My giant pumpkins are in! Last week I managed to get them in the ground. They are being shaded from our intense heat and wind right now in these new low tunnels or ‘giant pumpkin hotels’ as I prefer to call them. This is the newest rendition of the low tunnels for them and I’ve had many designs. All I did is take one of my tomato cages which is made of concrete reinforcement wire and opened it up and put shade cloth over it (while they acclimate). I attached the shade cloth with clothes line pins and held the ends down with rocks. They are staked in the ground so the wind does not pull them up and inside each one is a pumpkin that is also covered with light weight row cover in case a squirrel comes in. As soon as they outgrow the ‘hotel’, I will take them off. They are about 5′ wide by 6′ long and if needed I can put row cover over the cage replacing the shade cloth for more light.
In the background is a strawberry patch I’m revamping but decided to wait before transplanting the ones growing out of their raised bed because they are June bearing strawberries so I want to harvest first. Then afterwards I will complete the move. Also shown are some of my tomatoes in their wall of waters. Some of them are now outgrowing the wall of waters so I am starting to take those off.
It is always amazing to me how desolate the garden looks when I first plant and how lush it will be later. Nature’s miracle…oh ya and a LOT of HARD WORK!
Here’s a comparison of the giant pumpkin cotyledon leaves (the first 2 leaves to pop out) along with it’s first true leaf compared to a tomato cotyledon leaves along with it’s first true leaf. Notice the size difference! Giant pumpkin cotyledon leaves are the biggest baby leaves I’ve ever seen.
cotyledon leaves on giant pumpkin and tomato
Here is a mini slide show of ‘Kong’, my biggest giant pumpkin right now. There is an apple on it for perspective. Kong is 35 days old and 228 lbs as of tonight. It’s been putting on between 12-17 lbs a day. I said a day! 17 lbs is the best weight gain in a single day I have ever had with a giant pumpkin. I know others have greater gains but we have harsher conditions and shorter growing season here. Kong is starting to get longer and bumpier. I like its looks! I love going out after work and measuring them every evening. You can actually see a difference from day to day. It is mind blowing!
‘Harpie’, my other big pumpkin, is beautiful, being perfectly round and not gnarly like Kong. It is at 100 lbs and its weight gain varies from 4-10 lbs a day. I will post pictures of it later.
It has been around 47 degrees during this past week so I have to put a blanket on both of the pumpkins over their row cover so they don’t loose so much heat at night. The pros say to blanket them when the temperature gets below 60 degrees at night. That way they don’t have to wait to warm up in the morning to continue growing. The row cover is to provide shade during the day (think like a light weight covering) so their skins don’t get hard. It is easier for them to grow when their skin is soft.
This is my pumpkin mantra, “Grow Naguas, grow” (grow pumpkins, grow). I say it everynight when leaving the pumpkin patch!