joed2323
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

wow waterbug!!!

You will easily have me beat this year, im shooting for bigger pumpkins then last year, so i should easily be able to beat what i did last year...

Ive dug down probably 1-2 feet sorta like what you have done...

I have a few different areas where im planting my pumpkins, so i can keep track of what conditions work best for me.

Im debating about digging a deep hole like you did, i know thats a great way to achieve giant pumpkins..

Waterbug, what vegetables are you growing this year? im sure you have a bunch of diff things growing as we speak, also how many different pumpkin plants will you have in the ground this year?

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TheWaterbug
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Pictures, as promised. Here's the whole area, with two Atlantic Giants planted:

Image

and here's what one site looks like, closer up:

Image

On the near site I tilled up an area about 12' x 12', and the far site I probably went out to about 15' x 15'. Both pits were nearly 4' deep. The near seeds went in Saturday and the far seeds Sunday, so they should emerge in 3-4 days, I'd think, though it's been on the cool side here in LA this week.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

And, of course, I dug a heap of rocks out of second site:

Image

The big ones are 50 - 75 lbs.

Did our early settlers have to do the same thing, but with wooden tools and horses? I pulled several different muscles this weekend.
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applestar
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

I have to BUY rocks like that when I want them... But then again, I've never tried digging a 4 ft deep pit... Who knows? :P

Looking good -- it's going to be fun following along. Thanks for sharing. :D
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

It looks like a fun project. It takes up a lot of space. Are you putting in one vine or multiple vines and letting them crawl on top of each other? How long do the vines get?

I grew a pumpkin once in the front yard. I got over twenty baby pumpkins, but most of them were either stung or shriveled up on their own. Only 2 got to any size. That vine was about 50 ft long and I just kept turning it once it hit the sidewalk and again when it got to the fence on the other side. I got one good sized one in June, but it rotted before Halloween that year.
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TheWaterbug
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

applestar wrote:I have to BUY rocks like that when I want them... But then again, I've never tried digging a 4 ft deep pit... Who knows? :P
You can have all my rocks for free!

Shipping will be $2,450.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

imafan26 wrote:It looks like a fun project. It takes up a lot of space. Are you putting in one vine or multiple vines and letting them crawl on top of each other? How long do the vines get?
I sowed 4 seeds per site, and after they grow 4-5 true leaves I'll thin down to the single strongest plant per site.

So I'll only have two Atlantic Giants, and each will grow 1 fruit (I hope!).

AG vines are fully capable of carpeting that entire area, but whether they'll achieve that is up to me and whether I've learned anything since last year :P

In the "main" pumpkin patch (separate thread coming soon :D) I'll have a few Big Max and Luminas, both of which put out 20'+ vines last year.
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joed2323
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Thats awesome your growing big max, I'm growing those as well and first prize hybrid....

But the weather we have been having here in Michigan is beating my plants up..
Its about time for some nice warmer temps, I've been wondering if it will ever warm up this year...

I think your in a better climate for growing bigger pumpkins..

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

James - what do you do special for your pumpkins?? I thought I was reading a previous thread of you saying you just stick them in the ground and let mother nature take its course, if so that's some nice looking "giants" for not pampering them...

How many pumpkin plants do you normally grow in your patch?
I usually devote a fair sized area to pumpkins and squash. I plant in hills with 4 to 5 seeds per hill, with hills spaced 6 feet. I do try to fertilize the area with manure or something out of a bag or both, however I do not dig big pits as some are doing. Clean out the chicken coop in the fall ,spread it out and till it in. They get watered once a week when the sprinklers go on for the whole garden.

Those two large ones are maxima type. I also grow some pepo types. How many? one hill of maxima and 3 hills of pepo is about right. Hey, it turns into a jungle.

Image

Image

Here is some of what came off my squash patch last season.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

jal_ut wrote:I plant in hills with 4 to 5 seeds per hill, with hills spaced 6 feet.
Do you thin down to a smaller number plants? Or do you let them all grow?
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joed2323
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Am I wrong for thinking I can space my pumpkins 2-3 feet apart?? They have the whole backyard to crawl over if they want to

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Do you thin down to a smaller number plants? Or do you let them all grow?
I just let them grow.
Am I wrong for thinking I can space my pumpkins 2-3 feet apart??
I think you would be fine if you put a squash every 2 feet in a row for as long as you want to go.
Or even a little closer. When you think about it the way I plant with 5 seeds to a hill, if you put
them in a row instead of a hill, they would be quite close. If you have space on both sides of
the row for them to ramble it would be great.

Planting in hills the vines tend to go out like the spokes on a wheel.

Keep in mind though that these plants are vining and can have vines up to 20 feet or more long.
I once planted pumpkins along a fence, though it was back from the fence 8 feet. One vine went
to the fence, climbed the fence, jumped into a tree, and went 16 feet up the tree. Now there was
a 25 pound pumpkin hanging ten feet off the ground in that tree.

You can direct the vines in the direction you want them to go.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

So I'll only have two Atlantic Giants, and each will grow 1 fruit (I hope!).
I have not tried Atlantic Giants. I understand that these are the ones that can have the record breakers.

If you are going for a big one, once you get a pumpkin set on, remove all other female blossoms so that all the plants energy can go into that one fruit. Best of luck.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

TheWaterbug wrote:The near seeds went in Saturday and the far seeds Sunday, so they should emerge in 3-4 days, I'd think, though it's been on the cool side here in LA this week.
So this year they took 7 days to emerge:

Image

The countdown to glory or heartbreak begins!

If I get one of any significant size, I can mail out seeds :D
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

And now I've got 100% germination on all 8 seeds:

Image

Image

though the last one of each bunch looks _terrible_ and probably ought to be put out of its misery.

I put the drip system in a few days after I sowed, but didn't realize I had a leak in the timer valve, so it basically dribbled continuously for 24 hours before I shut it off and changed the valve.

The wetness didn't spread beyond the raised hill, so I'm guessing I've "pre-charged" my deeply dug pit with a few gallons of water!
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

That looks awesome! I do think you are in an awesome climate for growing giants. I think here in the San Diego are they would get to hot during the summer. I wish I had the space to do that...... Goodluck though!

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

24 days from sowing seed I culled down to 1 plant per hill and pulled off the protective cages, as they were constraining the plants. It's up to them now to grow faster than the peafowl can eat them:

Image

I put a drip circle around it, but I've got that on a valve that I haven't opened yet. So for now it's just that one center dripper:

Image

I got the PlantCam mounted yesterday, so I should get some nice video this season if I can remember to check the batteries every week or so:

Image
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Here we are at 67 days. The plants are vining nicely:

Image

I haven't been burying the secondaries like I'm supposed to; I would do that this weekend, but I have our Corn-U-Copia party, and I just don't have time.

The peafowl can't really damage the plants too badly at this point, but they do eat the fruit, so I have to cover them with cages. The far plant has one the size of a grapefruit:

Image

but the near one hasn't anything larger than a goose egg right now. I have cages over a few of these, so if they pollinated well they'll swell up in the next 3-4 days.

I'll probably cull down to 1 fruit per vine once they get to basketball size.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

The peafowl can't really damage the plants too badly at this point, but they do eat the fruit, so I have to cover them with cages.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

I was reading a historical manga based on Elizabethan era, and the young heroin asked what they were eating for lunch. The butler? valet? answered: "Peafowl tongues, m'lady." :shock:

...did they really eat them? Waterbug's, maybe your next party theme can be historical cuisine. :P
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

How long do you suspect before harvesting them? Those look great. What do you mean by burying the secondary vines?

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

If you want a nice round pumpkin, when it is about the size of a volleyball, gently move it closer to the root attachment so you have some slack in the vine and then set it on the blossom end so it will form round and not flatten out like they do if let to grow on their side. Its good to put a piece of cardboard under them too to keep critters from attacking them from underneath. Also once you have a nice fruit set on a vine clip any other female blossoms on that vine so all the energy will go into one fruit. I'm hoping you get one you need a forklift to move. ;)
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

^^
I did this last year, and I nearly killed it by crunching the stem. I should have had someone helping me to stabilize it when I started moving it.

As it turns out the pumpkin survived, and it was my heaviest one, but I'm wondering if it could have grown larger if I hadn't damaged the stem.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

ReptileAddiction wrote:How long do you suspect before harvesting them? Those look great. What do you mean by burying the secondary vines?
Squash plants send out little roots at each leaf node. If they have access to decent soil and water they can suck up a lot of nutrients and supercharge the plant. Lots of giant pumpkin growers will dig trenches for the secondary vines and bury them.

You don't want to do this for the primary vine that growing your giant fruit because that one needs to be able to lift off the ground as the fruit grows.

I'll let it grow until the pumpkin patch party just before Halloween, and then we'll have a "guess the weight" contest for the kids.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Hi waterbug! I love all of the pictures you have posted!

So does that one pumpkin produce those vines in that spiral-type pattern? I am growing pumpkins (not sure of the variety... got the seeds awhile ago and just keep using those... but they are much, much smaller (and I found a female that is just about to bloom!!)) and the vine just grows outward from the original root.

Good luck with that pumpkin!

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

So I'm at ~10.5 weeks, and here's a time-lapse of weeks 2-10 (click image for YouTube video):

Image

I got a late start getting the camera set up, and then for some odd reason I'm missing 10 days between July 6-15.

The far plant (off camera, to the right) has a pumpkin now that's bigger than a basketball:

Image

I think I might have rearranged some of the vines early, but I certainly didn't have a deliberate plan to spiral them. I think they're just sprawling randomly.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

joed2323 wrote:James - what do you do special for your pumpkins?? I thought I was reading a previous thread of you saying you just stick them in the ground and let mother nature take its course, if so that's some nice looking "giants" for not pampering them...

How many pumpkin plants do you normally grow in your patch?
I may haul some chicken manure onto the pumpkin patch and till it in before planting. I have never dug a pit. A little side dressing of nitrogen fertilizer when the vines begin to run is good too. Water deep once a week. I don't mess with picking blossoms, whatever they decide to put on is what I let grow.

How many? Hmm, good question, this year I have six hills of jack-o-lantern pumpkins and one hill of a maxima. 3 to 5 seed in the hills. I really don't know how many grew. At this point I do have lots of vines.

I grew my maximas over on another lot this season, because I wanted to try Red Kuri squash, a maxima and wanted the seed to be pure. My son waters the patch, and I weeded it once a while back and haven't been back to look at what it is doing. I guess I will be surprised?
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

TheWaterbug wrote:The far plant (off camera, to the right) has a pumpkin now that's bigger than a basketball:
And now it's solidly into beachball territory:

Image

(I switched to a much larger cage, so use the dollar bill for scale)

There are 2-3 other sizable fruits on this vine, but I'm thinking of culling them all this weekend.

My second vine has one the size of a Size 4 soccer ball, but that's the only fruit it has.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Wow! It's already bigger than any squash I've ever grown 8)
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

The time lapse is way cool! I guess it has been really hot in LA? The time lapse shows clearly how it wilts in the heat of the day and perks up in the evening, even though I think you have it on drip irrigation? What is your watering schedule like?
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

So far the Red Kuri is not showing me much. I went over to look at the maximas today and have one getting a good start.

Image
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

The skin is still supple and waxy, so it's still growing like gangbusters. If I get a monster I'll save seeds and send them out in November to anyone who wants a few.

Regarding watering, I have it dripping every other day at 6 AM. But all my pumpkin/squash vines do the wilt/perk/wilt/perk dance when it gets hot (typically August and September here in LA).

I think it's just that, once the vines reach a certain size, they simply can't pull enough water up through the main stem to keep us with the transpiration losses during the day. Then, at night, when the transpiration stops/slows, they can replenish.

So I don't think the watering schedule is the culprit, or the fix (otherwise they wouldn't perk up overnight after days that I don't water). I probably need to start burying the secondary vines so those auxiliary roots can find their way to the water.

I have a ring of drippers in a ~12' diameter circle around the main stem, ostensibly to feed the secondaries, but I never seem to have enough time to go bury them.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

So here's my large fruit's progress over the past two weeks (click for YouTube video):

Image

It's interesting to see the blip every morning, when it seems to expand by about an inch or more. So it grows quite a bit overnight. I'd thought that night time was for resting.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

The vines continue to grow rapidly, too. Here comes one now:

Image

Hard to see from the photo, but in real life it looks kinda like a dragon rearing up. Or maybe a snail with antennae.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

I envy you. I only grow kabochas and sugar baby watermelons because I don't have enough space for big vines. I have seen some big pumpkins here but the biggest only got to be about 60 lbs. It is hard to grow the really big ones with short days.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

WOW! It is really n eat to see your progress. I especially liked the video, that was super cool.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Any new updates? My pumpkin is just beginning to be the size of yours about a month ago! Well good thing I'm just growing for flavor!

Good luck!

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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

I found this forum last night while hunting for info about pumpkin patches and, of course, growing them...
I thought you all might get a laugh from my story!

A friend of mine suggested growing a winter crop and pumpkins sounded fun....so I went to my local nursery and found a few sprouted ones off in a corner. I bought two, never having grown pumps before, I picked the two hardiest specimens. They went in the ground, wait for it...Aug 21st!! Well, now that I've started investigating I find I'm just a bit behind...just a bit.

We also have had two weeks of over 90 degree weather, causing three female buds to brown and die on the vine.

They look to be growing...no mound, no manure and, oh, yeah, I bought Big Max and Cinderella! clueless!!!
So, I'm feeding them 10-10-10 liquid about twice a week. Watering often and reading a lot.

What do you all think my chances are of a pumpkins this year? Maybe December?! :-()
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TheWaterbug
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

6sparkpug6 wrote:Any new updates? My pumpkin is just beginning to be the size of yours about a month ago! Well good thing I'm just growing for flavor!
I was going to post an updated time-lapse, but when I went to unload the camera this weekend I saw that it had only captured between August 28 and August 30. Then it stopped for no good reason. :roll:

I emptied the memory card and replaced the batteries and started it up again, but it looks like I'm going to have to check it every day to make sure it hasn't gone on vacation again.

But the Atlantic Giants are getting pretty big! I'll try to remember to take a picture sometime this week.
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Re: Giant Pumpkins for 2013!

Being in SanDiego in zone 10, you aren't as far behind as you think. Your best fall planting time for pumpkins is in Aug, so you were at most a couple weeks behind. Your seed packet should tell you average days to maturity, which varies widely with the kind of pumpkin and how big. The Big Max is 120 days to maturity, so yes, you might have Christmas pumpkins. That wouldn't work for me, but for you in a frost free area, with year around growing season, it should be OK. You could plant pumpkin seeds again in Feb or March.

Here's a what to plant when schedule for zone 10

https://www.thevegetablegarden.info/plan ... g-schedule
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