Dave Stewart of Wood River gave an in-depth class on growing giant pumpkins to a group of 17 area residents. He spoke on everything from seed selection, germinating the seed, vine growth and fertilizing. He showed the group different methods of staking the plants to prevent wind damage. Putting up wind breaks is also beneficial to protecting the plants. Small green houses are often used to protect the vines in their early stages.
As the vine starts to set on blooms, Stewart showed how to cover the flower to prevent open pollination and then how to distinguish between the male and female blooms. After the male and female are selected, pollination can start which he also showed how to do. When the pumpkins start to grow, positioning pumpkins perpendicular to the vine is important for maximum growth.
Stewart explained the importance of ground watering, shading, culling and pruning the plant throughout its growth.
Stewart also spoke in depth about pumpkin predators, insects, and diseases and how to defend against all of these.
He showed slides on everything he spoke about which made it very clear, and he answered many questions.
The class was sponsored and held at Leifeld’s Hardware last Monday, April 20. After the class, while refreshments were served, Stewart gave away some seeds and a plant as door prizes. He also sold some giant pumpkin seeds and left some with Jim that can be purchased at the hardware store.