Compliments of the Spencerville Agricultural Society, Spencerville, Ontario,Canada.
The Atlantic Giant pumpkins which we are growing require a full season to mature so it is advisable to plant them indoors about the last week in April (in any event no later than May 3rd for our climate). Since our mammoth pumpkin seeds are big and tough, germination may be assisted by sanding the edge of the seeds (but not the tip). This will help them open after sprouting has occurred. Since they should be grown to maturity as individual plants they should be seeded one seed per 6 to 8 inch flower pot in garden loam or commercial potting soil. Plant seed one inch deep in moist but not soggy soil. Pumpkin seeds need to be quite warm to germinate. They germinate best at a temperature between 20 C to 30 C (70- 95 degrees F.). They do not require light to germinate. If one cannot locate a spot with this temperature experiment with a light bulb in a closed box. Germination should take place in about 6-7 days. As soon as the seeds are up place them in a bright location at room temperature or cooler. It is important that your seedlings be compact and dark green rather than spindly, leggy or pale. Place seedlings outside when weather permits but well protected from strong winds. Build a shelter over the young plants to assist in growth and protect from frost. An ideal growing location will be deep fertile well drained and fairly light soil. Ideally each plant should grow into an 800-1200 square foot area. Although big pumpkins can still be grown in patches as small as 100 sq. ft. Prepare a plant bed by digging in lots of well rotted manure and leaves also add 10-10-10 solid fertilizer to your prepared soil at this time. In the center of the area, mound up an earthen circle three feet in diameter and 1-2 inches high. Plant one pot (one seedling) in the center of this mound with the least possible disturbance to the roots, and water well. An excellent procedure is to shake loose straw or hay in and around the seedling to anchor it against winds and protect it from the hot sun. Another good procedure is to dust the seedling at first and keep it dusted to ward off the striped cucumber beetle because he can ruin your plant in a hurry. If seedlings wilt in the hot sun, either shade them or water well until they are well established. We have found that a good wind screen is quite beneficial until the plant reaches at least 50+ leaves. Vines can also be secured against the wind by burying the vines at each leaf location. By mid or late June your vine will be growing rapidly. Keep the soil around the plant free of weeds. The runners will send down roots at each joint therefore all the area covered by vine should be fertile. Pumpkins like lots of water. One could also apply a 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer when watering or directly apply 10-10-10 solid fertilizer under the leaves 1-3 times during the growing season. The above are basic procedures. There are many fine points which must remain trade secrets because it is these small but important little practices which make the difference between the 'Champion" and the "also rans". It must be left to the individual grower to do his or her own research and devise cultural methods. This is one of the reasons that our sport is so much fun!!!!!
Good growing and see you at the fair.
The Mammoth Pumpkin Committee
Hugh Wiberg says Topsfield holds the World Record at 106 entries...3 were reclassified as squash. So 103 pumpkins and 3 squash and 1 watermelon. Port Elgin had 92 and Ottawa had 52, Ohio had 54. I don't think these are all time highs for some of the others, but Topsfield appears to be on top. I am one of the assistant directors of the craziness at Topsfield. It is held in an indoor arena with four 8-man lifting teams, (3) Forklifts and two digital scales with big remote readouts. We are pushing the limits of man and machine in the time available. In a few weeks the directors will have a meeting to try to improve material handling even more. Every year it gets bigger and there is rumbling about a minimum weight limit before things go ballistic. I want to avoid minimum weights so we don't discourage the newcomers.
Glenn Cheam and _____ run the Ottawa St. Lawrence Growers Association. Not tryin to solicit new members but we are the main weighof site in your vicinity. We are a not-for-profit association. All the money goes into newsletters, seed distribution and running our weighofff in the Ottawa Byward market. We have over 500 members from all over the world, USA, Australia, Ireland, England, Japan, South Africa etc. They are all members mainly for the seeds we distribute and the information in the newsletters. Do not feel pressured to join but do plan to come to Ottawa in October for the weighoff ( with or without a pumpkin) You will be amazed.
In addition there is a seminar at Guelph University this Sunday. The OSLGA will be having a seed bazaar and there will be numerous speakers. Cost is $25. It is sponsored by the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Growers Association which is an association of the OSLG, Port Elgin and Sarnia growers association. Everyone is welcome. Write back if you want more details.
MESSAGE FROM GLENN Also, if you'd like to get quality seeds from a trustworthy group, you can get a membership with the Ottawa St Lawrence Growers association for $25 Cdn. In addition to getting great seeds, there are 4 newsletters with lots of info and the weigh off is held in October at the Byward market in Ottawa( only 1 1/5 hrs away) We have several members from Quebec already.
If you'd like to join, send the money to: P.O. Box 459, Stittsville, Ontario; K2S 1A6.
Visitors since 1999 April 1
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