Atlantic Giant pumpkin vines occupy so much space that genetics is hindered.
A single Atlantic Giant vine can easily occupy 2500 square feet. Geneticists usually grow hundreds of plants from a mating to select the best plant. That is impossible for AG breeders because the vines are so large. There most breeders do what they can to reduce the size of vines so that they can test seed from many plants for breeding potential.
Currently anyone seeking to grow a 1200 pumpkin wants to plant seeds from a 1199 pound pumpkin if possible. We do not know of any way to test the genetic potential for large size except to give a seed optimum conditions to grow to its maximum potential. Since the biggest pumpkins have been grown in Canada and adjoining New England, it seems likely that the temperature, humitity, day length or other factor have something to do with growing big pumpkins.
On the otherhand, there may be important genetic traits which we could test in smaller plants. While there are limitations, we might be able to test resistance to diseases, nutritional needs, chromosome number and rearragements, flower color, pollen production, etc in smaller plants.
Limiting plant size does not affect the genetics of a plant. According to the bible, Jacob stuck peeling saplings in the ground at the watering hole and that caused the cattle to produce striped calves. We now know that such modification of environment does not change the genome of plants or animals. Evironment plus selection will change the genetics but if we limit the size of plants by pruning the vines or roots that will not affect the genome of the plant.
Every gardener knows that the size of any plant depends upon genetic potential, nutrition, and environment.
One way to reduce vine size is to prune the vines. Vine pruning is used by many AG growers.
The simplest way to reduce vine size is to plant the vine in a small container so that the root can not support a large vine. That is the basis of producing Bonsai plants from plants which would normally grow 10 to 200 times larger.
Scott Armstrong wrote: 1999 April 9, My 301 [lbs.] was grown in an 8 X 8 plot. You could grow many plants in a small area, lots of pruning is needed. Also, you can grow the vines up a trellis, or a fence. I did this by accident, and ended up with vines growing 20' up a tree. It takes between 120 and 150 days to grow one of these plants to get a mature pumpkin. I usually start my seeds on May 1st. This year that will give me 154 days to October 2nd, my weighoff. When when your pumpkins get to about the size of a basketball, you need to erect some type of a shade structure to protect the skin from the from the sun. It's going to blow your mind when you see how fast these pumpkins put on weight. my 680 grew 24" in total over the top measurements in one day!! That's like an inch an hour!
If you have suggestions for reducing AG vine size for please email them to this page.
Subject: Re: Roger: selfed & white AG Date: 7 Apr 99 22:50:12 -0500 From: email@example.com To: Indbio
Harold, All the seeds are white but I would call them smooth. I sent Nic some Fall Crocus so he would have a supply. My seeds seem to keep taking the treatment each year. The strain I'm using now will be the 7th generation. I run treated and untreated indoors for visual comparisons then the best looking treated go out. I traded seeds with Nic and have tried to treat some of his. Only the squash seeds will take a 24hr tratment. My seeds take 48hrs. I am starting to wonder if someone in the history of N.A. Pumpkins hasn't already done some treatments. I have to change my discription of the white seed coat. With my strongest reading glasses on they are finely wrinkled. My seeds came from catalog sales 20 yrs ago. The flowers are easy to find. If you cut back on the area and water you get small mature pumpkins with mature seed. Last year one of mine put out a 7lb fruit with 400 mature seeds on 10 ft of vine. It was only watered 12hrs every 2 wks with 100º. The one with the white seeds was a 60lb fruit on 20ft of vine. It had drip on the base all season. There were almost no laterals and none of the vines were buried. These plants were my extra that I didn't get back to all season. In the sport as a whole I think my strain would help all the others, like Kirk Momberts did. For your experiment I will leave it up to you. I have alot of seed. Let me know if you want some and where to send it. Thanks Roger
Roger wrote: 1999 April 10. I have a white seedling from a colchcine treated white seed. The stem is 4 inches long and has 6 leaves. It is showing 2 male and 1 female flower at 7 wks old. It is indoors in a 6-inch pot, on 14hr daylength. A point to consider is that most of the top growers seem to be reluctant to grow any seeds that don't come out of a large fruit. Those seeds I have from the 7 lb fruit have germinated and are normal seedlings. I have noticed that seeds from the plants that get the least care seem to have the highest rate of germination. Roger
Harold Eddleman plans to look seedling mutants. Teachers could use interesting seedling mutants in teaching genetics. Harmless seedling mutants could be used to mark strains of AG for identification or linkage studies. For example some growers feel white seed coat is related to fruit size. Rock Rivard of Quebec has already sent seeds of 133 Rivard 1998 for some of these studies. Nic Welty, Keel, and others had offered seeds when this was written and planning is in progress.
Growing a plant under advese conditions to limit vine size or due to lack of rainfall will not harm the genetics of the seeds. George wrote, " A few years ago someone gave away seeds from his smallest Pumpkin thinking they wouldn't be any good and no one would challenge his record with them. The next year one of the seeds grew one the worlds largest Pumpkins, 900+. I found out this from walking behind him at Topsfield as he mumbled to himself about it."
You may send private e-messages to Dr. Eddleman and he will reply, usually within 24 hours.
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Subject: General Date: 7 Apr 99 13:51:06 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Indbio
Harold, Hi, Thank you for the project you are starting. This sport has been rather weak in any effort to keep track of phenotypic displays. I have been growing for over 15 yrs. My plants are selfed each year and treated with colchcine before planting. My selfs were not tightly controlled but as I am in an extremely remote location with no other growers for miles at the worst they were sibbed. My strain is very tough and resilient, does well in extreme heat. Last year was the first time I had any contact with other growers, got online. From the list I've learned that the heat is probably the reason why I've never produced any pumpkins larger than 300lbs. From one fruit last year I got white seed for the first time. If any of this will help or if you want any seeds let me know. Roger
Re: wild idea on aerating soil (email@example.com, 04/16/99 22:11) To: Indbio
I tried some similar things in the greenhouse intending to get more air to the roots. Since I needed lots of sweetpotato vine cuttings fast, anything was worth a try. Method I. Bed is 5 feet wide. Consists of landscape cloth resting on galvanized fence. 3 inches of sand, then 3/4 inch black pastic pipe connected to water heater and pump. Five more inches of sand. The plants dried out so fast I had to water twice per day. The water mashes plants down. I will replace this bed when it rots out. Method II. Black plastic on bottom and up the walls so no water can escape. 6 inches of sand. I only had to water once or twice per week and could apply water in one spot below leaves and water spread over entire bed. I like this method. It produced lots of vines because of uniform water supply. I plan to use this method in future. No water gets to timbers to rot them and I can store supplies under the bed. If one wanted he could try Method 2 (bathtub beds) for Pumpkin in a garden where water is difficult to obtain. I will probably try this in 1999 with provision to get rid of surplus rain water. I have some refrigerator bodies which when laid down have bottom, 2 sides and one end. I will form underlying soil so that the missing end is elevated so I trap a few inches of water, excess water overflows. This means no waste of water and fertilizer, but I can water with exess water to flush out salts. We have used this since 1972 for cucumbers, lettuce, beets, etc. I save the time needed to spade the garden. Being above ground with one end open, I get lots of aeration of roots. Method IV. Biggest non-AG pumpkin I ever grew was in a leaf pile. You could form a circular fence a couple feet tall. Throw your leaves and trash into it year round. Plant a pumpkin. If desired first install a plastic film bottom so you trap a few inches of standing water in the bottom. Dump in a bucket of water as needed. Excess rainwater overflows the shallow plastic bottom. We grow tomatoes this way. We got the idea from Japan. No ground to dig, works in rocky and clay soil areas. Works on city patio with vines on tellis, but pumpkin fruit on floor. Actually our circular fences are 4 feet tall and we can put plastic over them to make a temporary greenhouse, but wind can destroy the planstic.
Harold Eddleman Ph.D. Microbiologist. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Location: Palmyra IN USA; 36 kilometers west of Louisville, Kentucky http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/pk.htm