Tag Archives: growing pumpkins

Pumpkin Of The Week (2)

Regular readers of this blog will realise that pumpkins are a bit of a sore subject with me but I couldn’t resist this story. Rather like me, Christian Ilsley from Revere in Massachusetts was inspired by seeing enormous gourds at a local agricultural show to see whether he could grow a big pumpkin. Unlike me he succeeded, his aptly named Atlantic Giant weighing in at a very respectable 520 pounds.

The next question was what to do with it. Well, obviously, hollow it out, attach an outboard motor to it and pilot it across Boston harbour from Jeffries Point to Fish Pier and back. The pumpkin was harvested and hollowed out, the engine was attached and last Sunday the voyage was attempted.

All went swimmingly. Now that is what I call style!

Pumpkin Update (9)

Diligent readers will have noticed that updates on my pumpkin growing exploits this year have been rather thin on the ground, rather like my pumpkins, if the truth be told. It has been an unmitigated disaster.

In April I sowed eight Snowman pumpkin seeds, of which only two germinated. The two survivors struggled for a while but rewarded me with some vines and a profusion of bright yellow flowers. The problem was that all the flowers were male. In order to pollinate and start a fruit, I needed a female flower.

As the weather in August was wet and miserable, even if a female flower had miraculously appeared, there would not have been time nor would the conditions have been conducive enough to develop a pumpkin worthy of its name. And so, dear readers, the vines, along with my hopes, were consigned to the compost heap.

There is always next year, I suppose.

Hobby Of The Week

Every man should have a hobby but occasionally it can get out of hand as this story I stumbled across this week involving a now retired banker, Nick West, from Clevedon in North Somerset shows.

I have heard of tegestologists – collectors of beer mats – and labeorphilists – collectors of beer bottle labels – but West has gone one further – he has a collection of 9,000 beer cans. His interest was whetted in 1975 when his wife (stupidly) bought him a book on beer. Of course, collecting cans has its up-side as he had to consume the contents of each can before consigning them to the shelves.

So hooked did West become that he had to make several alterations to his house to accommodate his ever-growing collection. But following his and his wife’s retirement and a decision to downsize living accommodation, Nick has called time on his collection.

Shame really but I’m sure he will be open to offers!

If you are within striking distance of Shrewsbury, aged between 11 and 19 – oh, distant days – and want to get in touch with your artistic side, check out the Summer Artschool, run by that enterprising group, Participate Contemporary Artspace. It runs from July 31st until August 11th 2017 and successful participants will receive the Bronze Arts award which is recognised by colleges and universities. For more details http://mailchi.mp/291644f1df2d/participate-summer-artschool-creative-opportunity-for-11-19-year-olds

For the ardent horticulturalist, going away for a holiday during the peak growing season can create a bit of a dilemma. Fortunately, I had no such concerns and dunked my pumpkins in a shallow bowl of water whilst I enjoyed the sun in Costa Blanca. The plants survived their studied neglect and I have now been rewarded with a profusion of yellow flowers. All male at the moment but days of pumpkin sex won’t be too far away!

Pumpkin Update (8)

It’s a while since I reported on my pumpkin seeds. Well, beware the false prophets of the seed packet is all I can say. “Plant in pots and within 5 to 7 days, seeds will germinate,” the packet said. After a week, what did I have? Nada. After a couple of weeks or so, a couple deigned to pop their head above the surface and are now flourishing. A third made an appearance, some five weeks after sowing.

Perhaps they are victims of climate change. After all, they are Snowman pumpkins.

Pumpkin Update (7)

Undaunted by last year’s disaster, I have decided to have another go at growing pumpkins. So full of anticipation and not a little trepidation, I have planted eight pumpkin seeds into pots containing well-watered and manured soil and put them into a propagator.

For this year’s horticultural experiment, I have chosen a variety of pumpkin called Snowman.It is a white coloured variety, surprise, surprise, with yellow orangish flesh and can grow to the size of a football. We will see! Naturally, I will keep you advised of progress.