This year we have connected with our local schools and children's gardening clubs. We have shared our seeds from last years giant pumpkins and the gardeners have shared there knowledge with the children too. We could have some competition on out hands here!!
Our pumpkin last year grew to the outstanding weight of over 500lb!!! Seeing as a pumpkin of this size produces such a large number of seeds we thought the only right thing to so was share them.
Here is some of our advice that we shared with the children:
Seeds should be started no later than mid-May. but May 1st is the ideal time. Temperature is everything. Seeds started at room temp may take as long as 2 weeks to germinate, but they will take as little as 21 hours at 85 degrees. This is the ideal temperature to start them.
Start by filing a little off of the edges of the seed from the pointed end to about 2/3 of the way up the side. This will help them sprout and loose the seed coat easily.
Put the seed into a small pot filled with compost with the pointed end facing down, 1 inch deep and tilt the seed about 30 degrees as you cover it.
The Next Stage:
As soon as it sprouts, the plant should be placed in 100% sunlight or as much as possible. It should be planted in the ground no more than 10 days after it sprouts.
The first 2 leaves to grow on the plant are the cotyledons. The next one you see is the first "true" leaf. The vine will tend to run in the opposite direction from the first true leaf so point it toward the rear of the patch when you put the plant in the ground.
It will need wind protection immediately so have something ready before you plant. The proper time to transplant is mid-May so the plant will also need some protection from the cold. On very cold nights cover the whole shelter with blankets/fleece etc. Try to keep the temperature at least 50 degrees at night and not over 90 during the day. At the start of June you can remove the shelter.
As the main vine grows out keep it buried with a little soil, secondary vines will grow out at the leaf junctions with taproots growing down at each junction. Tertiary vines will grow from the secondaries. The tertiaries must all be removed as soon as they first appear. If pruning is not done every few days you will end up with a jungle of vines.
Keep the plant well watered and use tomato feed to give it a boost.
It looks as though some of our growers are doing very well:
Below is the Ston Easton Park Pumpkin so far. Our Pumpkin was started 2 weeks before our other growers, this is what theirs will hopefully turn into. A few details: This is the Meier plant, It is the larger of the 2 with the leaves standing approximately 40cm off the ground.
Participants photos so Far:
Hayesdown First School in Frome, off to a good start. Are in the veggie beds already.
Here we have Lara and Seb, Lara is going to be taking their plant home over the half term holiday to keep an eye on it. Some great planning going on here.
St Mary's Primary School in Timsbury, Still in the small pot at the moment but looking healthy.
With all the schools looking after their plants so well, we really could have some tough competition on out hands!!! More updates to come......Back to news