We were fortunate to win at Half Moon Bay, California this year. The competition was intense with 80 entries, 10 of which were over 1,000 pounds. The weigh-off is always on Columbus Day. The winner stays until the following weekend to participate in the HMB Pumpkin Festival.
Over 250,000 people descend on the small coastal community for the parade, music, food and fun. A float for the parade was designed with a California beach theme, complete with dune buggy, surfboards and a large sand dune.
Our 1,229-pound pumpkin was atop the hill of white sand and I rode through the streets of HMB in a beach chair sitting right next to the pumpkin. Also, the winner and his family are treated to a 2-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in HMB. The hotel is surrounded by an outstanding golf course and has spectacular ocean views. It is an experience in itself!! Also in the video are visits to many top Northwest growers pumpkin patches.
It was actually my 5th or 6th best pumpkin during early and mid-season. Everything grew like gangbusters this year and at one point I had 8 pumpkins on track to reach 1,000 pounds or more. 5 days of intense rain in mid-August put many of the prospects on growth curves that were not sustainable if the pumpkin had any kind of structural flaw. Sag lines, blossom splits, and stem splits took their toll.
After the 1st month from fruit set, my best prospect was on the 846 Calai, and was over 100 pounds larger than my best ever at 30 days, unfortunately, it blossom end split. My pumpkin on the 1,260 Weir then became the leading contender and reached an estimated 911 pounds at 45 days.
The 1,260 was on such a growth curve that if I added just the average total inches my pumpkins usually grow after 45 days, it wasRead more on backyardgardener.com