It is a good year for me at the State Fair for my giant veggies! I got 5 blue ribbons and first places for all my entries-giant zucchini, giant pear gourd, giant long gourd, giant tomato and giant greenie) and 2 I entered for Elodie ( a second giant zucchini and a tomato) took second places and got red ribbons. We still have bigger veggies waiting for the national contest in Colorado in October…
The pumpkin patch is filling in quite nicely but not quite full yet. Look at those big gorgeous leaves-more leaves, more food for the pumpkins! Notice the row cover on the ground in the background. I’m trying to keep the pumpkins uncovered more since it has cooled down and starting the monsoon season. I don’t want to promote fungal diseases by keeping them damp and covered. The plants need to dry out between showers. I keep the actual small giant pumpkin fruit covered in heavy row cover and burlap to shade them out of the sun and keep the squirrel off them. I want their skin soft while they are young. Too much sun hardens them up and slows growth.
So far I have 3 little GIANT PUMPKINS (one is growing quite fast) on the 895 Grande plant, none on the 1048 Grande plant (I accidently broke two female flowers off the main vine and a squirrel ate the only pollinated one) on that plant.
I have 2 pollinated ‘GREENIE’ female blossoms (we’ll have to wait to see if the pollination ‘took’ on them but they had the biggest stigmas on both female flowers I’ve ever seen in my giant pumpkin career-4 years. lol. I hope they took as I’ve never grown GREEN PUMPKIN LIKE SQUASH before.
I also have quite a few GIANT MARROWS going (thank god as the squirrel ate one of those too) on the 78 giant marrow plant. The other giant marrow is now just starting to produce more female flowers-the boyz and the beesz are just waiting for them to be ready! I don’t hand pollinate the giant marrows-I let the beez do it. I don’t worry about the marrows cross pollinating with the pumpkins because the pumpkins are in the Curcubita Maxima family and the giant marrows are in the Curcubita Pepo family so they can’t accidentally cross.
I have one more plant in the pumpkin patch and that is a GIANT PEAR GOURD. I haven’t talked much about it yet as it isn’t very big compared to the other gorillas in the patch but it is flowering and I hope the bees pollinated it. It has beautiful soft fuzzy leaves and tendrils and likes the heat.
As for that squirrel, I’m trying fox urine granules that I bought at Agua Fria Nursery. I sprinkle it every 3 feet all around the perimeter of the garden (like marking my territory and also around each plant). OMG that is stinky stuff. I sure hope it works because tonight I will leave everything uncovered in the pumpkin patch. Wish me luck the stuff works and the squirrel doesn’t have a feast..
Here are some pictures of the giant pumpkin patch taken on July 4th. There are also 1 greenie squash and 2 giant marrows in the patch so I think it’s gonna get crowded in there. I hope I have a sea of green by August!
I have the low tunnels propped up so I can work on the giant squashes. Kind of like opening a car hood! I took off the row covers for pictures.
The giant pumpkin plants are doing well-they are just coming out of their low tunnels. Here is the 895 Grande plant with the low tunnel off.
Some of those big leaves are 18″ across. I just love this pumpkin plant. It’s sister seed took the NM State record last year. The leaves are much bigger than the 1048 Grande.
Here is the 1048 Grande. It’s leaves are smaller but they say leaf size has nothing to do with pumpkin size. Is that like the shoe size argument?!
I saw my first female flowers on the 895 Grande pumpkin plant on the end of the main vine. Isn’t it beautiful! The only issue is it is only 7 feet out from the stump. I should wait to pollinate until it reaches at least 10 feet out but may not. We do that to allow the plant to develop more leaves behind the future pumpkin-more leaves-more food. Lot’s of times we pollinate many pumpkins and then cull the smaller ones so I think I will do that. Notice the oval shape of the possible baby pumpkin.
The only problem is the male flowers that are there are also very small and they usually bloom before the girls even show up. The boys are always the first to arrive at the pumpkin blossom party and usually the girls show up later. It’s ok because my first pollinated pumpkin flower last year was July 27 so perhaps I will be ahead of that date which is important because it will give me more days to put on more pumpkin weight.
Here is the greenie-The greenie looks just like any giant pumpkin plant but the fruit will be green. It is doing well. I saw a really small female flower with the potential baby green fruit. The seed came from 2007 so I was surprised it even germinated The plant looks fantastic. Just goes to show that you can’t always listen to the folks that say get rid of your seeds after 2 years old.
Here is the 78 marrow-kinda bushy. Very different than the other marrow in the patch.
This is the other giant marrow that came from my last year’s plant. I’m very suspicious of this one as it doesn’t look quite like the other marrow above which I know is pure in strain. Mine was pollinated by the bees and so it could of crossed with one of the winter squashes last year. It will be interesting to see what the fruits look like on this one later on!
I also saw one squash bug (which ended up under my shoe) and some eggs on the underside of 3 leaves. I just took off all those leaves that had the eggs on them and put it in a bucket of soapy water-goodbye eggs. I will plant some onion sets in their wells to help deter them and I will probably have to keep the pumpkin plants covered with row cover. I will be on the lookout from here on out.
Well, if you are wondering why I haven’t been posting, it is because I’ve been out PLANTING, trying to get the last of the garden in. So far, I have 70 tomato plants, ‘Rattlesnake’ pole beans around my trellis, 4 ‘Pepperocini’ pepper plants, 16 eggplants, 2 rhubarbs and put additional wall of waters around all of the tomatoes and created some new drip sections for all these.
Tomorrow (Sunday) goes in 12 shishito pepper plants, bush bean seeds, pole bean seeds, 4 different types of cucumbers seeds, ornamental japonica corn, flowers and a new drip system manifold (I take a deep breath now) I hope to get this done (early-way early!) before the BIG WINDS come in AGAIN and make life MISERABLE….
Monday goes in 2 giant pumpkins, 1 giant greenie squash, 2 giant marrows and a giant pear gourd go in. The long gourds will have to wait till I make them a trellis later this week or next.
Phew! It is always such a big push in spring to get things in the garden and fall come harvest time. The rest of the time I feel like I’m just cruising in the garden! All this on 4000 sq feet of garden which is only 1/10 of an acre…
So someone asked me, ‘Hey Jannine, how come we haven’t heard about your giant vegetables yet?” Well, I’ve sort of been preoccupied with getting the tomatoes in the ground lately but all the giant vegetables are still in the house all cozy under my gro lights just waiting to go out. We still have some cold nights ahead in the next few nights so I want to wait a little more. Also all my peppers and eggplants are still inside as well as they HATE being cold more than tomatoes do. One cold night can stunt a pepper plant all season so I suggest you protect them with something the next few nights if yours are already out.
But back to the giants-I have 2 giant pumpkins, one giant ‘greenie’ squash, 2 giant marrows (think supersized zucchini), 1 giant pear gourd, 2 long gourds and 6 giant tomatoes. I’m shooting for next week to get them out. Don’t worry, I’ll be talking alot about giant vegetable how-to’s once they get going. Here is what I still have to do for the GIANTS:
I still have to do a final mixing of my soil and add some amendments in the giant vegetable patch I have.
I still have to get out my low tunnels for the giant pumpkins and greenie to go under to protect them from our intense sun and cold nights.
I still have to build a super tall arbor for the long gourds which can get as tall as 109+ inches. But I can still get them in the ground and build the arbor around them. If you build it, they will come!
I still have to create the drip system for a new giant tomato bed.
I still have to do a drip system for the GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH
I don’t know where the giant pear gourd is going yet! I think Bri’s GIANT VEGETABLE PATCH (named after my beautiful horse Bri who is no longer with us) is going to be really full this season!
I planted all the seeds for my ‘All Star Lineup’ of giant pumpkins, giant marrows and also new this year is a giant ‘greenie’ squash (think green pumpkin) and 2 long gourd on last Thursday, April 7.
-For the pumpkin and greenie (giant green squash) seeds I filed the edges just a little so the seed can absorb water more readily to help it germinate. Then I planted them in a 4 inch peat pot about 2 inches deep pointed side down. For the Giant Marrow I just planted the seed point side down.
-I put all of them on the plant heating map to keep the soil warm for germination. They are in the light box and get watered every day. Hopefully they will all germinate.
I had my friend Lava, enter 3 zucchinis in the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque last Tuesday for me while I’ve been gone in NYC. One (the smallest) was a traditional zucchini, and 2 were giant varieties called marrows. A marrow is in the zucchini family-Curcurbita Pepo. It is grown more in Europe than in the states. It is eaten when small but the giant varieties have the capacity to get big-really big-much bigger than our ordinary variety of zucchini! I weighed my two smaller marrows that I entered into the fair on my bathroom scale and one was about 25 lbs and the other was around 35 lbs. I wonder if anyone in NM is growing a giant variety of marrow. I didn’t even weigh my traditional zucchini because it was so small compared to the giant varieties. I am going down to the fair today to see if I got any ribbons..
I still left the biggest marrow in the patch to see how big it will grow before the Colorado weigh-offs. It measured almost 30″ long and 14″ wide about a week ago. I think it weighs about 45 lbs right now. Here is a pic of me getting ready to weigh it.
I love the marrows-one of the most exciting plants I grew this year. I’ll have to harvest some seeds, although they were probably cross-pollinated by the bees with my winter squash. I’m still going to keep some seeds..
I also entered in ‘Harpie’, one of my two giant pumpkins. Lava said it officially weighed 99 lbs at the fair. I don’t think it will place but I’m gonna try!