NH Ag in the Classroom Newsletter



In This Issue
Pumpkin's in NH
The Bookshelf
Quick Links
Great site for games, facts, lessons, and so much more.


NH Giant Pumpking Growers Association.
NOVEMBER 19, 2010 

Annual "NH Grazing Feast"
Join us for an evening of live music, NH Wine & Cheese tasting,
 locally grown, deliciously prepared harvest foods,
and a silent auction, to raise funds for our programs.

You will graze throughout the vineyard's beautiful dining facility, eating a variety of NH foods at each spot and getting a chance to meet the farmer who has grown or produced your evening's food.

 Tickets may be purchased by calling our office at 603-224-1934.

To see more of the vineyard location, log onto

Welcome to September, back to school, cooler temps, and the changing colors. 

At New Hampshire Agriculture In The Classroom we are changing also.  In 2010 we have added new enthusiastic board members and recently elected new officers.  Our long time,  Educational Director has resigned after 13 years.  We thank you, Lisa, for your dedicated and faithful service to our cause, and wish you all the best in the future. The office  remains open as we seek applicants for the position of NH State Coordinator of NHAITC. More information is available on our website.

Please enjoy our pumpkin theme this month.  As our guest writer mentions, there are a few fairs left to check out the giant pumpkin competitions, plus the biggest at The Big E later in the month at Springfield, Mass. The fascination evidenced by the crowds at these contests is a great testament of the genuine interest out there in the food we grow, plenty to inspire teachers and parents alike of how  teaching and discovering more about agriculture right  in the traditional lessons can vividly color up the whole learning experience. We have included a starter list of books, visuals, websites.

We encourage you to contact us for more ways to find teaching tools about pumpkins and other subjects. We are here to provide resources to you and welcome your suggestions of how we can better serve our youngsters through you.  NHAITC is part of a National organization and so we access to a vast array of curricula, more than we can contain in our Concord office, but all available by mouse clicks. Locally, we also have  passionate  and knowledgeable folks who will be thrilled to visit classes to share their fields of interest and livelihoods.

Please make note our new email address: nhaitc@nhfarmbureau.org
We look forward to hearing from you.        
Jozi Best, President
Hello Giant Pumpking Fans
pumpkinThe New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association has had another trying year. The last few growing seasons have been cold and wet and this year it's been the opposite. Most of our growers usually overcome most weather disasters. That was evident when Bill Rodonis grew a new state record giant pumpkin weighing in at 1,566 pounds.
            This year we were able to get our plants in the garden early and get a head start with the warm May we had. We normally hand pollinate our pumpkins when the female flowers are ready around the end of June and early July. This year many growers were able to pollinate two weeks ahead of schedule. We hand pollinate all our pumpkins to ensure a giant pumpkin cross. Growers also hand pollinate to introduce different genes to their pumpkin that may help improve the wall thickness or enhance color.
            This growing season was a hot dry one. When growing giant pumpkins that's not always a bad thing. This allows the growers to control the amount of water the plant and fruit can take up to help avoid splitting of the pumpkin. Problems arise when ponds and wells go dry and an external water source must be found. Some growers were even faced with town water restrictions. Another problem that plagued growers was the over abundance of insects. On cold wet years we have to worry about diseases and root rots and on dry years we have worry about insects. With the warm days and nights insects can breed around the clock.
            One bug in particular that giant pumpkin growers do not like is the squash vine borer, the SVB for short. The SVB is a white worm that hatches out of an egg laid by a red and black moth the size of a hornet. The eggs are usually laid on the main vine, leaf stems or petiole and also on the fruit. Once inside the plant they eat the plant from the inside out eventually killing the plant. Pesticides are in effective once they have entered the plant. Many growers are working with UNH Agriculture Extension Specialist George Hamilton as monitoring sights. George has set many growers up with special SVB traps. These traps are scattered around the state and it allows us to see where there are high populations are also lets us know when they have started hatching out of the ground. It was thought that there was only SVB damage done in July but with Georges research and the help of many growers with the special traps we have found SVB flying around as early as June and as late as September with a few as far as October.
            Now here it is the end of the season. Fall is here, a time all giant pumpkin growers look forward to. Its Fair time and Weigh Off season is about to begin, time to put the fruit on the scale. The New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association is involved in a lot of weigh offs that you can go see. Our pumpkins are weighed and displayed at the Hillsborough County Fair, Deerfield Fair, Milford Pumpkin Festival and the Goffstown Weigh Off and Regatta where in Goffstown they are hollowed out and made into boats and raced up and down the Pascatisqua River. If you can't make it to one of the weigh off sites they are also displayed at Demers Garden Center in Manchester NH.
            This year I hope you can make it out to one of our weigh offs and see our State Fruit as well as maybe witness a new state record being weighed. It's a lot of fun, you and your kids will be amazed at the size of these fruits as they get on the scale. At the same time you can get tips and advice from growers, fact sheets, and membership information and at some events free seed.
Thank you,                                                                                          
Robert E Demers
President NHGPGA
I Like Pumpkins book4
By Jerry Smath,
This wonderful ryhming book is great for early reading skill development, and has 5 fun puzzles that reinforce comprehension skills. 
The Pumpkin Circle
pumpkin book
By George Levenson 
This wonderful book covers the pumpkin cycle in a backyard pumpkin patch.  Great for science class, complete with a poster, a lesson plan and a package of seeds.  Also available in a video.


In A Pumpkin Shell
By Jennifer Storey Gillis
A great teacher resource, filled with great facts, activites, recipes and more. This is a must for every bookshelf! Also on loan from NHAITC in our pumpkin unit.
Too Many Pumpkinsbook3
By Mary Lyn Ray
This NH author tells the story of a man learning that the field he loves is going for sale.  He goes to great lengths to save it. When he can't find enough money he plants a huge pumpkin patch.  Ray uses this story to emphasize conservation and what just one person can do to improve their world locally and globally. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is sure to please all ages.
From Seed to Pumpkin
Bybook1 Wendy Pffefer
For grades PreS-Gr. 2. This book is part of a great group of books entitled, the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out series.  With just the right level of explaination for young children, the book explains and shows how a pumpkin plant grows. The illustrations alone make the book but the children in the story add the "charm".
*For a list of more books on pumpkins click on the 
 pumpkin picture.  pumpkin
*Pumpkins contain potassium &
  Vit. A
*Pumpkin flowers are edible.
*The largest pumpkin pie ever 
  made was over 5' in diameter & weighed
  over 350 lbs. It used 80 lbs of cooked pumpkin, 36 lbs
  of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

*In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an
  ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
*Pumpkins were once recommended for removing 
  freckles & curing snake bites.
*The largest pumpkin ever grown,(so far) weighed   
  1,725 lbs
*Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
*Native Americans used pumpkins as a staple in their 
  diet.  They flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them
  and made mats, & used pumpkins as bowls. They also
  used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
*Pumpkins are grown all over the world on six of the
  seven continents, with Antarctica being the sole
  exception. They are even grown in Alaska!
*The self proclaimed "Pumpkin Capital of the World" is
  Morton, Illinois where Libby has its pumpkin industry.
*Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central 
  America. Seeds from related plants have been found
  in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C.