Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part I, Great Expectations

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(c) Town and Country Magazine

My brother Dave is a bit eccentric like Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future. Like Doc Brown, Dave is an intelligent inventor. Dave has several ambitious, ongoing projects like bouncing radio signals off the moon, developing radio communications using lightbulbs as antennae, and communicating with the International Space Station.

When Dave is involved in a project he does the research and becomes very knowledgeable. Often he pushes boundaries of “the envelope.” Growing giant pumpkins is one of his intense projects. This story is Part I  about this 2019 adventure.

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Dave with a 21 Day Old Pumpkin

This Summer, Dave is growing pumpkins in his front yard in Flat Rock, North Carolina. These are not just any pumpkins like those for carving or cooking. These pumpkins are giants that will weigh hundreds of pounds when they mature in a few months.

This isn’t his rookie season for growing these monsters. Prior to living in North Carolina, in 2012 he grew “Angee Punkin” (yes, he names his gourds) to almost 400 pounds while living in Connecticut (see the photo below). She even had her own Facebook page!

The pumpkins began from seeds indoors in the Spring and were eventually planted in his yard. He has his secret witches brew (our Salem witch ancestor would be proud) that he starts the youngins on. And as the vines grow, they get treated to a sanitized cow manure growth medium, automatic misting, and soft music. Once a gourd develops, it gets an umbrella to protect it from intense heat.

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“Angee Punkin” 2012

As pumpkins spring from the flowers on the vines, it isn’t unusual for them to put on several pounds each day. And every other day Dave posts their growth on Facebook in his report from the patch. There are currently five pumpkins growing in Dave’s pumpkin patch. His goal is to raise a pumpkin exceeding 500 pounds.

Yesterday was Day 28 in the patch.  As I said previously, Dave names his pumpkins. Bevis and Catlyn have shown growth spurts. And Kylie and Butthead are showing steady progress to become chubby but image1 (8)Kim appears to be taking a break in her growth. We will soon see if that continues and what Dave decides to do about it. 

This story is intentionally posted as “Part I” because Dave is not the only one in his neighborhood growing these giants. Part II of this story describes the friendly competition and the hope being placed on the pumpkin appropriately named “Hope” which just surpassed the 85 pound mark in her infancy!

Read more about the giant pumpkins in this series of posts at Part II, Part III and Part IV.

6 thoughts on “Nurturing Giant Pumpkins – Part I, Great Expectations”

  1. Interesting story.  Looking forward to part 2.

    About 20 years ago, a local grocery store owner here in Marion Center sponsored a pumpkin growing contest each year with a cash prize to the heaviest one grown.  The only stipulation was, the store owner wanted the seeds from the winner to give to entrants for the following year.  It was fun and drew crowds at the weigh-off. The local feed mill loaned the platform scale to determine the winner.  As you noted, the biggest ones always were in excess of 400 lbs.  One of the winners, fed their pumpkins milk and that seemed to make a difference.

    Like

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