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1998 Pumpkin Diary

April 15th: This could be my lucky year! After a 150 pounder last year, my 1998 goal is 300 pounds. My chances are significantly improved as I just came upon some seeds from a 500 pounder. Once more, hope abounds.

April 24th: Time to plant the Atlantic Giants indoors!. I'm guessing the date to start, really wanting to start earlier. I am away on a business trip, so I left instructions with my 9 year old son. He is really excited to help dad to grow the big one! To simplify it for him, I have him planting two seeds each into two pots on the 24th, 26th and 28th. I skipped the steps of soaking them and lightly filing the edges.

April 29th: Upon returning home from my trip, I thanked my son for his help in planting. The pots were too dry, so I watered them.

May 2and: I am a little concerned about germination. Each day, I take the same pot(planted April 24th) and carefully dig out a seed. There is no growth or opening of the shell yet. No need to panic, but.......

I took the remaining seed from the 500 pounder and a few seeds from the 150 pounder and followed the proper starting methods. It is now in some wet paper towels. This will become my backup.

May 4th: Still no action in the first pots planted.

May 5th: There is no stopping an Atlantic Giant as it explodes out of the soil and reaches towards the sun! There is also no way of describing the feeling of relief when it happens as you know it has not rotted in the soil and you can now count down to that day when you pull the record pumpkin out of the garden and onto display at a show. Today, I experienced that feeling with one of the six pots. More to come...

May 6th: The first Atlantic Giant to sprout has opened it's first two leaves and is now absorbing sunshine on it's way to producing the 500 pounder that it is capable of. A second sprout is up and I helped it out of it's shell. The shell had squeezed the leaves and they are cut off at the tip. I contribute this to skipping a couple of steps when planting, in particular, lightly filing the edges.

May 7th: The weather is great so I placed the tray on the deck. The warm sunshine will act as an incubator for the seeds. There is activity in a third pot. The soil is lifting. When I get home from work another Atlantic Giant will have been born. I added MiracleGro to the water. I did not do it this early last year. After work, I did not find the third plant born yet. Apparently this one will be slower.

I checked the backup plants which have been in wet paper towels. They have begun to sprout from the shell, extending a short root and I can see the leaves. I can see where filing the edges of the leaves has helped the plant to emerge. Tomorrow I will plant them in soil.

May 9th: Time to plant the back-up seeds. They have grown well inside the paper towels. The primary leaves are separating cleanly from the shell of the seed. The first plantings continue to come up with damaged primary leaves. This is proof to the need to file the seed edges and soak them first. We continue to learn.

May 10th: I have six pots from the original planting and three from the backup planting. Of the first six, I have three pots with seeds. One is very healthy and has a third leaf hat is growing quickly. The primary leaves on the other two are damaged, but one in forming a third leaf quickly and will be all right. Of the backups, the soil is lifted one pot.

May 13th: The roots are coming out the bottom of two pots. It is just about time to plant. I need to determine a naming sequence soon. How about AG1, AG2,...? Real creative , huh?!?

May 14th: I could wait no longer! With outstanding weather and a forecast for 80's for the next few days, I planted the first and strongest of the Atlantic Giants in the front of my garden. This is also my favorite site as I can see it clearly from the house. The bed was prepared weeks ago. I made a slight depression, set the pot down and added completely decomposed leaf mulch thickly around it.

May 17th: There are now three Atlantic Giants growing in the garden. I gave on to my son Bobby who planted the seeds indoors while I was out of town. He deserves it. My wife says "How will you feel if his pumpkin is the biggest?!". It is great to see them growing. Because of the hot, dry weather, I am watering them each day. Most days I will use MiracleGro.

May 22and: I am working on a watering system for the front pumpkin as an experiment. I drilled holes in an old hose. I then buried it directly around the front pumpkin plant. The hose will later extend just below the surface beneath the main vine. I plan to hook it up to an old five gallon container and let it drip water to the roots all day long. I used an old hose as I wanted some diameter inside the hose to flow the water out towards the end of the vine.

May 26th: I was on vacation the past week. The weather was warm and dry most days, with plenty of sunshine. I watered the pumpkin plants in the morning and again in early afternoon, using a watering can. I delivered the water at the base of the plants. The plants are growing strong. The front one has about six leaves.

May 29th: I actually saw small bugs on the plants. I don't know what they were. I dusted with Sevin. I will take no chances this year. We had a thunderstorm pass through. The first precipitation in weeks.

May 30th: Back to sunny, warm and dry. Back to daily watering can fortified with MiracleGro.

June 5: Weird weather...May was like June, now June is like May. It is unseasonably cold but continues to be dry. Wind has also been a problem, in excess of fifty miles an hour. We also had a short, minor hail storm which fortunately did no damage. My largest plant is now vining and is over two feet long.

June7: I am now trying my watering experiment. I had previously drilled small holes into an old hose. I then attached a five gallon container with a spigot and let it drip out. The good news is it is going to the main tap root. The bad news is that it is not going out to where I am training the vine. One of two things must be happening....either the holes are too many and too big, or the soil is too loose. Probably a little of both. Live and learn....

June 9th: I watered the whole garden. I've always said you can add water, but you can't take it away. So I never complain about dry weather. Besides, it minimizes diseases. My experiment with the irrigation system is a learning experience. It is only watering near the tap root. That in and of itself is a success. But, I need to develop a method to irrigate the roots that will soon form along the vine. I also sprayed with Sevin again.

June 10th: Up to now, I have wrote exclusively about my Atlantic Giants. In the back of the garden where I keep a mulch pile I have two pumpkin plants growing wild. They are the product of seed from last years pumpkins thrown on the pile. Due to this year's great weather, they germinated extra early in the garden, benefitted by heat and little frost and good compost. They are now about ten feet long each and have their first females with baby pumpkins! This could be a very good year.

June 13th: The good news is I have baby pumpkins on my front plant...two of them! They are only about four feet out on the vine, so I will pick them shortly. The bad news is EL Nino and the early season has caused forecasters to predict a bad year for pests. I saw a fairly large number of yellow and black striped cucumber beetles. So.......I immediately sprayed with Sevin and will likely apply a stronger insecticide this weekend.

June 16th: Sevin is effective against cucumber beetles. There are a lot of dead beetles on and around the plants, with no live beetles spotted. I sprayed an Apple tree with a combination insecticide and fungicide. I used the leftover on my pumpkin crop. While Sevin is effective against the cucumber beetles, I want to take a more preventive approach this year and I had leftover spray to use.

June 17th: What is 18 inches by 20 inches! You guessed it, an Atlantic Giant leave in June! I wonder how big they can grow to? I will be checking from time to time and will let you know. Time to think about names for the Atlantic Giant plants.

June 18th: Get the camera out! This is a message and reminder to you(and to me) to take pictures of your pumpkin patch and the pumpkins as they grow. Part of the fun is growing the pumpkins. But, nothing beats showing off.

June 19th: Conditions remain dry and they are now hot. I consider this ideal. Remember my saying "You can always add water, but you can't take it away. I am watering daily. My under-ground drip hose system is getting water to the tap root, but not out along the vine. So, I'm using a watering can and watering the secondary roots along the vine.

The vine length is now seven feet for the longest and six feet for the second plant. My son's is hard to measure as we have curled the vine to train it in a certain direction...it's about the same, I'm sure. I took off a baby pumpkin. I am targeting ten feet out before I allow the fruit to grow. This fits perfect with my vacation plans. Upon my return July 1, the fruit at this distance on the vine will be about ready to hand pollinate. The date for this is also perfect for my area. Is this a good omen? I asked a neighbor to water the plants while I'm gone. With this heat and dry weather, it is important.

July 2and: I've just returned from a family trip. There were numerous major thunderstorms while we were away. The weeds have grown remarkably.... the pumpkins too. The vines are now about 14 feet long. Nature pollinated one pumpkin and this morning, I pollinated another on the same vine. In about two to three days I will pollinate the second plant and my son's plant. I also extended the path ahead of the plants with mulch.

Cucumber beetles abound and I sprayed with Sevin. This weekend I will add some fertilizer and spray with fungicide. I do not need to add water for at least a couple of days.

July 3rd: Time to name the plants. I have selected "Goliath" for the front plant and will select the others shortly. Goliath has two pumpkins growing. "G1" is the first pumpkin fruit which was pollinated by nature while I was on vacation. "G2" was hand pollinated by me today. I will probably pollinate a third in a few days as insurance. Timing is perfect and we are now off to the races.

The soil is still quite moist from several days of storms, so thorough watering is not needed. Tomorrow, we expect more rain. I did apply liquid fertilizer to the foliage and will now do so regularly. I also watered along the vines with a solution of MiracleGro. For readers who are new to growing pumpkins, the vines form secondary roots. If you cover the vines and keep is watered, they will add many pounds to the overall pumpkin weight.

July 4th:We had 2 1/2 inches of rain today! Too bad I did not put down dry fertilizer.

Goliath is now 17 feet long! Secondary vines are also quite long and abundant. I have now come up with a name for my second plant- - Hugo....you can figure out why.

July 5th: This is spraying day. My fruit tree, vegetable and flower gardens get the appropriate applications. The pumpkins received a combination of fungicide and insecticide. It's time to apply the stronger insecticides.

July 6th: Hugo's "H1" female was hand-pollinated this morning.

July 7th: Lots and lots more rain. It is probably washing out the fungicides, insecticides and fertilizer I have applied.

G1 is hardly growing and appears a little shriveled, but G2 is growing well. Apparently, nature doesn't pollinate as well as human intervention. I will likely cut G1 off and hand pollinate the next few female flowers.

July 8th: I hand pollinated G3 and H2. Cucumber beetles are around again....therefore the rain did wash out the insecticides.

July 10th: I cut G1 from the vine. Lots of bugs, I need to spray again. I am also covering more of the vines with compost.

July 11th: I took some pictures. I should do so more often.

July 12th: Quiz time: What is green, 20 feet long and has a bright yellow ball 7 1/2 inches in diameter on it? Do you give up? It's "Goliath", one of my Atlantic Giant Pumpkins! Hugo, my second vine is a toddler at fifteen feet. Hugo's first born is just beginning to grow. Both plants have numerous female pumpkins appearing on the main vine and many of the side runners. I need to start clipping the females from the side runner. My son Bobby's plant is just now showing it's first females.

Now that the weather is sunny once more, I am constantly watering along the vines with my trusty sprinkling can. I am also running fertilized water through the underground hose.

I sprayed with Sevin again. Too many cucumber beetles are present.

July 13th: Goliath is continuing it's stellar growth. My neighbor and I officially measured Goliath at 22 feet. Hugo is but a child at 16 feet, six inches. It's time to pour on the water as we are entering the "Dog days" of summer. We have forecasted heat, sunshine and humidity. Just about ideal conditions when you add into the equation lots of water from both the underground drip hose and the sprinkling can.

We are also entering the peak pollination period. I have hand pollinated numerous female flowers. More than one person has written about problems. Hand pollination is important for the Atlantic Giants and also for other pumpkins if you have a small patch, use insecticides or lack a good bee population. One of my friends has yet to see a female flower. His plant is not quite ten feet, so his vine has not reached puberty.

I built a small shade cover over G2. It is now nine inches in diameter. I will start the daily measures soon.

July 20th: I have been away for a few days, camping with the Cub Scouts. Goliath and Hugo have been hard at work. But, both plants are experiencing wilting of leaves at the outer section of the vine, beyond the fruit. I examined Goliath for Bacterial Wilt. One of the tests was negative, so I am hoping that with the dry weather that the fruit was robbing the outer leaves of water. I will keep my fingers crossed for the next few days that I am right and that my season is not about to end. But, it's a scary thought.

I used an overhead sprinkler to water my entire garden well. Heat and little rainfall- -we're in the "Dog Days" of summer.

As for size, G2 and H1 are 57.5 and 53 inches in circumference, respectively.

July 22and: I can now safely say that the wilting of the leaves is a result of lack of water while I was camping with the "Cubbies". (How dare I take time off to be with my son?!) Both Hugo and Goliath are surging forward. They are gaining 8 to 10 total inches per day and 3 to 4 inches in circumference. Bobby has two on his plant which he has named "Big Bob". I started measuring one of them. He hopes to enter one in a weigh-off this fall. He will be just ten at the time.

I now have a work force to assist me. With the dry conditions and fast growth rate, I need to pump more water into the ground. At night I fill up my five gallon drip system. My wife goes out to the garden and opens the spigot around noon.

July 23rd: Goliath continues to lead in the race, but Hugo is only one to two days and six inches in circumference away. I am paying more attention to Hugo now, but he does not have a drip system under him.

*** Observation: Goliath has a green vine and stems, while Hugo has a yellow vine and stems. I will do some research as to the difference. Does any reader out there know the answer?

I have much gardening to do this weekend. Among them for the pumpkins are weeding, insecticide, fungicide, adding more soil to cover vines, watering(and more watering), moving the fruit and vine to minimize stem stress....need I go on?

July 25th: Lots of work in the garden today. As for the pumpkins, they got some weeding, more soil cover on the vines, a very light application of dry fertilizer and of course much, much water. I used the overhead sprinkler(which I do not like to use) to thoroughly water the entire area.

Reading were not good. I based this on total inches. Tomorrow Goliath will reach the minimum for the conversion chart and I will begin using weight as my measure of overall growth.

A quick note on my regular pumpkins...The good news is I am probably the first person in the whole U.S. to have and orange pumpkin and I harvested it. The bad news is it has bug holes and is already getting soft. Off to the compost pile it goes.

July 26th: My neighbor and I ventured into dangerous territory today. It was time to move the pumpkins to keep the stem and vines from stretching and reducing the stress. This avoids cracks and splits. I chose to do it now before it gets any bigger and becomes harder to move. We elevated the pumpkin by the stem about three inches piled dirt underneath and pushed the pumpkin back about an inch or so towards the vine. Obviously this was done slowly and with great caution. I also put shade cover on Hugo and Big Bob(Bobby's fruit), and expanded the cover on Goliath.

Measurements may be off a little as I moved the fruit and added sand around the plants to keep snails and slugs away.

It is a close race between Goliath and Hugo. Hugo was pollinated a couple days after Goliath and remains a couple of days behind. Goliath measures 75.5" circumference, 186.5 total inches and the conversion chart suggests this is 140 pounds!

Bobby is committed to his Atlantic Giant which is now 125 total inches.

July 27th: Disappointing measurements, hopefully caused by moving the fruit and adding sand around it the day before.

I brought someone from work to see the plants. He wanted to come before I started charging admission. I gave him a seedling with 500 pound genetics. It is his first year as a grower and he is now excited.

July 28th: Today personal history was made as Goliath surpassed my 150 pound record set last year. Goliath clocks in at 160 pounds, trailed by Hugo at 132.

I need to add water, water and more water. I am also adding Miracle Gro and a second soluble fertilizer with a higher phosphate level.

I clipped the ends of the plants. I was trying to see how long pumpkin vines will grow. Goliath's vine was more than 20 feet past the fruit. The fruit is a "suck up" as it sucks up every drop of nutrient the vine can carry. The ends of the vines were wilting. Side shoots are proliferating. I will clip them at ten to twelve feet.

Every day I add a shovel or two of dirt over sections of vine.

July 30th: Hugo has now reached 155 pounds, surpassing my last year's personal best. Goliath still leads at 180 pounds.

Water, water and more water. Supplemented with phosphate and lots of Miracle Gro

Tonight I tore down my little shade cover and created a mansion for Goliath. I was afraid the top was too close to the fruit and would cook it.I need to take a picture and post it in these notes for visitors.

August 1st: Hugo received his new home today as I put up a larger shade cover. We continue to experience a beautiful summer. Daily highs in upper 70's to low 80's. Almost no humidity. But, almost no rain. As I continuously add water to the plant I remember my old saying "You can always add water, but you can't take it away"

August 3rd: I have had little time to write anywhere near all the things I am doing to the plants. Water and fertilizer are the biggies. I've added extra phosphate to the mix. I have not added much insecticide or fungicide as the low humidity and little rain have helped in this area. I remain vigilante and will likely give them a "cocktail" over the weekend. This is a mixture of fertilizers, fungicide and insecticides.

Here's the updates: Goliath is 223 pounds. Hugo is lagging further than before at 190 pounds. I am talking to him more and trying to bond better... I will update you on the response. Bobby(my 9 year old) is headed to the weigh-off. His "big Bob" is now about 125 pounds. What if his surpasses mine?

I've got lots of pictures to upload on a rainy Saturday. I hope this doesn't happen for a while.

August 5th: I doubt if this morning's rain added much moisture to the soil.

New pictures are finally in this log...go back a few weeks chronologically.

August 7th: Slow growth today. It has been cloudy all day and light drizzle on and off. Enough rain to shut down photosynthesis, but not water lawns and gardens. Goliath is now 259 pounds. Hugo continues to fall behind at 214 lbs. Big Bob is surging ahead and now weighs 155 pounds. My son's fruit in his first year of growing is now larger than my personal best last year. This is what genetics does for you. Also, he is carrying 20 gallons a day to his plant.

August 8th: It's "Cocktail Time" Pumpkins love cocktails this time of year. A cocktail is a mixture of any combination of foliar fertilizer, fungicide and insecticide. I applied the latter two first, then gave a good foliar feeding with a weak solution of MiracleGro. I also am watering heavy today as the heat and humidity is returning.

I should be covering the vines more to promote secondary root growth, but it's too hot and I have other projects.

The outer leaves are wilting in the heat.....more water, more water, and you guessed it, more water.

August 9th: The rains finally came! We had a significant amount this evening. I can skip watering for a day or two! In anticipation of it, I spread dry fertilizer around, applying a general purpose fertilizer and extra phosphate.

The only downside is it probably washed off the insecticide and fungicide, although I'm sure they had some affect prior to the rain.

August 12th: This is a day that will live in infamy! Goliath clocked in at 300 pounds! This was my goal for 1998. Goliath has definitely slowed down. I don't know if growth can be sped up again. SIgns of maturing fruit are there too.

Hugo is 242 pounds and growing slowly. Bobby's "Big BOB" is now 192 lbs. My fear that his could be bigger than mine at the end of the season is still real. If so, I'll take endless ribbing, oh well, he's my kid so it's okay.

A couple of days after the rains came, I am now back to watering daily. I also applied Sevin as the appearance of numerous cucumber beetles confirmed that the rains washed the insecticides away.

I'm pinching off the ends of runners more frequently now.

August 16th: The days are growing shorter and my Atlantic Giants are slowing down. Goliath is 328 pounds."Big Bob" still has a chance to come out ahead. He is 220 pounds, but growing faster than Goliath. Next year, I will have to decide whether I am ready to purchase the best genetics or continue to learn. I am leaning towards using the seeds from Goliath or Big Bob as these are really beautiful, round pumpkins. Tough decision.

Over the weekend, I applied fungicide and Sevin. There were a lot of cucumber beetles. I'm also adding lots of water, fortified with MiracleGro.

I opened a "Crisis Center" on the website. Lots of people are sending me notes with problems. It's fun to be able to help others.

Important: I have literally run out of space on my AOL site. A couple of pictures on this page will not come in until I decide which old pictures to eliminate. Please bear with me.

August 18th: We had much needed rain overnight and most of morning. I had spread dry fertilizer last night....great timing. I also, dusted with Sevin....oh well.

The big news is Goliath has a brother(or is it a sister?). It is at the very end of the main vine and the bees(or bugs) successfully pollinated it. I should clip it off. But, I'm curious as to how much it could grow in the last several weeks of the season. With Goliath slowing down, I am banking on there being room for two. I've also well surpassed my goal of 300 pounds and will likely reach 400+. So, the experiment begins......stay tuned.

August 22and: I visited a big grower in my area. He was not as informative as I had hoped. His record was 740 something so he should know. After visiting him I think growers get a little secretive about what they have on the vine. They don't want to let on how big their's is. Personally, I like to tell and share...as you can see.

August 23rd: Slow growth. I discovered why on Hugo and Big Bob.......stem stress. Both pumpkins are tearing away from the vine. I tried to move them a little. I guess I still have a lot to learn about positioning the vine early to minimize this. Hopefully, the tears will not prove fatal. I sprayed them with Sevin to keep pests away.

August 24th: We had a major thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning. The rain translated into improved growth as Goliath clocked in at 371 pounds. Goliath's baby brother is growing strong. It has a real thick stem and I believe with a little luck, he can reach a hundred to two hundred pounds by October. I am trying to settle on a name.

August 27th: Goliath is 385 pounds. I have named his baby brother "Baby Huey". Goliath is maturing but should exceed 400 pounds. Hugo is close to and should make 300 pounds. Watered today. I was also surprised to see cucumber beetles. I thought they would be just about done. I guess I need to spray once more this weekend. The leaves on the plant near the tap root are dying. I'm sure it is just age. They are slowly turning brown, but have so far kept their shape. All other leaves are healthy.

Everyone is offering ideas as how to get it out of the garden and into the van to go to the weigh-off. I still have a month to think about it. I do have a 17 year old boy with lots of friends to help.

August 29th: I think Goliath will make it! 400 pounds, that is. Tonight it clocks in at 400 pounds. It continues to ripen and is getting some ugly bumps. But, it should top the 400 lb mark in two to three days. My next question is can I keep it on the vine and growing for another whole month?

Baby Huey is now growing in leaps and bounds. It is probably about 15- 20 lbs. He is only 8 days old. I put a small shade cover on him.

Powdery Mildew has hit the pumpkin patch. It is primarily affecting the regular pumpkins. I need to put fungicide down but have not had a chance. This is a MUST as I have many green regular pumpkins.

August 30th: Hugo is just about done growing. But he has not turned orange. He just sits there gaining almost no weight. Big Bob has slowed right down and is also maturing. Both of these experienced stem stress. This is a major opportunity for improvement next year.

I sprayed fungicide over all of my pumpkins. I have a sizable number of regular pumpkins of good(not overly large) size that are some shade of orange. There will be plenty to give away to nieces and nephews.

Sept 1st: Goliath is now 399 pounds. It took everything to keep me from adding 1/2" on the measure so I could call him 400 pounds. One more day! Baby Huey is thriving under his sum shade at the end of the vine. I am now cheering him on.

September 7th: We had a major, major storm on Sunday night. It produced the biggest wind ever recorded in our area at 89 miles per hour and lots of hail in some areas. The county remains in a state of Emergency with thousands of trees and power lines down and over 50,000 people without power. My patch was unaffected. We are just outside the worst hit sections of the county. The location of my patch and surrounding structures also protected it from the worst of the storm.

Big Bob (268lbs) and Hugo (302 lbs.) have stopped growing. Both are the victims of stem stress at that common 200 to 300 pound range for this problem. I see this as a major improvement opportunity for next year.

Goliath is quite mature and is getting uglier by the day. At 417 pounds, he is still growing but very slowly. I am hoping to keep up the growth and keep him on the vine until the weigh-off. I am also exploring two weigh-off sites but have not decided which to go to.

The big news in the patch now is Baby Huey at 81 lbs and climbing. He is my experiment with late season pollination. With cooler weather, shorter days, aging leaves, I want to find out if I can get him to 200 pounds before the season is over. I think it can be done.....stay tuned.

September 9th: Disaster has struck the patch. To me it is the absolute worst disaster. I was out measuring the pumpkins and discovered that on the day before my son's 10th Birthday, his pumpkin (Big Bob) was rotting on the bottom! I brought him out and we looked at it. There was no saving the pumpkin. Bobby and dad ware heart broken. We agreed that I should take some seeds out for him to use next year. Any parents reading this will agree with me that I wish it had been Goliath instead of his first pumpkin and such a large one(268 lbs).

We agreed to share Goliath, but he said that Goliath was mine. I reminded him that Goliath would not be here if he had not started the seeds while I was out of town in the spring.

We also agreed to either have him grow two plants next year or grow two fruit on one vine.

We will still go to a weigh-off, but the fun has just gone out of the season.

September 12th: We are starting to get over the demise of Big Bob. Bobby is still having a hard time as it was his first pumpkin and it grew so well. We did agree that there was a lesson not to put all your eggs in one basket, especially if you are a ten year old kid. I extracted some of the seeds from Big Bob as Bobby wants to use them next year. The pumpkin was rotting so it wasn't a pleasant task.

I am resolved to take Goliath and Hugo out of the field this week and am trying to get a number of teenage boys with strong backs to help out. They are pretty much done anyway.

I'm back to watering as Baby Huey is still growing as well as my regular pumpkins.

September 13th: Moving day has finally come. I will skip right to the learnings before I write the exciting details. If you are growing the "Big One", you need to give consideration to how you will get it out of the garden before you start moving it! I planned this over the past several weeks, but still need major improvement in this area.

I enlisted a neighbor an a couple of strong teenage boys, my wife and teen age daughter. We started with Hugo who is at or near 300 pounds. We ripped the blanket we were using, but managed to get him on the pallet first. It was a small pallet, but we were then able to lift it onto my kids "Little Red Wagon". With much puffing, pushing, pulling and sweat, Hugo arrived safely in the garage. Next came Goliath who is near 450 pounds, give or take fifty. We decided to cushion the corner of the pallet with the now otherwise worthless blanket. Then we rolled(well kind of rolled) Goliath onto the pallet. We then took boards under the pallet and six of us used it to lift Goliath onto the wagon. We all then pushed and shoved(and huffed and puffed) until it was into the garage. We destroyed the wagon in the process as it was hopelessly bent and misshapen and lost a wheel in the driveway. But we got him there. He was intact, but suffered at least one gouge on the bottom and a bruise or two.

Now, the next problem will be loading Goliath into the van to get him to the weighoff. I have a couple weeks to figure that one out.

Some observations from the field:

  • Both Goliath and Hugo had mole trails under them. If I had kept them in the garden much longer, they may have experienced the same fate as "Big Bob". We are already planning evasive measures for next year.

  • I cut the stem on Goliath and not the vine. We could see right into the pumpkin via a narrow hollow hole in the stem. So I stuffed a paper towel into keep out the bugs. I had to cut the stem as Baby Huey was on the same vine.

  • While farmers may have tractors and other equipment, we had no equipment to make the task easier.

Once in the garage, I was able to take better and final measurements. Hugo is estimated a slightly under 300 pounds. Goliath is approximately 450 pounds. I will take Goliath to a weigh-off for a formal weighing. I know that he will lose weight now that he is off the vine, but I believe it was the right choice.

Now all attention is on Big Bob in the final couple of weeks. He will not reach these mammoth proportions, but I am hoping he exceeds 150 pounds by frost. Stay tuned.

September 17th: Baby Huey is rewarding me with a good growth rate. It is not stellar and I did not expect it. But, it is enough to product a 150 pounder by season's end, and with luck a 200 pounder. I am not doing much special as I have not had the time.

September 20th: Baby Huey now weighs about 140 lbs. He continues on track, proving a late August birth can produce a large pumpkin by season's end. I put a board under him to avoid the mole problem that beset Bib Bob. Stay tuned later this week as the weather is going to be quite chilly and overnight could be well into the 30's.

October 2and: It loading day. Time to put Goliath into the van for the trip to the GPC Weigh-off site in Oswego, N.Y. in the morning. I had lots of friends and neighbors to help load him and wish me well. But the task was not easy. We tied him to the pallet for the ride up some borrowed ramps and into the van. The pallet was on a board with wheels. As I moved him, he fell off the pallet! On the second try, he was successfully into the van. I then wedged the pallet in securely. I told my friends, just going was enough and I did not think I would get a prize. I just wanted to be a part of it. If Goliath weighs in at the 450 estimate, I think I will be close to the 20th and final prize.

October 3rd: We took off for Oswego and the drive was uneventful. Goliath certainly did not look like a giant amidst all of his peers. But, he was no small fry either. He weighed in at 425 lbs, a little less than the estimate. Ironically, the 20th and final prize was exactly 450! Despite my comments the night before, I was disappointed to go home without a prize. But, it was a very successful year and just to grow a 425 pounder has been a great source of pleasure and enjoyment.

October 4th: Goliath and his brother, Baby Huey(160lbs) now adorn our front step. Their cousin, Hugo(300lbs) will soon join them as I prepare my front yard for the Halloween season....my favorite holiday.

Until next year,.........The end


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