Operation Giant Pumpkin 2023 –all videos!

I grew up in rural Ohio, and most of my life followed a predictable pattern. Summer meant the high dive at Tiki Pool. Winter meant snow days building icy forts with my sister. But October –it was my favorite month of all. Because October meant it was time for the county fair and the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

Every year, I would ride the Zipper and pray I didn’t throw up. And I would parade past a platform of giant pumpkins weighing north of 1,000 pounds while I chomped down pumpkin burgers and pumpkin ice cream. I didn’t realize how special those giant weird looking blob gourds were. Ugly but competing to be the biggest, the lumpiest, and the best. It was amazing. Really. But of course, I didn’t appreciate it until I moved away from Ohio, then came back.

And I started going to the Pumpkin Show again. Every year, I’d casually mention how cool it would be to grow a giant pumpkin. And I’d say something about “wondering” if I had enough garden experience to actually grow one. Until one day two years ago, when I said all this again–while still eating pumpkin burgers and staring at an 1800 pound pumpkin wearing a teeny tiny crown–and my sister looked at me and said, “so just do it already.”

And I said, “huh?”

And she said, “You say it every year. Obviously, it’s a life goal. So do it already.” (Rolls her eyes and huffs.)

And then I scratch my head and realize, “holy crap. It really is a life goal. And I didn’t even know it!”

(To which my sister says “duh.” Then eats more deep friend veggies.)

So “holy shit. I have to grow a giant pumpkin,” I think. Then I set to work.

And I did. I tried to grow a giant pumpkin in 2022. And it started off totally awesome. I got the seeds to germinate, the plants to grow and fruit, I got one pumpkin up to 40 pounds–and then the deer freaking ate it. Actually worse, they took one bite out of it, then said, “meh. Not delicious.” and wandered off. After they left piles of pebble poop all over the garden. Unfortunately, all the other critters were like, “Hey. Now I can actually bite into this thing. Let’s do it!”

And within three days the squirrels, rabbits, and Chonk the groundhog had chewed my pumpkin down to nothing. Then the deer came back, and ate all the leaves off the plant, as well as a smaller, second pumpkin that had just formed. And all my 2022 dreams of growing a huge pumpkin died. DEAD. But it’s fine. I’m not mad. I say as I shoot evil dart eyes at every deer that wanders into the hood.

But I digress. Life goals aren’t always easy, are they? And it’s another year, which means another growing season. So Operation Grow a Giant Pumpkin 2023 officially begins today.

Follow along with me as I attempt (again!) to grow a giant pumpkin for my haunted Halloween trick-or-treat pumpkin patch. In a city backyard. In Central Ohio. Am I crazy? Probably. Will I fail? Highly likely. But I have to try!

Progress updates will be posted here and on my YouTube channel!

Giant Pumpkin Links

Circleville Pumpkin Show: https://www.pumpkinshow.com/

Big Pumpkins grower community: http://www.bigpumpkins.com/

Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers: https://ohiovalleygiantpumpkingrowers.com/

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds: https://amzn.to/3McS5xu

Part 1: Seed prep and planting

Part 2: Planting our sprout outside

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