Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pumpkin's Progress

Another camera-phone snap of the Atlantic Giant. I'll keep feeding it, but I'm not so sure it will get much bigger than this now. Have started to think about what I can do with it... might have to find a local church or school who will accept it as a harvest festival donation I suppose.


Blogger Matron said...

I am so jealous! I have nursed and spoiled my Atlantic Giant this year, so far it is not much bigger than a basketball. Do you have a secret?

7:15 pm  
Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

What a beauty! I do have baby pumpkins now, but with the late start, I don't think they'll get huge, which is fine. I just want them to make it to pumpkinness. The vines are huge & still growing. I've trimmed a number of shoots. Do you think I should cut the runners (incl the main vine) to encourage the pumpkins to mature?

7:24 pm  
Blogger Greenmantle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:51 pm  
Blogger Greenmantle said...

Hi Matron & PG.....

It's the first time I've ever grown pumpkins so I suppose an element of it must be beginners luck.

The pro-active stuff I did was as follows...

1. For each plant I dug out a pit about two spades deep and about two spades square, and filled it with rotted garden compost, and a couple of handfuls of granular fertiliser ("Growmore" in the UK) Using the soil left over I mounded up the tops, so the plants were eventually set on an small square hump about 8" high.

2. I took a length of plastic kitchen waste pipe, and drove it down through the side of the "hump" at a steep angle so it finished up right underneath the plant.

3. As the plants grew, I pollinated them by hand (break off a male flower and rub it on a female) as it's notoriously hard for bees to do this, hence often few fruits result.

4. Let them develop until they are about the size of a large apple, and then reduce them to the best two per plant. Start feeding them now! Let the remaining two go on a bit until soup bowl size, then make a final selection and reduce to one fruit per plant.

5. I fed them every 2-3 days (or whenever I could) sometimes with a multipurpose liquid feed like "Miracle Gro" and sometimes with a standard Tomato fertiliser. When feeding, pour the solution down the pipe, straight to the roots. (Tip: A large plastic cola bottle with the bottom cut off makes a handy funnel, and makes pouring a doddle)

My plants have had about 2 large cans each, every other day, and sometimes a good soak with the hosepipe as well. I think copious amounts of water and feed is the key really.

That's about it - Considering the World Record is held by Dills at least 8 to 10 times bigger than mine it's clearly not THE best method, but as a novice I'm happy with my results.

I'm not sure if cutting the vines encourages fruiting or not, but I had to do it frequently, out of necessity, just to contain them within the borders of my plot

8:56 pm  
Blogger Greenmantle said...

...Oh yeah,

When you've made your final selection, while the fruit is still small, carefully lift it and put a roof or floor tile, or a slate or somesuch, underneath it, to keep it off the damp ground as it matures.

9:01 pm  
Anonymous Leonie said...

I'm growing hundredweight this year and our one prize pumpkin is looking good, not as big as your one though, that's a beauty. I'm sure a local school will be very grateful to have that for their harvest festival.

9:07 pm  
Blogger Rebsie Fairholm said...

Oh my God!

You wouldn't want to be lugging that one home on yer bike.

10:22 pm  

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