My 204 .5 kg pumpkin 

Stewart's Giant Pumpkin Page

Please forward any comment or suggestions to Stewart Deans

sdeans@pcug.org.au

UpBeginningsSeason 97/8Pictures

1997 / 1998 Season

last updated Monday, 13 April 1998

Preparation
This year I prepared two plots each at least twice the size of last years. I bought some premium mix loam (a combination of washed river sand, mushroom compost, animal manure, rotted pine fines and un-rotted pine fines)

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As the skateboard ramp had deteriorated and fallen into dis-use this space became available for use  as my plot #1. Wood from the ramp used for sides to the bed. The sides were held in place by copper logs and the plot filled with premium mix. This plot measured approximately 5 m x 6 m.

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A weeper hose was laid out in plot #1 with a spacing of approx 60 cms. This hose is supposed to reduce water usage by up to 60% by putting the water where the roots are.  I have had good success using this system.

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Connecting weeping hose

A second plot of about 25 sq m was prepared in a similar way. Two plants were to planned to be planted in each plot   Zehr 923F x914MP95 798 in plot #1 and Bobier 915F x850MP96 796.5 in plot #2.

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Zehr 798 in plot #1 

Planting
Two seeds were started as a trial on 5 October 97 placing them in paper-towel wet with a weak fungacide solution. The paper-towel folded into a zip seal bag and placed on a heated propogator at 25 C - 30 C. The seeds were first prepared by filing all sides and edges. These seeds had root sprouts in two days and all subsequent seeds prepared in this way sprouted in two days with 100% success. The seedlings were transfered to peat-pots until the four leaf stage then planted in the plot in a coldframe.

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Bobier 796.5 in plot #2

Vine Growth
The Bobier and Zehr seeds were put into bags on 9 Oct 97 (day 0) and transferred to peat pots on 11 Oct 97. A second set were started two days later. These plants were transfered to the plots between day 6 and day 10. Water jacket (frost protection) was removed on day 16 as the weather warmed. Early November two plants were reduced to one per plot and the runners were soon about 60 cm (2') long.

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Zehr vine in Dec 97

The cold frame was removed in early November (day31) and shortly afterwards some insect damage was visible. This insect damage became severe on the Zehr completely halting the growth of the main vine.

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Bobier vine in Dec 97

Around 50 days there are many runners and flowers appearing. The main vines are buried to promote root growth on top and some secondary and tertiary vines are removed. Curling leaf continues to plague the vine probably due to spider mites and the growth of the main runner on one plant is completely halted.

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Damage to vine Dec 97

By early January the plot is completely full of vines despite the leaf damage caused by insects (mites)

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Fruit Set
I intended to hand pollinate fruit on the main vine at the end of the plot; however, this was not achieved because 100F heat caused a failure of pollination. Insect damage is clearly visible here.  

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6 January selected open (bee) pollinated fruit are allowed to grow as a backup in case hand pollination failed (which it did). Eventually the fruit on the left was selected to grow full size.

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Some of the fruit pruned from the bushes in early January.

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On 6 January one of two fruit allowed to grow on the Bobier. Notice the lack of leaf damage on the Bobier compared to the Zehr. This fruit was eventually chosen to run to maturity.

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On 18 January (12 Days later) - the Bobier fruit grows rapidly.

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On 18 January Zehr fruit growing even faster.

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A plot of the estimated fruit growth shows how growth originally appeared on track for a record but soon tapered off to a rather disappointing weight estimate. Very little growth occurred after mid February.

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Measuring the change in size of Bobier April 98

Weighoff Day
On weighoff day I discovered the Zehr (largest fruit) had blossom-end rot and could not compete. f98b_rot.gif (61716 bytes)
The Bobier is cut from the vine early weighoff morning 4 April 98.

At this time all the leaves have been completly destroyed by mites

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Rather than carry the Bobier in a tarp we attempt to drag the pallet with the fruit on to the trailer. This is successful but wheels would have been better. With three of us pulling we can just get it to slide along the paving.

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At the weighoff site Ken Ryan (left) (Australian record holder), myself (centre) and Shaun Armitt (right) putting Shaun's 2nd placed fruit on the scales. 152.1 kg

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The ACT weighoff site winner (my Bobier) 168.3 kg.

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Australian Weighoff Results - Class 1 - Giant Pumpkins
VIC 1ST IAN MILLER, PAKENHAM, VIC. 258.4 kg
2ND T MILLER, PAKENHAM, VIC. 175.4 kg
3RD G & W STAYNER, SKYE, VIC. 165.2 kg
 

 

ACT 1ST   STEWART DEANS, ACT 168.3 kg
2ND   SHAUN ARMITT, SOUTH MARULUN, NSW  ` 152.1 kg
3RD   R FELD 131.7 kg
SA 1ST   CHRISTOPHER McKINNON 160     kg
2ND   D GUY 102    kg
3RD   MERYLL McKINNON 75     kg
QLD 1ST     RODNEY LEADBEATTER 208    kg
2ND    LAWRENCE LEADBEATTER                     132.5 kg
3RD    GEOFF FROHLOFF 126.5 kg
WA 1ST     RON WILSON, ALBANY, WA 227.2 kg
2ND JASON SOUNNESS, MT BARKER, WA 177.7 kg
3RD    AARON BIRMINGHAM, DWELLINGUP, WA 157.2 kg

UpBeginningsSeason 97/8Pictures