in will just clear 1000 – need some 30’s in there to get to 1500. Applied phospite (0-0-26) for 1st time this year. Heavy rain last night and more expected all day – great! The 1613 at 330 – only 14 lbs/day for last 3 days – likely due to 4 other kins >200 lbs on the vine – may total >1000 lbs – will measure everything tomorrow. The 1501 vine showing some signs of wear, the 1613 less so and about 50% larger. A shame lost its leader in June – could have had a monster on that one.
Monday, August 3 View Page
Neglected rule 6a of giant pumpkin growing – inspect all your stems every day. This 300+ pounder on the 1613 overgrew the vine extended beyond it’s stem. I was able to dig it out, but max weight is limited now. Nuts.
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
6.1” rain in 5 hours yesterday (THAT was rather exciting)– patch weathered it pretty well with only minor leaf flattening. The 1501 loved it and blew through the 500 lb estimate to 507. Sprayed Dacronil, Merit and Eight insecticide. More rain coming.
Sunday, August 9 View Page
The 1501 is steadily growing at a respectable pace of about 17 lbs/day now at 575. Eh. – if survives to weigh, should clear the 1,000 mark but losing hope of 1,500. 4 fruits on the vine – 575,142,107,100 totaling 942 lbs, the vine gaining 287 lbs in 8 days or 36 lbs/day. The 1613 – pictured – produced the 1291 (20% heavy) last year the largest with the split stem growing slower, now 461 with total of 5 fruits on the vine – all solid with large stems: 461, 211, 189, 189 and 113 totaling 1,263 lbs, the vine producing 66 lbs/day. So we see a sad truth – should’ve had more faith that the 1613 would produce another prize winner and had the brass to cull all but one – even though none were on the main vine. Gotta show some gut here – maybe cull 1 a week. Hate this sport.
Monday, August 10 View Page
Did it – sorta culled 2 smallest off the 1613 and the smallest off the 1501 – didn’t actually cut the pumpkin at the stem, but cut the secondary to which it was attached half way back to the main vine (see top of photo – left 4 nodes on remaining vine, now segregated from rest of plant)– Perhaps I can keep it alive to the fall that way and use them for display. Hope that gives the leading contenders a boost
Tuesday, August 11 View Page
7 scoops Jacks 10-30-20 in hose spray applicator followed by 4 oz Calvantage in hose spray applicator. Didn’t mix them, thinking both would get screwed up due to high concentrations of cations forming precipitates and wasting the entire exercise. Then washed all the kins and stems with 10% bleach solution and any soar I could find on an exposed vine. Never a day with nothing to do in the patch.
Thursday, August 27 View Page
Well, the patch is showing signs of the end-of-August drags, especially the 1501 which lost all the leaves along the main vine out to the candidate – and that guy is stuck at 146” circ about 700 lbs. Can’t find the reason – the kin seems solid, the stem looks healthy and feeder main vine looks OK. Washed kins and stems with 10% Clorox last week and sprayed Heritage and Merit today and Daconil and Heritage 10 days ago. Used 5 scoops Jack’s 10-30-20 spiked with some Jack’s commercial “Finishing Fertilizer” (5-17-30) by hose sprayer 3 days ago and heavy watering yesterday – it’s been hot and dry all week. Very worried stuck at same weight for 4 days – Never saw a pumpkin survive that. Nuts. Hate this sport.
Thursday, August 27 View Page
The 1613 vine looks far better – this (est) 630 lb is growing daily but no prize here either. Has a growing 500 pound on the other side of the same vine. Starting to worry not having anything big enough to justify dragging something to a weigh-in. the landscaper I use to lift the thing charges $100 to bring a front loader to pick up and again to put it back somewhere afterwards. Plan to somehow get all 6 kins to the patio of my wife’s swim school in a few weeks. 2-200 lbs on the orange vine (1 culled with 4 nodes on residual vine); a 400 lb, 500 lb and the 630 on the yellow (the 400 culled with a 5-node residual vine). Will probably live-cull the 500 in a couple of weeks if the bigger one continues to grow. The kids go bonkers for giant pumpkins.
Sunday, August 30 View Page
It’s (Painfully) official. Everything on the 1501 stopped growing – the big one at an OTT estimation of 703 (yes – 03 – that’s is indeed over 700) for the past week and the 2 smaller one, one cull with several viable nodes and other unculled. Vine lost about 1/3 of its leaves so far, but the vine in and along the ground look pretty good for this time of year and main stem is large and hard. Finally had some good rainfall this week. Don’t know what happened. Not genetic max, given dad was 1500. The soil sample I sent to Western Labs should be reported any day. The other big one on the 1613 has settled in to about 8-10 lbs/day, now 648. Hope the soil report gives the answer.
Thursday, September 3 View Page
The big orange (AKA Zorro) HAS AWAKENED ! suddenly gained 2” circ and 34 lbs in 3 days. OTT est 737- Great!! Whew.
Thursday, September 3 View Page
Finally decided to cull Angelina III at 533 pounds, leaving 5 nodes, some with 2 roots attached, to let the big one grow faster on the 1613 vine – now about 675, gaining a modest 9-10 lbs/day. Also found a hidden 25 pounder lurking under the leaves – promptly dispatched it to the adjoining soybean field – now it’s Maverick alone on that vine. Go Maverick!
Sunday, September 20 View Page
7th at the Oley Weigh-in. No Money prize but a big gift certificate to a famous local meat market for the prettiest fruit on the scale . Best I could do. Sorry Dan – your venerable 1501 deserved better.
Monday, September 21 View Page
And then there were 2. About 550 and 750 going to the front patio of our swim school. Kids just LOVE pumpkins, especially if you can climb on them. And that’s the season – hope everyone was pleased with their season. Actually, any effort dedicated to this sport is a noble effort.
Tuesday, September 22 View Page
Photo to go with note 9/22
Friday, September 25 View Page
Here they are; L to R 534; 737; 706; 232. The Kids will love ‘em. Our Facility Director just can’t wait to witness and then deal with each of their death modes.


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