Giant Pumpkin, MAD MAX reaches 463 lbs today-Sunday Oct. 9

Today MAD MAX (according to the tape measurements) reached 463 lbs. That’s 42 lbs over last year’s record of 421 lbs!  Remember it could weigh lighter than the charts, but I feel pretty good that it will now beat the old record. It has to be all the extra water it’s been getting this past week. Over 2.2 inches in the pumpkin patch! Simply wonderful. That plus it’s been getting some extra fertilizer (seaweed and fish emulsion) right now. Pump it up MAXIE! The weather has been challenging but it hasn’t gotten down to 32°F (0°C) yet in the patch . It was suppose to but I’ve truly LUCKED OUT! I have the pumpkin plant covered with row cover and of course MAX has been covered for a month now with blankets at night. Now if it can just get through tonight, I think the rest of the week is suppose to be warmer and then it’s off to the races on Saturday!

Meanwhile the greenies are getting scary! That’s scaary good! Jabba is 349 lbs and Kyrptonite is 341 lbs! They are still battling it out for who gets to go! I hope one of them will actually sit on the mini pallet I picked up!

The other giants going to the weigh-off (if there is space) is a long gourd at 79″. It doesn’t weigh much but may have to hang off the truck. We’ll put a red bandana off the end of it! LOL. There is also a giant marrow (zucchini). I can use as a spacer between the pumpkin and greenie! And a giant pear gourd-ah what’s another 100 lbs! It should fit in the corner!

MAD MAX reaches 439 lbs!

'MAD MAX' reaches 439 lbs

Well my giant pumpkin, MAX or MAD MAX as my neighbor calls him has now (according to the tape measure) reached 439 lbs! He is squeaking out the lbs but still gaining nonetheless. If this is true he will be the new NM State Record set last year at 421 lbs by Kong. I’m holding out for the Oct 15th GPC Weigh-Off. It’s suppose to get cold later this week-down to 36°F at night but as long as it doesn’t reach 32°F Max will be ok. I always cover MAX every night with blankets but will cover the whole plant as well starting on Thursday when the cold snap hits, just to be sure and give the leaves a few extra degrees of protection. I’ve never gone so late to a pumpkin contest because here at an altitude of 7000 feet high you really are playing Russian roulette with the weather. We always get a freeze in Otober, I’m just hoping it waits till after the contest…

Giant Pumpkin, ‘MAX’ hits 421lbs-same weight as last year’s Kong!

My main pumpkin, MAX reached 421 lbs yesterday! I still have a few warm days of September before the big GPC (Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth) weigh-off on October 15th in Colorado Springs, CO. Hopefully it will keep packing on the pounds although it has slowed to a crawl as it gets colder at night. I brought out a blanket to help keep it warm at night. Sounds crazy but if you think about it, the pumpkin is a really large mass and if you let it get cold, it takes a long time in the day to warm up before it starts growing again-sorta like our glass blowing furnace! It looks like it will beat my last year’s NM State record, Kong if the tape measurements are true. They say orange pumpkins weigh lighter than salmon ones with the same measurements so I still want more weight to ensure a new record. Just hoping this glorious weather holds up and we have no freezes till after the weigh-off. GROW NAGUA, GROW!!

NM State Fair Results for my Giant Veggies!

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…

Giant Marrow (zucchini) continues to grow in garden..

Giant marrow continues to grow in garden

I have a giant marrow seed that I got from a grower in the Netherlands that I’m growing this year. They call zucchini squash, courgettes or marrows in Europe. Both zucchini and marrows are in the same family- Curcurbita Pepo. My giant marrow (zucchini) is getting bigger and more gnarly. It is now kept wrapped up tightly with row cover to protect it from the pesky squirrel. I’m not sure how much it weighs as I don’t know of any measurement method like we have for giant pumpkins so it is always a surprise at the State Fair or at the Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off  in Colorado but it sure looks BIG with that beer can on it for perspective. The US record for this type of giant vegetable is around 90 lbs! Last year, my biggest marrow weighed 43 lbs and set a NM State Record. This one is still growing so we will see!

Growing gourds- Giant Long gourd plants growing wild

Long gourds grow over the top

Fuzzy little long gourd baby-4 inches long

The long gourd plants are really taking off. They are now over the top of the gourd trellis or tower as I like to call it and filling in. They seem to like the heat, humidity and extra moisture we’ve been getting lately-in fact all the gourds have gone bonkers.  Caleb is coming over today and after we check the bees, we are going to reinforce the top of the tower they are growing on as I hear they get extremely heavy as they get longer. They already have some babies growing but not on top where I want them. If they get big enough this month I will put those smaller ones in the State Fair at the end of the month.

I read and heard from a fellow gardener at the SF Farmers Market that gourds are pollinated by night pollinators like night moths. I’ve never seen a honeybee interested in them. We must have some night pollinators here as I have some baby fruit growing on them.

Mystery gourd (I don't know what type it is)

This little pear gourd came from an 89 lb giant pear gourd

I’m growing three types of gourds this year-giant long gourd, giant pear gourd and a mystery gourd (not sure what type it is but looks like a small pear). All the gourd seeds were extremely hard (at least for me) to germinate-they took forever to come up and some I had to plant twice, but once they came up and I put them in the garden, they have been easy keepers and give a certain lushness to the garden without lots of water. They are part of the Curcubita genus which includes, pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. I bet you didn’t know pumpkins and squash are part of the gourd family did you?

So far none of the gourds seem to attract bugs-like the squash bug, perhaps because of their scent when you handle the leaves. They are kinda stinky but not too bad. But like I said, they are beautiful to look at and the leaves and small furry fruits are fantastic. Both are really soft to the touch, like suede, unlike pumpkins or squash whose leaves are rough. They also have beautiful delicate flowers. I’m really enjoying them so far.

Mystery gourd flowers

Pumpkin Sex

Yesterday I pollinated the 895 Grande female pumpkin flower (scroll back to see what it looked like on July 4th and how much it has grown) with an older male flower from the same plant and I took a fresh male flower from the ‘greenie’ which won’t affect the looks of this pumpkin but may produce green pumpkins from it’s seeds. I just don’t have any opened male flowers from the pumpkins so I had to use the ‘greenie’flower. Notice how much bigger the female flower is now.

So this is how it works. To see more lude photos go to last year post here but basically here’s the dirt on GIANT PUMPKIN MATING HABITS!

All pumpkins produce both male and female flowers and normally the bees do the pollinating landing on the male flowers, picking up the pollen from the male flower and visits the female flower and drops off the pollen on the female flower being attracted by the wonderfully sweet smell of the female flower. BUT with pumpkin growers, we need to know which two pumpkins ‘hook up’ so we don’t get an accidental pollination with a winter squash or another pumpkin we don’t want it to mix it up with. We want to get the biggest pumpkin we can so we keep track of those sort of things. So we hand pollinate. Yesterday I took a male flower and took off the petals and ‘paint’ the pollen all over the female flower stigma with the male stamen. Some of the pollen must go down the female stigma flower for pollination to be complete. If I didn’t get enough pollen on it, it will either not take or abort later. After I pollinated the flower, I used a twistie tie to close it for 24 hours so no bees can accidentally pollinate it. I hope it ‘takes’ but it may not as it was very hot yesterday and quite often it won’t take if the temperature gets too high (over 90°F). There are many baby flowers now so it is going to get interesting very soon!