Growing A Big Pumpkin 2018

This story begins on a warm March Day after cross county skiing. We were coming out of a snowy winter, but pumpkin season was fast approaching. This particular patch rested for three years,  and we had high hopes. Time to shovel off an area to install soil heating cables and a hoop house.

I like to add sand around the planting area for drainage.

It’s hard to believe such a large plant and pumpkin comes from this little seed. Thank you Steve Geddes in NH for giving me the opportunity to grow this seed. It came from a pumpkin he grew two years ago that weighed 2066 lbs.

We’re off and running.

CMP bill was a higher than it normally is.  That’s  a heater to keep seedlings warm.

This is the plant the final week of June.

Here’s the earliest baby picture I have of the 1368.5 lb pumpkin. Hard to believe this fruit (the size of a pea) at the base of a flower would grow to the 4th heaviest on record in southern Maine.

Our pumpkin was born on July 3rd.

A day later, about the size of a ping pong ball.

That’s an old dress shirt to shade the young fruit.  Just like humans, pumpkins can get a sun burn.

I always think it looks pretty cool under the canopy of a giant pumpkin plant. It reminds me of the move Honey I Shrunk The Kids.  Notice how every vine is buried and third stage growth is pruned off.

We like to grow the pumpkins on a piece of metal mesh fabric. These came from the Rumford paper mill. They spin paper on them and the mill needs to throw them out when old.  The fabric drains water well, and keeps mice from getting in under the fruit.

This is the stage they’re really taking off.  This pumpkin grew 40 lbs per day at peak growth.

Notice the extension cord. I found a vine rot just past the stem in late August.  It required a fan running 24 hours a day to dry it out. That wasn’t easy given the extreme humidity.

We lucked out with 4th place at Damariscotta Pumpkinfest.  Our biggest pumpkin in 2018 weighed 1368.5 lbs.  It’s the 3rd biggest pumpkin our family has grown.

Thank you to everyone involved who helped grow this pumpkin. I have an understanding wife. She says I could have worse habits though.  This was a full family effort. Kids helped with tents and heaters.  My wife covered the pumpkin on cold nights with blankets.  Thanks to my neighbor Karen who helped irrigate and feed the plant when I was on vacation in August.
See you in the Spring.


Charlie Lopresti

About Charlie Lopresti

Charlie makes up the "Weather Part" of CBS News 13s evening edition. A native New Englander, he grew up enjoying the area's exciting and sometimes wild weather.