Dan's Pumpkin Growing Log - 1996 Season

Grower: Daniel J. Gardner N333 Ridgewood Court, Appleton, WI 54915
Planting Site: Appleton, WI (Darboy USA)
Geographical: Longitude 88"00', Latitude 44"30'
Experience Level: Advanced Beginner
Last Season: (1995) Dill's Atlantic Giant - 5 plants, 3 fruits, largest 144 pounds.

May 23, 1996

Two cubic yards of finished compost was reserved for mound. Subsoil was excavated for the mound (60 inches diameter, 34 inches deep).

June 4, 1996

Greenhouse/Coldframe for seedling protection (6 feet x 6 feet x 3 feet). The indoor seed starts had some problems, so they were quickly transplanted into greenhouse. Wire for in-house digital remote thermometer shown in upper right. (Inside, a toasty 80F in late May)

July 7, 1996

Grass and weeds were eliminated via tiller. I added 100 pounds of fertilizer and 4 yards compost and tilled again. Snowfence was placed around the 50x50 perimeter, and the greenhouse was reconfigured into a windbreak.

Down to 2 plants: one Vessey's 1882, and one GB-95-461. Vines at about 6-7 feet. Slight wilt visible from Sevin and the heat. Growth rate over the July 4th weekend was 4 inches per day on main vines. (The PROs would never leave two plants competing in the same mound, but I did).

July 13, 1996

Small female flower preparing to open on the Vessey's main vine 9 feet out . Males near the base have been opening for a couple of days now. Interestingly, every secondary vine formed a female during the last week. I suspect the cooler temps helped.

July 13, 1996

Left: This is the remaining half of the 7 cubic yards of manure I got this week! According to John Wallace (the dairy farmer) it has been well rotted for at least 2-3 years. The stuff has a magical consistency of sifted topsoil. There was at least another 200 cubic yards there for the taking. I will be busy this fall.

Right: Foreground: Vessey's 1882 with about 10 foot main vine and 6 foot secondaries. Background: GB-461 with an 8 foot main vine and 4 foot scondaries. Average growth rate over the last week was about 6 inches per day on main vines.

July 22, 1996

Left: Foreground: Vessey's 1882 with a 15 foot main vine and 11 foot secondaries. Background: GB-461 with an 13 foot main vine and 8-1/2 foot scondaries.

Right: Fruit set on the Vessey's from a July 14th hand pollination.

July 24, 1996

This is my first year burying the vines in soil. I use very well rotted manure to do this. The left photo show an aggressive tap root starting under a leaf on a secondary vine. The right photo is proof that a second tap root (topside) will form and curl downward if the vine is covered! I washed the soil away from the main vine about midway out for the photo and replaced it afterwards.

September 1996

The Vessey's plant yields a 90, 110, 113, 116, and a 155 pound pumpkin for decorating the front porch.

October 1996

The neighbors gather as I brandish my buck knife on the main vine.


It takes only four people to carry the biggest fruit out of the patch with my new 6x6 tarp purchased from Ray Waterman.


The heavy coating of fungicide is rinsed from the pumpkin.

Pumpkin unloading time at the Oconomowoc Weigh-Off.


Left: Helpers at Mark's Country Market move my 291.5 pound pumpkin onto the scale.
Right: Pumpkins in the staging area.


Left: Gary Keyser watches as Shymanski's pumpkin is unloaded.

Oconomowoc's Champ, Mark Shymanski of Madison, and his 825.5!

Last Updated: Mon Oct 08 10:30:00PM CST 1996

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