Early to Mid August

So now I have a pumpkin, Now What???

Cut those tap roots...
Look near the stem of your pumpkin and you will find that the vine is probably anchored to the ground at the leaf nodes. This is because there are tap roots that have begun to grow into the soil. So you want to cut these to allow your vine to rise up as your pumpkin grows. If you do not remove them you pumpkin could break itself off the vine.

Watch that stem:
As your pumpkin grows you want to make sure that it is not going to pinch the vine that feeds it. If it looks like this is going to happen simply try and raise it up by putting some old pots under it and/or tie some cloth to a stake and gently pull the vine away from the pumpkin. The key is a little bit each day. Some pumpkins are easier then others, but keep those difficult ones, it will be worth it in the end.

How big is my pumpkin?
With out a scale we can not know exactly what the pumpkin weighs, but there is a way to estimate what your growing pumpkin weighs with a simple soft ribbon measuring tape commonly used in sewing. What you want to do is carefully take three measurements.
Circumference- Take the widest circumference that is parallel to the ground and write this number down
Stem to blossom- Now it get a little tricky, put the tape on the ground right next to the stem and have it come straight up and over the pumpkin. Continue until you get to the blossom end and again have it come straight down and where the tape touches the ground write down this number.
Side to side- Following the same basic method as before start at the ground on the left side and have it come straight up and over the pumpkin until you reach the right side and write this third and last number down.

Now some math, add up all three numbers and you have what is called the Over-The-Top (OTT) measurement. This is NOT the weight of your pumpkin but the basic volume of your pumpkin. To get the weight go to http://www.gvgo.ca/downloads/2008_ott_chart.pdf and convert your OTT into pounds.

What do I put under my pumpkin?

Everyone has their own special material, but in the end they all achieve the same main purpose, soil to pumpkin separation. What you select is up to you. I suggest landscape fabric and a lot of sand. This provides a physical separation and also allows you to still move the pumpkin since the sand can shift.

Keep up the spraying since disease pressure will be is highest during this time of year.

What should I fertilize with?

This can be difficult, since if you over fertilize you could literally kill your pumpkin with kindness. Your pumpkins skin may not be able to stretch fast enough and you can blow up your pumpkin. This is more common with chemical fertilizers like 20-20-20. So stick with the slow and steady approach of organic fertilizers. This time of year I like seaweed for its plant hormones and added potassium boost, and also calcium to try and prevent splits by bulking up the pumpkins internal walls. I like the products provided through
http://www.candjfert.com/Giant Pumpkin Program.html

Where do I bring my pumpkin to get weighed?

Team-Pumpkin is the supporting organization to the Durham Fair so it is fitting to bring your pumpkins there. There will be a certified scale, and also judges to inspect all the entries. This is a great time to get to know some other growers and share some stories about this past growing season. Hope to see you there!!