The Great Pumpkin-Growing Competition Final Results!
On July 20th, I reported how my friend Corinne and I were engaging in a pumpkin-growing competition. Well, the contest officially ended yesterday and you have to read this to the end to find out who won! (no peeking)
Now for some quick background, Corinne and I have been friends since the age of 4 (the black-and-white photo below shows how we’ve always been best buds). We grew up in Southern California. Corinne now lives in the mountains to the east of San Diego. I think her USDA hardiness zone is about zone 8, whereas I’m in zone 5.
I know, that doesn’t sound very fair to me either. But she told me gardeners in her area don’t plant warm-season crops until about the first of June and that the season is done sometime in October. Since that’s kind of like our situation, I figured I’d give it a try.
Last year, she obtained some pumpkin seeds from a large one grown nearby and, after drying them, she mailed me a bag of the seeds and challenged me to a competition. Since we both have fairly competitive natures, I guess that means we were evenly matched.
I started my seeds indoors in early May and planted them out in the garden about 2 weeks later. I had covered the planting bed with red plastic mulch to increase the soil temperature and I also covered the seedlings with floating row cover for 2 weeks to keep them warm and happy.
Corinne had a bit later start. She told me her vines were growing but that they just weren’t blooming. Some of her plants suddenly died. And I was feeling very hopeful! But she soon reported having a few small pumpkins. When I heard about how she was babying them — including checking on them about 10 times a day during which she patted them lovingly — I started to worry.
After a bit, she told me there was only one pumpkin growing. But about a week ago, we each reported the girth of our pumpkins. When it turned out hers was just about the same dimensions as my largest one, I REALLY started worrying!
Knowing her pumpkin was still pale yellow, I suggested that pumpkin entries should be required to be a rich, pumpkin-orange color. Well, she would have none of that! She promptly emailed me a photo of all of the different colors pumpkins can be. Darn.
A few days ago, Corinne reported that her vines had gotten frosted. Since I knew we were going to have some frosts this week, I knew mine would be done soon, too, so we agreed to end the competition.
On Sunday, I officially cut mine from the vines and did the weigh-in. Here’s how it went:
Corinne was gone during the weekend and got home late Sunday night. She went outside with a flashlight to harvest it and brought it to the house.
It turns out her pumpkin weighed 39.6 pounds, which means — to my great relief — I’m the winner of the competition! After all, my vegetable-growing and garden-writing reputations were at stake, right? (whew)
But still, 39.6 pounds is very impressive… especially for someone who (by her own admission) isn’t a gardener. If our garden seasons had gone on longer, she just might have taken first. The mystery seeds did a good job of growing, even though we weren’t too sure what we’d end up with.
I love this photo of Corinne with her pumpkin in her lap because it underscores her enthusiasm and how she puts her all into everything she does. We both had a heck of a lot of fun taking on this project. But perhaps the best part of all was hearing her say, “I’m going to get back into gardening next year!” YES!!!
I love you, dear friend.