Bob MacKenzie poses with his 1063.5 pound world record squash and his wife Elaines 1003 pound squash, both grown in 2005.
We asked Bob MacKenzie 15 questions about growing the 1063.5 lb World Record squash. Heres what he had to say. Many thanks Bob, for answering our questions. Bob & Elaine MacKenzie are also a member of the Giant Vegetable Growers of Ontario GVGO.
What did you do in the fall to prepare your garden for the plant that grew your 1063.5 # squash?
The garden that grew the 1063.5 sat idle for the last two years. Last fall I worked a second crop of buckwheat and applied some cattle manure. I then planted a cover crop of winter wheat.
What made you decide to plant the 848 MacKenzie/04?
It was a nice looking squash and I really wanted to prove my own seed.
3. What fertilizers and organic matter did you add to your garden in the spring?
The only organic matter I added in the spring was the winter wheat (planted in the fall) that I turned under. I didn't add any other fertilizers.
4. Did you bury and prune your vines? If so, give us a few details.
I grew in the traditional Christmas tree pattern. I cut off every 3rd secondary vine and buried all secondaries and most of the main vine, except for the crown area and near the fruit. The secondaries were terminated at about 12' mark and the squash was grown on the main vine in a bed of fine sand.
5. During the season, tell us what type and amounts of fertilizers you used?
I didn't use any chemical fertilizers. I only used Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed. Once a week in the peak of the growing season I would mix 150 ml of fish and 150 ml of seaweed together and apply it to the entire plant. About once a week I would mix 30 ml of Chelated Calcium and 60 ml of seaweed in 4 litres of water. I would apply 2 litres of this mixture to one plant with the garden compression sprayer.
6. How were your Fertilizers applied?
Through a hose end applicator.
7. How did you water your plant? By hand, underground, sprinklers, etc?
We have a spring on the farm that trickles water out along the side of a hill. I have tapped into this spring with plastic pipe. I have a 500-gallon plastic tank on a wagon that I park under the pipe. When the tank is full, I drive it up to the garden. To water I hook up a Honda pressure pump to the tank and apply the water using a 1-1/2" fire hose. I sort of turn the nozzle to a wide fan like spray and apply it using low pressure (engine just idling) over the entire plant.
8. During the peak period, what was the average amount of water (gallons per day) you used to feed the 1063.5?
About 70 gallons of MacKenzie spring water per day.
9. What type of insecticide and fungicide did you use?
I used Sevin for the Cucumber Beetles. The fungicide I used was Funginex. I also used Horticultural Oil & Baking Soda @ 1 Tbsp each per gallon of water.
10. What was the weather like in your area? Wet/Dry, Cold/ Hot?
It was a very hot and dry summer.
11. What was the size of your 1063.5 plant, in sq ft?
It was around 800 sq ft.
12. What were the average daily weight gains during the peak period?
The 1063.5 was a long and steady grower and never exceeded over 25 lbs per day.
13. Did you cover the squash and if so, what kind of shade structure did you use?
Yes, the squash was covered using a wooden shade structure that I save from year to year. It has a tarp attached to it and two people can put it up in 10 minutes.
14. What were the 2 most important factors that helped you grow the 1063.5 lb squash?
I believe that by not using chemical fertilizers and using Neptune's Harvest products helped a lot. I also believe that the genetics in the 848 was a major contributing factor. I think this seed has a lot of potential.
15. Last, but not least. What would you do differently next year, if anything? Explain.
I'm going to try and get my soil in better condition. I have already added twice as much manure as last year and have started a larger compost pile.