Every year I somehow manage to grow a decent pumpkin or two in spite of my blundering around the patch interfering with the plant's lifestyle. It is truly remarkable how aggressive and forgiving these plants are. They really want to grow big pumpkins... good thing too.
This year looked like it was going to be different in that I thought I had inflicted enough damage to ensure my pumpkins had not even a remote chance for survival:
First, I made the soil way too hot which made the plants grow too fast and sunburn badly. I have to dance around the patch each day with shade cloth to protect all the vine tips or they look like stir fry the next day.
Then I sprayed on so much Daconil as the plants were getting ready to flower that it caused deformities in the young fruit. I think this is the cause of the many deformed lobes I saw in the females and caused most of my early fruit to fail. I also think this is what caused Audrey, my alien 995 Carter plant to abort all it's fruit at 50 to 100 pounds.
I stopped the Daconil showers, not because I thought it was a good idea, but because I ran out of time, and lo and behold the flower deformities stopped and the new fruit started setting and holding. So things improved in spite of my worst efforts.
I now have a decent young fruit on the 995 Carter that looks unstoppable, the 940 Mombert is bigger than any fruit I've grown for it's age, and Buttercup, my little 831 Zunino, hit 67" circ on day 20 and has been growing an average of 5" circ. each day since.
The real story though is Geneva Electric, GE for short, my 922 Emmons plant. After I killed the first two, my third set on the main vine was growing well and closely following Al's benchmarks ( 19" on day 10, 63" on day 20) when I cut the backup fruit off a side vine. Then all hell broke loose....
Early the next morning when I went out before dawn to measure the fruit I saw an eerie glow as I walked toward the patch. It was the Emmons fruit - glowing in the dark. When I felt the fruit - another shock..... it was warm to the touch! It's growing so fast, it's creating its own light and heat.
It grew 7" circ. and 15" ott that night and has continued the spurt since then... 30 pounds last night alone. It's going to blow through Al's 30 day benchmark tomorrow on day 27. Now, I'm trying to slow it down. I'm letting two fruit grow on a side vine, hoping to drain some of the charge from the system and pull down the voltage a bit.
and I'll keep trying - must be some way I can mess up these pumpkins.....