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jal_ut
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Giant Pumpkins

I did a Google Image search for "Giant Pumpkins" ...... Oh, my what some awesome pumpkins came up. Are any of you growing giant pumpkins?

I am growing one pumpkin in the Cucurbita maxima group, but don't expect to see any results like in some of these pictures.

I think my all time largest pumpkin weighed 138 pounds. We don't have the climate for the real big ones.
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rainbowgardener
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No, you don't... not only short growing season, but dry. They are best grown in places like OH, IN, PA, etc, where (usually) it rains all summer. It takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one of those monster pumpkins. To me that is very wasteful if you are doing all that by irrigation. And the county fair giants aren't usually even edible.
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jal_ut
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In my opinion none of the giant pumpkins have a very good flavor. They are for show. For eating grow some Jack-o-lantern pumpkins. :P

I grow pumpkins mostly for decoration and jack-o-lanterns. If I want a pumpkin pie I pick a Hubbard squash, or a butternut squash. Now they have some flavor.

I have a couple of hybrid squash growing this season. It will be interesting to see what they make. The problem with growing the large winter squash, you get a lot of weight, and can only use a small portion of it. They take up a lot of space too. Not that this is a problem here as I have the space.

Any way, it is always fun the day you gather the winter squash and look at that big pile.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins

jal_ut wrote:I did a Google Image search for "Giant Pumpkins" ...... Oh, my what some awesome pumpkins came up. Are any of you growing giant pumpkins?
I've got two Atlantic Giant vines growing in my Los Angeles back yard right now:

Image

This is my first year growing these, so I have no idea what to expect. I got a 60 lb Big Max last year, with no fertilizer, so I'd be happy with anything 200+ lbs with this Giant, but then again I really have no idea what I'm doing.

This also in an inferior location relative to where I grew the Big Max, but I did do more soil prep, I'm fertilizing, and I'm burying my secondary vines. I also bought the seeds from Amazon, and then I read that you need to petition a championship grower for a champion seed (usually at no charge) if you really want to grow a big one. I'm not interested in competing; this is just for Wow factor if/when I get a big one to grow in time for our annual (?) pumpkin patch party. If all goes well we'll have a "guess the weight" contest. Winner gets to take it home, if they can :D

Regarding your location, I wouldn't rule anything out. I can't find the better list, but [url=https://www.ipga.us/TTAPumpkins.htm]this site lists some very large pumpkins by geography[/url], and folks are growing thousand pounders in places like Quebec, Ontario, Vermont, Maine, etc. I'd think the growing seasons there would be very short.

I read the [url=https://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Giants-Passionate-Heartbreaking-Glorious/dp/1596912782]Backyard Giants book[/url], and the tales told there involve a _lot_ of work in those northern climes, as opposed to the "no till" guy in Northern California who just plants and waters. But those in cold climates are starting seeds early, transplanting into cold frames, etc.

Great book, by the way. Those people are insane :D
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didn't grow pumpkins this year. past few year I was wrought with pest and no produce worth saving. Even my buddy who allocates a large portion of garden just for winter squash/pumpkins didn't do very well last year.

I do love me some roasted seeds, I live for that time of year. But the drought has severely hampered pumpkin production this year. So I am glad I didn't waste the space. Still hoping for some seeds though.

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I do but not seriously. I plant mine in the ally in grass. Had one last summer grow to 100 lbs. I just found one yesterday the size of a pea set on.
This is last years 100 pounder.
https://i1072.photobucket.com/albums/w366/Myphotos247/Pumpkin.jpg

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jal_ut wrote:In my opinion none of the giant pumpkins have a very good flavor. They are for show. For eating grow some Jack-o-lantern pumpkins. :P
Yet another reason I don't mess with record pumpkins, tomatoes or anything. I don't have the room you do James. But I would rather have a plant that has many tasty fruits on it than a single behemoth that isn't worth eating.

No offense to those tho grow giants, that is just me. Maybe I am just jealous and I have to quantify my failure. :lol: -helpsos-

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I like to grow squash and pumpkins, but I don't fuss with them. I plant, weed and fertilize one time, water weekly and stand back. My gosh, my squash patch is a jungle. Can't hardly get in it to pick the summer squash.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/squash_8_8.jpg[/img]

I do have a couple of nice giant type pumpkins coming along. They are about 20 inches long at present and growing fast. They may have another month to grow. It will be interesting to see what happens.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/pumpkin_aug.jpg[/img]

These pumpkins in the species Cucurbita maxima start out yellow and continue to be yellow until maturity when they turn a bit darker. Pumpkins in the species C pepo start out green then ripen to orange. I have one that is orange already. I thought it was a bit early for that. This one is about 14 inches long.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/pumpkin_2a.jpg[/img]
Last edited by jal_ut on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jal_ut wrote:My gosh, my squash patch is a jungle. Can't hardly git in it to pick the summer squash.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/squash_8_8.jpg[/img]
Wow! How do you find the fruit? I miss developing fruit in my little 2'-high patch all the time, and then "find" them when they turn orange.

The good news is that, if I don't see them on my daily walkarounds, the peafowl probably don't see them either. Most of the well-hidden fruit don't take much damage.

You look like you could lose a small child in there.
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wow what a great pumpkin patch!!! I have to work with my limited space ;) and I am having some issues. as I posted in my post ;)
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gixxerific
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TheWaterbug wrote: Wow! How do you find the fruit? I miss developing fruit in my little 2'-high patch all the time, and then "find" them when they turn orange.
He uses his feet for feelers. :lol:

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NICE PICS!!!!

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jal_ut
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The zucchini is so productive I can't keep up with it.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/zucchini.jpg[/img]
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Oh my gosh. Me too!! I gave what I could away!!!!

next year half the number of plants should do!!

Enjoy!
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I ditto that too. I had more zucchini this year than I could have ever imagined. They are still producing and I'm not ever taking care of them because of our water restriction. I'm going to say maybe 200 fruits this year that we ate or gave away.
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OK, so I'm going to say that jal and northernfox have long /severe enough winters to slow down the vine borers. I'm not sure about Decatur, Ill. I know your climate is harsher than mine, here just over the river from KY. But don't you have trouble with the squash vine borers and squash bugs? It makes me crazy when people talk about their 200 pounds of zucchinis. It's the one thing that I just can't grow, because the bugs always kill the plant.

Other plants have pests just that just make holes in the leaves or even in the fruit. Zucchinis and their relatives have pests that kill the plant dead over the span of just a few days...

So what's the secret?
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OK, whats the reason for my pumpkins not turning orange, i have only a few and some of my biggest ones are green, i have a smaller pumpkin and its turning orange, is this because smaller ones turn orange faster? Do I just need to be patient with pumpkins? First year for me growing pumpkins and i already know what im going to do different next year for pumpkins...

I will admit i havent watered like im suppose to, i know pumpkins and watermelons need and love water... This years summer has been tough with hardly any rain

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joed2323, be patient. I think they will turn in time. The green ones are still growing. Every year when it freezes, I have some orange and some green pumpkins. They never all get ripe. I have a few orange ones now and some still green. We never know when we will get a first frost. Hope we have a couple of weeks left.
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OK, so I'm going to say that jal and northernfox have long /severe enough winters to slow down the vine borers.
The vine borers don't seem able to winter here. They must move in from more southern lattitudes, and most years they don't make it here. Thank goodness! I have seen them a couple of times.

No squash bugs nor striped cucumber beetles this year either. I wonder if the same thing applies?

Ya, we are at 5000 ft elevation and our winters are zone 4/5. There are some side benefits in spite of the short growing season.
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joed2323 wrote:OK, whats the reason for my pumpkins not turning orange, i have only a few and some of my biggest ones are green, i have a smaller pumpkin and its turning orange, is this because smaller ones turn orange faster?
After reaching sufficient maturity the pumpkins are already orange, but the orange is masked by the green chloroplasts. Once fully ripened the chloroplasts, having done their job, die away and reveal the orange color.

You can see this sometimes by looking at the underside of the pumpkin, where the sun don't shine :D. Because it gets no sun, it doesn't develop chloroplasts, and if it's mature enough it'll be orange underneath.

I even had one pumpkin grow up tight against my plastic cage, and when I took the cage off there was an orange webbing pattern on the pumpkin where the plastic was blocking the sunlight.
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Keep it up you guy's. Just pulled my zuchinni, early white scallops etc. Vine borers made them from over productive to dead in just 2-5 day's

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Rainbow, I'm not sure if it was the heat and lack of water or what, but I really didn't have squash bugs until the end of the growing season this year. Last year they took out my pumpkins, watermelons and canteloupes. This year I actually had great luck with zuchini, but my winter squashes I picked just in time because now that area is wrapped up with squash bugs. I think they are going to do my pumpkins in, but like I said I didn't have an issue with them all year while I was harvesting summer squash. I really just noticed them over the last month.

That is surprising too because we had a mild winter this past year.
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^^
I'll answer your question from the other thread, here.

I'm watering a coupla gallons a day right now, because each vine is covering at least 200 sf.

I have the original 1/4" hose off a 4 GPH flag dripper going to the [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=46889]main hill[/url] where I planted the seed, and several weeks ago I added a ring of 1/4" Drip-A-Long hose that has 1/2 GPH in-line drippers every foot. I think the ring is about 20' in circumference. Those were intended to service the auxiliary root nodes growing down from the vines, but I didn't get a chance to shape, prune, or bury the vines like I'd intended.

So I probably have ~15 GPH, and I turn it on for 40 minutes a day, so probably 10 gallons per plant per day.

I'm watering this much because, if I don't, they really wilt in the afternoons, to the point where I start worrying about them. I know afternoon wilting is normal, but they look _really_ horrible in this 90-degree weather.

If the heat backs off I'll back off on the watering as well.

But I think the wilting may also be a function of the hills that I've planted on, as the hill just can't store that much water. If I were to plant at ground level the roots would propagate further out and have a much larger potential reservoir to draw from. I'll see what happens next year.

Right now my largest Atlantic Giant is the size of a decent cantaloupe and growing visibly larger by the day. It's not in the greatest position relative to the main stem, but it's way ahead of the other 4-5 on that same vine, so I may cull the other sooner rather than later.

My second vine is way behind my first vine, and those fruit are all goose-egg sized right now.
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NorthernFox........We are going to be buying a place in Olds, there will be lots of nice sheltered spots, for gardening.

Do you think we will have luck, with well fertilized soil, next year?

You have a lovely garden by the way. Congrats. :D

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Can't wait to hear the final result :wink:

I harvested the mature Tromboncinos today -- fall rains started and the vines rapidly declined. Since the fruits had turned tan and their vines had dried up, I decided it was time:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/0A6CA6E1-8B8E-499C-9899-9613C168BEAD-28009-00001463245DEB30.jpg[/img]

The biggest curvy one is three feet long. But only about 6.5 lbs.
(I tend to under fertilize -- listed average is 10-15 lbs at maturity and up to 4 feet long)

Next year, I want to try growing winter moschata varieties that are said to grow mature fruits up to 25-35 lbs. I wonder how big that would be? 8). Does anyone know the difference between Zucca Violina Rugosa, Long of Naples, and Menina Rajada Seca? Also Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash?.

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The Butternut is the only moschata I have grown. I didn't think they got to 30 pounds. Sorry, I am not much help with your questions. Have a look at [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita_moschata]this.[/url] Maybe Neck Pumpkin (Moschata) is what you are thinking of?

Your Tromboncinos are interesting looking things.

My pumpkin patch is starting to look pretty bad. No frost yet, but the vines are giving up. Guess this means the plant is done and the squash are mature? I probably won't pick the giant pumpkins until frost though. I have a couple pretty big ones. I would like to weigh them, but not sure how. It would be a job to haul them to a scale and I have nothing suitable.
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jal_ut wrote:My pumpkin patch is starting to look pretty bad. No frost yet, but the vines are giving up. Guess this means the plant is done and the squash are mature? I probably won't pick the giant pumpkins until frost though. I have a couple pretty big ones. I would like to weigh them, but not sure how. It would be a job to haul them to a scale and I have nothing suitable.
Amazon has this [url=https://www.amazon.com/Do-All-Outdoors-Power-550-Pounds-Scale/dp/B003XJEO84/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=JVUS06A3K9TF&coliid=I2P65URC5TRA85]hanging scale for $20[/url] and this [url=https://www.amazon.com/Black-Bull-CHOI1-Chain-Hoist/dp/B0027Z2E0K/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=JVUS06A3K9TF&coliid=I2UX1R6AYX9PKZ]chain hoist for $43[/url].

You'd have to build some sort of tripod and a sling for the fruit, but at least it wouldn't cost too much. Much cheaper than a hernia ;)

If my pumpkin(s) get sizable I'll probably buy these gadgets.
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Thanks for the tip on the scale. I ordered one up. I already have something I can use for a sling and lifting equipment.

It will be fun to see what it weighs. I don't expect anything record breaking, but anything over 100 lbs is worthy of note from my garden.

Those crookneck squash keep on giving. I picked another bucketful this evening. The zucchini have slowed down, but I got a couple. All the winter squash vines are pretty well giving up except for the Butternut. Those vines are still looking good and the squash is not mature yet.

[img]https://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n289/jloft/Garden/crookneck.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n289/jloft/Garden/crookneck2.jpg[/img]
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If you need some lifting equipment, something like this [url=https://www.amazon.com/Come-Along-Hand-Cable-Winch/dp/B0002KMRPE/ref=sr_1_14?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1347078861&sr=1-14&keywords=come+along]come along[/url] is adequate for a lot less than a chain winch.

A rope type block and tackle works well too for lifting a game animal or similar weights. I have an old one that was my father's and I put a new rope in it. It will last me my lifetime.
Last edited by jal_ut on Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TheWaterbug
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What do you use for hoisting and slinging? I'm going to have to build something, and my mechanical skills are not top notch.
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Sling = tarp. I can lift from the ceiling joist of the shed or the swing set. I guess a tree limb would work too. I don't expect a big enough pumpkin to break any of these. :P
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I may have just killed mine :(

Yesterday I made the decision to cull down to one pumpkin on my healthiest vine, so I cut this guy off:

Image

The remaining pumpkin was growing well, and was starting to bulge out of his protective cage:

Image

That's 18" in diameter, and that picture was yesterday. This morning the cage was halfway off because the pumpkin was growing out of it, so I took off the cage and went to Home Depot to buy some netting to make a larger one.

It looked bigger by the afternoon, possibly 20"+ in diameter.

So this afternoon I made the larger cage, plus a bottom piece to guard against gophers, and then I had to reposition some vines and some drip line. I moved the pumpkin just a tad, but when I set it back down it tipped backwards and I heard a crunching sound.:shock:

It had crushed its stem under its own weight. :cry: :cry: :cry:

This pumpkin was kinda disc-shaped, and it was growing vertically, like a nickel balanced on its edge. I suppose it was just a matter of time before it tipped itself over, but I was the one who did it today :(

I sulked for a bit, then just proceeded and hoped for the best. I put it on its bottom/blossom end, put a sheet of netting underneath and then put the cage over the top:

Image

The stem now looks like this:

Image

I guess the worst it can do is die, and I've already resigned myself to that possibility.

But I really should have done all the dangerous work 1) earlier and 2) _before_ I had culled the 2nd largest pumpkin.

Lessons learned for next year . . . .
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It seems that most pumpkins tend to lie on their side and then they get slightly deformed if they get huge due to their own weight. I have found that if I want some real nice round pumpkins that I can take them when they are still small, about basketball size, and carefully move them towards the root attachment point and then set them on their blossom end on a pile of newspaper. The reason for moving them toward the rooting point is to get some slack in the vine so it can have some give in it as the pumpkin swells up in the vertical direction. One has to be really careful in doing this as the vines can be damaged easily. The vines also tend to root at the leaf nodes too, so be careful to watch for these attachment points to the earth as this is an area where damage can occur easily. I didn't take the time this year to rearrange any of my pumpkins, so they will be kinda flattened I guess.

Mine are done growing since the leaves froze, but they are still on the vine hardening off.

Hope yours will still be OK. I suspect it will ripen fine as long as the fruit itself is not damaged.
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Even if it does just ripen I am sure it will make a great jack o lantern :D

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jal_ut wrote:Hope yours will still be OK. I suspect it will ripen fine as long as the fruit itself is not damaged.
It's still growing!

Here's the pumpkin, the day I damaged it, 2 days later, and then 2 days later again:

Image

Image

Image

I tried to resize them so they're all approximately the same POV, but it's not perfect. But I think it's clearly bigger on Day 5 than it was on Day 1.

I'm sure I slowed it down by damaging its stem, but all is not lost!!!!
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I'm judging by relative distance to the cage but yes, it does look bigger...and flatter. Good pumkin, nice pumpkin. :D

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We grow a pumpkin every year just called Jack-o-lantern. It has a nice shape, color and size and is easy to grow. In fact, these pumpkins can get quite large.

This year my husband tried Atlantic Giants also. Not so much luck.
First of all, not an attractive pumplkin, hard to grow, all but one died.

Since your pumpkins look so great, do you have any advice for next year?
We started all of ours as transplants and they did well by TLC in this very dry year. It wasn't until later that all the giants but one bit the dust so to speak.

lily51
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We grow a pumpkin every year just called Jack-o-lantern. It has a nice shape, color and size and is easy to grow. In fact, these pumpkins can get quite large.

This year my husband tried Atlantic Giants also. Not so much luck.
First of all, not an attractive pumplkin, hard to grow, all but one died.

Since your pumpkins look so great, do you have any advice for next year?
We started all of ours as transplants and they did well by TLC in this very dry year. It wasn't until later that all the giants but one bit the dust so to speak.

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As it turns out, my pumpkins didn't obtain any gigantic size. One went at 92 lbs. and the other 99 lbs. I was hoping for something larger.

I just used a feed sack and some baling twine to make a sling and hoisted it with a cable type come-a-long.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/weigh_pumpkin.jpg[/img]
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Squash Harvest

Look what I found hiding in the squash patch.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/squash_harvest_2012.jpg[/img]
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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