Any updates on the pumpkin front

pumpkingMarch 10, 2006

Hello forum,

I live in the United Kingdom and recently joined the forum. I am a beginner but have high hopes of growing respectable pumpkins in the future. It's just about spring in the UK and I am just starting my preparations for the long season ahead. I guess you know that the UK has a big following of giant vegetable growers - especially marrows. We love our marrows in this neck of the woods. I want to be a Maverick and specialise in American pumpkins (species more usually planted in the U.S.A). If you have any thoughts or ideas, then please post them. I am pleased to have found this forum. You can't beat a few kindred spirits.

PS: Any secret recipes (for soil mix or personal growing techniques) or formulas would be greatly appreciated. However, please don't advise compost tea... I have heard a few horror stories from some of my buddies. Thanks

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I read a book that mentioned aged horse manure .This will be our first year trying as well.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 11:11AM
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Hello there,
I grew my first giant pumpkin last year, and boy what fun it was! My soil was a mix of my own compost, local soil, and aged manure. Marrows huh? I had to look up the definition because I'd never heard of them, but perhaps I'll give gourds a try this year. Do you eat them or are they mostly used decoratively?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 4:07PM
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Hi there,
I guess marrows must be more of an English vegetable than I thought. Yes, I have eaten lots of marrows. They are certainly eaten in the U.K. They are cooked in boiling water and have a delicate taste and worth a try. They can also be stuffed with sausage meat, and that is very good too.

Thanks for the tips. I need all the support I can get.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 12:32PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

Do you have giant pumpkin seeds, and if so, which ones.
Seeds with good genetics is one piece of the puzzle.
Do you know how to manage the vines properly? There are some good books on the subject.
This will be my third year of growing giant pumpkins(not counting a few years with inadequate knowledge and probably poor seeds). Both years I broke the 600 lb. mark, with not too much work involved. Vine/pumpkin management is very important IMO. Feel free to ask questions here.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 12:24AM
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birdz_n_beez(z5-6 NY)

LOL About the compost tea horror stories.
I do use a tea, but I don't "brew" it like some. I keep a managable (by that I mean I am able to pick it up when full) flexible plastic laundry bag. It has tons of holes and is sturdy enough to be filled with compost. I place it in the one of my larger plastic pot bases so that it is on a slight slant. Any time it rains or I water it I get tea in the bottom. =) I use an old milk jug (clear plastic) and a sieve and when the jug is filled the plants get fed. My giants (and almost all others) LOVE this.

Another thing that mine seem to adore is seaweed and fish tank water.

As Douglas said, genetics also plays a large part. Seasoned growers keep very detailed records of "family trees".

Please let us know how you fare. =)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 4:39PM
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Hi there, thanks for all the messages (and compost tea); they are all gratefully received. As I live in the U.K and my first year trying to grow a pumpkin, I am pretty nervous (as you can imagine). I have managed to purchase a few seeds, but they were very expensive. They are from B. Dueck, bought from Dill's. I am probably pushing my luck trying to run before I can walk. It has just turned spring in the UK so I guess I should plant them. Any tips on how to start them off?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 1:20PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

Starting these seeds can be a challenge. Many growers file the outer edges of the seeds, and then soak the seeds in water(or some solution) for a few hours before planting. If you file the edges, make sure that the pointed tip(it has a little hole in it) isn't damaged, as this is where the root will come out. Planting in a good-sized pot, indoors, is a very common practice.
A warm environment seems to be beneficial to seed germination. Maybe 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Also plant in a soiless mix, or in sterilized soil, to prevent the seed from rotting. A planting medium that is too wet can spell trouble.
I'd plant the seed so the seed tip is facing down in the soil. Cover the seed about a half an inch or so.
I need to practice my seed starting techniques soon, as I haven't had a very good success rate the last two years.
I hope some others here can give you some additional advice.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 2:31PM
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Hi folks.

I'm gonna try growing a big pumpkin for my first time this year too. I collected some seeds from a huge one that we got last halloween and I'm going to sow them tomorrow.

Keep me posted on your progress pumpking and I'll upload some photos if/when the seedlings emerge.



    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 2:45PM
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birdz_n_beez(z5-6 NY)

pumpking- I usually file one side of my seeds and as douglas14 said, make sure that the tip is not broken or damaged in any way. I always start mine straight in the ground as when I did try transplanting them they didn't do half as well. Be sure to amend the planting area well. I place a shovel full of nicely aged manure in the hole and then place the filed seed horizontally on top. Make sure not to plant it all that deep also or the seed does run a chance of turning to mush before they germinate. Then I sprinkle corn meal on top, water, cover and walk away.

Kyle- Do you happen to know if the pumpkin you got the seed from was grown near any other kinds of squash/pumpkins? If it was cross pollinated it might not turn out to be that big, but either way should be a great learning experience. =)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 11:03PM
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Ok, a little delayed but I sowed them today. I filed the seeds carefully then soaked them in warm water for an hour before planting them in pots with a temp of about 75-80F.

Also, I dug over my patch of land and shoveled loads of horse manure into it.

That's a damn good point birdz_n_beez, I have no idea where they were grown. It's worth a try anyway. What's the worst that could happen with crossed parentage?



    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 12:52PM
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birdz_n_beez(z5-6 NY)

The worst? lol
Well, think normal sized halloween carving pumpkin (or slightly larger). Then again, I once planted a giant pumpkin seed that the parent grew in the same patch as some bushel gourds. Talk about a round, good sized pumpkin. =)

It's worth a shot anywho, and if it is from a patch that grew other giants then the chances increase of a double giant parentage. It can be fun to grow unknown parentage seeds just to see what you get. Be sure to make note of the color, lobes and overall shape. If it is a cross you may be able to determine what the cross is.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 10:45PM
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Hehe. Sorry about the delayed reply, it's been a busy week.

I wouldn't mind too much if it turned out to be a normal sized pumpkin, any pumpkin is a start I guess although I'd love to grow a huge one. :)

Sounds like it could turn out to be anything but whatever, it's sure to be interesting.

Anyway, I'm excited today because my first seedling came up! It's very big and looks healthy.



    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 3:13PM
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wayne_perrier(z9 CA)

A good place to start the seeds indoors is to place the pot on top of your water heater, to keep it nice and warm. That's worked great for me.

I've found pumpkin seeds to be very robust. While I've only planted 2 AG last year, I've planted a total of 15 pumpkins over the last 3 years and every single seed has been viable for me. We'll see this year. I'm starting a little later.

Douglas: I'm planting out the Richards939 this year. Also planting 2 Carolina Cross Edwards219. Talk about magic beans.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 3:02AM
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A good place to start the seeds indoors is to place the pot on top of your water heater, to keep it nice and warm. That's worked great for me.

I put them in exactly the same place! I have two up now and the temp above the heater stays at around 75-82F which is a perfect germination temp.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 6:02AM
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wayne_perrier(z9 CA)

Richards939 pumpkin seedling is well on its way. First true leaf has formed and is about 4" across. Vine is starting to form. It's really amazing to watch how quickly these plants really grow.

Last year was my first year growing AG pumpkins and I just bought "generic" seeds from Howard Dill. I ended up with a 250 pounder that was pretty big. Shooting for 400 pounds this year. I agree that soil and careful watering / care has alot to do with it.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 2:59AM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

What seed(s) are you growing?
We've had a warm/hot Apr./May, and I'm off to my best A.G. start yet.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 6:37PM
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wayne_perrier(z9 CA)

Hi Douglas: only growing one plant again this year, the Richards939. The seedling seems to be alot more robust and quicker growing than the generic Dill seeds I started last year. Will be transferring from pot to ground this weekend. Already transplanted a Carolina Cross (from a 200+ pound melon) and will transplant another this weekend as well.

What are you growing, Douglas ?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 1:20AM
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rainydays(4 WI)

Sounds Like Doug is going to be competetion for me. April and I have 8 plants going. She has a 915 Diefenbaugher, 874.5* Diefenbaugher, 980* Razo, 300est A.Engel. In my spots I am going all Engel. 454,510,818 and 180. The Field Pumpkins are going strong. The giants had a little set back with frost in May. Now we are fighting striped gophers. I am going to fire up the propane weed burner on them this weekend.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:12AM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

I'm growing three competition plants: 603.5 Muller, 1233.5 Reiss, and the 940 Mombert 00. Hoping for great shape and color....oh and size too!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 10:53PM
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wayne_perrier(z9 CA)

Fantastic. Let's compare notes as the season progresses. Got my Richards939 planted today; need to fire up the electric fence tomorrow ! Keeps out the deer and raccoons.

Also planted my second Carolina Cross about 10 feet away. Going for 100 pounds this year.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 2:45AM
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