Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 Giant Pumpkin Workshop Schedule


Michelle having fun with the microphone 2013

The 2014 Extreme Gardening: 
How to Grow a 500 Pound Giant Pumpkin 
World Tour!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am proud to announce the 2014 giant pumpkin workshop schedule! Plus, there are two new nurseries in San Diego county that have accepted the challenge. 



Saturday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Old Towne Orange Farmers & Artisans Market, 304 North Cypress Street, Orange, CA 92866. No RSVPs are required for this workshop. First come, first seated! For information, please visit: www.orangehomegrown.org 



Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9:00 a.m., Plant World Escondido, 26334 Mesa Rock Road, Escondido, CA 92026. Please RSVP at: (760) 741-2144. For a map and directions, please visit: www.plantworldescondido.com



Sunday, April 13, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Batavia Garden Nursery, 1730 North Batavia Street, Orange, CA 92865. Please RSVP and obtain directions at: (714) 637-2360 




Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1:00 p.m.,Tanaka Farms, 5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612. Please RSVP at: (949) 653-2100. For a map and directions, please visit: www.tanakafarms.com 



Saturday, May 3, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Myrtle Creek Nursery, 2940 Reche Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028. Please RSVP at: (760) 728-5340. For a map and directions, please visit: www.myrtlecreeknursery.com 



Saturday, May 3, 2014, 1:00 p.m., El Plantio Nursery, 1322 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027. Please RSVP at: (760) 745-8736. For a map and directions, please visit: www.elplantionursery.com 


Saturday, May 10, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Farm Supply Company, 224 Tank Farm Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Please RSVP at: (805) 543-3751. For a map and directions, please visit: www.farmsupplycompany.com

Sheridan Gardens 2013 Giant Pumpkin!


Saturday, May 17, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Sheridan Gardens, 817 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505. Please RSVP at: (818) 841-8845. For a map and directions, please visit: www.sheridangardens.com  



Sunday, May 18, 2014, 1:30 p.m., Blue Hills Nursery, 16440 East Whittier Blvd., Whittier, CA 90603. Please RSVP at: (562) 947-2013. For a map and directions, please visit: www.bluehills.com 















Batavia Garden Nursery, Orange!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Last Sunday morning was Batavia Garden's turn for this year's workshop. Attendees drove from Los Angeles and were rewarded with giant pumpkin seedlings, ready to plant. I was particularly glad to see Joanne and Rocky Doke. You may remember them from the giant pumpkin growing experience at the Great Park a few years ago.

Fun was had by all, and I am hoping to see them back for the weigh-off in October.







Plant World Nursery, Escondido!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Last Saturday morning was the first ever giant pumpkin growing workshop for Plant World in Escondido. It was a cool morning, and a great opportunity to use my new lab coat. (Of particular interest for me were the Aldo Leopold benches that were set up in the workshop area.) The attendees were extremely interested and all of them won a giant pumpkin seedling.



Monday, March 31, 2014



Phillipe The Original Restaurant is Latest Sponsor of 
The Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am very pleased and proud to announce that the Los Angeles institution, Philippe The Original restaurant, at 1001 Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 628-3781, www.philippes.com,  is the latest sponsor of The Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest! 

Yes, the restaurant credited with creating the French Dip Sandwich in 1903 is joining our sponsors!

If you haven't had one of their French Dip sandwiches, you are missing out on one of the hallmarks of Southern California (and beyond) dining. When you do, please let them know that you found out about them from their support of Pumpkinmania!




 Gary Matusoka of Laguna Hills Nursery, one of the longest supporters of Pumpkinmania!, 
among his usual assortment of unique and very high quality plants and trees







The 2014 World Tour's First Stop!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

The first workshop of the 2014 season at the Orange Farmers and Artisans Market went very well Saturday morning. In spite of technical audio difficulties, attendees were very patient and asked some great questions.

Next on the tour will be Plant World in Escondido, on April 12th!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Giant Pumpkin Observatory






On the look-out!



Giant Pumpkin Observatory is Finished!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

As you are all very aware, giant pumpkin cultivation sometimes requires very specialized knowledge and equipment. In preparation of the 2014 season, I wanted to share some images of the giant pumpkin observatory that I put up this week-end. 

One never knows what's happening out in the garden after dark until now. This is an eight-foot tipi, based on original Native American designs. Surprisingly, it only took about an hour to set it up. It's very sturdy and comfortable inside. Other than a weird insect bite to the eye, there have been no other mishaps sleeping inside of it...


Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Full Moon Planting Dates

Full Moon, Lick Observatory, August 27, 2009, NASA: C-1968-1314

2014 Season Full Moon Planting Dates

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Happy spring to all! As giant pumpkin growers prepare all over the world for their 2014 season, I thought today would be a good day to inform you of the full moon dates for April, May, June, and July:

  • April 15, 2014-Tuesday
  • May 14, 2014-Wednesday 
  • June 13, 2014-Friday
  • July 12, 2014-Saturday (Probably the very latest planting date for 2014.)
Good luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The 2014 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest
Orange County Register Event Listing Has Been Posted!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

After months and several weeks of tense negotiations with Kellogg Garden Products, I am very happy to announce that The 2014 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest will be held on Sunday, October 26, 2014 at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA, USA!

Here's the link for The Orange County Register announcement.

(Please note the extremely positive review someone's already posted.)

With the official start of spring less than 24 hours away, and the first workshop in 11 days, it's time to reflect on your 2013 season and strategize your 2014 season.

Best of luck to you all and may the heaviest pumpkin win!


Thursday, February 13, 2014



 Chris Dunn and family, The 2013 Pumkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Champion!

The 2014 Pumpkinmania! 
Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Competition 

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am very proud and happy to announce that The 2014 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Competition will be held Sunday, October 26, 2014 at Tanaka Farms, Irvine, CA. The Gardner & Bloome division of Kellogg Garden Products has generously decided to continue its participation and support of this event.

We look forward to everyone's participation and efforts at making this year's Pumpkinmania a fun and funny event.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Orange County Register, October 28, 2013

Irvine World News, October 28, 2013

Media Frenzy Follows 
The 2013 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Now that the dust has settled from this year's weigh-off, I thought posting the articles and photos that appeared in The OC Register and The Irvine World News might be of interest.

In addition, here's the link to a video posted on YouTube by David Wolfberg, an award-winning, freelance documentary filmmaker and gardener/giant pumpkn grower, who was there to document the stunning moment when this year's champion was announced:


(I love the use of a hand-held camera to convey the spontaneity and zeitgeist of this year's weigh-off.)

There have been some random sightings of some of the footage captured by "Chris/Kris/Khris", the one-person film crew/driver from KABC TV. I haven't received any notice of it being available locally, (besides a call from KABC requesting the actual results of the weigh-off... Apparently this critical piece of information was somehow overlooked because of all of the excitement and pandemonium following the weigh-off.)

I hope you enjoy all of the coverage!