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Feature Growers

Bill Susa knows how to grow them small. Small is good when you are growing miniature pumpkins like Bill does. But Bill grows them for competition and when competing with these little beauties, weight does not count at all. Looks is the name of the game.

Bill lives outside of Frederick, Maryland. He has been growing JBL's and sugar pumpkins for five years. He has been growing Atlantic Giants for two years and is now hooked on those too! Bill's wife, Sue enjoys watching the pumpkins grow and develop. She likes to watch Bill get them ready for competition. He belongs to the Pa. Giant Pumpkin Growers Assn., PNWGPG and the Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth. Aside from growing pumpkins, Bill also finds time to grow sweet corn, giant sweet corn, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, carrots, lettuce and some herbs.

He has been winning blue ribbons for years at the county fair. His favorites are a small sugar (Baby Pam) which is round and a bit larger than his other favorite- Jack-Be-Little (JBL). After five years of growing, Bill has quite a few tricks and he shared some of them with me so I can pass them along to you.

"What you need is well proportioned 'lil guys" says Bill, "without the normal bumps and scarring."

Here is a picture of Bill with an Atlantic Giant last year. I teased him
about having pictures with an AG, but none with his prized JBL's.
He promised me a picture this year.

Here are the Susa family's blue ribbon winning JBL pumpkins at the County Fair last fall.

Here are Bill's small sugar pumpkins(Baby Pam)Bill placed fourth with his entry.

Here is Bill and his daughter(?) Pammy with Bill's blue ribbon JBL's and sugar pumpkins.

Bill and his family, like the rest of us, enjoy Halloween. Here is a picture of his house and yard last year.

As you can see from these pictures, Bill grows all sizes of pumpkins, but the miniature varieties are his pride and joy. This pride shows through with the great success he has had.

Here are some of Bill's tips to help you win a blue ribbon or two yourself with miniature pumpkins varieties:

  1. Train the vine for easy access to all areas of the plant.

  2. Use insecticides and fungicides on a regular basis. Be careful not to decimate the bee population.

  3. Fertilize every other week with a balanced foliar.(Seaweed/Fish would be great).

  4. When the pumpkins are set, grow the baby pumpkin on a bed of sand. This helps keep the pumpkin dry and reduces blemishes on the ground side of the pumpkin.

  5. Train other vines away from promising young prospects. Contact with leaves and vines can scar the fruit.

When preparing the pumpkins for competition:

  1. Wash and dry

  2. Select the nicest, well proportioned ones without scars or blemishes.

  3. Line them up and match them by size and color.

  4. Shine them with a household wax and head off to the fair.  


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