Monday, September 29, 2003

Thank you for all your efforts, Ms Kim. It was a pleasure to attend the gathering. Next year will be fun. I am preparing 3 beds in my garden just for punkins:-)) I would like to be in contention for the top spot, and am going to give it my best shot.

Are your seeds the best, or should I try somewhere else? I don't want to bug you, just want to get the best available for this area. - DC

DC - Go for the best genetics possible! Always!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Wow wow wow wow, that is great. It seems you have gotten something started that can only get bigger. I expect the pumpkins will too in coming years. That is a great turnout for a new event in a challenging area for growing giants. Congratulations too all who participated and those folks who put it all together. I'll bet it was a lot of fun for everyone involved. - Tiller Covington, WA 9/21/2003 11:18:38 PM

What a great "turn-out" for only the 2nd year of the event!
A job well done! :>)Stan Puyallup, WA 9/21/2003 11:21:22 PM

Wow is right, Great attendance!!! I see good things ahead for MT. Darrell R. WA 9/23/2003 9:06:57 PM

Congrats on the great turn-out Kim, and also for your fruit!! Do you have any pics you can post? I'll keep on houndin' those folks up there in the Yaak. Pappy North Ga.

Hello All,

Now that our weigh off has past I won't be sending out as many emails. I would like to encourage you growers to seek out your seeds for next year. I will again be gathering, curing and distributing as many seeds as I can get my hands on for next years first-time growers.
Where do you turn to get your own seeds? Simple.
Sign in on a national message board/mailing list (free) to receive information and emails from the world class growers - all pertaining to current issues from germination, planting, soil prep, pruning vines, lifting pumpkins, fertilization, weigh off results, etc. Everyone on the list is extremely helpful and generous with information and seeds - just for the asking.
Just email Leave subject line blank. Type in “subscribe pumpkins” in the body of the email message. You may unsubscribe at any time. Additionally, The archives of this message board are a wealth of information regarding Giant Pumpkin challenges, without needing to subscribe. Search the mallorn list archives at
You will witness a lot of people asking for the best in seed genetics from all over the world and there is always someone offering their seeds for the price of postage. Check it out. This is how I chose the dark orange genes of my pumpkins this year.
Alternatively, you may mail order seeds from and for commercial stock.

I still have a couple signed copies of How-to-Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins, III. By Don Langevin if anyone is looking for the perfect gift for the gardener with a competitive spirit. List price is $29.99, sale price $22.50. Looking for a perfect stocking stuffer? I still have several new, Giant Pumpkin Weight Estimating Measuring Tapes. Measures pumpkins up to 1422 lbs ; Weights and Inches Printed on Tape; Weather Resistant; 192” (16’); Soft Fiberglass Tape; No more charts, and now, no more need to join two 10’ tapes together to measure pumpkins over 400 lbs. List price is $10.00,for Sale only $7.50 ea + S&H. I promise not to pass on a sales pitch again.

One last plea to all the local growers - PLEASE SAVE ALL YOUR SEEDS! Give me a call and I'll make arrangements to pick up your seeds whenever you are finished with your fruits. A bucket of slimy guts is fine - I'll clean them.

For those of you that requested seeds at the weigh off and provided your address and 4 stamps (or $1.25), I will be sending out seeds after February 1st. Otherwise, I have arranged to have seeds available as well at two locations: the Ravalli County Fair Office in Hamilton, and Ibey's Nursery in Missoula. These seeds will be generic without genetic information.

I hope everyone looks forward to enjoying another terrific weigh off in 2004 like we had last week. If so, I'll need an army of volunteers to help out, mostly just on the weigh off day. Please contact me by phone or email - every little bit helps. Also, I am open to any suggestions as to what should change, new ideas, what worked well, and not so well. I'm all ears - please share your view point.

Thanks everyone. I look forward to hearing from you and don't forget to check our local web log for the latest posts from folks like yourselves.

Go get your patches ready for an early start next spring.


I can't believe it! I said that I would consider myself really lucky
to be in the top 10! After seeing those huge Atlantics, I didn't figure I
made it. Yours was great, nice job!

That was really really fun...the whole operation...from germinating the
seeds to schlepping that big hummer out of the garden and down to Hamilton,
and then the event itself was a blast. What a bunch of great folks! You
obviously worked so hard to bring this off, and I know we all appreciated
it hugely.

I just have to see if I can beat you next year. Do you think that we had
an especially good growing season for big pumpkins this year?

Well, I guess you did it, I'm hooked. Now I'm looking forward to trying a
few tricks next year, honestly I didn't do a thing this year, a few shots
of Miracle Gro early on, then it was on it's own. I work hard on soil
building with extensive composting, and you see the results. I think I can beat it, given a good growing season, even without Joy Juice or whatever... We'll see!

Thanks so much for the great fun Kim, keep in touch! Tk

Monday, September 22, 2003

The following are excerpts from all the terrific emails I've received since Saturday's Weigh Off:

Kim and Mike - - Your event was a HUGE success. I just downloaded the pictures from my camera. MUST bring them to work and show them Len's pumpkin - - - gives us Dillon folks something to strive for. I was going to call you and ask how much the big one weighed - - thanks for getting the word out so quickly, and congratulations again for a GREAT event. - LB

Kim: Congratulations upon a great turnout based primarily on your efforts. Now that I know some of the tricks of the trade, next year will be fun. I believe it will take close to 600 to win and plan to be in on the finals:-)

Thanks for the great day. How do we get a few seeds from some of the bigger punkins around the country? Yours were fine. - Don Don, the internet is the best resource to find all the information and contacts for seeds. Visit the or websites for further links. A National Message Board/Mailing List of the heavy hitters: send a message to Type in “subscribe pumpkins” in the body of email. Leave subject line blank. The archives of this message board are a wealth of information regarding Giant Pumpkin challenges, without needing to subscribe. Search the mallorn list archives at

Hi, how was the pumpkin contest? I wish I would have gotten to you sooner and hitched a ride with someone. Next year. We did great. We got two pumpkins! Actually three, but the first one only got so big and then rotted. Don't know why, but the two we have are beauties, way bigger than any pumpkin we have ever grown before!! The one is bigger, about 100 pounds and a beauty---they are both beauties! Plus we have other pumpkins like we never have before. I think it was the suggestion about plenty of water and fertilizer that did it. Before my partner (he's the one who takes care of them) thought that pumpkins needed little water, but after I showed him your email about watering, he started watering alot, and that is why I think we got so many this year. Won't have to buy any for Jack o' lanterns! Thank you for the informative emails!! I will take the digital camera and get a photo and send it your way.

I think next year you should promote the pumpkin weigh off, at least just with the media. I would call the Missoulian and the TV stations, and I bet they would do a little story about it. I really think so.

So until next year, thanks for all your help!! - RV

Sunday, September 21, 2003

All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW!
On Saturday, 9/20, we staged the 2nd Annual Bitterroot Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off in Hamilton, MT - and what an event it was! All aspects of this event exceeded my expectations - the weather, the crowd, the pumpkin entries, and did I mention the pumpkin entries?

Congratulations to Len Ballek for growing a monster at 500Lbs!!!

Len grew the new Montana State Record for 2003. Will he be able to defend his title next year?

Last year we staged our first event and were thrilled with 12 entries from 8 growers for an average of 109.5 lbs. All tolled, 2003, we had 30 growers (25 1st time growers!), 34 pumpkin entries ranging from 7lbs to 500lbs for an average weight of 162.5. Amazingly, 10 pumpkins were over 200lbs!

Competition Class

Place Name Weight

1 Len and Kiana Ballek 500
2 Mike Violette 446
3 Kim and Mike Thomas 410
4 Mike Violette 348
5 Tad Kolwicz 335
6 Mason Simmons 325
7 Annalivia Bishop 309
8 Don Coon 309
9 Tanner Thomas 291
10 Diane Kenski 253
11 Elise Estus 188
12 Jane and Steve Stoll 167
13 Brit Brintnall 162
14 Sedona Gaudin 136
15 Pat Sweeney 125
16 Kathleen Freeman 118
17 Dave Moak 112
18 Clarence Fogel 99
19 Khyley and Tiffany Haugan 89.5
20 Laurence Dempsey 86.5
21 Pat Fosse 80.5
22 David and Tanya Stickler 77.5
23 Henry and Helen Garber-Madeen 74
24 Laurie Blinn 68
25 Adin Kloetzel 64.5
26 Cindy King 60.5
27 Chance and Lily Sage 60
28 David and Tanya Stickler 42
29 Laurie Blinn 41
30 Thelma Wesson 39.5

Exhibition Class
1 Shawn Keele 77
2 Chris Fisk 12.5
3 Tyler Coorough 11
4 Amber Ibey 7.0

Honorable Mention Category
Kim Thomas – for the prettiest pumpkin
Chris Fisk – for traveling the furthest: 185 miles

Thursday, September 18, 2003

OK Everyone,
We're so close to our weigh off day and I'm thrilled with the inquiries and questions this week from several new growers. It's going to be a terrific afternoon, I just know it.
Bring the whole family, there will be food/drinks, activities for the kiddos, and of course the Corn Field Maze.
Come one, come all. Bring your pumpkins, large and small. There will be something for everyone.
Please, please make a point of finding me and introducing yourself - I'd like to meet as many folks as possible. Please sign in to join our e-mailing list to share pumpkin related triumphs and tragedies, questions and concerns.
I look forward to Saturday's fun!

Friday, September 12, 2003

I received one of your giant pumpkin plants as a premium from KUFM last year. I have one really big pumpkin that I'm thinking of bringing down Sept. 20th, but am faced with a few obstacles. The vines attack me anytime I get near this monstrous plant, and I'm afraid to move it since I'll have to destroy about half the plant. I am also wondering how in the heck I'm going to get this thing into a car (If it even fits in my subaru). And when I get there how will I get it out? Any suggestions? I haven't estimated the weight yet because I get such a horrible rash everytime I go near the plant.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you can offer!



I'm thrilled you've had such success! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Sounds like you've craeted a monster!

To answer a few of your questions...


Secondly - Wearing long sleeves and garden gloves, use a sharp knife or pruners to cut back just those leaves that are in your way when accessing your pumpkin. I have to do this in order to reach mine as well.

Thirdly - In order to move the pumpkin(s), the best way is to use a sturdy blanket or tarp(s). With the help of a friend of two, gently roll/lift one side of the pumpkin and scoot the tarp underneath. Then roll it back onto the tarp and pull the tarp edges up. This creates an easy way for several people to lift any size pumpkin - as though it were in a hammock.
We will engage all the growers to help eachother unload their pumpkins at the weigh off as well as moving them to the scales. We'll help get you loaded back up at the end of the weigh off too.

I'll give you the phone number of another accomplished grower in Missoula and perhaps the Missoula folks could all help eachother out. I know there will be some Bitterroot folks helping eachother as well. We're all in this together!

Please call me if there are any more obstacles to your participation. We want you there and I'm certain you will be a worthy contender!

Good luck,Kim