5th ANNUAL PUMPKIN BASH!! This Saturday Nov. 2, 2013

honey boo booo

Hey friends – I do have a giant pumpkin just waiting to get bashed by you! Now keep in mind it’s not a ‘giant’ giant pumpkin but rather a smaller giant that weighed in at 176 lbs. Still that’s more than most people weigh. Since it is small, I’ve named it Honey Boo Boooo because of its pint size. So come and have some fun-watch it get axed or take part in the axing and sip some hot apple cider. Don’t be late as it won’t take long to bash it. Afterwards, take some of the organic pumpkin home to make your favorite pumpkin dish. The rest of the pumpkin will go to Kitchen Angels to feed the hungry. Be there or be square!

Event: 5th Annual Pumpkin Bash

When: This Saturday, November 2 at 9 am

Where: Liquid Light Glass, 926 Baca Street, Santa Fe, NM

Pictures from the Santa Fe 4th Annual Pumpkin Bash

Santa Fe 4th Annual Pumpkin Bash!!

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Yesterday I held the 4th Annual Pumpkin Bash here in Santa Fe and about 35 people came! IT was COLD but not as cold as later on during the day and people warmed up swinging an axe! My friend Jill Foster called them ‘the choppers’! I also supplied my pumpkin soup (the recipe is in the previous post) to warm the bones. This was the biggest turnout to date. All my friends, Master gardener friends and Homegrown friends came out for the big event. Everyone had fun and afterwards took some pumpkin home.  Must have given away over 300 lbs to friends and the other 85 lbs is going to Kitchen Angels! Let’s figure out how many pies it would make- Take 385 lbs x 16 oz (16 oz in a lb) = 6160 oz. Divide that by 12 oz (1.5 cups is the standard amount of pumpkin used in pies) and we get  513 pies!!  Even if we subtract some out for that stringy stuff and seeds we still get around 500 pies!


Wanted to invite you to my 4th Annual Pumpkin Bash where people take axes or mawls and try to split my biggest pumpkin in half (this year 385 lbs). Come take a whack! Then we cut it up and give it away to anyone who might want a piece of fresh organic pumpkin. The rest we haul away to Food Depot/Kitchen Angels. It’s quite the happening.  Hope you can make it!

(Bring an ax or mawl if you’d like!)

MAX TO GET AXED/4th Annual Pumpkin Bash on Friday Nov 4

MAX GETS AXED at 10 am this Friday, Nov 4th at our studio at the 4th Annual Pumpkin Bash. Afterwards at 11 am, we will give all of Max away to anybody that wants a piece to cook and the leftovers will go to Kitchen Angels and the Food Depot.  It will be especially fun as this year we will also crack open the giant greenie squash as well. That’s 788 lbs of pumpkin squashes to give away! I let my friends and the guys who lugged the squashes around take a whack at Max to see who can split it open. Anyone who wants to take part as Mad Max gets axed come on by and please take some nice organic fresh pumpkin home as well!

Mad Max goes to the Weigh-Off in Colorado Springs

Here are some pics of the weigh-off on last Saturday in Colorado Springs. It’s always fun to see everyone’s results after growing these giants for 6 months or more. I planted all my giant veggie seeds on April 7 of this year-that was 188 days of the plants growing. No wonder we become attached! And the actual pumpkins/squashes were pollinated around July 10, which was 95 days for my pumpkin/squash to grow. That’s 448 lbs of growth in 95 days! Most growers get around 120 days to grow these behemoths but here in Santa Fe we have a much shorter growing season as most of you know plus we’ve been in drought this year and on a good year we don’t get much rain compared to say Ohio or New York or just about anywhere else!

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How We Loaded the Giant Vegetables in a Truck

Mad Max and me looking like a mad hatter with that hair! Last day before cutoff.

Many of you asked how to I load these giant vegetables. Here are some pictures of the guys loading the giant pumpkins into the truck. If the pumpkins get much bigger, I’ll have to get them in with a hoist.

Many thanks to Janet and Tom Hiron for loaning me their truck, Pepe, for hauling these behemoths up to the weigh-off in Colorado and to the ‘Mad Max’ guys who loaded them. It truly takes a village to get help grow and promote these giants! Tomorrow I will post pics of the weigh-off.

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Giant Pumpkin named ‘MAX’

MAX at 216 lbs on August 16, 2011

Well I culled the last little pumpkin on the 895 Grande pumpkin plant, leaving one giant pumpkin who I’ve named ‘MAX’ to suck up all the juice.

Last culled little pumpkin off the 895 Grande 😦

This last little one wasn’t growing for 4 days so I culled it. I only hope nothing happens to MAX that will ruin  my season. It hit 216 lb benchmark today. Hope the rest of August and all of September are WARM which will help put on the LBS! It has been putting on 13 lbs A DAY for a week now which isn’t a lot in the giant pumpkin world, but I’ll take it here at 7000 ft elevation. It is on the main vine but only 8 feet out. Giant pumpkin growers like to wait till the blossoms are 10 feet+ out from the main vine to pollinate.  I thought it would be the one I would have to cull later. But noooooo, MAX decided it wants the vine all to itself robbing all the other little pumpkins of nutrients (juice) and the plant is not putting out anymore female flowers either which is good-all the energy is going to MAX now as it wants!

Just to put this in perspective on this date, August 16 of last year, KING KONG, who became the NM State Record, was 32 lbs! It got pollinated on July 29, and MAX got pollinated on July 10. I figure it has an additional 2-3 weeks to grow bigger than Kong  IF the weather stays warm at night. Wish for a Indian Summer for me… GROW NAGUAS, GROW! (Chinese for grow pumpkins, grow!)

How to pollinate a giant pumpkin

Here are pictures on how I hand pollinate a giant pumpkin…

Here I’m getting ready to pollinate a giant pumpkin. I’ve gathered several male flowers that are  by my shoe. I have one in my hand ready. I try to use several male flowers to make sure I get enough pollen on the female flower. Notice the female flower just below my hand that is open and ready to be pollinated.

Here is a closeup of the male flower. The ants can be accidental pollinators too.

Here is a closeup of the female flower. When she opens up first thing in the morning, she is ready to receive pollen.

Here I’m peeling off the flower petals from one of the male flowers. I peel off the petals so only the stamen is left. That way it can get to the female stigma.

Here is the male flower with all the petals off.  Notice the pollen on the stamen and around the base.

Now I take the male stamen that is loaded with pollen and use it like a paintbrush to paint the pollen all over the female stigma. then I repeat with the extra male flowers.

Then I tie and close up the female flower so it can’t accidentally get pollinated by the beez. It will stay closed up for one day and then I will untie it as the female blossom will only acept the male pollen for about a 4 hour period. If you want to know who are the parent pumpkins, this is the way to control the assurance of the genetics. We try to get bigger and better pumpkins each year which is why we hand pollinate.

Final 2011 Seed Lists

FINAL 2011 SEED LISTS (updated)

I’ve researched and updated the seed list I posted earlier about a month ago and thought some of you might like to know where I buy either the seeds or in some cases, the plants ready to transplant here in Santa Fe. So first I created a legend with abbreviations for each seed/nursery and then put them at the end of each seed listed.  Hope this makes it easier for you so you don’t have to figure it out. I also show which tomatoes Amy Goldman’s ‘The Heirloom Tomato’ book recommends which I use as my ‘tomato bible’! I’ve put this in my page section called ‘Seed Lists’  at the top of the blog for later reference.

Here is the legend:
AFN-Agua Fria Nursery (plants)-1409 Agua Fria Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-983-4831
SFGHSanta Fe Greenhouse (plants)-2904 Rufina Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-473-2700
BHBaker Heirloom (seeds)
SSESeed Saver Exchange (seeds)
TSTerritorial Seeds
JSKGJohn Scheepers Kitchen Garden
KSKitazawa Seed (seeds)
WCSWest Coast Seeds (seeds)
CGCooks Garden (seeds)
TFTomato Fest (seeds)
TGTomato Growers (seeds)
TTTotally Tomatoes (seeds)



*AG/San Marzano-red plum/80 days/AFN (plants) or BH, SSE, (seeds)

Striped German-bicolor-SFGH (plants)
*AG/Gold Medal-bicolor-75-80 days-BH (seeds)
*AG/Ananas Noir-recommended by friend-BH, SSE (seeds)

Paul Robeson-black/75-85 days-AFN (plants)
Cherokee Purple/80 days-AFN (plants)

*AG/Pantano Romanesco-red/70-80 days-BH,TF(seeds)
*AG/Costoluto Genovese-red/78 days-TG(seeds)
*AG/Goldsman Italian American-red-BH (seeds)
*AG/Brandywine/AFN (plants)

*AG/Black Cherry-black/75 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Green Grape-green/AFN (plants) or SSE (seeds)

HYBRIDS-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon BoyAFN (plants)
Park’s Beefy Boy-red-70 days-AFN (plants)
Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-62 days-TT (seeds)

* AG-recommended by Amy Goldsman’s book, ‘The Heirloom Tomato’


BEANSRattlesnake bean snap OG (remarkably flavored pole bean)-SSE (seeds)

PEPPERShishito (Japanese non hot pepper)-AFN (plants) or KS(seeds)

SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINICostata Romanesco (best tasting zuke around)-BH (seeds)

WINTER SQUASH- Galeux d’ Eyesines and Red Warty Thing (that’s what it’s called!)-BH (seeds)

EGGPLANT-Fairy Tale (best sweet, no bitter taste and soft skin eggplant I’ve tasted)-AFN (plants) or TS (seeds)

CUCUMBERSParisian Pickling, De Bourbonne, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kheera, Armenian and Parade– I grow cukes for either taste or which variety is best for different types of pickles-all BH (seeds) except Parade-SSE (seeds)

CORN-not this year (I’ll get it from our Farmers Market)

LETTUCES–Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-CG (seeds)

SPINACH–Bloomsdale-CG (seeds)

CARROTS-Purple Haze CG (seeds) and Scarlet Nantes-SSE (seeds)

ARUGULA-Apollo-SSE (seeds)

BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-BH (seeds)

CHARD-5 Color Silverbeet-SSE (seeds) and Argentata Swiss Chard-JSKG (seeds)

PEAS-Dwarf Sugar Gray-SSE, Oregon Spring II-BH (seeds)


2010 GIANT PUMPKINSall came from private growers
895 Grande 08 (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)
421 Cabossel (895 Grande x self )
1046 Grande 10 (901 Hunt x 1385 Jutras)

GIANT GREEN SQUASHall came from private grower
903 Noel 07 (848 McKenzie x self)

GIANT MARROW (like giant Zucchini)-all came from private growers
206.5 Wursten 09 or 75.4 Wursten 09
43 Cabossel 10

7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open)-private grower
5.416 N, Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x open)-private grower
Big Zac/TT (seeds)

GIANT PEAR GOURDprivate grower
89 Scherber 10

LONG GOURDprivate grower
96″ Scherber 10

Titan-SSE, BH (seeds)

Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:


Calendula-Orange King-BH (seeds)

Chives-AFN (plants)

Cilantro-AFN (plants)

Dill-AFN (plants)

Lavender (in existing different area)

Marigold-Lemon Gem-TS (seeds) this is the only edible marigold

Nasturtiums-Tip Top -CG (seeds)-prettiest nasturiums

Pansies-get them anywhere

Violas-get them anywhere

Roses (in different existing area)

Black Oil Seed sunflower (for the birds!)-WCS (seeds)

2011 HERBS-Following is a list of herbs that will be planted or exist on the property
Basil-new SHGH (plants)
Lime Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Thai Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Lemon Thyme-exists
Dill-usually self seeds
Marjoram-new-SFGH (plants)

Keeping a Vegetable Gardening Journal for Each Year

Pumpkin Journal (left), and Vegetable Journal (right)

You might consider keeping a fruit and vegetable journal for 2011. I actually have 2-one for giant veggies and one for the regular veggies. In this you could put the date you start your seeds outdoors, in your greenhouse, and inside with information like temperature of soil, air, temperature inside what day you started, how long it took to germinate, what the weather was like during this time period, what varieties you started, how much water you supplied, if you presoaked any seeds, etc and then continue this journal throughout the season as to how the varieties do,  when they blossom or when you get your first fruit, what pests or diseases appeared and when, what you did to rectify the issues, what varieties were your favorites and why, etc. I bought a nice notebook (something you will want to keep-not just loose sheets of paper that get lost) that I have kept for the last 3 years and add to it for each new year. Every few days I put down what is happening in the garden in the evening when I have some time. I have found it invaluable in future years to look back (in winter) to help me determine what I would do the same and what I would change for the new season. You’ll be amazed at what you will read the next year.

Closeup of Vegetable Journal

I’ve been trying to tweak out my timetable for starting my seeds inside and have referred back to the journals. For instance, 2 years ago I started seeds inside in February and found for me that was too soon-just too cold and I had to replant a lot of seeds in March. Especially tomatoes-they don’t like cold nights (or days) and get stunted and the leaves turn purple. This is because of a phosphorus deficiency where it is not available to plants when the soil and air temp is too cold. Read my post, ‘Learn from my mistakes when starting tomatoes!’ on how to remedy this. Also for you greenhouse people read this forum from Organic Gardening. Luckily that year, I was able to sneak a lot of the ones I had restarted out in mid April with protection because of the mild winter we had even though the plants were smaller- but they were not leggy.

In contrast, last year I planted seeds inside under lights in early March (thinking I had waited long enough to start). But we had such a harsh cold spring that the plants (which looked great) had to stay inside too long and got too tall because I couldn’t put them out till much later (many plants in June) because of really cold nights (27° F till June 6th). How would I have remembered this and what I did differently without a journal. Every year is brings new challenges to us growers in Santa Fe, NM so having a journal that I can refer back to is helpful. Besides it’s fun..

My 895 Grande pumpkin, Kong hits 105 lbs!

My 895 Grande pumpkin whom I’ve now named ‘Kong’ (as in King)  is 24 days old and has put on 15 lbs a day for the last 2 days! Kong is  long and oval shaped and just hit 105 today. My 925 N. Harp whom I’ve named ‘Harpie’ is 58 lbs and is perfectly round  and beautiful, but the plant doesn’t have that many leaves while the Grande plant has an enormous amount of leaves. I’m excited about the Grande pumpkin, Kong. 6 or 7 weeks to weigh-off. Grow nagua, grow..

giant pumpkin flower pollinated!

945 N. Harp 5 segment stigma

So the 945 N. Harp pumpkin flower that I said was almost ready to open, did this morning as pictured above. That was really fast to open. So I got some male flowers off the same plant that had pollen and broke them off, stripped away the petals and used them like a little paintbrush to go all around the outside and also inside the stigma. Notice this stigma has 5 segments. Most big pumpkins have 4 or 5 segments and some have 6 but many of the six segment ones abort due to insufficient pollination.

female flower with male flowers around it after hand pollination

The next picture is of the flower after I hand pollinated it with the ‘spent’ stamens in front of it. I almost feel like smoking a cigarette!

The last picture is where I closed up the flower with a twistie tie so the bees won’t accidentally pollinate it with another pumpkin’s pollen. By controlling pollination, I try to control (somewhat) what the future seeds of the pumpkin will be but it won’t affect this year’s pumpkin and what it will look like only it’s seeds.

pollinated giant pumpkin flower closed with twistie

I will cross pollinate some of the other female blossoms with some of my other pumpkin plants to see what the next generation’s seeds will produce next year. But this one I self pollinated it. So on the same pumpkin plant you could have some pumpkins that were self pollinated and others that were pollinated with other pumpkin plants.

Pumpkin Patch

giant pumpkin leaving low tunnel

The pumpkin patch is finally getting bigger although I am about one month behind all the other giant pumpkin growers so we will see what we get this year. Here is the 1166 Mohr. It will be the first to leap (LOL) out of it’s low tunnel. The others are close behind. I told them they needed to be out of the tunnels by yesterday-but some are not listening! I have been feeding them Neptune’s fish emulsion and Seaweed fertilizer.

This week I am getting some new products to put on them to help them grow from Extreme Pumpkin. They sell both non organic and organic products for giant pumpkin growers. Hope they take off like a rocket!

Bri’s Giant Pumpkin Patch in

baby pumpkin plant under low tunnel with shade cloth open

They’re in! The giant pumpkin plants are finally planted in Bri’s Pumpkin Patch. I rototilled the extra composted horse manure in and finished the low tunnels and put them in place Saturday in record breaking 99 degree heat here in Santa Fe. Brutal.

949.5 N.Harp 09 baby pumpkin plant

Sunday I planted my four baby giant pumpkin plants-949.5 N.Harp 09, 817.9 Schieder 09, 1166 Mohr 09, 895 Grande 08.  I planted them at a 45 degree angle in the direction they will vine and up to the cots (baby leaves) so their stems will be protected from snapping off in wind. They are just starting to lay down so I built up the soil under them to support them. I placed them in the direction to grow out of the tunnels (remember to look at the second true leaf and that is the direction they will grow).  I was worried that even with row cover over the top of the low tunnels, it would still be too hot for the baby giant pumpkin plants so I covered them with additional row cover. I had them in the windowsill but not outside to really harden off so I was afraid they would be really tender to the intense heat. I watered with Super thrive and seaweed fertilizer to help with the shock.

In addition, I went out and got some shade cloth to put over the row cover and to shade the ends. That should help with the temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 90’s the rest of the week. It ended up with much lower temperatures on Sunday- 86 degrees because a storm moved in all day and cooled things off and dumped some nice rain that night. Perfect planting weather!  Not too hot. Nice lightning storm too.

4 low tunnels with pumpkins

I checked them last night after a 96 degree day and they are doing well what with all the extra protection. I still have to get in the drip system for the pumpkin plants but that should be easy the way I designed the patch. I also want to put a path around the patch to discourage people from walking through the patch and compacting the soil.

I also planted the last of the eggplants-Thai yellow egg and the winter squashes-Chiogga d’ Marina and Galeux de Eyesines seeds. Finally, I only have to get the corn in…almost there.

Giant Pumpkins ready for garden!

Here are the pumpkins and one giant marrow (kinda like a giant zucchini-they grow them in Europe). I’m planting them by tues or wed. I’m hardening them off with a little sun gradually the next few days) now that the nights have warmed up into the mid-40’s.  I gave them a drink of Superthrive and seaweed fertilizer to help them with stress through the transition after I brought them in today. Now they are back in the house. Getting a late start this year-want to see if it makes any difference as it was so cold in May (many 27 degree nights, 50’s in day) and I thought they would just sit in the cold soil there anyways. Hope they catch up!

5 giant pumpkins and one giant marrow

From left- front row: 352 Cabossel 09, 949.5 N.Harp 09, 817.9 Schieder 09,  form left-Back row: 1166 Mohr 09, 895 Grande 08, 73.6 Wursten 09 (giant marrow)