Chad New of Colorado Giants has faced quite a few challenges in his pursuit of a unique goal: to grow giant pumpkins in his region of the US.
Farming competition-worthy gourds at a high elevation during intensely hot summer days (and contrastingly cold nights) isn’t exactly what you’d call ideal. However, he hasn’t let that stop him and his hobby farm from having a successful first season in his new Nor’Easter Greenhouse.
We caught up with Chad for the first time since he completed the greenhouse set-up earlier this summer to answer an important question: is growing giant pumpkins really possible in these conditions?
Reaching New Heights In The Mile High State
When we asked Chad to sum up the season so far, his answer was short and sweet:
“So far, so good.”
Despite a late start this year and a fair share of undesirable weather, Chad and his pumpkin patch have enjoyed a seamless first season under cover of his 34’ x 72’ Nor’Easter High Tunnel—and the proof is in the pumpkins.
In mid-August, Colorado Giant’s largest gourd weighed in at a whopping 850 pounds.
“I’ve had growth over 40 lbs in 24 hours,” Chad said of the crops’ day-to-day progress. “That’s very good for me, especially in Colorado where we’re growing at over a mile in elevation. It’s exceptional.”
The growth hasn’t shown any signs of stopping yet either, and Chad is hoping to hit at least 1,000 pounds by the start of the Colorado fair season this fall.
Keeping Pumpkin Pests At Bay
In Chad’s experience growing pumpkins in Colorado, one challenge in particular stood out above the rest: pest control.
Luckily, the protective poly covering over this year’s patch has made a world of difference in keeping unwanted visitors away.
“The last two years, bugs have been the bane of my existence,” Chad said of previous seasons spent without a greenhouse. “To not have to worry about squash bugs this year has been very nice!”
On top of that, Chad has enjoyed the overall level of control he’s been able to exert over the environment within the Nor’Easter, as well as the shelter it has offered his crops from high-speed winds common in his mountainous neck of the woods.
Gearing Up For Competition Season
At this stage in the season, the most difficult part of the process has passed. Now, Chad is keeping a close watch on his indoor pumpkin patch and biding his time until the first giant pumpkin competition in Colorado begins at the end of September.
In fact, the final struggle Chad anticipates for the weeks ahead has nothing to do with the growing process—and everything to do with getting the hefty plants from A to B: “The biggest hurdle I foresee now is moving the pumpkins out!”
The roll-up door Chad installed in his Nor’Easter will provide a sizable opening for the pumpkins to make their exit, but it will be up to him to select an apparatus for getting the heavy gourds through it.
Subscribe to Chad’s YouTube Channel to see how he tackles this last challenge this September!