Growing Big Atlantic Giant Pumpkins

1999 will be the first year I have grown Atlantic Giant,
but I have grown other pumpkin cultivars for 60 years when I had space.

This is my summary of what others have written to me, notes from mail lists, university publicatios, and other sources. I will be growing my 1999 plants under two systems. I will grow some with plenty of space to get large fruit. I will be growing some Bonsai-size vines to see how many vines I can crowd into a small space in order to examine genetic traits. See Suggested growing procedures from Spencerville Mammoth Pumpkin Committee. Notes on weighing stations are on the same page. Ohio State has a nice big pumpkines guide and a page on viruses, but first understand how to grow ordinary pumpkins.

Here's a site that discusses teaching children how to garden.

Space Required

Scott Armstrong grew a 301 pounder in an 8' by 8' plot with some vines on a trellis. Gary Burke grew his 1092 pounder in 420 square feet of garden. Most growers provide 300 to 2500 sq. ft. per plant. 1000 sqft seems average. Glenn grew a 602 pounder on an 8 x 8 foot plot, but I believe vines also ran out on the lawn

For maximum plants in a small area Nic Welty uses this pattern:
x---o--   --o--x---o-   --o---x--o-
x---o--  x---o--  x---o- -o--x--o -
where x is the roots and o is a fruit. This crowded pattern is used for checking the phenotype grown from seeds and is not for attempts at records.


I will use the above pattern in 1999 each x is the root of a plant. ----- is the vine of a plant. This pattern allows planting vines close on a raised bed running vertically on the page. If a plant fails his neighbors can use the space. Will set some plants only 3 or 4 feet apart and see the result. I have 12 feet of spoace on each side of the roots row. This allows me to build one raised bed to counteract my wet soil. Then I can work the soil beyond the raised bed ahead of the vine growth when the soil can be worked.

Pumpkinpiper wrote:
It's possible to grow 50-200lbers on limited space. My first year I cut the vine off at 8 feet when I had a fruit on it, And I managed a 125 lber. Since then I have expanded my grow area and leave about 1200 sqft per plant. You can also make your vines run up a trellis to save space. I do this on my pie pumpkins and it works great.

MESSAGE FROM GLENN my pumpkin patch was 8'square. I ended up growing a 602 lb pumpkin! Just let the vines

Site Preparation

Some prepare the soil by double digging. Some bury heating pipes and watering pipes below the soil. If possible work an inch or more of compost into the soil. Soil pH should be the same as for other garden crops 6 to 7. Use standard granular fertilizers. You get lower prices at a farm store. States test fertilizers. All fertilizers of a given analysis are equal regardless of analysis except that soluble fertilizers can leach from the soil faster. (see Fertililzation below).

Seed Selection

Be careful in buying AG seeds most of the seeds sold in stores as Atlantic Giant may not be AG. The safe seeds are those you get from a Pumpkin Grower's meeting or auction where leading champion growers have donated seeds and the proceeds of the auction are used to meet the costs of a local pumpkin weight off or as prize money for the heaviest pumpkin.

Here is an example of apparently fraudulent seeds sold by a company one would expect to be ethical: "Last year. I got "store-bought" seeds from Agway, clearly marked "Atlantic Giant, PVP." The seeds were much smaller than one would expect from a "giant" pumpkin. I drove all around the county, feeling/looking through all the packets they had, and none of the seeds were larger. I grew 3 of them, with very disappointing results, which I attribute to inferior genetics, as I did nearly everything else right, fertilized weekly, watered daily, etc., grew one pumpkin per vine, etc. What I got was 3 plants, the largest vine only around 16-20 feet long, with 2 foot long secondaries. They were all midgets compared to the AG vine photos you see on the internet. They yielded 3 nearly-identical AG pumpkins (starting out cream colored and maturing to orange), and the biggest weighed 4 pounds. While quite a feat to grow such a small, fully mature AG, it didn't generate the media sensation you'd think. -- Rick Inzero, Grower of dwarf Atlantic Giants

Seed Germination

Barb Kincaid wrote:
I never file the edges of the seed coats. Simply soak in warm water overnight, then place pointed end down into the warm soil mixture in pint sized or 4 inch peat pots. Keep pots in a warm environment until sprouted. You may have to manually remove the seed coat from the young sprouts, but it usually comes free. From there, they go into the garden. Pumpkin plants don't like to be transplanted (very fine, fragile root system) so it's best to pick a time to germinate when they can be placed directly into the garden after sprouting.

One grower has a great way of germinating and planting with the least trauma to the roots. She uses pint sized Ben and Jerry's ice cream containers that have been rinsed out well. Cut out the bottom end of the cup, place the lid back on the container and invert. Fill the cup with potting soil and plant the seeds. After germination, simply take the containers to the garden and place in mound. remove the bottom (lid) and lift the container up over the seedling. Mound dirt around seedling and you're planted.

You will notice that the seedling roots are very fine like spider webs. There is a strong tap root. I discovered this on mature plants where several days of rain had eroded some of the sandy soil from the plant.

While pumpkin plants can sprawl over 1,000 sq. ft, many growers contain their plants by judicious pruning to 400-500 sq. ft. --Barb Kincaid, Florida

Many growers begin the plants indoors for a few days to a few weeks. My experience has been that many plants have problems when grown in pots due to circling roots. Many growers say germinate indoors but move plants to garden within 1 or 2 days. Such plants will not have a root ball and the soil may fall apart. Work carefully or use a planting medium that does not fall apart like sand.

Do not plant until the garden soil is at 55(?) F. Germination is best at 80 to 95 F and this is easily accomplished by placing the pots in a foam box with a bottle of warm water. In one test I used two one gallon milk jugs and heated them in the microwave oven for 10 minutes. Temperature in the box was 97 F and dropped 28 hours later to 76 F without any reheating. and the temperture outside the box was 50 to 60 F. I then changed to two half gallon containers which I reheat in the microwave twice per day. The soil temperature in the 6 one-liter pots varies from 70 to 90 F.

Planting in the Garden

Light frosts will severly damage pumpkin vines.

1999 May 25: I'm in Clinton Iowa straight west of chicago. The weather has been a little harsh lately. I have covered and uncovered some according to the weather. The covered plants have about 5 leaves while the uncovered ones 6 days older still only have ONE true leaf. I try to have plants starting to vine by the 1st week of june. -- The Carlsons: Dan and Beth

Nic Welty explained how he gets his plants off to an early start, "I tuck black plastic bags around the plant, and then fill the bags 3-5" deep with water. This heats up durring the day and then I cover it at night with safety blankets tucked in around all the edges and sealing the plant in with the warm water. This is the second year I have used this to sucsesfully keep the plants warm untill they surpass the 4' vine length. This costs me about $3 per plant."

Seeds germinate by pushing a tap root out of the small end of the seed.

I find most good seeds will break ground in 72-90 hours at 80-85 degrees. -- Ethan

----- All the text in blue was provided by Joel Holland. -----


After 2 - 5 days, transplant the potted plant to prepared growing beds. Protect young seedlings with properly ventilated cloches or mini-greenhouses. Water as necessary to avoid heat stress or wilting. When well established cloches my be removed. Wind protection my be needed until plant is well anchored with vines on the ground. Mound soil over vines at several leaf axils to stabilize plant and to encourage secondary rooting from the vines. Water as needed, adding balanced soluble fertilizer to water once per week. Control weeds with mulching, shallow cultivation, and hand weeding as necessary. Remember, shallow roots may extend 4 ft. or more out from perimeter of the plant.


There is no need to fertilize the germinating seed and some think it may be harmfu,l.

Re: application rate (, 06/03/99 20:31) To: Indbio

Jon, A tablespoon per gallon would be too strong as a constant feed. I assume you are putting it on once a week for a few weeks. Watch the color of your newly opened leaves.....if they are dark green, cool it on the nitrogen. A properly fertilized A.G. will have a nice healthy medium green to the new foliage, that transforms to a dark green as the leaf gets large. If the new leaves are dark green just use plain water for a few weeks until it straightens out. Cornell Univ. has done studies that have proven that excessive nitrogen will give you too much foliage, fruit set problems and decreased yields. -- pumkinguy

Fertilization in Late July (Baby Pumpkins)

Seiously though, right after setting fruit you are probably best off with a balanced formula of a water soluble fertilizer like a 20-20-20 or one of the fish and seaweed type liquids. That is my preference at this stage for the plants. Later, once they've started to put on some size you can go with a supplement with higher potassium. Once a week should be good, make sure they're getting plenty of water as well. Kill the slugs and snails they will eat the baby pumpkins if they have a chance when they're small.

Chris Michalec Covington, WA



Slugs will eat into baby pumpkins. Slugs can be controlled by using shallow cups of beer out. The slugs will crawl in and drown. Kristina

Cucumber Beetles

I use Sevin at 3 tsp per gallon of water. Don't use any more then this or you can develop phototoxicity, the plants will turn a bit yellow. Do not spray if day temps will reach 90's. And spray in evenings, will help protect the bee population.


Re: Admire and Lindane Questions (, Thu 20:57) To: Indbio

Big Al, Sevin is actually not the killer of choice for vine borer. It ended up in my article in the NEPGA newsletter this month......a little over zealous editing by Hugh Wiberg. He thought I forgot to put sevin down and added it for me. Sevin has been used for a long time , but is not effective on borers. Methoxychlor is ok. Asana is the best...permit required. Asana is a synthetic pyrethrin....over 100 a gallon as I recall. Heard mixed reviews on Admire. pumkinguy

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e: Last Post (, Sat 17:54) To: Indbio


Rock Rivard of Canada? I think people mix it too strong and apply too heavily during the daylight hours.

I will mix and apply as directed and see what happens.

This is what happened to Vic. He sprayed thinking the day was going to be dark and overcast....he will never do that again. Err to the safe side.

Vic also mixes chemicals, which I never do. Sometimes they are not compatible, or synergize, etc. I spray one thing at a time.

Many people on the list spray pesticides with fungicides. I can only imagine the radioactive fallout that results, not to say what it does to the spray equipment, nozzle being clogged with precipitate, etc.

I did not water today just to see the effects on the plants. No wilt. Hmmm, perhaps I was overwatering a bit. Even though the mist helps the plant fight heat stress, the water falls to the ground and adds to the humid conditions around the plant.

Good luck with your planting and we'll chat more soon.



pesticide (, Fri 22:50) To: Indbio

I forgot to include organic pesticide info

Combine One teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup cooking oul. from this mixture, measure 2 teaspoons to combine with one cup of water fro your sprayer. Said to eliminate aphids, spder mites and white flies...

also, 7 tablesppons of baking soda a few drops of insecticidal soap without pyrethrum in five gallons of water (check an area to be sure it doesn't burn... used on roses for black spot and powdery mildew. ..this I am trying on the pumpkins this year since I had trouble with powdery mildew toward the end of last season ( I tend to water too late in the day I suspect!)

Both recipes are from the book Baking Soda...Over 500 Fabulous, Fun and Frugal uses you've probably never thought of by Vicky Lansky Regards, Kristina


Al says pumpkins need 1 to 1.5 iches of rain per week.

Re: Al Eaton (watering) (, 18:12) To: Indbio

Watering isn't that hard to figure inch to an inch and a half a week is usually right. I forget the formula, but I think it is a gallon for every 2 square feet = 1 inch. If you use a sprinkling system, just set out rain guages.

Re: Al Eaton (watering) (, 07/18/99 14:08) To: Indbio

In a message dated 7/17/99 11:26:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> now is this for just the root area or for the enire area that the plant > takes us. So would I take the square footage of my plant and apply that > much to the main root or just the square footage of the root area and add > water. Or should I water all around the plant even where there are no > roots. I am very confused?!?!?!?!?!? >

O.K., well of course where there are no roots, watering would be moot, and a waste of water. So this would be over the entire main root area, (usually about 10 x 10 feet or so), and you SHOULD have your vines buried so they form taproots, so then you would water the area that the vines with the taproots cover. Same goes for fertilizing, etc. If you really need to conserve water, you can hand water or use a soaker hose along the vines with taproots, so the area 5 feet wide or so gets soaked with an inch or more of water a week. Also, I usaually use temperature controlled spring water from a well. Hot tap water is added to the cold well water until it is lukewarm. Pumpkins are really sensitive to cold water! I set up an extensive technological system last year, and hopefully I'll get access to it up on a web page this year for everyone to see. I even incorporate the use of Doppler Radar to track storms in the immediate pumpkin growing area. Also there are probes for soil temp, and other instruments for wind, humididy, temperature, percipitation, etc. I wanted to set up a live Pumpkin Cam to everyone could watch the progress of my pumpkins, but I don't know if I can do that. It would reauire another on-site laptop to transmit the data back to here and over the internet, which we don't have right now.

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Pollination - FRUIT SET:

The plant should blossom and set fruit between July 1 and 20. Male blossom will appear first. Males are on long stems with a rod like structure inside the flower which is coated with pollen. The first open male flowers will generally be towards the center of the plant. Female flowers are on a short stem, and have a small round yellow pumpkin behind the flower. 'The first female flower to open will be out from the center of the plant on one of the vigorously growing vines. In the absence of bee activity or to get an earlier set, the grower my hand pollinate a newly opened female blossom with several of the fresh male flowers. Pick several newly opened male flowers and tear away the yellow flower portion, exposing the pollen bearing stamen . Leave part of the stem to use as a handle and gently roll the pollen from the males onto the stigma in the center of the newly opened female blossom. Depending on temperature and weather, this is generally done from early to mid morning. Males from the same plant as the female to be pollinated, may be used, (self pollinated). However-,: for best seed quality, it is best to use males from a separate and not closely related plant, (cross pollinated). The plant must be large enough to support a fast growing pumpkin, therefore setting a fruit too early can have a negative result. The plant should have a minimum of 100 - 150 leaves before a pumpkin is set.

Each node produces 1 ttendril, one axiallary vine, roots, one flower. It will not produce more flowers later.

Pollen collection
Date: 27 Apr 99
Harold Eddleman wrote:

I would like to suggest an experiment. I plan to try it, but those who live in the south and already have pollen can do the experiment earlier than we in the north. I have hand pollinated a few pumpkins, but I remember nothing from those instances of decades ago except that I got fruit. In pollinating other plants, I have often had trouble finding pollen. Sometimes that is genetic, some individual plants are not good pollen producers. The main reason for absence of pollen is that bees and wasps carry it away for food very early in the day. Therefore, plant breeders common collect pollen before the anthers split open. If you examine anthers (the yellow things dangling on the tips of filaments) in most plant species, you find the anthers split open after dawn and about the time the bees begin working (the bees know the right time). Therefore, plant breeders commonly cut the male flower off before it opens and carry it to the lab or living room where it is warm and dry. I plan to try cutting the male flowers from the vine the evening before they open. I place them in petri dishes or saucers and some breeders hang a light bulb above the drying male flowers. Since pumpkin flowers get soft and watery, You may want to remove the filaments from the sloppy petals, else I would leave them connected for the food the flower will provide. You may find this method gives you much more pollen. I always collect my strawberry and blackberry flowers the day before they open and I use a small camel hair brush to apply the pollen. Pollen grains are so tiny, you may have plenty of pollen when the pile appears barely visible. I have lots of trouble getting seeds from blackberry crosses. I think the problem is with the drying of the female flower which must be opened and emasculated prior to normal opening. Keep in mind that removing the male flower early may not work for pumpkin. The pollen grain easily sticks to the sticky stigma and germinates sending out a tube which grows down the style to the ovules and finds the tiny opening where the integuments (these mature into the seed coats) do not cover the ovule.


I use a technique from Suzanne Ashworth's excellent book "Seed to Seed" which I find to be less work. The evening before I pollinate, at about dusk, I go through my pumpkins, and use masking tape to tape shut the male and female blossoms I want to use. A single loop of masking tape around the petals keeps them from opening. In the morning, whenever I feel like it, I go to the patch and collect the male flowers that I taped shut the night before. I take them to the female flower I wish to pollinate, and use a pocket knife to cut off the male flower petals at the base, and as little of the female petals as I can. I apply the pollen directly using the stem of the male flower as a handle (or several male flowers if they are available) then tape the female flower shut again so bees can't get in to contaminate the pollen I have chosen with unknown pollen. I always find loads and loads of pollen in the male flowers and it is fresh.

-----------Positioning the pumpkin since vines root to soil and stem can snap

When the pumpkin is first set, you can go in and pinch the side vine with your finger is so tiny. Don't try to reposition a small will snap off. They are more manageable to slow daily repositioning when they get like a bowling ball....go will hear people complaining soon about moving one too much and then.....SNAPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!! pumkinguy



Wayne wrote:
Pruning is a subject of debate. This is one of the most popular schemes. Take a rectangular patch, maybe 24 by 30 or 40feet. Plant the seedling down at one end and train the vine toward the other end. As side vines develop, terminate them at the edge of the patch. You would have 12 foot side vines @ termination. If you set fruit 10 or 15 feet out on the main vine, let at least another 10 feet of main vine grow past the fruit. Terminate main. You will get growth branching off the side vines (referred to as tertiary growth. Pinch off all the tertiary growth so you don't end up with a total jungle. World Record pumpkins have been grown on side vines , so it is a good idea to pollinate anything that looks decent, no matter where it sets. You can always thin the fruit out to the best two , later. --Wayne

To avoid rampant crossing vine growth, it is advisable to trim and prune. Generally 3 - 5 primary vines are allowed to grow out from the center of the plant in different directions. Side vines will develop on each of the primary vines, alternately at each leaf.. These side vines are allowed to grow, but are trained away from one another or pinched back before they cross. These side vines would in turn produce their own set of vines alternating at each leaf.. The third set of vines (tertiary vines) are removed from each secondary vine when they are small or in the bud stage. This results in a more open plant with better air circulation, which can help prevent disease problems. A pumpkin can be set on each of these primary vine structures. After 2 - 3 weeks select down to the best 2 pumpkins.


Stress or tightness can develop where the stem of the pumpkin attaches to the vine. The vine must lift off the ground as the pumpkin grows taller. The vine will be rooted to the ground on the under side. These roots must be severed several feet each way from the pumpkin. Also as the pumpkin grows the shoulders of the fruit on the stem end my contact the vine and create stress. This usually happens on the side away from the center of the plant. The pumpkin may be moved very slowly 1 inch per day until it is at a 90 degree angle to the vine, ( both shoulders equal distance from the vine on each side of the stem). Never move the pumpkin early in the morning as the stem and vines are brittle when it is cool. Adjustments should be made a little at a time in the afternoon, starting when the pumpkin is approx. basketball size. It is helpful to have the pumpkin growing on the outside of a curved section of the vine. In this way the pumpkin will have more room to develop without pushing on it's vine. The vine can be manipulated at the time of fruit set, so the female blossom is on the outside of a curved section of the vine. Stem stress symptoms can develop very quickly with a fast growing pumpkin. The vines near the pumpkin should be checked frequently for tightness. As the pumpkin grows taller, several feet of vine will be supported by the stem of the pumpkin in both directions. It is helpful to support the weight of the vine with blocks of Styrofoam or other material in order to take the stress off the stem.

#1 choice 2" of 4'x4' Styrofoam. #2 choice 3" Styrofoam #3 choice plastic Election signs #4 choice well drained ground

Last year due to the fact that I used up my Styrofoam and election signs on others I grew my 734 on the ground.

The thick Styrofoam tend to give a pumpkin with a fairly level bottom. The election signs and the ground give pumpkins with bottom centers that are raised up significantly allowing for a good place for mice /moles to make a nest.

Hope this helps.



When the pumpkin is small, it will be shaded by the leaves of the plant. When the pumpkin grow larger, shade should be provided. Shading reduces the aging stress of direct sunlight on the tender skin of the fruit, and allows the shell to expand and stay flexible longer. Shading also reduces the internal temperature of the pumpkin, reducing the threat of rotting or splitting.

Fruit Protection

Birds, insects, and mammals can damage the baby fruit when young. Ordinary paper bags from the grocery story might do double duty of excluding pollen and bird damage by hiding the bright yellow fruit. You might use a spring clothlespin to close the bag. The bags are durable and probably need to be removed to avoid deforming the fruit.

One grower had trouble with squirrels and groundhogs biting fruit. He cut the leaf and side vine off at the female blossom and covered it with a laundry basket. He places some weight on top of the basket to hold it in place until the pumkin out grows the basket.

Splitting or cracking

Each year many large pumpkins crack or split while growing at a rapid rate. We walk a fine line. The grower wants his pumpkin to grow as fast as possible in order to reach a large size, and as a result may step over the unmarked line ( Sustainable growth curve). Some seed stocks are more at risk than others, especially those with genetic potential to produce pumpkins over 700 lbs. Some factors which may help to avoid splitting include:

Minor cracks can be managed by applying a fungicide and reducing water and fertilizer to the plant. Stem splits often appear much worse than they are. The stem is hollow and may split all the way through and tear into the flesh of the pumpkin a small amount. Sometimes this releases the stress allowing the pumpkin to continue to develop. Treat all wounds sites with fungicide, allow for good air circulation, and keep the area dry. Occasionally a stem split or a surface crack will continue to expand and deepen until the seed cavity is breached. Once the seed cavity is exposed to the outside atmosphere, the pumpkin is no longer a viable candidate for competition. No effort should be taken in regards to plugging or patching, as the pumpkin will rot from the inside out.


Hail can shred the leaves of pumpkin and even adult field corn. Here are some notes from victims of hail and their advisors.

Unless the leaves are shredded to the point of being stalks, they can make lots of food. One field was shredded, but two weeks later most signs of damage were hard to find because the vines put up leaves which fill much of the vacant space.

Benchmarks for Crop Progress

Rock Rivard wrote: Al Eaton made a great table for the OSLG newsletter from his ten year average taken from whichever plant was the most advanced in each year.
seed started May 2
break through May 6
first true leaf May 8 > transplanted May 11 > 5 true leaves May 21 > 1' vine June 3 > 4' vine June 12 > 6' vine June 17 > 1st male blossom June 23 > 1st female blossom July 2 > 15" circ July 11 > 30" circ July 16 > 50" circ July 21 > 70" circ July 27 > 90" circ Aug 2 > 110" circ Aug 14 > 120" circ Aug 20 > 130" circ Aug 30 > > Till next time... > > Rock

Post Harvest Pumpkin Fruit Storage

Old Timers Page

Don't miss this page which shows how old timers did things. One of the links suggests:

Moderately Warm and Dry   (50-60 degrees F and 60-70% relative humidity)
for storage of: dried hot peppers, Pumpkins, Winter squash, Sweet potatoes,
Green tomatoes (up to 70 degrees F is OK).

Seed Harvest and Storage

First installed 1999 April 18      Revision #0 1999 April 18
Written by Harold Eddleman, Ph. D., President, Indiana Biolab, 14045 Huff St., Palmyra IN 47164
| Indiana Biolab | Home Micro Lab | Bacteria Evironmental Needs | Food Microbiology |

Visitors since 1999 April 1
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Re: covering vines (, 05/01/99 05:25) To: Indbio

In a message dated 4/29/99 10:54:20 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< dirt? > I have a related question. Due to wet weather and lack of time, I don't expect to be able to spade all my Pumpkin area. It is now in weeds and grass. I am thinking of making a nice bed along one edge, planting the vines as close as you recommend, and then letting the vines run out right angles from the bed. The vines would be growing in a weedy lawn if the ground stays as wet as it does some years. It will not be too wet for the pumkins. I grew good corn in this plot every year without plowing. What spacing should I use for single vines growing parallel without side vines? I am just making crosses in this plot not growing for maximum size. I am thinking 6 feet between vines will be close but acceptable for AG. I already understand the pruning pattern for my other plot where I will grow for large fruit size. -- Harold Eddleman >> Harold, I think I would widen the spacing a little, even growing specimens where max size is not the issue. It would be important to prepare a larger circular area where the actual seed is planted, to make room for the large main root. I would also prepare the soil in a strip where the main vine is crawling, so the tap roots can penetrate and thrive. They won't root well through a lawn. If you have good plants and an 8 foot row spacing, it might allow for side vines with 3 leaves on each side...before they touched the neighboring plant. A nice sized leaf might be 18 inches across


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Re: covering vines (, 05/01/99 05:17) To: Indbio

In a message dated 4/29/99 9:46:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< Has anyone ever grown a pumpkin over 500 pounds without covering the vines with dirt? >> Kim, Don Blacks World record 884, uncovered, unpruned and set on a side vine 4 feet out. pumkinguy

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ermination (, 04/30/99 18:10) To: Indbio

I believe that even though it is a very successful way to germinate seeds, the artificial means to germination dosen't guarantee fast or large growing fruit. You could be or are selecting for a plant that might not germinate in your normal growing conditions or that is weak and would die or be destroyed by insects at a young age. It would be much better to plant as many seeds as you can even a 100 if you had the space and select the first to germinate,to get bigger fruit you need better plants, thats my thoughts anyway.


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Re: covering vines (, 04/30/99 19:51) To: Indbio

Steve and Kim Freed wrote: > > Has anyone ever grown a pumpkin over 500 pounds without covering the > vines with dirt? Yes Steve, I have and it was in a 20x12 garden plot

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e: 1,000 pound cross (, 04/30/99 20:42) To: Indbio

I planted two of the one ton cross from "P&P Seed" last year. The plant that I did not push as hard had no splitting problems and produced a 581# and three others from 200-250#s. All had nice color and shape. The other plant that was "pushed" was heavily pruned and did develope a stem split at around 400#s. This did not "kill" the pumpkin but it split in a rib at an estimated 800#s at the end of August. Both were agressive growers. Hope this helps.


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Re: 1,000 pound cross (, 04/30/99 07:04) To: Indbio


I really can't tell you much about the splitting problem, but if you like numbers here are a few for you : (please keep in mind that these stats are from the info that I have...there are certainly many offsprings that are not known to me).

Does the pack state the cross as 1006 x 1061 or 1061 x 1006 ? (mother is usually named first)

When the 1006 Greer 96 was used as the mother and the 1061 Zehr 96 as the pollinator :

654 Boor 97 288 Meisner 97

When the 1061 Zehr 96 was used as the mother and the 1006 Greer 96 as the pollinator : 750 Hubler 97 707 Kurkowski 98 610 Boor 97 299 Meisner 97


Here are some numbers that came up using the info that I have :

35 pumpkins produced by the 1006 (various pollinators) :

0-499 = 5 500's = 4 600's = 14 700's = 7 800's = 3 900's = 2 1000's = 0

11 pumpkins produced by the 1061 (various pollinators) note : such a low number (11) may in fact confirm the stem split problems :

0-499 = 4 500's = 1 600's = 1 700's = 4 800's = 1 900+ = 0

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you have only this seed stock, and no other source for pollen :

The 288 Meisner 97 (same generation as your seed) was selfed to produced the 381 Meisner 98.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you cross with another seed stock :

2nd generation 1006 produced an average of 591lbs (this is obtained from the 35 that I have)

2nd generation 1061 produced an average of 501 lbs (this is obtained from the 12 that I have)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Interesting : The 299 Meisner 97 (1061 x 1006) and the 288 Meisner 97 (1006 x 1061) were crossed (sort of like trying to get the best of the original crosses) to produce the 261 Rado 98


Hope this helps...

Till next time...


ps...thanx Mike ;-)

Steve and Kim I've never covered vines. I tried in 1994 and we had a very wet year and this SEEMED to rot all the vines that I had buried. So I've been a litttle scared to try it again. It's alot of work but probably worth it in a normal year. Will try it to atleast one or two plants this year. My results the last 3 years WITHOUT vine burying. 1996 662.4# 1997 499.5# drought 35 leaves 1998 582# totally stumpless .

Steve and Kim Freed wrote:

Has anyone ever grown a pumpkin over 500 pounds without covering the vines with dirt?

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e: covering vines (, 04/30/99 20:25) To: Indbio

Steve And Kim, The Stellpflug1056.5 I believe was grown without covering vines. It was not foliar feed or shaded from the sun. If its got it, its got it.

Alan R.

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Re: Sulphur (, 04/28/99 15:35) To: Indbio

Jerry, I added 3 lbs. per 100 sq ft. to lower from 7.8 to 6.8 in soil with quite a bit of clay. It worked well. ph now ranges from 7.0 to 6.7

Hope this helps


Re: Gash in skin of young fruit (, 04/28/99 16:47) To: Indbio

In a message dated 4/28/99 6:13:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< Subj: Gash in skin of young fruit Date: 4/28/99 6:13:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time From: Sender: Reply-to: To: Hi, everyone! Need experienced help here...accidentally nicked the skin of one of my young fruits growing on the vine. Fruit is about basketball sized, and is round and lovely. This happened about four days ago while attempting to cover the growing fruit with an open ended box for sun shade. The box made contact with the top of the fruit as I was positioning it. After discovering the gash Monday, I've sprayed it with Captan twice daily. Should it heal over? I immediately recalled carving names in the skins of premature pumpkins as a child and watching the carvings as the fruit matured. I am hoping AGs are this tough. The nick or gash, I guess you would say is about an inch long and about 1/8 th inch deep. Help? Barb >>

You've treated it correctly. It should heal but sometimes a cut at that stage in the Pumpkin's growth can cause it to explode, try and back off on water a bit until it heals. I personally would use a shade cloth to protect the fruit. Less chance of damage and lets a little sun through to help prevent disease.


Re: application rate (, Fri 20:50) To: Indbio

Jon, You're just fine. My best plant has a 1 foot vine right now. A person with a 10 foot vine, or a pumpkin set at this time of year means absolutely nothing....except the plant was started early. A pumpkin will only grow for a certain number of days, depending on the # of degree days, genetics and keeping the stress off the plant. A pumpkin that was set on May 1 will not continue growing for another 150 days. More likely it will slow and stop dead in its tracks by August1...............then the pumpkin will sit there for 2 months with no further growth. there are a few things that can happen to a pumpkin that is ripe at the beginning of August and none of them are good. Some people must start plants at different times to avoid bad weather but for most a fruit set the first week of July is right on track. If you have a good plant going, as the early birds begin to mature their fruit, you will fly by them like a freight train in August and September. My little one foot vine should have a fruit on it by then....maybe earlier. Slow and steady buddy! You'll be just fine. pumkinguy

RE: application rate (, Fri 21:05) To: Indbio


I agree, I just planted my seeds in peat pots last weekend. This morning nothing.

Got home from work this evening - 3 of 6 poked through just a little. What a great day! The growing season starts.

I will plant in them in the plot Sunday or Monday. I only have room for one plant when all is said and done.

Here in Silicon Valley, California I found my personal best comes from a pumpkin set first or second week of July. Earlier does nothing but have the pumpkin(s) stop gaining weight too early.

The weather this year has been cold, overcast and we even had rain yesterday morning. Very, very unusual.

2 years ago I was the early bird (planted early May) and lost all 3 pumpkins after they all had stopped growing. Last year both made it to Halloween in great shape and the bigger to the Half Moon Bay weigh off! I planted June 10th.

Plant length at this time of year is not a good indicator of anything. Except as said best below: "except the plant was started early"

Plenty of growing time left here in Northern California.

-Tom in Los Altos

pumpkins are orange" by jack breckenridge is a very good primer on seed --some one wrorte

sunflower talk (, Tue 22:37) To: Indbio

I was wondering if I started some of those Buck Meir seeds tomorrow as a wind block for my patch.. how tall would they get?>is it too late to start them? My actual question is whatis the maturity (gestation) period for one of these sunflowers?

-- ***Rocky Rockwell***

"Woodchuck - The Other White Meat"

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Re: Burying Vines (, Thu 17:51) To: Indbio

Bury where the leaf is coming out of the vine. You will see a little white node coming out from here at the top and bottom. I just merely push dirt up under the vine so that there is no room under the vine, so it is only touching the dirt and I pile up a bit on the sides and on the top. The layer is not more than a half inch. I do this mainly to ancor the vine down. You can bury the vine when ever you want

Al Eaton made a great table for the OSLG newsletter, here is a rough draft. His table was made from his ten year average taken from whichever plant was the most advanced in each year.

seed started May 2 break through May 6 first true leaf May 8 transplanted May 11 5 true leaves May 21 1' vine June 3 4' vine June 12 6' vine June 17 1st male blossom June 23 1st female blossom July 2 15" circ July 11 30" circ July 16 50" circ July 21 70" circ July 27 90" circ Aug 2 110" circ Aug 14 120" circ Aug 20 130" circ Aug 30

Till next time...


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I had success rooting a cutting in moisten perlite. Put a plastic bag over the whole pot and cutting. pumkinguy

BURY VINES (, 06/14/99 22:58) To: Indbio




Re: Cloning top lines. (, 06/15/99 07:18) To: Indbio

I guess that I should elaborate. I put thisin the ground with a 3 inch root on it in early july, just as an experament. It did not die, but it sat there the whole season with no growth.


.........Admire and Lindane Questions (, 06/15/99 08:28) To: Indbio

John Pritchard, Pumpkinguy, and list; What is the rate of Admire to use with 1 gallon of water when using as a drench? Is admire proven against Vine Borers or is it just hopeful it will work? There is a warning on the label "DO NOT APPLY TO VEGETABLES GROWN FOR SEED," why? I do not want to use anything that will hurt the seeds. If every one used this and if it does hurt the seeds, it could be bad for or hobby (obsession). I just bought a pint $95.00! OUCH! It is the first year you can buy it in pint size. Also, what is none about Lindane use, if any, against VINE BORERS in pumpkins? Lindane is a borer killer and is mostly used on trees, although it is used on grasses. Is it safe on pumpkins? What other products, other than Seven, have been used against Borers in pumpkins? Thanks,

Alan R. It ain't over till the tux appears!

--------------------------------------------------------------------- To sign-off this list, send email to with the message text UNSUBSCRIRe: Admire and Lindane Questions (, 06/15/99 09:09) To: Indbio

Alan, When I talked to Bayer Corporatrion about a rate for pumpkins, they recommended we use 2ml. per 12 oz. of water per plant. So far I have done this twice in two week intervals. I may use one more application as a spray along the vines so there roots pick it up but this may be over kill. I don' t want to lose my plants to borers two years in a row though so I probably will.

Hope this helps



CT. update (, 06/15/99 09:43) To: Indbio

Pumpkin Addicts, Got up today and found 2 FEMALE flowers open! What makes this unusual is that neither plant has had a male open up yet. Interesting to note both plants had the 946.5 Geerts as the female in their genetics, 715 Veri and 1056.5 Stellpflug). Also, and luckily, found first male flowers open on my Reynolds 597 and 937 Mombert plants. Crossed 715 x 937 and 1056.5 x 597. These seeds were started 4-24 and 4-27-99. The hot weather has everything way ahead of schedule. Hope the early start doesn't get me in the end. The guy with the late start here in New England might be in the best position to win Topsfield this year. On my 844 Mombert flat vine plant I operated on it. Main Flat vine about 6 feet and had not corrected itself as did my 1056.5. I took a sharp steak knife, went back from the tip of the vine about 3-4 inches (where the double vine measured about 1 inch across) and inserted knife in the middle. I then cut the vine all the way to the tip successfully making a snake tongue out of it. It is impossible to start from the end in. It was surprising how well it worked cutting the vine in two. The tip even had two pumpkins started the size of BB's, now both on separate vines. I will watch both vines and may terminate one if it lags behind the other. I would recommend anyone with a flat vine to do this, it was very easy. I also cut off a secondary vine on my 650 est. plant. It was about 4 feet long. I planted it and covered all leaf junctions. Most of the big leaves have died, but I see new growth at the leaf junctions and the secondary vines are starting to grow. A true clone?

Mildew and Baking Soda

seaweed and Miracle Grow to the mix. As I wrote to the group a few mths. ago I read that Cornell U. had discovered that baking soda in water was a good cheap and safe cure for many types of mildew. However, I did not know the mix ratio. Today I read in the book 600 Garden Answers, by the editors of Organic Gardening, that researchers in Japan have announced that baking soda and water applied weekly at a rate of 1 teaspoon per quart will prevent infection by mildew spores and stopped mildew infections when caught early. In my next mix I'm adding baking soda to it. What I really want to know is who gets the credit Cornell U, or the Japanese? I had my first male flower open today! (935 lloyd X 600 Jones) My last year 480 est. Good Growing to all in 99! Alan R.

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I have been battling cucumber beetles for over a month here in NE OH. I have been using bait plants, merit, and ambush as protection, and had my prize plants enclosed for protection until this past week when they grew out of their shelters. I would recommend trimming off any portion of the leaf that was bitten immediately because some of the beetles could carry bacterial wilt and have infected the plant were they bit. Just some thoughts.

Nic Welty


Re:vine direction (, 05/24/99 09:23) To: Indbio

Chris Andersen did some test and found that most the time the plant will vine the opposite direction of the first true leaf. I found that 80% of the time this works......MB

Glenn Peters wrote:

> Doug: The vine will head south following the sun, but you can train it to go in > any direction. > > Glenn Peters >

No I don't have a picture. The ones I make are small, about 6' X 12'. I put 2' lenghts of 3/8" rebar into the ground at an angle 6' apart then slide a 10' section of 1/2" PVC pipe over the rebar and bend it and place it over the opposite rebar and form a hoop. I use four of these each about 3' apart. These ribs then have 3mil clear polyethylene sheeting placed over them. I staple the sheets onto boards. I didn't use reinforcing strips over the plastic and under the staples so I'm going to have to re-do it. I knew better, but forgot some of my materials when I went to build them. At each end I put a stake at the corners and staple a 3 foot width of clear poly on that to close off the ends but I leave a little room open at the top for ventilation. They're fairly inexpensive to build and do the job nicely until the plants outgrow the structure. By the time they get to that size I hope I won't need them anymore.

Chris Michalec Covington, WA

> -----Original Message----- > From: Connie Giambra [] > Sent: Monday, May 24, 1999 11:06 AM > To: > Subject: RE: Growth rates? > > Do you have a picture of this Microclimate that you've built? > > > _______________________________________________________________ > Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit > > --------------------------------------------------------------------- > To sign-off this list, send email to with the > message text UNSUBSCRIBE PUMPKINS

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male + 9 = female (, Sun 08:16) To: Indbio

Comment-my 10 year average shows the first male open 9 days before the first female.This is an average.

My explanation is that this is nature's clever way of getting bees habituated to the plant,then when a female opens the bees are there. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& &&&&&&&&&&&&& Question: In my brief experience with AGs I have found that there are always a couple of early (and lonesome) male flowers out days before the females. After positively identifying these early males should I pick them to save the plant's energy?? Roy in s/e wyo

-----Original Message----- From: gail ballou <> To: <> Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 6:01 PM Subject: Interior Alaska update

> >Off to a great start here in Interior Alaska. Hand-pollinated the first >pumpkin yesterday; will have another one ready tomorrow on a different >plant. That's two weeks earlier than usual! > >Gail in Fairbanks > >---------------------

Re: Squash Borer (, Wed 15:10) To: Indbio

Just gouged out about a dozen of the critters today. they must have hatched last night or yesterday, since they weren't in very deep, and did (hopefully) little damage to the vines.

Andy Wolf Western NY

Men to the rescue..... (, Wed 16:52) To: Indbio

I just got off the phone with a grower who will remain unnamed (although he is a state record holder) who says that he refrigerates his male pollen in little plastic containers - the type you might keep a fishing lure in - he says that the pollen will keep for up to a month when refrigerated this way - but only for a day or so if it is left on the flower - at pollination time he uses a modified qtip to apply the pollen... Who knows if it works? It could save you from the drought when the males have come and there are no females.....

-----Original Message----- From: Connie Giambra [] Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 3:20 PM To: Subject: re: late start

Randy: You're not alone. I haven't polinated any yet. Either my females are open,

or my males are open. Never together. This week it's been just females. Where's a man whey you need one?

Re: Squash Borer (, Wed 23:39) To: Indbio

The borer larvae themselves were about a half an inch long , white with a black spot for their heads. They looked like giant black headed maggots. As soon as i scraped the vine shavings out of the way, they were right there. I didn't have to operate on the vine to get them out, they were right under the surface.

Andy Wolf Western NY

RE: Growth (, 06:56) To: Indbioout 11 pounds/day - 10 days after it reaches a weight of 10 pounds is right on the world class champ level. It looks like you are above this look out!Bob

My Blueberry row of AG may be wiped out by squash borer. One of the eight plants has rotted compeletely away at the site of the borer. Every vine is infected. No evidence so far in the South Garden. A wild pumpkin probably orange jack 0 lantern type came in the blueberry row and it seems free of borer. It appears AG is highly susceptible to Squash vine borer.

This URL has some info

-- Harold Eddleman Ph.D

Survey Information. (, 07/19/99 18:41) To: Indbio


First let say me say thanks to all that took the time to add entries to my little survey. Those that added an entry received a copy of the data as well, but as promised, I'm posting the results here also. Respondents filled out a simple form stating the name of the seed, city and state/providence where the seed was grown and three dates. 1. date seed germinated. 2. date grower first noticed female flowers, and 3. date flower opened. I added sunrise and sunset values to each entry for each date (hence the need for city and state). Then I computed day length (in minutes). I also computed the age of the plant at the time grower first noticed female flowers. Below are some stats on the numbers.

Number of entries: 40 Germination: Minimum Day Length: 726 Maximum Day Length: 848 Percent Difference: 16.8% Average Day Length 778.38 Note: Since most AG seeds are germinated indoors under artificial conditions, Day length is of little statistical value. First Female: Minimum Plant Age: 30 Maximum Plant Age: 73 Percent Difference: 143.3% Average Age: 51.5 Minimum Day Length: 795 Maximum Day Length: 913 Percent Difference: 14.8% Average Day Length: 855.05

Note: Plant age is in days and day length is in minutes.

As suspected, while there was a 143.3 percent variance in the age of a plant to time of first female flower, there was only a 14.8 percent variance in day length. It appears that some plants waited until the day length reached a certain number of minutes before flowering regardless of how old the plant was.

Like all survey data, we must accept that the numbers may be skewed through recording and/or reporting errors. However, I offer this information to the list in the hopes that I will add another bit of knowledge in our quest for the giant pumpkin.

I would be willing to do this again if sufficiently interesting questions were posed.

Greg Schraiber Machesney Park, IL (Wherever the heck that is)


orer eggs revisited (, 07/20/99 13:01) To: Indbio

Someone had asked the question about a week ago regarding the incubation time of Squash Vine Borer Eggs.

Here is the info I received from Jerry Brust at Purdue.

Glen, yes weather will play a big factor in determining when eggs will hatch. Weather as we are having now (90's) will cause eggs to hatch in 3-6 days. In cooler temps (lower 80's) eggs will take 5-10 days to hatch. Nothing controls eggs until they hatch, at this time you have about 1-2 days until the larvae are in the plant and can't be controlled then either. This is why they are difficult to control--such a short time period in which they are vulnerable.


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y procedure is fairly simple. I bury everything except for the place on the vine where the female is. After it starts to get about the 100"OTT mark, I will with my finger, dig under the vine, and just give it a little tug where the tap root is. By doing this, I get almost a month of use out of the nearest tap roots to the female, and I then free up the vine to raise upward with the growing pumpkin. I usually can get by with just doing 2 tap roots on each side of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Flower wrote:

: Indbio

From: "res" <>

Harold, Spray N Grow is a balanced treatment of trace elements for producing flowers and increasing fruit size. My indoor plant is alive but producing only male flowers. It was on 16hr days, I cut it down to 12hrs. I may have need of a pollinator this week, if so I'll use some from indoors. Roger

--------------------------- ONE

Squash Bug (, 07/15/99 23:07) To: Indbio

good example of it here.

Re: soil (, 04/07/99 19:50) To: Indbio

Doug, for germination you best stay close to 70-80 degrees with your soil temp. For growing on time, plants will do fine in 60t weather. If evening temps are below 50, it's nice to cover the plants with something. Up here in Minnesota, I'll plant in greenhouse , and leave greenhouse on for a month, nice to have the protection if you need it.Pumpkinpiper

Good Inectiside/Fungiside safety info. (, Sun 07:04) To: Indbio

See this site: