Thursday, July 29, 2010

What our pumpkin is aspiring to become...

These pumpkins are huge! These are Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkins. They are around 1700 pounds, amazing! In fact this variety produces the largest pumpkins in the world. The world record for the largest pumpkin is 1725 lbs (as of 2009). These giants are huge, and quite a culture surrounding them.

My personal favorite thing in the garden this year is our Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin, affectionately named Henry. Henry is not quite as large as the photos above, but he is perhaps getting close...he's 2-3ft in diameter, and he has to be at least 50 lbs, it's only July. My dream for growing a giant pumpkin began as a small child, I used to grow patches of pumpkins, and this year as an intern with the Cultivating Community, I decided to continue the tradition. The pumpkin seeds were started in late March, and were grown inside until being transplanted outside halfway through May. The pumpkin plant took some time to adjust to conditions in the outdoors, but soon enough Henry was ready to grow. And grow he did!

Henry grew many vines, and many baby pumpkins took shape. It gave me great pain, but I sacrificed all but one of those baby pumpkins, leaving just Henry to be the only child of the pumpkin plant. The reasoning behind killing all the pumpkin babies was so that all the nutrients that the plant creates/uses can be focused solely on growing one pumpkin, Henry. Doing this is rumored to lead to larger pumpkins.

So far Henry has fared well in this growing season. After doing some research I am going to try some more tactics to help henry grow even more. I have read that pumpkins in late July need potassium, so I am either going to make a baked banana peel organic fertilizer or simply place some banana peels around the stem base to decay in the sun. Also, I have read that pumpkins require shade from the sun so they don't crack, I am going to look into some sort of covering for Henry to protect his skin!

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