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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 309 Entries.
Sunday, January 1 View Page
"In the end, it's extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more than that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don't win, how can you lose?"- Jesse Owens
 
Sunday, January 1 View Page
Happy New Year! I wanted to start things off with a quote I thought applied to the sport of growing these things we call the Atlantic Dill. For 2012 I'll be growing in two areas, the same spot as last year and in a new area I cleared out last October in the SW corner. Two AG's can be grown in that new patch and have 30ft by 30ft each. I can also fit in a field pumpkin and still have room to spare. Last year I grew Sugar Pie pumpkins in this area, however..........It got hit by deer on more than one occasion. That's going to take a small investment in heavy duty deer netting, a fox decoy? and scent deterrent of a special kind an avid hunter (Dale Roberts of Keizer,OR) recommended. Good Luck to everyone!
 
Sunday, January 1 View Page
In addition to 3 AG's, I'm adding 5 to 6 Long Gourds. So far the line-up will most definitely include the 115.88 Boyce 2009. Thank you Dan and Holly Boyce in Benson, Vermont. Two super cool people that shared their knowledge of growing gourds with me the last few months! I cant wait to see what I can do with the right seed! Here they are with the 124.38 Boyce 2011 LG. WOW that is a monster of a gourd! Going to be tough to replicate that!
 
Sunday, January 1 View Page
Definitely have the itch to get started! I've been turning the compost pile started last October. Shredded maple leaves, grass clippings, and manure! Have yet to finalize a pumpkin line-up as yet, but this season will be a huge improvement over last years. How can you not top a personal best of 379.5LBS?? Last seasons Atlantic Dill was grown off of the feed store type seed sold at garden stores and nurseries. With the right sort of seed, which is in hand, I've no dought this year is going to be a fun ride!
 
Sunday, January 1 View Page
Memories of last season. This sat outside the main entrance of Lowe's in Salem, Oregon for nearly a full month! Howard Dill Award 2011 and 379.5LBS. I think I'm going to top that for sure.
 
Sunday, January 1 View Page
Turned the three yards worth of compost today and found these two pumpkin sprouts growing up out of the pile. And I use the word "grow" loosely.
 
Monday, January 2 View Page
Another step closer to the upcoming season......You know it's getting closer to spring when you take your Christmas lights down. January, February and March still left. I hope it goes by quick!
 
Wednesday, January 4 View Page
2011 was a good year for me. I learned a ton of information and it will be applied in the patches in 2012. For a first year grower, I have to say I am pleased to have recieved the Howard Dill Award from Bauman Farms. This season....I have to say I want more!
 
Thursday, January 5 View Page
Ok so this is what you do after the growing season is over. You start by doing things you need to get done for the soil and when that's done, put your woodworking skills to some good use. This germination chamber measures 48" wide 24" Deep and 24" Tall. There are three 75 watt light bulbs daisy chained together with an 8ft lamp replacement cord. The plug is connected to a lamp dimmer, to control the brightness of the bulbs (or temperature in this case). When the bulbs were turned all the way up, the temperature reached 80 degrees. A couple of old electric blankets over the door raised it to 85 degrees with the dimmer turned down just a tad.
 
Thursday, January 5 View Page
Well I've had a request for the plans, but since I don't "draw" very well, I thought I'd use a photoshop program and show how I built my grow chamber. This one's been built before and I am sure the idea was Don Langavins book World Class Giant Pumpkins Vol. III This will be a box 2ft x 4ft (4) Sheets 2ftx4ft Plywood (3) 1 x 3 x 8ft 2 pieces plexiglass 21.5" x 18" 48" Piano hinge 3 porcelain light fixtures 3 75W Bulbs Eye Hooks Weather Stripping Clear window caulking
 
Thursday, January 5 View Page
Here's how I attached the door to the box. Be careful to line-up the hinge to the plywood, there isn't much wiggle room and be sure to use all the screws that come with the hinge! I used Stanley 2 1/2" Mending Brace to strengthen the door joints and drilled small holes in the plexiglass to accept small wood screws to the frame and then caulked all the seems on the inside and used foamboard adhesive to attach the foam.
 
Thursday, January 5 View Page
These light fixtures can pretty much be found in any hardware store, and they can be daisy chained together with an 8ft lamp cord. The lamp cord you can find at Home Depot or Lowe's in the Fashion Lighting area where they would sell replacement parts for lamps. You just have to cut the lamp wire, strip it and attach it to each. The plug end was plugged into a "Lamp Dimmer" (looks like a dimmer switch on your wall, except its on a cord). I use this to help control the temperature. This can be found where they sell switches and outlets.
 
Friday, January 6 View Page
OK so for all the things I didn't do right last year this was one of them! About a month ago I test germinated five from my 379LB Swearingen 2011 and went 5 for 5 after 96 hours. Those were planted directly into seed starting mix (80 degrees) after filing. This is a new method for me and I'm sure this will cut down on the length of time it takes to germinate. The air temp inside the box is 77deg and inside the paper towel (moistened) is 85 degrees. Seeds were filed this time as well, in addition to soaking them for two hours in a hydrogen peroxide solution. I'll put money they sprout in 48 hours....(crossing fingers)
 
Monday, January 9 View Page
After a long day of running and chasing around the yard, I think she gets about as tired as I do. Annie usually jumps up here to claim her "spot" until I'm done stuffing my head with more pumpkin knowledge! In other news, my paper towel method didn't look like it was going to budge. I may give it another whack, but when it comes time to do the real deal, starting directly in a good sterilzed starting mix may be the best way to go. Thanks to Cindy in Littlerock, WA for the great tips!
 
Tuesday, January 10 View Page
Well here goes seed germination Part Deux. On some advice from scott_kim_west_iowa, I put some plastic this time over the pots to help hold in the moisture to keep it from drying out. I tested the germination chamber after it was built using the peat pots shown here and went 5 for 5 that took about a little under 96 hours to break soil. And just for grins I put two using the paper towel method on the shelf above the lights. The last ones I'm sure got cooked at 91 degrees sitting too close to the bulbs. The orange pail inside is half filled with water just to see if that raises the humidity level any.
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
48 degrees and sunny out today! Thought it would be a good time to give the compost pile a good turning. When it was newer last November that pile was almost chest high and about 10 feet long and about 6 feet wide and 4 feet high. It's now down to about 3ft high, 8ft long and 5ft wide. It was dry enough that I could run the John Deere and collect up a load of grass clippings. The compost pile cooled down to 80 degrees. Grass clippings= Nitrogen!
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
10 days ago when I turned the pile I found two pumpkin sprouts. Those things were getting really leggy for sure. Now I see that it's true that the seedling has enough energy to start on it's own and doesn't need any special ferts to get going. Looks like all the proof I need!
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
Mt Jefferson as seen from the pumpkin patch 58 miles away. The snow never completely melts off, but is mostly gone by mid-September. I tend to keep an eye on it during the summer. When the snow is almost gone, it close to weigh-off time.
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
A little update on the grow chamber. The air temperature is 72 deg. Inside the peat pot where I keep a thermometer probe it's 80 degrees. The saran wrap covering the tops of the pots seems to be doing a good job of holding in the warmth and moisture. And the pail of water I put in there has taken the humidity level up a bit. It's at 70%. When I test fired this thing a couple months ago, humidity never went above 58% .......Practice, practice, practice!
 
Thursday, January 12 View Page
In Don Langavins book, How to Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins Vol. III.....There is perhaps one of my favorite quotes, that a good giant pumpkin grower has to have "balls of stone." http://www.bigpumpkins.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=66 I tried this seed starting method and I'm not sure that I have 'em like that with seed. I did test the method and started a couple like that last night at 7pm and now at 26 hours later.....wow.....they germinated!
 
Friday, January 13 View Page
60 hours ago I planted 2 seeds directly into starting soil in the germ chamber. This morning at 8am they have germinated and have shoots 1/2" long. This makes 7 for 7 when starting them directly in starting soil. There are 2 more that haven't germinated via the paper towel method (seed coat on) set in at the same time as the ones in soil. Four that were set inside a paper towel on the 11th (seed coat removed) looks to be starting off really slow.
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
Just a couple hours under 4 days and it's broke through the soil. It's Miracle Gro seed starting mix in a 12" peat pot, but from the real thing in April, I may go with Jiffy or just use Miracle Gro seed starter. The jury is still out....Got to get a grow light on the seedling and I will adjust the temperature down to 70 to 75.
 
Sunday, January 15 View Page
About one inch of snow fell last night. From the way the forecasters we calling it I'd say they just about had it right. This will most likely be the only snow for the year down on the Willamette Valley floor this year. Annie doesn't get to see very much snow, but she seems to enjoy it!
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
5 days plus three hours later the cotyledon on this one is about to spread. I'll get the grow light rig built tomorrow. It'll need it as soon as I get it built. I'll be using a couple 24" 2 T12 shop light fixtures and 20 watt "GE Sunshine" full spectrum bulbs, a total of 4 bulbs since I'll have more than one plant in there when I start the real deal. Also need to get a cpu fan to move the air a bit.
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
Almost forgot to post this picture! She looked like she had a blast today!
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
So here's my way of getting the seedling light. I connected (2) 24" T12 Strips with 14-2 gauge wire. The one on the right just plugged right into the orange connection. The left side was just a small modification (CUTTING OFF THE ORANGE PLUG).....Connect the 14-2 coming in from the right to the black, white, and lamp wire. Remember Black to black and white to white. And I double checked with my electrical pro at work, so everything is kosher!
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
Next I hung the rig with some #3 Double loop chain and some Stanley screw eyes. The temperature looks like it will be just about right, 77 or 78 degrees when I closed everything up. I'll check it later to make sure I'm not cooking the plant. The fluorescent lights used are GE 24" T12 Sunshine full spectrum.
 
Monday, January 16 View Page
Nice and snug at 78 degrees. Looks I may just have this thing down pat!
 
Tuesday, January 17 View Page
The cotyledons have totally opened. This is 24 hours later that the previous post. I've transplanted to a larger 2 gallon container and this has me considering just planting directly into this size container or larger. I did'nt disturb the roots (too much) but why do that when you dont have to. That stem also grew about an inch since yesterday, and there's now only about 2" between the seedling and the lights. I think I need a bigger box! The good news is that the first true leaf is just starting to grow. It's about a 1/4" long, nestled in betweeen the cotyledons!
 
Tuesday, January 17 View Page
It's a sizzlin day outside, so I thought it would be a good time to get ahead on some prep for the patches!
 
Wednesday, January 18 View Page
I don't know whether to be surprised or concerned? This was taken this morning about 930am after the grow lights (which is on a timer set for 6am to 6pm) had been on for 3 1/2 hours. The stem grew about another inch out of the starting medium and the cotyledons looked like they close somewhat overnight. A couple hours before the lights are set to turn off, I turn the bulbs back on for heat overnight since the temperature inside the shop is only 45 degrees. Maybe too much bottom heat? I'll set the grow lights to stay on a little longer (6a to 11pm) and leave the bulbs for bottom heat off and see what happens. When only the grow lights are on the soil temp was 67 degrees. This morning before I unplugged the 75 watt bulbs (turned waaay down) the soil temperature was 85.
 
Wednesday, January 18 View Page
I starting poking around and I came across this in a garden forum for tomato plants. With a 12 hour light on and light off schedule the plants did very well. That seems to be the middle ground to get plants going from what I ubderstand and I am by no means an expert, but that does make sense. 24 hours constant on did the worse and the 6 hour light/6 hour dark not much better.
 
Thursday, January 19 View Page
At the end of day number 9. I cooled the air temperature down to 68 degrees which is controlled by dimming the three 75 watt bulbs with the table lamp dimmer. This also keeps the soil temperature about the same. 68 degrees in the soil and the humidity is around 53%. The first true leaf has doubled in size since yesterday. Overall I would say I am very happy with how I'm doing with this so far, considering I had no clue last year and took me almost 3 weeks to get to this point. This is also being done without the use of Mycohiza which I will be using for sure in April.
 
Thursday, January 19 View Page
A shot of "the runt". Planted at the same time, it's just beginning to show it first true leaf. Both plants were starting to get a little leggy and were buried up to the cotyledons with some more potting soil. I will definitely be using larger containers to start the seeds I have planned for this season.
 
Thursday, January 19 View Page
This is about as close as it get to flooding for me. This is on Turner Road south east of Salem about 3/4 as the crow flies from my house. Hey Monster Grower, if you find yourself driving through Oregon and see a red mustang with that license plate.....it's a state trooper!
 
Friday, January 20 View Page
As if 4 giant pumpkins, long gourds, and a couple field pumpkins won't be enough! I'm also going to grow a few giant tomatoes this year. My thanks to Scott West (scott_kim_west_iowa) for the seeds. Next May the tomato seed line up will be the 4.3 Shymanski 2010 (7.18 Harp x Sib) and the 3.96 Marley (7.33 Hunt x Self). I've grown tomatoes from seed before, however this year will be alot easier with the use of the germination chamber! The current project is germinating tomato seeds, I have some beefsteak seeds from Lowe's I bought today. I'll practice with those and I'm using Jiffy seed starting mix just to have something different to play around with instead of miracle gro. The pumpkin seedlings will be ready to come out soon so this experiment is a mirror of the order with which I'll be germinating. Pumpkins first, then long gourds, field pumpkins and and finally..... tomatoes
 
Friday, January 20 View Page
I decided it was time to pull the plug on one of the seedlings to see what was going on beneath the soil. The seedling was 5 1/2" from the base of the cotyledons to the root base of the stem. This doesn't look all that bad, however I think some RTI products would do some good when it comes time for the real deal.
 
Saturday, January 21 View Page
Turned the compost pile today, about 3 yards worth. When I took the plastic covering the pile, I found a few more pumpkin sprouts. I must have missed a few seeds! I also had some sugar pie pumkins sitting in the shop since about mid September and thought it was time they found their way to the compost pile. Not much by the way of kitchen scaps here at the house, so this will have to do! I am surprised those little pumpkins lasted that long, not even a trace of mildew or rot!
 
Saturday, January 21 View Page
This thermometer comes in handy when I need to know when its a good time to turn the pile over. It has a 12" probe which helps get down a little deeper into the center of the pile. Through the winter I've been able to maintain about 110 to 120 degrees. Late last fall I had it really cooking well since I had more grass clippings to fuel the fire. When the temp drops to around 80 to 90 I give it a good turn. Since last October when the pile was started, I've turned it an average of about every two weeks. Compost amendment 2013!
 
Saturday, January 21 View Page
OK....I decided it was time to end my grand experiment at seed starting and pulled the plug on the 379 Swearingen 2011. From the base of the cotyledons to the root crown was 8 1/4". That's an Oregon State quarter for size referance. I wasn't even trying to use west coast quarters. The last picture was with a California quarter. weird. So I think my method is good, I just need to get brighter bulbs for the grow light portion. Part way through growing the seedling I repotted it in a deeper 2 gallon container and it kept growing taller. Brighter light and lowering, if not eliminating those 75 watt bulbs that provided the bottom heat in the begining.
 
Monday, January 23 View Page
Next up are tomatoes. I've had some pretty good advice about grow lights and I think there's a good possibility I may make a change to the type of bulbs. The T12's did pretty good. I might go to T8 bulbs but I don't think I'm going to be able to get those 24" strip lighting fixtures in anything smaller than T12.
 
Monday, January 23 View Page
I've read the temperature for starting tomatoes from seed is 65 with 80 being on the top end. I have two beefsteaks with and with plastic, I like my poormans walmart bags. On the far left in the previous post, are complimentary seed for giant tomatoes. We'll see where the ideal temperature ends up for me. 71 seemed to be a happy medium. That's the good thing about having those bulbs on a lamp dimmer. If I need to, I can adjust the temperature up (for giant pumpkins) and lower it when I need. That's the best part of the whole rig!
 
Tuesday, January 24 View Page
Here's a billboard that says it all. I think a few of us will be growing those seeds this year!
 
Thursday, January 26 View Page
Day 6 on the tomato testing and I found a couple in one pot and one in another sprouting above the surface. I'll let it go for another day and get the stronger grow lights on it. These are the beefsteaks. The complimentary seeds haven't sprouted yet, but could take as long as 10 days. At least it's good to know I can get tomatoes to sprout!
 
Friday, January 27 View Page
Day 7 for the tomatoes. I've adjusted the fluorescent grow lights to hang a couple inches above the seedlings. The current fluorescents are'nt going to be bright enough (ge sunshine 875 lumens) so those will get changed out as soon as I get them. Still nothing sprouted yet on the complimentary giant tomato seeds. I think the jiffy mix is drying out a litle too quickly.
 
Friday, January 27 View Page
"These folks out west grow some of the biggest pumpkins around! I see no reason that a world record pumpkin can't be grown in the Western United States this year. It takes three things to grow a world class giant pumpkin..........
 
Friday, January 27 View Page
Or maybe it was 4 four things?
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
"Last year.....Northwest Rain's pumpkin was only this big. I would be watching him this year folks, he may beat his personal best by more that a thousand pounds!"
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
Day 2. 48 Hours since they went into the seed starting mix (Miracle Gro). A third round of pumpkin seed starting. I've tested twice with last years pumpkin which is a much thinner seed coat than the ones I've been getting for 2012. I started 3 seeds that were complimentary seeds recieved when I got WCGP Vol. III and since I've no idea what the hierarchy is or what it came from, I figured they would be fine to test with. (Don Langavins Private Collection) After a careful check, the three seeds placed in 4" black plastic pots have germinated and 2 of the 3 have tap roots about an inch. The third is a little behind with a 1/2" tap root. I'll leave them alone now that I know they've all germinated. Lowered the fluorescent lights to a couple inches above the tomatoes, (the coated beefsteak seed I bought at Lowes). The complimantary seed that came with Marvin Meisners "Giant Tomatoes" have yet to show signs of life. **Black plastic pots retaining the heat better?
 
Sunday, January 29 View Page
"Northwest Rain......a second year grower has spent the winter learning and gaining knowledge about how to grow the Atlantic Dill. He realizes that chemical fertilizers have their place. He's worked hard to prepare the soil, his OWN soil and will not use property owned by the American taxpayers at the White House. He will rely on his own knowledge and that of other growers that has been shared with him."
 
Tuesday, January 31 View Page
Day 5 and here's where I'm at. The most aggressive of the 3 seedlings has broken through the seed starting mix. They germinated in about 48 hours, the seed was planted at an angle and when it broke through, it left the seed coat behind. It completely shucked it off, very cool! I think I've got this down. I modified the light set up. Since it was such a hassle to adjust the height of the fluorescent lights, I used some 3/4 cherry wood I had for scrap and made a table of sorts so I can adjust the height a little bit easier. This will be useful when the plant gets bigger.
 
Tuesday, January 31 View Page
Day 11 for the giant tomato seeds. This one is the beefsteak I planted and there is one right next to it that is from an uncoated giant tomato "Mega Marv?" It seemed to lag behind but has caught right up. So I'm good on my tomato strating method.....Preseason training camp is just about done for me. Ready to start the regular season!
 
Tuesday, January 31 View Page
This is the third pumpkin seed that was from Don Langevins "private collection". What I've noticed is that the seedling is alot less leggy with a more robust root system. The brighter lights, no bottom heat, and keeping the air temperature between 70 and 80 has made a big difference. The next seeds to go in will be my line up seeds. Going 10 for 10 on pumpkin seeds, I'm confident my method is about as good as it's going to get. All the long hours reading everything I could find about seed starting is paying off...
 
Thursday, February 2 View Page
"Yezzz guys and girls......I will grow giant pumpkins where I want and however I wantzzzz!"
 
Thursday, February 2 View Page
"Giant pumpkins will be grown in the Pacific Northwest West this year! We're experianced, competent, and savvy growers. We WILL grow em big!"
 
Thursday, February 2 View Page
Potted up a couple of the unknown giant pumpkin seeds from the "private collection" from Don Langevin. These did really well in th the black plastic pots. The roots weren't bad at all. Very aggressive and if they were left in the small pot they would have been root bound for sure. Adjusted the shelf holding the pot up to the light, I can now raise or lower the plant distance from the light much easier. Much better to just have the light hang in one spot, leave it there and adjust the seedlings height from the bottom!
 
Friday, February 3 View Page
Day 8 for the giant pumpkin seeds. The seedlings are growing really well, when I potted them up to the peat pot in the previous post, I mixed in some pumpkin pro. I'd like to take this plant about as long as I can. This will be the third and final round of seed testing. 60 degrees outside today and clear skies. Just about felt like spring. I took advantage of the dry weather and went to pick up a yard of one of my favorite bulk product from Terra Garden Nursery, OMRI Organic mulch. The debris is composted at about 160°F for approx. 6 months, then sent through 3/8” screens. The composting process makes it free from weed seeds, and is thus a sterile product, however, it still adds nitrogen to the soil. It works well as compost in gardens or as a soil additive to loosen up clay soil. It can also be used as a top dressing for flowerbeds as an alternative to bark dust.
 
Monday, February 6 View Page
Spent some time outside in the garden this afternoon after work. The tripod from the end of my 2011 diary has been dismantled and turned into a planter box (on the right) for marigolds. I figured that would be a good spot nestled in between the tomato rows and the area for the garden peas (left). This year I'll be "rotating crops" Closest to furthest away Box #1 last year was lettuce (now it's tomatoes) Box #2 last year tomatoes same as this year Box #3 last year cucumbers this year spinach Box #4 last year spinach this year lettuce
 
Monday, February 6 View Page
Day 11 on the third and final round of seed starting. This is seedling #1 with a very nice first true leaf, just barley visible in the picture is the second leaf. There are giant tomato seedlings behind the peat pots the pumpkins are in and have started their set of true leaves.
 
Monday, February 6 View Page
Seedling #2 of this third round. Has it's first true leaf and will let both plants go as long as I feel I need to, too bad they'll never produce a pumpkin, but I had to practice with something. Better to practice with something I knew was from a giant, but wise to practice with something with unknown genetics or lineage. These last two pumpkin seedlings will be the last I play around with now that I have my method of seed starting down. I'll start the 2012 pumpkin line-up in miracle gro seed starting mix with an addition of Pumpkin pro three weeks prior to seed starting.
 
Tuesday, February 7 View Page
My 39th birthday today. Spent the day at work, topped the day off with a 2 hour long department manager meeting, putting me an hour past my scheduled time off when it was done! Thanks for the overtime Lowe's.....
 
Wednesday, February 8 View Page
Day 12 for the pumpkin seedling now turning into a real pumpkin plant. Second true leaf starting to gain some ground. I'll be out of room really soon, so the next part of the testing will be to get it into a bigger container and under a light outside the box.
 
Wednesday, February 8 View Page
Day 12 for seedling #2 as well. Air temperature inside the chamber has been a constant 72 degrees. Soil temperature in the peat pots is at 70 degrees. Looks like a real giant pumpkin plant too! I keep kicking myself for not starting out this way last year. The first true leaf was just barely starting to show when I stuck last years into the ground in mid-May, thrown to the elements without much hardening off at all. If this was mid April, these plants would be getting some sunshine and fresh air for a couple hours a day. The germination box is for sure doing what it's supposed to do and I think after I'm done with this last round I'll be ready. Can't afford to play around like last year. Spending all winter reading and studying about these things has been worth it.
 
Thursday, February 9 View Page
Day 13 on the seedlings and finally moved them out of the grow box to what will be a temporary home before a pumpkin plant gets transplanted to the patch. Picked up a bigger grow light to keep more plants under. (4) T8's GE Sunshine, went with that this time because the light output is higher than the T12 I was using before. It's brighter and is full spectrum, they wont be there for long though. When they reach this point they'll be about a week away from seeing dirt in the patch!
 
Thursday, February 9 View Page
Ok, so I'll admit to not being so successful on the giant tomato seed starting. They germinated and sprouted just fine with the bulbs adjusted bright enough to maintain 80 degrees. When the seedlings sprouted the 75 watt bulbs were turned down the lowest they would go to maintain just enough bottom heat. Air temperature inside the box was fairly steady between 70 and 73 degrees. I consulted scott_kim_west_iowa and he suggested the one thing I left out.....an adjustable desk fan to get a breeze going. Made sense. The seedlings probably just got top heavy (if there is such a thing lol) and keeled over because they weren't strong enough. Oh well......glad I'm practicing! Thanks Scott for the tip!
 
Thursday, February 9 View Page
How long does it take to put two types of Marigold seeds into 72 peat pellet seed starter? Forever.....I thought about growing Mrigolds from seed last year, but after the disaster with the tomatoes I just bought them to plant around the tomatoes that I also purchased. The good news was, those marigolds I did buy, did a pretty good job keeping the aphids away!
 
Saturday, February 11 View Page
Well after the PGVG auction I had a nice surprise! In the grow chamber the recently vacated pumpkin plants created some more room, so I thought I would try my luck with two types of Marigolds. My thought was that they would sprout in about 5 to 10 days. But to have this in 48 hours is really cool!! As they are shown here, they were moved out of the germination box and onto the table which is under a thick plastic "tent, mainly to help hold the heat from the desk heater (just barely visible at the top of the picture). The heater was purchased not really for the "heat" feature, but mainly for the fan only part I can run. This was a suggestion from Scott_Kim_west to get some air moving over my tomato seedlings (test run number 2) so they would develope a stronger stem. I guess I'll find out how well it works on marigolds.....Looks like all 72 peat pellets are going to have sprouts since more than one marigold seed went in each one!
 
Monday, February 13 View Page
3 Days, 16 hours later on the Marigolds. The tomatoes have also spouted and have them getting a light breeze when the heater/fan kicks on. The black plastic shroud over the bench helps keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees. I'll have to pot these things up to containters before too long. And another nice surprise, my proxy bid it turns out was just enough to win another pumpkin seed at the PGVG auction Friday night. I missed out on the first nights action due to that thing called working at Lowe's!
 
Monday, February 13 View Page
Going to try out a new method for cutting down this years cover crop. This should make for a nice clean shave!
 
Tuesday, February 14 View Page
Happy Valentines Day~ Since I don't have to worry about gift giving, wine, candy, or roses this holiday I figured I would grow some for myself. I don't know what's possesed me to grow flowers from seeds but it is going well so far. Washed out and sanitized 33 black 4" plastic pots that used to contain primroses. So far so good on the marigolds. I've kept them under the fluorescent lights about 12 hours a day, lightly watered them today. I was there at Lowe's and should have remembered to get a spray bottle for watering all the seedlings, but I was more excited about my cell phone upgrade..........I felt like the last person in the world to own one and now I do.....DROID!
 
Tuesday, February 14 View Page
Day 5 +2 hours and 15 minutes. It took a little more than 10 days to get to this same point on the first round. The last test batch were in peat pots, and here they are seeded in Jiffy pellets. What's made the difference? 1. Jiffy peat pellets 2. The plastic cover that comes with the tray. 3. Keeping them between 75 to 80 degrees 4. And when they sprout, getting a fan to get a light breeze a few times a day. Steps 1, 2, & 4 are something I didn't get quite right with round one. Both times the seeds were set in the grow box and germinated there or you could use your oven with the light on. Looks like this will work out and will pot them up when I see a set of first true leaves. Having a fan going on this set has made a bigger difference!
 
Friday, February 17 View Page
Day 7 +22h 33min Potted up the marigolds into 4" plastic pots where they will stay until transplanted outside. The trick seems to be having a fan kick on often enough to help develope the stems. Day 3 for the carnations. Took the dome off of the tray in the germination box and the seeds are showing signs of germination. Temperature has been a constant 75 degrees. Lower lights have been unplugged and the source of warmth will now be the 24" fluorescent bulbs from above.
 
Friday, February 17 View Page
This was taken from the northeast looking southwest. I've been doing alot of reading about the "ideal soil" and looking at the results of my soil test from last spring my catio exchange capacity (cec) was only an 8. I've done the jar thing to bounce the result of off the soil test which indicated "loamy sand". So with all the wisdom I've gathered over the winter (and I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me) I decided it would be best if I double dig.....for two reasons. 1. Cation Exchange Capacity (Clay have a higher cec) 2. Rototilling only goes but so deep and pumpkin roots do. By doing this I hope....I pray my soil test comes back with a slightly higher cec because of a decent amount of soil being brought back up. So if you know something different about doing this, I hope you didn't cringe....LOL
 
Sunday, February 19 View Page
Stopped by work and picked up a couple of 32oz spray bottles. One will be for plain water and the other I made a very weak solution of miracle gro tomato plant food. 1/2 tsp in a bottle filled with rain water to feed the tomato seedlings. No true leaves yet on day 10 now. I'm ok with that as they seem to be developing a much stronger stem this time.
 
Sunday, February 19 View Page
Started a batch of compost tea today. Had to give myself something to do and barring anything else that has to be done after a soil test next month, I've got the soil about as ready as it can be. Since my own compost wasn't completely finished, I purchased a bag of finished compost and added a quarts worth of the compost, an ounce of unsulfured molasses and an ounce of corn syrup. This batch will go mostly on the raised beds where I'll plant lettuce, carrots, and spinach. Materials to make this were cheap: 1. A 5-Gallon bucket 2. 4ft of 1/4" soaker hose from a drip system 3. 6ft of 1/4" drip tubing 4. A 4 foot section of 1/2" pvc and a "t" connector to hold the "bubbler" tubing at the bottom I had the drip line parts already and just reused what I had, the only thing I purchased was the bucket ($2.78) and the pvc pipe and connector ($1.64). Cheap project kept it under 5 bucks!
 
Tuesday, February 21 View Page
Day 12 plus 2 hours since I started the marigolds from seeds. Feeling pretty good about my seed starting ability. I can tell from what I have I'm going to want a whole lot more of these, so I'll start another batch after the pumpkins, tomatoes, field pumpkins and long gourds are germinated and in the ground. This is definitly a good way of saving money on flowers and a bit more enjoyable getting your own to grow.....
 
Saturday, February 25 View Page
45 more days to go. On the downhill slide after a long winter! Here comes 2012~ Whhheeeeeeeeeeeee....wheee..wheee...wheeeeeeeeee!!
 
Thursday, March 1 View Page
The weather forecasters couldn't have been more wrong about this one. "Little or no accumulation expected" Woke up this morning to 3 inches. Just when you think Spring is on the way, Mother Nature plays her ole tricks!
 
Thursday, March 1 View Page
Somewhere underneath all this is my pumpkin patch for 2012. If you look real close you might see some Stelts, big and heavy!
 
Thursday, March 8 View Page
Took advantage of that big yellow thing here in Oregon and stayed busy the whole day. 1. Had fun setting the burn pile that accumulated all winter, lot's of dead fall, branches from pruning, and anything else I couldn't really compost. 2. Added a yard of compost to my potato patch and some all purpose fertilizer, tilled it all in, and when that was done planted 66 Russet potato seed. Last year I grew 45 plants and yielded about 80 pounds or so of spuds. 3. Added 2cu ft of compost, 2cu ft of chicken manure and 1 cup of bone meal each, in two raised beds for giant tomatoes. Turned it all in by shovel. 4. Sprayed some Round-Up on the walk ways around the riased beds. 5. Mowed the paths between the orchard patchs I'm tired now
 
Saturday, March 10 View Page
Too early for tomatoes in Oregon? Naaaaw...This was supposed to be a test batch, but since it went so well and I'll be able to keep these things warm enough inside the shop, I just kept them going.
 
Tuesday, March 13 View Page
Today I made a John-Mod to the germination box. Made a trip to my Lowe's and bought a roll of Reflectix. This definitely made the difference as the lights don't have to be turned up so high with the lamp dimmer. The internal temperature made it to 105 degrees when I left the lights on all the way up, just to see how hot it could get!
 
Thursday, March 15 View Page
So I gave up wood working for the winter and decided if I was to be serious in growing a giant pumpkin and growing one over a thousand pounds, I had better to 2 things. Number 1....Get good seeds.....done. Number 2.....Read everything I could find about soil and study it. Did it......Here's what changed over the winter and I can't complain. Garden Patch where I grew the 379 Swearingen 2011 Fall 2011 Spring 2012 pH 7.3 7.0 OM% 6.5% 6.9% NO3-N 24 12 P 118 208 K 2481 1177 Texture- Loamy Sand Loam CEC- 8 16 We had over 15 inches of rain and as expected some of the nutrients washed out to help bring everything to being closer in balance. I don't think I could have come closer to the bulleye!
 
Thursday, March 15 View Page
Here's the result from where I'll be growing 3 pumpkins in a 1,600SqFt patch. This is where a bulk of the work was done and it shows! Organic Matter increased from 6.7 to 9.4% CEC went up as well to 18. The focus was to get the cec and OM% up. Nutrients were fairly easy to adjust. Either add what was need or not at all. Looks like it paid off. Now I just need Mother Nature to cooperate......
 
Saturday, March 17 View Page
***The seasonal temperature outlook for April, May and June 2012 indicates below normal mean temperatures for parts of the Pacific Nothwest.*** ***Probabilities of below median precipitation are enhanced for portions of the Pacific Northwest from May, June, and July*** So......you're telling me it's going to be the same as it was last year?!?! Stayed spring until the middle of July? Then it turned into summer in August?......Well, good thing "Northwest RAIN" will be better prepared.....
 
Sunday, March 18 View Page
.....Better prepared in just about every aspect of growing. Added lots of composted dairy cow manure and composted leaves from last fall. I did so well with amending the soil, I didn't have to add anything except 3.5 pounds of Nitrogen in this patch......... Last years.....what I'll refer to as a "hotcap"....No way I would do that again. Talk about a grower who learned from that experiance.....Like I said last fall...."Next year will be better"......And here it is. Spent all day putting this hoophouse together. It's 12ft x 16ft and 7ft high at the top. This should help dry out and warm up the soil by next month....
 
Monday, March 19 View Page
Ladies and Gentlemen......This is why I call myself "Northwest Rain".... 3 1/2 inches of rain on the way. I just never seems to end. I'm glad it doesn't rain here that much in the summer, so I have to consider myself lucky for that! I can control the water and not have to worry about a sudden deluge of rain and hail from a thunderstorm ending the season..... causing a blossom end split, a bad foamer or worse hail destroying a plant. The weather here in the spring can be depressing for a grower anxious to get started. Mother Nature give you cold rainy gray days, and just for kicks, she gives you a tease by throwing in a sunny 65 degree day. That's ok though....I don't plan of beating her at her game....I'll just try to outsmart her a bit!
 
Wednesday, March 21 View Page
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM PDT THIS EVENING FOR THE CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM PDT THIS EVENING. * TIMING...EXPECT SNOW AT TIMES TODAY THROUGH THIS EVENING. * ACCUMULATION/SNOW LEVELS...THE SNOW LEVEL WILL BE BETWEEN THE VALLEY FLOOR AND 500 FEET TODAY...THEN FALL BACK TO NEAR THE VALLEY FLOOR TONIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES ARE EXPECTED...WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS CLOSER TO 500 FEET.
 
Wednesday, March 21 View Page
So yesterday, March 20th, 2012 was the first day of Spring but I think Mother Nature has other plans. I had only a couple inches to push off the top of the greenhouse this morning, but there's SUPPOSED to be more snow on the way. Perhaps soil cables would be a good idea?
 
Thursday, March 22 View Page
Mother Nature plays her tricks and I counter. Yesterday and going into last night, 7 inches of snow came down. Got out of work last night at 10pm. Chained up so I could make it up the hill(z)....I'm glad I made it home, because she decided to cave it in with the weight of all that snow. That's ok.....I knocked it all off....And look at my temperature now. This was at 930am an hour and half later it was pushing 68. Soil temperature 10" down 45 degrees. 6" down 50 degrees.....At 2 inches below the surface 54 degrees.
 
Saturday, March 24 View Page
Well thanks to a super awsome grower "Cindy in LittleRock, WA" I am now adding my giant vegetable growing Cabbages! I'll have so many monsters out in the garden I won't want to got out at night!
 
Saturday, March 24 View Page
As I was working on cutting up a tree that became top heavy from all the snow and fell in the front yard, the mail pulled into the driveway and I had a special delivery from Olympia, Washington. Knowing what it was I immediately opened it to let this cabbage seedling get some air and some sun. **Cindy Tobeck is the queen of cabbage seedling packaging and shipping! I was amazed by the creativity and the materials that were used to help keep this lil guy safe for the trip down to Oregon.......Cindy you rocked it~! Thank you! Now I feel the pressure to do something good with this cabbage now that I know I'm being watched!
 
Saturday, March 24 View Page
Here's my Saturday project. Went to Lowe's for a new chain for the chainsaw, then had a nice time cutting and hauling this tree down to the burn pile. 64 degrees for the high, but as the sun went down I got to keep warm near the bonfire out back. The good thing about the wood from this tree.....The pine is high pitch and dang it burns quick!
 
Monday, March 26 View Page
Built three cold frames for the pumpkins in the lower part of the property and got them set in place today. Ventilation will be done through solar powered vent openers that will be arriving UPS on April 2nd. *Credit for the idea of the cold frames goes to Cecil aka cntryboy and Dwight Slone. Cecil took some great pictures of his cold frames for his 2011 diary. I could have used something like this last year!
 
Tuesday, March 27 View Page
17 days since my last post on the tomatoes. These are the "Giant Tomato" seeds from Lowe's that I was testing with and decided to keep. I'll give three away and keep a couple for myself. Getting closer to having to make room under the grow lights. I've been setting these outside on some of the nicer days and they've not been outside the whole night, but hey...all that room in that newly constructed greenhouse out back should do fine. Yesterday I decided it was close enough to the begining of April and started some tomato seeds I'll grow for weight. Six 7.3 Hunt 2010 and eight 4.3 Shymanski 2010......
 
Wednesday, March 28 View Page
Thought it was time to dust off the seeds and get the line-up ready for the season. The primaries will be: 1818 Bryson 2011, 1807 Stelts 2011, 1634 Werner 2010, and the 1582 Werner 2011.
 
Wednesday, March 28 View Page
It was said to me...."Don't be afraid to grow good seed", so I figured why not have good seeds as back-ups...... 1794 Pugh DMG 2011, 1676 Checkon, 1678 Hunt 2009, and the 1596 Werner 2010. I have a second 1807 seed that I got at a good deal and it may be used as a back up to the first 1807......Otherwise I have one for next year!
 
Friday, March 30 View Page
This year I'll be adding field pumpkins to the list of things to grow large. 119.5 Starr 2010, 106 Crews 2010, and the 84 Ciesielski 2011.
 
Friday, March 30 View Page
I must be outta my gourd. I've also decided to grow in the Long Gourd catagory. In the next month I'll have the gourd trellis built and the soil prepped to grow: 127.56 Urena 2007, 125 Urena 2007, 124.38 Boyce 2011, 120.75 Boyce 2011 and the 115.88 Boyce 2009.
 
Tuesday, April 3 View Page
***So here we go on the LONG GOURDS TRELLIS***. From where I was standing to take this picture, it is 40 feet to the other side, 10 feet wide and will be 12 feet high off the ground. I set the footings in today, made sure to level them and line them up with masonary line. After nine days of 6am to 3pm shifts at Lowe's.......I'll be going in tomorrow to shop for the lumber on my day off. I just can't stay away from that place. I must not like my paycheck very much.......I keep giving it back (or recycling it depending on how you look at it)
 
Wednesday, April 4 View Page
I set out today not to build Rome in a day, but I made a little progress. I decided to made it a little shorter than originally planned, but I have a plan to still grow long gourds over 88 inches. *Get out a shovel and start diggin a hole so the gourd can still grow straight down without making contact with the ground.
 
Wednesday, April 4 View Page
I also decided to make it a bit shorter because if you look 40ft to the right you'll see where I'll be growing three AG's. The 1818 Bryson, 1634 Werner, and the 1582 Werner. A shorter long gourd trellis will mean the shadow that will be casted first thing in the morning won't be as long. I'll sacrifice a little height if it means more direct sunlight in the morning...
 
Thursday, April 5 View Page
Here's the view from the north side of the trellis. The long gourds will be planted on this side (west) catching the sun in the afternoon. Most mornings here in the Willamette Valley are overcast or partly cloudy, then the sun burns the clouds off, so this was a logical side to plant.
 
Thursday, April 5 View Page
Another shot from the east side. I have the cross beams up, 105" across. Those fence posts used to have heavy gauge fence wire running between them to grow kiwis once upon time. So I figured I would recycle them and tie in the gourd trellis to make it look better.
 
Thursday, April 5 View Page
Another shot of the structure from the east side. This was right after I got pelted with hail and then rain. I stayed out there regadless. Afterall a handsaw and a hammer won't get hurt if they're a little wet. But man my hands are raw!
 
Friday, April 6 View Page
And a shot of the finished product just as the sun was peeking through the cloud at sunset. Here's the future home of the 115.88 Boyce. Only 88 inches tall, I guess I'll be doing some hole digging when the gourds start nearing the ground......
 
Monday, April 9 View Page
Not the biggest cold frames in the world, but it is a comfort to know that when the sun pops out unexpectedly the solar powered vent openers will open up the cold frames. I put these in for the reason that I don't work 9 to 5 and don't have anyone on greenhouse duty while I'm away from the patch.
 
Wednesday, April 11 View Page
OH Why the heck not......Planted 7 tomato plants I started from seed last February. A Jet Star tomato, Two Giant tomatoes from Lowe's, 3 Big Zacs, and a 3.96 Marley (From Scott_Kim_West)...... The rest are in the shop under grow lights and an occasional fan kicking on. Money well spent at the auction I went 6 for 6 on the 7.3 Hunt 2010. The 4.3 Shymanski also from Scot_Kim_west, went 4 out of 6.
 
Wednesday, April 11 View Page
Three weeks ago I laid down a double layer of clear 6 mil plastic on the raised beds. The temperature outside the raised beds 6 inches down is near 45 degrees. 6 inches down inside the wall-o-waters its 60.5 The wall-O-water around the tomatoes has worked for me for the past 4 years. The difference this year is in the soil. I never did pay much attention to soil microbiology in the past..... mycorrhizae? What the heck is that? Humic Acid? Seaweed? Yea......all the good stuff!
 
Thursday, April 12 View Page
I'm begining to wonder if Cindy would have liked to have had this giant cabbage seedling? 7 1/2" at it's widest. I've been keeping this baby under the T8 grow lights when the sun isn't out for 14 hours a day. On sunny days it gets moved outside and it's done some traveling. Thanks Cindy! Maybe I'll grow something big with this one? Unless you want me to send it back? (No way Hosea) lol
 
Friday, April 13 View Page
1818 Bryson 2011. This looks like one of the stronger seedlings so far. It broke ground and was looking for daylight in less than 72 hours. Germinated at 82 degrees with miracle gro seed starting mix and a touch of Pumpkin Pro.
 
Friday, April 13 View Page
1634 Werner 2010
 
Friday, April 13 View Page
1582 Werner 2011 So far this seed has been the slowest even under the same conditions as the first three. I guess this is the runt of the litter, but you can be surprised by runts, so I'll keep it around and see how it does. Just in case and I was planning on a couple back-ups regardless, the 1794 Pugh and the 1596 Werner got filed and planted as a back-up. Recieved my package from Extreme Gardening (10Lbs of Pumpkin Pro and Neptunes Harvest Seaweed), so both seeds got a soaking in diluted mix of the seaweed and placed in the germination box.
 
Saturday, April 14 View Page
1807 Stelts. The next seed in my line-up. Also broke ground just under 72 hours in the same seed starting mix, same temperature. All the practice a few months ago paid off and I found what works best for me, placing seeds directly into the container instead of the paper towel method. I just didn't want to handle a seed that much. Just stick it in the dirt and keep the temperature right....
 
Monday, April 16 View Page
Moved the giant tomatoes outside to the greenhouse to make room under the grow lights for.......
 
Monday, April 16 View Page
my giant pumpkins. Four 2 gallon containers was about all there was room for. I also got a good look at the roots as they were being moved to the bigger pots, any longer and they would have started to get root bound inside the 4" pots.
 
Tuesday, April 17 View Page
Back-up plants 1794 Pugh 2011 and the 1596 Werner 2010 had just broke through the soil this morning right before I left for work at 545am. When I got back home this afternoon about 330pm, I found they had sprouted up fairly quick and turned on the fluorescent lights inside the grow box with a timer for 14 hours.
 
Wednesday, April 18 View Page
1794 Pugh 2011 and the 1596 Werner 2010, just two back-ups in case one (or two) of my line-up plants goes down. I've had very good luck with all my test seeds, the main line-up seeds and now the back ups. 100% Germination on a total of 12 pumpkin seeds using my germination box. It has really done well. The reflectix insulation has helped hold the heat more efficiently and the temperature only fluctuates by +/-1 degree. Can't ask for anything better!
 
Friday, April 20 View Page
Potted up the back-up plants 1794 Pugh 2011 and the 1596 Werner 2010 into 2 gallon containers after which they were moved to the greenhouse. 86 degrees inside, so they should be happy. Had to clear out the germination box......ItZ going on a road trip tomorrow to show how Northwest Rain got it done this spring.
 
Saturday, April 21 View Page
Obviously a humidity issue to deal with. Installed a wireless thermometer to monitor the temperature and humidity. The south side of the greenhouse got a window I can open manually put on this evening and I'll run a fan to move the air to help out with the ventilation. Humidity leading cause of powdery mildew and foaming stumps? Didn't want to leave that to chance this early on in the season!
 
Sunday, April 22 View Page
Getting the planting hole for the 1807 Stelts 2011 ready for transplanting. I'm definitely doing things alot better this year and I am much earlier in getting a plant in the soil, thanks to a much improved germination technique and some practice to get seeds to break soil in 96 hours or less. That germination box was well worth the time and effort.... I placed an empty 2 gallon container to get the angle correct, so when I put the plant in place, I'll already have the angle I need to help the main vine lay down a little easier. I don't know where the idea originally came from, but I will credit J.D. Megchelsen aka "J.D." from who gave me the inspiration from his 2011 diary. Thanks J.D.!
 
Sunday, April 22 View Page
After I had the empty 2 gallon container positioned with it tilted slightly forward, it was finally time to mix in a dose of Pumpkin Pro and Azos. The depth of the planting hole is hard to make out, it's about 18" to the bottom with plenty of room all around to cut the plant loose from the container....
 
Sunday, April 22 View Page
The next step was something I have been looking forward to since October 2nd, the day after the weigh-off at Bauman Farms.....Move in day for the 1807 Stelts 2011. One last check to make sure I was satisfied with the angle to help the main lay down. Off to the right you can see where the bottom was taken off after I had cut the duct tape holding it on (Gotta love Gorilla duct tape!)
 
Sunday, April 22 View Page
A view from the opposite side. I had the container split down the sides to make removing the plant easier. Not very many roots this side, a few starting to show on the other side from here, but not even close to root bound, so no collateral damage to the root system at all. (Whew!)
 
Sunday, April 22 View Page
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The 1807 Stelts has landed."
 
Tuesday, April 24 View Page
It was a busy day in the patch to say the least. Got out of work at 3pm and rushed home to beat the rain. I got the fencing up for the long gourds and the seeds are getting a soak as of right now. Getting the fencing on the west side of the trellis was alot easier than the top!
 
Tuesday, April 24 View Page
We had a short heavy downpour come through, but it didn't last long. Since the cold frames had been out for two days shy of a month (26th March) and the soil had been warmed up enough, and the vent openers working, it was time to plant the next three in my line-up. **Right to left the 1818 Bryson 2011 (this is the corner where I unloaded fresh cow manure from the Rocking R5 Rodeo Company last fall.....Thank you Matt Richards!) **Center (or the Northwest corner) the 1634 Werner 2010 ** Far left.....the 1582 Werner 2011
 
Friday, April 27 View Page
Today I finally transplanted a Giant Cabbage I was sent from a super cool giant cabbage grower in Olympia, Washington. It's pretty much been in and outside the shop the last couple of weeks. The last three nights it was outside and was doing fine. Looks like a different plant than the seedling I was sent! Thank you Cindy! You're the best!
 
Sunday, April 29 View Page
Long Gourds have germinated and are starting to break soil. A big thank you to Dan Boyce of Vermont! Looks like the 124.38 Boyce 2011 (x2), the 120.75 Boyce 2011 (x2), and the 115.88 Boyce 2009 (x5) are going to be in the long gourd line-up. Started the 111 Urena 2008 (x2) and the 110 Johnston/Butler 2011 as back-ups last night..... just in case I'll need them.....
 
Monday, April 30 View Page
Came home today and spent some time potting up a few long gourds. 120.75 Boyce 2011, 124.38 Boyce 2011, and not far behind the 115.88 Boyce 2009. The 111 Urena 2008 and the 110 Johnston/Butler have germinated, and should break soin in a couple days. I planted those as back-ups to the 127.56 Urena 2007
 
Friday, May 4 View Page
Now I understand why we plant back-ups......for those unknown events that can happen. It's Murphy's Law. I knew there was a mole(s) digging around this patch about a month ago and I thought I got it with the poison pellets, but nope...lol. It (or they) managed to avoid them. It was as though it (the mole) was waiting for me to plant the 1634 Werner. A few days after........two mole hills inside the cold frame. (What luck, eh?) So I went to plan b....use cinch traps. And the next day 6ft away from the plant.....the mole met my best friend Mr. Cinch Trap......SNAP! Gotcha....!! As for the plant, I figured it was a good time to go to the back up.....And a good back up it is.....the 1794 Pugh 2011. There wasn't much of a root system left on the 1634. I excavated and probed to see where the mole tunnel was running and the 1634 Werner was in the center of the this varmits tunnel. (I left the mole in the tunnel for fertilizer)
 
Tuesday, May 8 View Page
Planted the rest of the tomatoes to the garden. These are the 4.39 Shymanski's 2010. In the raised beds I have the 7.3 Hunt 2010's. The wall-o-water's have kept the soil temperature just above 54 degrees for the last few weeks and a couple of the Big Zac's are just about to out grow them. This area gets a little bit of shade at dawn, and doesn't start to get shaded until about an hour or so before sunset.... Looks a little like a Boyscout Jamboree?
 
Tuesday, May 8 View Page
Finally time to start putting the long gourd trellis to some use. Set out the 124.38 Boyce 2011, 120.75 Boyce 2011, and (x3) 115.88 Boyce 2009's. There is some room left there on the end. A good thing, the 110 Johnston/Butler 2011 and the 111 Urena 2008 were able to germinate and are under the grow lights in the shop.
 
Tuesday, May 8 View Page
An overhead shot of the 124.38 Boyce. I cut hardware cloth cinched together with a couple zip ties surrounded with bubble wrap. This will help protect the seedlings from getting blown around too much. Not a bad looking plant though, I have to be happy with this being my first time growing long gourds.
 
Tuesday, May 8 View Page
I was toying around a bit with the settings on the digital camera and saw "scenery" on the dial at the top and selected "sunset" ......WOW.....the things you discover. If you look closely at the coldframe to the left , you can see the shadow of the 1794 Pugh 2011 right in the center.
 
Wednesday, May 9 View Page
***Frost Advisory for the Willamette Valley*** Took some time before the sun went down to cover the 4 tomatoes I took out of the wall-o-waters. They were getting really confined and needed some room to breathe. Meanwhile in the house of the 1807 Stelts, nice and cozy with a small space heater and a heat lamp. Soil temperature 12 inches down is at 68.9 degrees, without the use of heater cables..
 
Thursday, May 10 View Page
Planted (x2) 119 Starr 2010's and a 84 Ciesielski 2011 field pumpkin. My tomato plants survived last nights frost advisory. The overnight low got down to 34 degrees. It stayed warm enough at 48 degrees inside the hoophouse for the 1807 Stelts, thanks to a space heater and an infared heat lamp. Soil temperature 12 inches down still holding at 69 degrees.
 
Saturday, May 12 View Page
Got Stelts?........The main vine is taking off. I didn't get out the tape measure to check the length, but I'd guess somewhere around three feet. Too soon for it to start throwing out males? Spotted four of them when I was watering in some Companion this morning. I've also been rotating on the fungicides and once a week it gets a good drench of soluable seaweed.
 
Saturday, May 12 View Page
First tomato blossoms I've seen this season. This is on a plant grown from "Lowe's Giant Tomato" seed. Too bad I'll end up culling these blossoms off, still a way off from setting fruit just yet
 
Sunday, May 13 View Page
Pulled the plug on one of my back-up plants. This was the 1596 Werner 2010. Developed a ribbon vine right above the cots. This shows that not all seeds from the same pumpkin will perform the same. Thad Starr broke the Oregon state record.......the first of two times last year at Bauman Farms off of this seed and grew the 1580 Starr 2011.
 
Tuesday, May 15 View Page
Main vine on the 1807 Stelts is pushing past 4ft today. Night time low drops to about 49 degrees inside the hoop house. The soil temperature is at 68 degrees. Gave it a dose of Infuse and spread some compost mulch ahead of the plant as is grows.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
Under the canopy of the 1807 Stelts. Main is now at 5ft. Soil temperature 12 inches down at 72 degrees.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
8 days later and three more feet. Put some walking boards on the back and the sides. I took out the heat lamp, but left the space heater. It's been staying warm enough inside at night. The temperature inside the greenhouse has been bottoming out at around 65 degrees. Strange thing though, as the plant has been getting bigger and vining out, the temperature inside doesnt get quite as cold as it did when the plant was smaller.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
1818 Bryson. Main vine has layed down and slowly starting to run.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
1794 Pugh. The end of the vine was growing almost straight up and I've coaxing it down little by little
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
Field Pumpkin: The 84 Ciesielski 2011, just after a drench with seaweed.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
Field Pumpkin: 119 Starr 2010
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
Long Gourd Row. Most all the gourds are in their 3rd or 4th true leaf stage.
 
Sunday, May 20 View Page
The 124.38 Boyce 2011
 
Monday, May 21 View Page
I'm growing three plants as a big favor for a fellow grower (Cody) in Prineville, Oregon. 1674 Connolly 2010, 1504 Sherwood 2011, and the 1487 Starr 2011. Germinated May 14th.
 
Monday, May 21 View Page
Same three plants after potting them up into 13 quart containers. Mixed in some pumpkin pro and gave them a drink of seaweed.
 
Tuesday, May 22 View Page
1807 Stelts now has a 6ft main. No females yet, but I thought of a great way to persuade the ladies to come out... Not to be out done by "Cindy in Littlerock, WA" (who plays music to her 1053 Pugh) the 1807 Stelts is getting romanced by none other than Frank Sinatra.......I can see Dave rolling his eyes right now
 
Thursday, May 24 View Page
Three plants on their way to Prinville, Oregon. I'm helping out fellow growers Cody Reynolds with the 1674 Connolly 2010, 1504 Sherwood 2011, and the 1487 Starr 2011. Cody asked his delivery driver who was making run to Bend, Oregon to swing through Salem on his way. We moved the plants from my truck to his Ford Ranger in the parking lot at the Denny's!
 
Saturday, May 26 View Page
7ft 2in out on the main vine and the first female of the season has arrived to the big dance. The 1807 Stelts has been getting serenaded by Frank Sinatra the last 4 days. Who would have thought? I also found two more on side vines closest to the stump.
 
Saturday, May 26 View Page
Buried side vines on the 1794 Pugh and I found this 3 feet out on the main. It must have heard the party going on from across the pasture?
 
Sunday, May 27 View Page
I went with some very good advice, and since I had three options, I went with the most logical choice and decided to cut off what started off looking like a side vine, but instead turned into another main. All plants recieved a dose of Infuse fungicide and a good drench of fish fertilizer.
 
Monday, May 28 View Page
1807 Stelts at 7ft 9in. It gains an average of 5 inches a day. Four more feet to the end of the greenhouse. I am well ahead of where I was last year at this point when I had a seedling 8 days old.
 
Tuesday, May 29 View Page
It looked so much bigger inside the greenhouse. The plant was 3 feet away from reaching the other side of the greenhouse, so I made the decision to take the whole thing down. I am already well ahead of where I was at this point last year (I think my seedling had a main vine just about 6")....... The 1807 Stelts has been creeping along, growing about 3 to 4 inches a day. I figured it won't hurt it to have some more sunlight to kick things into higher gear (fingers crossed) and spur on some vine growth.
 
Tuesday, May 29 View Page
Now that I took the top off moving around the plant is alot easier. No weeding to speak of in this patch.....Just pin down the vines as they grow, when I see the tertiary vines I pinch them. When those scab over I'll bury the vines at the leaves axils with a dose of symbios. You might notice the bamboo sticks in front of the tip of the vine, that so I don't have to keep getting out the tape measure. They remind me of miles markers on the interstate. At this point the fun is watching the plant grow day to day!
 
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
Made a trip to Lowe's on my day off for construction barrier to use as wind breaks. The side that is more exposed has a natural wind break just behind me, all those trees and big shrubs cuts down the winds out of the northwest.
 
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
While I was pinning down some side vines and getting the wind break set up on the 1794 Pugh, I noticed the first female blossom had grown big enough for me to cull it off the main vine (3ft out).....Nice! I don't think I saw a 5 segment last year....
 
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
.......And here's what it looked like when I cut it with an exacto knife to see the cross section.....No sand baggin here, had to throw that in there Cindy!
 
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
Set up the rest of the deer defense. There are 4 deterrents I have in place. This is one of the methods I will be employing this year. I have three pointed towards the north, where deer liked to come through the open pasture and graze on my sugar pie pumpkins....
 
Thursday, May 31 View Page
Went out to the patch first thing this morning to get started on setting up the wind breaks and I was greeted by this little guy. The first male to blossom on the 1807 Stelts.
 
Thursday, May 31 View Page
The other deterrent is just visible against the sky and in front of the wind breaks. Three strands of 50lb monofilament fishing line at 2, 3 and about 4ft above the ground. I've watched deer on and around the property and they aren't moving very fast if they're comfortable nothing is after them or they're being watched. However they get spooked if they run into something they can't see, I even had a hard time seeing this stuff at times. I can imagine walking into this at night! The third deterrent.....Sam, who is a Collie, just got brushed this afternoon, and since I had plenty of dog hair and extra fishing line, that was hung from a several trees in some startegic locations.......The fourth deterrent....If you REALLY must know, you'll have to email me and ask.
 
Thursday, May 31 View Page
Deployed deer deterrent number 5......Over kill? Nahh...
 
Friday, June 1 View Page
After a run to the farm store for alfalfa pellets, I started a small batch of compost tea. 2 cups of worm castings, 2 cups of alfalfa pellets, 1 1/2 ounces of molasses, and a half an ounce of seaweed extract. Main vine on the 1807 Stelts is at 9ft 3in, 1818 Bryson at 4ft 7in, and the 1794 Pugh at 5ft 6in.
 
Sunday, June 3 View Page
Applied Cal/Carb to the plants today. The main vine on the 1807 Stelts just reached 10ft 3in. Females at 8ft and another at 10ft.
 
Tuesday, June 5 View Page
Continue to trench ahead of the side vines on the plants and while I was working on the 1807 I saw this. I'm not exactly sure what it is.....A double vine, a fluke? Normal plants parts before and after where this is on the secondary. I'm guessing this will likely throw out some tertiary vines at each axil. This should be interesting to watch......The main just reached 11 ft
 
Thursday, June 7 View Page
Installed the first of four drip systems. Two 10 foot runs of schedule 40 pvc as the trunk line and I'm running 14 sets of drip tape, one at each connection for the length of the patch.....
 
Thursday, June 7 View Page
Once all the connections were assembled, I capped off the ends and fired it up. The water had only been running for a total of about 15 minutes and had covered an area 6 to 8 inches on either side of the tape....
 
Thursday, June 7 View Page
After the irrigation was done I reinforced the wind breaks. They got blown around a bit and the one around the 1794 Pugh in the lower patch was knocked over. Got out the staple gun, a few more wood stakes and a hammer to secure them a little better. Those things are like sails! I'm glad they're doing what their supposed to be doing and keeping the plants from taking the brunt of it..... If you notice in the picture I bought a new toy. That's a Husqvarna 25cc 4-cycle trimmer. It was put to good use around the blueberry bushes later and destroyed everything in it's path. I love the titanium trimmer line on it too. Definitely want eye protection with this thing!
 
Friday, June 8 View Page
Long gourds are starting to climb up the trellis. Despite the wind kicking up and blowing in the wind breaks on one of the pumpkins, they've done well without any wind breaks on them......The russet potato plants 8ft away are pushing close to two feet, acting as a wind break on the west winds!
 
Friday, June 8 View Page
Center stage......the 115.88 Boyce 2009 reaching close to 20in off the ground. Great........only 70 more to go til it reaches the top!
 
Friday, June 8 View Page
1807 Stelts 2011. First female 8ft out on the main. Now if the weather would turn for the better I might be pollinating in a few days. This first one will be a self-pollination. The 1818 Bryson and the 1794 Pugh have males, but they aren't close to opening up yet for this first one. Besides it's a little too close for me. I have another female at 10ft and another starting to show through the vine tip at 11 1/2ft. That last one at the tip should be in better position (around 13ft) with enough plant behind it IF it ended up being a keeper......
 
Saturday, June 9 View Page
Applied Cal/Carb today and a dose of compost tea. Looks like 3 males are going to pop tomorrow morning, but the first female at 9ft isn't quite ready yet. Looks like it'll be a few more days unless I get a nice surprise sooner.
 
Sunday, June 10 View Page
Gave the 1807 Stelts a 12oz drench today. Jim Bryson uses maple syrup, I decided to go with Red Bull. Buried some more side vines, the longest are 8ft. Each leaf axil got a tablespoon of pumpkin pro and a pinch of soluble kelp powder and watered in......No I wasn't kidding about the Red Bull either........lol
 
Monday, June 11 View Page
119 Starr starting to run
 
Monday, June 11 View Page
I've seen some strange things in this lifetime, but I think this makes the top ten.......Gave the 1807 a Red Bull yesterday, the first female at 9ft showed no real signs of blossoming. However....... it opened today and I had three males available to pollinate the 5 segmented female...Go figure....We'll see if this takes. The next female is at 11ft and one just begining to show at 12ft on the vine tip.
 
Tuesday, June 12 View Page
Next in line is at 11 feet. I don't even want to keep this one for the reason that it's stem is growing straight up from the middle of the vine. Setting this one would put alot more stress on the vine and the stem than need be. Next female after this one should be right at 13ft. Ideally I'd like to get one 15 to 17 feet out before the end of June, making a cross between the 1807 Stelts and the 1818 Bryson a very good possibility. The way my first side vines are growing, I'll be deadheading them at 15ft in another 12 to 14 days, putting a little bit more energy into the main.
 
Wednesday, June 13 View Page
Here is the giant cabbage sent to me from Cindy in Littlerock, WA looking exceptionally pulchritudinous I think
 
Friday, June 15 View Page
Got up this morning to find this nice little split on the 1807 Stelts. It's at 10ft on the main vine and looks to be about a 1/4 deep.......This one isn't a bad as the next entry.........
 
Friday, June 15 View Page
Another foot down the main there is another split (and not the easier kind). Before I took this picture, I carefully cut off the leaf stalk that was growing from underneath the main. Once I had the stalk out of there, that appeared to relieve the stress it was causing. Looks like a round of fungicide paste?
 
Saturday, June 16 View Page
After having a closer look at the vine split in the previous entry, the split itself is only on the top 1/4 of the vine and less than a quarter inch. I've treated the area of the split with Bonide Garden dust (25% sulfer and some copper). Thanks for the helpful tips so far from Ron Barker, Stan Pugh, and John Young!
 
Saturday, June 16 View Page
Treated my first ever main vine split. This was taken tonight after I applied it earlier this afternoon with the garden dust. I somehow don't thinkZ the split has set back growth on the main vine.........
 
Saturday, June 16 View Page
.....the main vine hasn't skipped a beat amazingly. The vine actually grew another 6 inches today! That's the most I've seen yet. The first couple of side vines have another foot to go and then I'll be dead heading, throwing a little bit more growth to the rest of the plant. When they're clipped, I'll have 24ft at the rear of the plant.
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
This is another instance of what I found on the 1807 Stelts, this time it's on the 1495 Stelts. Thankfully this was caught before it did any damage. Cut the stalk off, dusted with some Bonide garden dust and the vine laid down very nicely.
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
Took the 1495 Stelts out of the cold frame and it's doubling as a wind break for now. I germinated this one late after the back-up (the 1596 Werner) for the 1582 Werner (the original plant in this spot), started to double vine in the container. After comparing it to what I grew last year, I'm only behind by about a foot. This will end up being a late plant for the last weigh-off. What'll make it even better.......I'll have plenty of 1807 pollen to make a back cross on this plant.
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
1818 Bryson looking wider than it is longer. That's because I snapped the main at the tip and have retrained a strong secondary to take over as the new main. I'm not happy about making a bad move like that, but it was bound to happen sooner or later. At least I should have no trouble pollinating a pumpkin on this plant, to make the 1818 Bryson X 1807 Stelts cross. Speaking of which there is ONE male on this plant ready to blossom tomorrow morning to pollinate........
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
The next in line on the 1807 Stelts. 11ft out on the main and only one male from the 1818 Bryson, I'm going to pollinate rather than self it, like I did the one at 9ft. Even if the pollination doesn't take, I wouldn't be upset, remember the split at 10 1/2ft? That's starting to scab over. I'd rather wait to have one set further down the main, so I won't have to worry about that split rupturing open from a pumpkin growing so close.
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
Next after tomorrow mornings pollination, will be this one at just past 13ft......I may want to keep this one. Good distance, pollinating in a week? Alot better stem position and looks like it might turn out oblong like Mamma Stelts.
 
Sunday, June 17 View Page
Further down the main is this one at just past 13ft......I may want to keep this one. Good distance, pollinating in a week? Alot better stem position and looks like it might turn out oblong like Mamma Stelts.
 
Monday, June 18 View Page
Pollinated the 1807 Stelts 2011 with the 1818 Bryson 2011. Last night it had appeared that only one male on the 1818 would blossom in time, however this morning I found a second had popped open in time to join the party. Two males should do the trick on a nice 5 segmented female.
 
Tuesday, June 19 View Page
Culled off the first pumpkin pollinated on the 11th. It's been cool and overcast most days since so it's been slow growing. It was too close in on the vine, so I figured it was time for it to go. The next pumpkin was pollinated yesterday, the 18th, at 11 1/2ft out. This was the one pollinated with two males from the 1818 Bryson. With a couple of good warm days ahead I should be able to tell if the pollination took. However I aint all that crazy about the stem postion on it (grew out from the top of the vine) and you'll soon seeZ it. That one will.....(GULP)....likely have to be culled. Could the oblong one at 13ft be the one?
 
Wednesday, June 20 View Page
This is the 1807 Stelts X 1818 Bryson. Not exactly a good looking position coming off of the main vine. As soon as it starts to put on weight, it would probably snap itself off if I left it be.......But that's ok.......
 
Wednesday, June 20 View Page
I have plenty of plant behind the next pollination at 13 1/2ft out on the main. A few more male starting to show some promise on the 1818 Bryson in the lower patch, and should have pollen in time for another attempt to make the same cross. No fertilizers, insecticides, or fungicides this week. Just gave the soil under the canopy a good drench with water. The side vines at the back of the plant (right side) are going to be dead headed next couple days. On the left side (furthest away) the side vines I'll let go a couple more feet, those are near 10ft.......Plenty of plant to grow a pumpkin!
 
Thursday, June 21 View Page
Gave the long gourds a fish/seaweed drench this morning. The 124.38 Boyce is halfway up, not far behind is the 120.75 Boyce.......The 155.88 Boyce 2009 is doing best of all, just over 4ft up and should be long before it reaches the top of the trellis. I've been roatating fungicides and insecticides on the long gourd plants the same as I do on giant pumpkins.
 
Friday, June 22 View Page
Round number 2......I get another opportunity to make the 1807 Stelts cross using 3 males from the 1818 Bryson. All blossoms look like they'll be popping open tomorrow. This one will have a little more distance at 13 1/2ft out on the main. The length of the main vine has reached 15 1/2ft with a female in the tip.
 
Saturday, June 23 View Page
This morning at 520am, I had another opportunity to pollinate another female on the 1807 Stelts with two males from the 1818 Bryson. This one is 2 more feet further out on the main, 13 1/2ft.
 
Saturday, June 23 View Page
This afternoon I removed the secondary, tendril and the leave stalk and dusted with Bonide. I've been extremely lucky so far with all the seed I was testing last January and February (100% of everything I tried germinated). I've done well I think with growing a healthy plant......But eventually I knew the fun and games would end, then I would be face with a difficult challenge at some point. I don't mind a difficult challenge.....So why don't I start things right by trying to grow a pumpkin with a short stem.....
 
Saturday, June 23 View Page
Another view of the same. It has a very acute angle to the vine. I'm not sure this could be corrected enough to keep the pumpkin from snapping off the main.
 
Saturday, June 23 View Page
I'll give it a try anyway though to make it work. Last years pumpkin didn't need anywhere close to this much vine training. This aughtta be a hoot...
 
Saturday, June 23 View Page
Meanwhile on the long gourd trellis......The 115.88 Boyce 2009 is my stellar performer so far (center of picture).
 
Sunday, June 24 View Page
Day 6 on the first 1807 Stelts x 1818 Bryson set, at 11 1/2ft. It's roughly about baseball size. I'll let this one stay one the vine for now and see how it grows. I'm hoping as the pumpkin gains weight it'll ease the main over for a better position.
 
Sunday, June 24 View Page
Another view from the top of the first set at 11 1/2ft. If this one doesn't look like it will snap off the main, and eases the vine over towards the pumpkin like I hope, that stalk will get cut. Time to get out the mill fabric and sand for sure....
 
Tuesday, June 26 View Page
First set at 11 1/2ft of the 1807 Stelts x 1818 Brsyon cross. Looks like this one wants to lay down. At least the stem isn't as short as I thought it was going to be, so I may have something to work with here. That before mentioned (and pictured) split in the main is only a foot behind where this pumpkin would grow. Day 3 for the second 1807x1818 cros at 13 1/2ft. Looks like the pollination took, a few warm days coming up to help spur on some growth. Deadheaded the first 3 sets on side vines. They've reached 12ft, 11ft and 11ft. The vine tip is showing another female at 16ft, won't be pollinating that one for at least a week and that's with warm, sunny weather.
 
Wednesday, June 27 View Page
Buried more secondaries on the 1807 Stelts this afternoon with a mix of finished compost, bag composted steer manure and soil in the southeast corner. I dumped the good and made a couple passes with the tiller to make easy work of mixing the media to bury vines. All Plants also got a deep drenching of soluable kelp and a dose of CalCarb.
 
Thursday, June 28 View Page
Went to get some play sand to go under the 1st 1807 x 1818 set. "For use only as play sand".....I figured big boys using it to play with big pumpkins counts.
 
Thursday, June 28 View Page
Trying to get the stem in better position, I'm using 3/4" pvc with some foam pipe wrap held on by Gorilla duct tape. Putting any more bend in the vine before the pumpkin would not be a good thing, that main vine split is about 12" away behind this set.
 
Thursday, June 28 View Page
Two sheets of mill fabric (5ftx5ft) and a spare piece underneath the pumpkin. I lay the sand down when I know for sure this one will be the keeper. To the left at 13 1/2ft is the second set of the 1807 x 1818 cross. Day 5 for that one and it's slow to grow. I worried that the pollination didn't take, but the weather hasn't been stellar.... so I'll wait until I know for sure
 
Friday, June 29 View Page
The first Mega Blossom on the Big Zac. It's only about 18" off the ground, and since I have 12 other giant tomato plants, I'll let this one hang around just for grins and giggles. I know it's a fused blossom, but how many? Looks like two, maybe three?
 
Friday, June 29 View Page
First female on the 119 Starr at about 5ft on the main. Over all the plant is pushing close to 8ft. Side vines starting to grow and I'll have to prune the vines on the right very soon if I grow this one using the flag pattern.
 
Saturday, June 30 View Page
Looks like the pollination may have taken on the second 1807 set. It was a little warmer today, 73 degrees! Pollinated a 6 lobe female on the 1794 Pugh with 4 males from the 1818 Bryson
 
Sunday, July 1 View Page
115.88 Boyce 2009. A couple more inches to go and it'll be ready to make the turn at the top, but it'll be there in a day or so. LookZZ like the weather will be turning in our favor............
 
Sunday, July 1 View Page
.......I like this alot better
 
Monday, July 2 View Page
I knew they could potentially happen at some point during the season, but dang I hope this isn't as bad as I think it is. The split on top runs from where the stem is attached to the main. The lower split is about an inch from the pumpkin itself. Dusted with Bonide and I have is covered to keep it dry. I'll get a fan running on it to keep things from getting worse.
 
Monday, July 2 View Page
On a brighter note, pollinated a 4 lobe female on the 1818 Bryson with males from the 1807 Stelts. This one is about 9 feet out on the main. I'll most likely try to grow this one. The next female is just begining to show in the vine tip from the secondary that was trained to be the new main.
 
Monday, July 2 View Page
I figured 6 males from the 1807 Stelts was enough to do the job. After this pollination was tied up, I collected a few leaves off of the 1807 Stelts to send in to Western Labs and have a tissue analysis done. I've only done soil samples up til now, so this should prove useful.
 
Tuesday, July 3 View Page
115.88 Boyce 2009 Long Gourd......Finally up and over the top. Now all that's left is to grow out some side vines and we can start growing some long gourds!
 
Thursday, July 5 View Page
DAP 17......This is going to be a slow grower. Half the side vines behind the pumpkin are dead headed. I still have the other set on the main vine at 13 1/2ft (1807 Stelts x 1818 Bryson #2) and will most likely get culled.
 
Saturday, July 7 View Page
Culled the #3 set on the 1807. I'm down to one pumpkin on this plant.
 
Saturday, July 7 View Page
Bad news in the lower pumpkin patch. After I was done weeding around the potatoes, I saw something that didn't look quite right on the 1495. DEER.....They ate every single vine tip on the secondary vines. I had been pinching off tertiary vines off of this plant, so it may as well be a goner. They started after a field pumpkin about 20ft away, but the damage to that was minimal, just a couple secondary tips were gone. The main vine tip on it (the 119 Starr) was just fine, I had it covered with a half round piece of old cattle fencing with shade cloth attached to it. Most of the deer tracks were around a cherry tree in the corner, that's what they were really after. All the branches on the lower part of the tree were devestated.
 
Saturday, July 7 View Page
DAP 19 on the only set left on the 1807 Stelts, reaching about basketball size now. The third pollination was culled off early this morning. Down in the lower patch is another story.....I decided the 1495 wasn't worth saving or even attempting to grow anything off of it. It was a smaller plant, without any secondaries after the deer had breakfast. I got out the 10ft fence posts, climbed a ladder and surrounded the 119 Starr field pumpkin with heavy duty deer netting.
 
Saturday, July 7 View Page
After a long day outside, I started to wonder how I was really doing this year compared to this same point in July last year. Here's a "last year" vs. "this year".....Holy cow! I did learn something from last season! I know how to grow a salad!
 
Sunday, July 8 View Page
119 Starr....Pollinated the first field pumpkin finally. 8ft on the main. Another to follow tomorrow at 10ft out
 
Monday, July 9 View Page
5 out of the 6 long gourd plants have reached the top of the trellis. Second from the left, the 120.75 Boyce 2011 has about 6 more inches to go. I'm starting to use two different colors of flagging tape (pink and orange) to tie off the vines as they go to be able to tell the plants apart from each other. I'm sure it'll be a jungle on top before long.
 
Monday, July 9 View Page
A view from the top of the trellis
 
Monday, July 9 View Page
DAP 21 1807 Stelts x 1818 Bryson OTT 97" 26.5lbs The stem cracking from my post on July 2nd has healed over quite nicely. I don't feel so nervous about it now. The split in the main vine that was discovered a foot behind this set on the 16th June has scabbed over and is no longer any issue. At least it doesn't seem to be holding back any growth.
 
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
Roughly 50% of the side vines have been terminated on the 1807 Stelts. Got the plant tissue test back from Western Labs. I thought I might be a little low on calcium, and I was correct. I'm also slightly down in sulfur, and the minor nutrients (Zinc, Manganese, Copper and Boron). Pollinated the second female on the 119 Starr field pumpkin. The 7ft of deer fencing has been keeping them off my last good plant in the lower patch. How do I know they paid me a visit? They deadheaded a few secondaries on the 1818 Bryson.....
 
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
I thinkZ itZ starting to grow. Terminated a couple more side vines and gave it a deep soak this morning. I was up early and not for work, had the boyZ from Mountain View Tree Service doing some pruning and they left me a pile of what was left.....
 
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
A nice pile of more work. About 6 yards of mulch was produced from their shredder. Should last me through the summer.
 
Friday, July 13 View Page
Another bad day in the lower area of the property where I had one last AG plant growing. The deer made a meal out of the last giant I had going, they ate about half of a volleyball size pumpkin off of the 1818 Bryson, along with all the secondaries. The good news is the 7ft deer netting surrounding the 119 Starr field pumpkin has been left untouched. Just in case they manage to get through that, I have the plant surrounded with more deer netting. A physical barrier they can't get through is the only way to keep these jackwagons off of my plants. Forget the scent repellants and fishing line. Just make it so they can't get to what want........Lessons learn in deer control for next year.
 
Sunday, July 15 View Page
Spent some time playing catch up with the 119 Starr field pumpkin. Picked up a bag of Pro Mix and blended it with the surrounding soil to bury the secondary vines. The first pollination on this one is about soft ball size, and there are two more pollinations futher down the main. I'm piching off tertiary vines and females off of this just like an AG.
 
Thursday, July 19 View Page
1807 Stelts x 1818 Bryson DAP 31 OTT 188 156LBS. Starting to pick up some bigger gains. I had the biggest gain yesterday of 26LBS. Looks like last years personal best will be broken at the end of this month. This has been a slow grower from the start, but I'm happy with the gains it's making.
 
Thursday, July 19 View Page
115.88 Boyce 2009 long gourds starting to throw some females at the top of the trellis.
 
Thursday, July 19 View Page
119 Starr field pumpkin. No idea about the weight or the measurement. Gave the plant a drench with Companion and a spray with Cal/Carb under the leaves.
 
Saturday, July 21 View Page
As it turns out the pumpkin I'm growing did turn out to look very similar to Dave's 1807. I even went as far as to soak a beach blanket in calcium to place over it because mine delevoped a Dill ring as well.
 
Wednesday, July 25 View Page
Behold....At 17 days after pollination, my first pollination from the 119 Starr 2010. It started to split a few days ago and I was hoping the split wouldn't get any bigger, but it had other plans. Before the pumpkin reached its final resting place in the compost pile, I weighed it with a digital hanging scale.....Dang this thing had some potential.....31 lbs 4oz
 
Wednesday, July 25 View Page
On the brighter side, a few of the sib pollinations on the 115.88 Boyce 2009 gourd plants look like they took. I was lucky enough tonight to have females (and the males to go with) on 6 plants to make some cross pollinations. 1.) 115.88 Boyce 2009a X 110 Johnston/Butler 2011 2.) 115.88 Boyce 2009b X 120.75 Boyce 2011 3.) 115.88 Boyce 2009c X 124.38 Boyce 2011 4.) 110 Johnston/Butler X 115.88 Boyce 2009 5.) 124.38 Boyce 2009 X 115.88 Boyce 2009 6.) 120.75 Boyce 2011 X Selfed 7.) 120.75 Boyce 2011 X 115.88 Boyce 2009
 
Friday, July 27 View Page
The 1807 Stelts 2011 X 1818 Bryson 2011. DAP 39 OTT 250 for an estimated 356LBS. It's averaged 25LBS a day in the last four days, 23.8LBS is the previous seven day average, and 23.5LBS for the ten day avaerage. This morning it got a foliar of TKO Cal/MAG. Tissue test showed a little low on a couple of the minor nutrients, so TKO MicroTech is on the way along with Liquid potassium. I suppose this is going to be the first and only time I'll be beating my personal best in the month of July. Last years pumpkin was 379 1/2 pounds. I should beat that mark on Saturday night.....
 
Friday, July 27 View Page
A view of the stem side. There's plenty of slack in the main past the pumpkin. The vine behind the pumpkin I've tried to be careful not to adjust it.....(too much) but there is enough wiggle room to keep it from snapping itself off the main. Thanks for those pointers about growing on a short stem J.D. Just underneath the pipe wrap on the left was where the main vine suffered a crack, but it has scarred over since June 15th. That for sure has cost me some weight I'm sure. Oh well ....lesson learned right?
 
Friday, July 27 View Page
A view of the stem side. There's plenty of slack in the main past the pumpkin. The vine behind the pumpkin I've tried to be careful not to adjust it.....(too much) but there is enough wiggle room to keep it from snapping itself off the main. Thanks for those pointers about growing on a short stem J.D. Just underneath the pipe wrap on the left was where the main vine suffered a crack, but it has scarred over since June 15th. That has cost me some weight for sure. Oh well ....lesson learned right?
 
Saturday, July 28 View Page
Same picture from yesterday, just a little more decorated. One of my goals I was hoping to reach was beating last years personal best by the close of July. DAP 40 and a 25LB gain from yesterday OTT 256 for 381 pounds. Looks like I made it.....I have to be happy with the results of all the work. Reaching a goal like this is rewarding.
 
Monday, August 6 View Page
A view of the sten side of the 1807 Stelts. A couple days ago I adjusted the pumpkins position by pulling it straight back by using a 2-Ton come-along. The pipe wrap that was used as a buffer is no longer needed. There's a couple inches between the shoulder and the main vine behind the pumpkin (left) and to the right plenty of slack in the main past it.
 
Monday, August 6 View Page
Every day is a new personal best. Lower right corner.....Nuff said.........I'm tired.
 
Tuesday, August 7 View Page
A view from under the long gourd trellis. Pollinated four more long gourds tonight on the 110 Johnston/Butler 2011. I hope at least two of them take. If you look left and above the pointing finger, you'll see where I tied a long gourd in a knot and training another. I'm doing that on a couple LG's just for kicks!
 
Tuesday, August 7 View Page
Got out the post hole digger this afternoon and made some more room for the longest ones growing. This one is the 115.88 Boyce 2009. At 61" this one is by far the fastest. It's been doing 3 or 4 inches a day for the last 7 days. The nest ones to the right are on the 120.75 Boyce 2011 and the 124.38 Boyce 2011. That one one the far right in front of that post isn't far behind. My feeding and foliar programs are the same as what I do for my giant pumpkin. A weekly drench/foliar of seaweed, TKO Potassium, TKO MicroTech CT, and Neptunes Harvest. liquid Humates
 
Thursday, August 9 View Page
Here's a familiar scene. I thought I had pulled the pumpkin back far enough the first time, but in the three days since I did, it's grown out alot more especially towards the bottom. There's still plenty of slack in the vine "past" the fruit, so no worries there. The challenge is moving it just enough to open up some more room between the shoulder and the main without doing any damage. So how do you move a near 700LB pumpkin........?
 
Thursday, August 9 View Page
Very carefully......With a 2-Ton come-along....a half an inch or so at a time. Once there was some tension and it was starting to budge, I would check the main vine and stem area to make sure I was moving in the direction I wanted to go........until.....
 
Thursday, August 9 View Page
The dstance opened up about the same width of the main. You can see the secondary at the bottom of the picture. I want to keep that secondary as long as I can. There might not be alot more I can move the pumpkin, but for right now that secondary gets to stay. OTT on Day 52 is 314"
 
Friday, August 10 View Page
It's been an easy ride up til now. I found this early this morning. That crack in the surface runs right along where two ribs meet. I really hope this isn't too much to worry about but time will tell. To try to help it, I'll back off on the watering and applied a fungicide paste to the area. We'll wait and seeZ~
 
Sunday, August 12 View Page
I was hoping this wouldn't rippen so quick, but it has been really warm lately. So I decided to pluck this one off the plant and have it weighed. My thanks to a SUPER cool grower in Washington, Cindy Tobeck. I didn't realize that there was a category for early tomato entries......I'm glad you mentioned it to me today!
 
Sunday, August 12 View Page
Behold......the 1.90 Swearingen 2012. Thanks to Deli Manager Eddie Navarra and Denise Bennett who were the witnesses. I got some puzzled looks when I told them what I was up to, however when they saw the size of the tomato, the two were more than happy to help out....
 
Tuesday, August 14 View Page
I started the delicate process of rearranging my support system for the long gourds. The 115.88 Boyce 2009 and 124.38 Boyce 2011 are my two longest so far both at 89". All the gourds have been growing a steady 3 or 4" a day. TKO Cal/Mag and Neptunes Harvest liquid humates are what I've been doing drenches with, along with soluable kelp.
 
Tuesday, August 14 View Page
A close up view of the new and improved support for the gourds. I put on a couple layers of high denisty pipe wrap to keep the hose clamp from digging into the gourd and tied it to the top with 75 test nylon rope
 
Tuesday, August 14 View Page
I thought the pumpkin might look smaller with me in the picture this time around.....The gains have been averaging 26 LBS a day for the last seven days. That crack I mentioned in a previous post isn't getting any wider, but it does seem to be heading in the direction of the blossom. This seems to be more of a rip in the skin from it expanding, and I'm not going to sweat it (too much). I'll keep pushing the kin for all it will gain.
 
Saturday, August 18 View Page
Looks like I have the long gourd thing down. A very special thank you to Dan and Holly Boyce for sharing the seeds from their 124.38 Boyce 2011. It measured at 97 inches. There are 3 more long gourds knockin on the door of the 100" mark.
 
Saturday, August 18 View Page
ok Thad......I know you're looking at this and I don't think it's funny anymore. You put a voo doo curse on the 119 Starr 2010 seed you sent. Whatever tribal dance and chanting you did before you put it in the mail worked. First a stem split one and now a blossom end split on another. It must have spilled over to the long gourds because.......
 
Saturday, August 18 View Page
.......a long gourd from the 110 Johnston/Butler 2011 sensed what was happening in the patch across the way and got itself into a knot. But that's ok.......
 
Saturday, August 18 View Page
......Your voo doo magic is no match for my Jedi mind tricks.
 
Saturday, August 18 View Page
This is where the fun begins.
 
Tuesday, August 21 View Page
1807 Stelts x 1818 Bryson DAP 64, OTT 356, 987LBS. On the verge of going over a thousand. It's averaging about 24lbs a day.
 
Sunday, August 26 View Page
Another entry in the Early Tomato catagory. I knew this was one getting close to being ripe, so I decided it was time today to cut it from the vine and take it to my favorite place of all to have it weighed.....the deli counter at Wal-Mart......2.15 lbs. A bit better than the last one. I've just about been pushing tomatoes as hard as AG's. Soluable kelp, Cal/Mag, and MicroTech
 
Wednesday, August 29 View Page
Culled this one off of the 119 Starr field pumpkin plant after losing it to a blossom end split. This was one of three I have going. Before it made its way to being a yard ornament, the pumpkin found itself on a digital bathroom scale.......Cindy Tobeck, you are not alone in the "The One That Got Away" category! OUCH! This one was tough to lose.....109 Est Swearingen 2012 The sting is less painful knowing there is another pumpkin on the same plant, sound stem and blossom end, which is 3 pounds heavier....
 
Wednesday, August 29 View Page
Decided to dig out the russet potatoes today, I was hungry.
 
Wednesday, August 29 View Page
Overhead view of the 1807 Stelts. It doesn't understand the word quit. Continues to gain 17 pounds a days for the last seven days.....
 
Wednesday, August 29 View Page
1807 Stelts DAP 72 OTT 373 1,130lbs. Blossom end side, I like the cantaloping. It's a different story on the stem side. Mostly smooth and turning a nice orange color....
 
Wednesday, August 29 View Page
Now that's what I call a stem.......Remember that stem issue last June? I don't think it's much of an issue now.....
 
Wednesday, September 5 View Page
I was in the patch this morning and found the Energizer Bunny giving my 1807 Stelts a pep talk.........It must have worked, it gained 18 LBS today. OTT 381" 1,201 lbs
 
Monday, September 10 View Page
Side view of the 1807 Stelts. DAP 84
 
Monday, September 10 View Page
I brought in my other patch helper "Sam" a 4 year old Collie for size reference.
 
Thursday, September 13 View Page
First sign of real trouble all season and I'm not sweating this split too much since growth is almost at a stand still. The gains are very minimal at this point, but still something to keep a close watch on. At this point I'm throttling back and not push the pumpkin as hard for those last few pounds. Time to let it coast to the finish line. Hope this doesn't get any worse
 
Friday, September 14 View Page
Looks like Google Earth finally updated. I knew the latest image would be taken sometime in the first week of July, so a couple weeks beforehand I went out into the pasture with two bottles of Round-Up and a 4 gallon backpack sprayer. I've always wondered if it would work........Got Stelts?
 
Tuesday, September 18 View Page
I love this shot.......Makes me look small and the pumpkin even bigger. You can see the splitting in the blossom end. It's spreading over the top and there are some more surface cracks towards the 3 and 12 o'clock positions. They're not very deep. I hope the shell is at least 5 or 6 inches thick at the blossom end......Not worried about it splitting open from anymore growth.......I'm more worried about it busting open when it gets lifted and loaded into my truck.
 
Sunday, September 23 View Page
Field pumpkin on the 119.5 Starr getting some afternoon sun. This one will be seeing the scale at Bauman Farms in 13 more days. It weighs 1** pounds.
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
At last the end of the season......One last overhead shot of the patch
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
The crane operation about to begin....Six months of work comes down to how strong my knot is tied......I hope it holds!
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Taking up the slack.......
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Gving the straps an adjustment. I have two on either side of the blossom end and two on each side of the stem.
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
OK......Let's take it up....EASY
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Well.....LookZ like the carrick bend knot iZ gonna hold realZ good~
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
My first good look at the bottom since last June. A bit concave on the bottom, but no soft spots or holes. Thats a good thing. I'd declare it a sound pumpkin!
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Walking it out of the patch and over to the truck. Funny how things come full circle. This way the same path I took when I bought the seedling to be trancplanted. Seedling in.....GIANT PUMPKIN OUT~
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
I think we'll have no problem clearing the truck.....Carl you're one smooth crane operator~!
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
At this point I was more worried about hitting that field pumpkin than I was the giant pumpkin.
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Here's where it got interesting. As Carl was moving the crane towards the front of the truck bed the pumpkin started to rotate clockwise......
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Jumped onto the tailgate........
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
And gave it a twist the otherway. I was still worried we hit the field pumpkin. I went back and forth a couple times just to check the clearance! There was about 2 feet to spare.....plenty of room~
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Lowering down to the bed......almost there
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
Now this is the way to move a pumpkin........Dale Marshall, J.D. ........I like this method ALOT~
 
Friday, October 5 View Page
All loaded for the giant pumpkin weigh-off at Bauman Farms. It's going to be a beautiful day and alot of fun......Especially the drive there~!
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
First off was the field pumpkin category......OK John you can look now......3.5 pounds shy of the state record, but I was in first place, for about 2 minutes....
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
Looks like we have a new grower heading to the scales....
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
It's Charity Marshall from Castlerock, WA speaking with Jim Sherwood moments before her pupmpkins weight was known....
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
All I can say is......"Cindy Tobeck....Does this remind you of anyone??" It oughta....Charity Marshall poses with her pumpkins just like you do! Had to throw that in there.....
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
My vote for the family portrait of the season....
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
Here's what my pumpkin weighed before it hit the scales "0.0"
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
Moving the monster into position......
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
Seconds before they displayed the weight. The only thought I had was that I hoped it would go heavy to chart....I didn't want to lose a bet I made with a guy at work!
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
76 pounds short of where I needed to be. Matt, looks like I owe you one case of Dr. Pepper..
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
Congratualations to Steve Daletas, a new state record, for right now.
 
Saturday, October 6 View Page
There really cool thing about giant pumpkin growing is having a place to take it after the weigh-off event. Here I am on the way to the garden center. I unloaded on the far side of the building so I could pull it through the store. It was great to share it with everyone there. The funny thing was.......It looked alot bigger once it was inside the store!
 
Tuesday, October 9 View Page
Here's how I know my giant pumpkin season is done.....My 7th place finish at Bauman Farms is now on display at Lowe's of Salem Oregon until Halloween....
 
Saturday, October 20 View Page
Even though I didn't race one I had more fun helping out the others growers. Here I am with Jack LaRue's pumpkin. I think his went on to take the best dressed pumpkin award....
 
Saturday, October 20 View Page
Cindy Tobeck and her 730 pounder.......This pumpkin was an easy one to hollow out!
 
Saturday, October 20 View Page
Jack LaRue, Cindy Tobeck, and.........."Where's Waldo?"
 
Wednesday, October 24 View Page
Well I'm glad I got it over with before winter in Oregon arrived. The trusses add 5 more feet for the long gourds to grow next year. The good news......only if I break the world record by 13 inches will I have to get a post hole digger out. I'll add the fencing on next spring!
 
Monday, October 29 View Page
Brought home the 1304 Swearingen 2012 after a 3 week stint being on display at Lowe's. Seeds harvested, pumpkin is in the compost pile!
 
Monday, October 29 View Page
Here's how close I came to losing this pumpkin. It was about an inch and a half away from going down~
 

 

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