We received an invite to the first annual New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Grower's Association (N.H.G.P.G.A.) summer barbecue held at Jim Beauchemin's house in Goffstown, NH. What a great time! These guys really know how to put on a party!
Jim and some of the other growers in the area were kind enough to let everyone tour their patches. Jim has three plants in his garden this year. One of those plants is this 607 Kuhn. This is a shot of Jim with what he hopes is the first 1000 pound plus pumpkin grown in New England (cha-ching). Did I mention Jim's garden was absolutely spotless?
More than 40 people attended the barbecue. It took some doing but we all got together for this group shot.
It looks like the N.H.G.P.G.A. is off to a fantastic start. They will be putting on a weigh-off in the Center Common of Goffstown on October 21st. They will also be having a Pumpkin Regatta featuring local town officials (Selectman, Chief of Police, etc.) as captains on October 29th. Four pumpkins will be converted into boats and will race down the river in the center of Goffstown. Congratulations on such a successful start to your organization! It is great to see our favorite hobby/sport getting so much attention and exposure.
The food at this picnic was second to none! Without exaggeration, this was the best chicken we have ever had! The cook, Andy Compagna (otherwise known as J.R.), is simply an artist. The chicken just melted in your mouth! Hopefully they can talk him into cooking for the 2001 N.E.P.G.A. picnic which is going to be held at Jim B's house! If J.R. does cook next year be sure and bring your appetite!!
Here is a picture of J.R. applying his famous marinade. This guy was cooking forty half-chickens at the same time on his custom made mobile barbecue pit! That was the size of the portions too! Thanks again Andy, it was awesome.
The second plant we viewed in Jim's garden was this 859 Dalton (Fran Dalton's famous Murtle the Turtle pumpkin).
Jim's plants looked very healthy and green. At this point in the season Jim had not sprayed for insects at all! Jim credits birds with keeping his patch insect free. He has setup bird feeders all around his patch. The birds swoop down and eat the bugs right out of his patch! We are not ready to trade our bottle of Sevin for a couple of sparrows just yet but this is an excellent idea.
Jim's third plant was grown from a 774 McNamee seed.
Notice the drip hose watering system through his patch. Jim is the owner of his own landscaping company that specializes in irrigation systems. He has at least 13 sprinkler zones on his property that he operates via remote control! Jim, if you grow that thousand pounder be prepared to answer a ton of questions about your watering system and your bird seed!
Jim's watering system is fed through this tank. The tank is fed by an under ground line off his well. The water goes into the bottom of the tank and out near the top. The water is warmed by the sun and mixed with fertilizer before going out into the drip hoses. In the left hand side of the picture you can see Jim also has a popup sprinkler head zip tied to the fence post. This is part of his overhead watering system used to mist the patch on hot days.
Jim setup the tent in the background for the event. A first class operation all the way. Ken and Matt are checking out Jim's patch in their BigPumpkins.com t-shirts! The N.H.G.P.G.A. t-shirts were also very popular at this barbecue!
Thanks again Jim for the patch tour! We look forward to seeing you at Topsfield! We will be putting up the other two N.H. In the Patch pages soon.