Fall Forward: Giant Pumpkin-Growing Forum

Is this the year you win the top prize at Irvine Park Railroad's pumpkin contest?

FALLING FORWARD? It's not something we're inclined to do, especially since "fall back" and "spring forward" are so emblazoned upon our minds. But when it isn't time for Daylight Saving Time, and we're free to say "fall forward" instead of "fall back," if we like, well, we shall, especially when you want to move forward to fall and some of its most iconic activities. Take the growing of giant pumpkins, for happy example. A gourd that's several hundred pounds doesn't simply appear on the vine in a matter of hours or days, nope. Rather, it is a summer-long process, one that actually begins before summer arrives for many people, meaning that this autumnal activity, the cultivation of giant pumpkins, is as tied to springtime as it is to September and October. Which is all to say this: We're falling forward, as in leaping forward to fall, on the first Saturday of May 2018. That's when a special pumpkin growers' forum will take place, and if you know your competitive pumpkin-themed showdowns around Southern California, you can guess the spot.

IRVINE PARK RAILROAD... in Orange is the place, and the May 5 gathering at the attraction's Miners Meadow will give those who attend "... an overview of how to grow a giant pumpkin from seed to harvest, including starting the seeds, plant maintenance, fertilizing, and getting your giant pumpkin to the September weigh-off at Irvine Park Railroad." The forum's start time? It's 10 a.m., and everything should be zipped up well before lunchtime, by 11:30. Have you been mulling an interesting family project for the summer, beyond cleaning out the garage and painting the bathroom? You could all raise a prize-winning pumpkin together, having a fine vine, er, time, while you grow for the glory. And if you're one of the first 30 families to sign in? Oh yeah: Free seedlings will be yours. Get the gourd-tastic details now, and keep your pumpkin-loving eyes on Sept. 22, 2018, the date of the Pumpkin Weigh-off at Irvine Park Railroad.

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