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Feature Growers

Marc Sawtelle of Colorado Springs, Colorado , is our current feature grower.  Marc earns this honor through his breakthrough research on pumpkin propagation. Fondly referring to his two plus years of "cloning" pumpkins, Marc has painstakingly developed a method to keep pumpkins over the winter and to grow new plants with his "cloning" technique.

Why Grow Clones

The Full Story with Pictures

Here is a recap of Marc's cloning efforts and discoveries to date, as told by Marc:

It may appear as I am a not a serious or experienced grower, as my personal best was a 432 here in Colorado Springs this year, while Joe Scherber and Kevin Holman both destroy the old Colorado state records exceeding the 800 pound mark {also this year}. I have been growing for 9 years now, growing just average genetic seeds. Last year I was lucky to have met Joe Scherber and see some 600 pound pumpkins. WOW! I was in disbelief that Colorado supported conditions favorable enough to grow them so large. He explained it just takes finding good genetic seeds if my growing techniques were not the problem. He suggested I try to request as many seeds from larger pumpkins, and hang on to some until I found seed proven to grow the large ones. I did just that, and I did have a good stock of good genetics going into this season.

The season was lost in mid May though. In spring we have mites which find cold frame pumpkin plants as good hosts. I usually just use the "safe spray" stuff they sell for houseplants, which has always done the job, until this season. Someone in my family dumped 1/2 of a bottle of Liquid Seven into an empty "safe spray" bottle, and you can guess the rest! It took until mid July to get things going again, and I knew I would have yet another sub par year. I used the rest of the year experimenting with my own breeding program. I usually grow 2 plants in 880 square feet with one pumpkin per plant, but instead I grew 7 pumpkins on 3 plants. Two of the three plants seem like they could have really done a lot more, if not for the "accident", which prevented me from having plenty of leafs and rooted vines when the first and second week of July came. I pollinated females with similar genetic backgrounds or traits, and 3 of the 7 pumpkins may be great crosses. I will find out how well my match making is next year, when other growers test them out. I, though, will finally be testing out my theory!

The next step for Marc is in developing a method for shipping a clone. To be successful, careful packaging will be required and shipping will need to be quick. Add to this equation, a reasonable shipping cost. Stay tuned for more in the months ahead!

Why Grow Clones

The Full Story with Pictures

Prior Feature Growers:

Paul McIntyre from Oxford Mills, Ontario, Canada.

Bill Susa from Frederick, Maryland

Joe Pukos of Leicester, N.Y.

Do you want to be one of the next feature growers? If so, please write to this site with some specifics about your pumpkin growing adventures and send along some pictures. Please note we reserve the right to use any pictures and information you submit in other pages and articles published by Pumpkin Nook .


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