Here we go-Cold weather AT NIGHT again. Today the weather is cold high 56°F and low 25°F, already snowing a little bit. It’s ok , we desperately need the moisture. Unfortunately we are also going to get high winds-up to 70 mph! Above is the forecast for the next 5 days.
All 60 tomatoes and giant pumpkins, giant squash and marrows are inside and waiting to go out but I’m hanging tight and will wait till the nights are a little warmer and above freezing. I will still plant them in wall of waters for extra protection when they go out but why throw them out when I know what’s coming…I try to sneak them out early every year but I just have to wait and see. Our first frost freeze date is May 15th and it looks like we might go to then..
Giant Pumpkin growing season is once again upon us. Why grow giant pumpkins? Why not? Hey if every veggie gardener grew a giant pumpkin, the world would not be hungry! World famine banished!
For all those nuts who grow giant pumpkins, now is the time to start your engines (I mean seedlings) indoors, that is unless you live in Hawaii in which case you probably already have a new one started several months ago!
To start seedlings you must first get your hands on some giant pumpkin seeds- the usual variety being Atlantic Giant Pumpkin. You can buy some from Amazon or you might get some from someone who grows these monsters. Many of us are willing to give away our seeds. Did I say us? Yes it’s true I am one of these nuts. When I first saw the film, “Lord of the Gourds”, there were giant pumpkin growers in the film who babied their giant pumpkins by playing them music, naming them, feeding them high octane food, hugging them, and even putting blankets on them when the weather turned cold. I saw this and I said, “What a bunch of nuts” and the next year I became one of them. Well almost. I don’t play them music.
So after you score some seeds, you need to dedicate the next 6 months to growing these monsters. They become your mistress. So if you have a family, better put them in therapy now for their abandonment issues they will develop and resentment issues over vacations they won’t be able to go on. Who wants to go on vacation anyways? Gas is too high this year. Still interested? Ok, then the next step is to plant them inside your house, pointy side down in seed starting soil in a four-inch peat pot. Then place them on a plant-heating mat (the one you need to buy) under that grow light box you just built and wait for them to germinate. What grow light box you say? The one you’re going to build for these monsters. Are you with me so far? Good. Welcome to giant pumpkin mania…
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.
Here is a picture of a Giant Green Squash-'Greenie'-not mine!
-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.
Today I am planting giant pumpkin seeds. I will put them in 4″peat pots so that I can peel the pots away later without disturbing the roots when I transplant them. They grow really fast once they come up, so I will have to put them in the soil perhaps in 2 weeks from starting the seeds. I will transplant them once the first true leaf comes out. You can tell which way the vine will grow as it will grow in the opposite direction of the firs true leaf. This way I can place it in the soil in the direction I want it to grow. I am growing 4 giant pumpkins this year. They are: 817.9 Schieder 09, 1166 Mohr 09, 949.5 Harp 09, and the 895 Grande 08. They will go in my new pumpkin patch and I am growing another one: 352 Cabossel 09 (that’s me!) for the community pumpkin patch here in Santa Fe that I will plant when I teach a workshop May 15th. To understand what this means is the first number is the weight of the pumpkin the seed is coming from, the name is the grower’s name, and the last number is the year of the seed. So mine was a 352 lb pumpkin, my last name is Cabossel, and it was grown in 2009. That is how we giant pumpkin growers know what seed we are planting. We also look at the parents of the seeds we choose to see who they were as most of the time they come from very good “stock”. You can also just grow generic varieties that you can get from places like Amazon.com which is what I did when I started this hobby before I got serious. I grew a 225 lber from the generic variety which is fine for most people! I will try to break the state record here in NM this year. Have to beat 404 lbs…