I have got a green thumb like the Jolly Green Giant. I can grow just about anything (except for cactus, I kill those guys so fast), and every single year, for the passed five years, I have tried everything that I could think of, and everything that the interwebs told me to do. I have been trying to grow the Great Pumpkin (Charlie Brown).
More than anything, I want to take a pumpkin to the Puyallup Fair. I want to enter it in every competition and win blue ribbons. I want to carve it out and race it across the Lake in Portland, as they do. I want to win that ribbon too.
Sheesh, the goals some of us have, right?
There have been a series of tragedies and near misses over these years.
The Great Pumpkin Project – Year One
My first ever giant pumpkin plant was looking good, even though I grew it in an undesirable spot, with the wrong manure (learned that later).
The promised pumpkin was tragically struck down by an errant weed eater, forcing the offending guilty party to run off to the store. He who shall remain nameless, was pretty scared. The resulting pumpkin, after a new flower and vine were chosen is this guy down below.
The Great Pumpkin Project Year Two- Fiona
Fiona was my pride and joy, until Sprinkler got involved and tried to help me put a pallet under her. She was tragically severed 18 inches from her stem. She grew no more.
Fiona lives on in my beautiful in-house scarecrow, loving handcrafted by my friend Dawn. I dress her for all seasons and occasions. 🙂 No judging.
Fiona will forever be my favorite.
The Great Pumpkin Project Year 3
In my third year of experimental pumpkin growing, I bought two seeds off of the internet and paid $20 each for them. They were the size of a quarter. I nurtured them in the house for six weeks before planting them in the garden, freshly tilled with brand new “poop dirt”. I was a shoe in.
They grew alright, both plants, big and vibrant they were, and just like a fairy tale, two pumpkins appeared and seemingly had correct spacing, lots of light, a huge water supply and the “poop dirt”.
I forgot their names, they were Italian and romantic, the two of them, grown on two different plants. I likened their growing to a race. They were disappointing. Hardly giant at all. They were big, but not anywhere close to even think about the fair big.
The Great Pumpkin Project Year 4
I went to the Puyallup Spring Fair with Laura and bought some seeds from a young redneck Farmer, he told me which plants they were hybrids of and that one of the “mothers” was the winner of biggest pumpkin in 2015. 1100 pounds of blue ribbon. I was sold, I would pay anything. $5 for 4 seeds. Sold.
They did not even sprout. It’s a good thing I had rogue jack-o-lanterns volunteering, or I would’ve had no pumpkins at all. 🙁
I’m still hunting that guy that sold me the seeds.
They say that there is a 30% germination rate amonst pumpkin seeds. It was the first (and only) time that I had experienced less than 100% successful germination, But over the years to that date, I guess that gives me only a 25% loss. It’s way better than average, screw that Fair Farmer.
The Great Pumpkin Project Year 5- 2018: Charlie Brown
I usually post my Great Pumpkin project all over Facebook, but I was feeling gunshy this year.
“Poop Dirt”, check, grandiose area of garden to grow in, check.
Good seeds? eh, I bought them at Ace Hardware, but in their defense they were labeled “Atlantic Giant”, and promised 200-1,000 lb pumpkins. I paid about $2.99 for four seeds.
They sprouted right away, but were slow to spread. This is pretty normal though, they don’t usually run amuck until the middle of July.
These two plants are different. Usually they just run all over the garden, but this year, they are all over the fence and have climbed up my windmill yard art (which is about 12 feet tall by the way).
Can’t see them in the windmill? Let me give you another view.
They are growing pumpkins willy nilly all up in the air.
They have grown over the fence, down to the ground on the neighbors side. They are at a lower elevation from us by about six feet, so those pumpkins have vined over 18 feet away. They are still holding volleyball sized pumpkins suspended in the air.
But then there’s these two.
The big one, and the one we’re watching, is Charlie Brown. (Sorry Dougie) He is the biggest one that I have ever grown by far. He would fill a wheelbarrow beyond capacity at this point (a real wheelbarrow), and I am so excited about him. He long ago left Fiona in the dust.
I haven’t tried to measure him.
Before you ask, the broken end you see in the picture is his butthole. Moving on.
The funny thing is the smaller one growing right next to him. In the world of giant pumpkin growing, the last thing you want are two pumpkins growing right next to one another, especially if they are on the same vine.
By the way, I can’t tell if they’re on the same vine, they are literally touching and I don’t want to risk a Fiona accident.
I am fearful that they will both get too big and sever each others stems, but I’ve been worried for a while now that something like that would happen, so I’ve maintained silence, and it hasn’t happened.
To make matters worse, Charlie Brown had a run in with a wild beast sometime in the last three weeks. I saw the claw marks, and maintained my silence. As you can see above, Charlie Brown was strong enough to scar over. Whew.
Pumpkins have to be entered in the Fair by August 30th. That means if Charlie Brown is going to make it, he only has two more weeks. He keeps growing every single day.
I don’t really have grandiose ideas that he will go to the Fair. I want to keep him on the vine and let him grow until he stops, which will likely surpass the due date. But I do have designs on the Portland area contest/weigh off and pumpkin boat race, which isn’t until the first week of October.
Don’t feel bad that I didn’t tell you until now, I only just introduced Charlie Brown to my Rooster yesterday.
Cross your fingers for us.
Let’s hope it’s finally the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
The moral of the story, in case you haven’t already guessed is Never Give Up!
Ok, never give up if it’s something you really want to accomplish, not something that is hurting you or keeping you down. Damn it, now you have me changing the moral to a whole different story. LOL.
Root for us!