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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 126 Entries.
Thursday, January 1 View Page
Well, it's January 1 and we're not planting. There's snow in my front yard. What's that all about?! The temperatures got down to the mid-20s in the garden last night; and they're supposed to stay that way until this weekend. Maybe we'll plan to plant then.
 
Sunday, January 4 View Page
The four starts are ready to go. It was still in the mid-20s last night; but the weather is changing. We're going to be in the 70s during the day, with lows in the 50s this week. I think I'll put them in the ground tomorrow. Give the soil another day to warm up. (It's time to start the next batch of seeds for the mid-month planting).
 
Monday, January 5 View Page
Put two 1,666 Holland 14s in the Guest House. Harry, on the right, has seemed quite eager to get going since it got soaked in seaweed. Butch, on the left, has been a little slower to get started. The Guest House has been getting up to about 80 the last two days. I hope they like their new digs.
 
Monday, January 5 View Page
Two Sherwood plants were placed in the west half of the Big House. On the right, Puddles (1513 Sherwood 14); and on the left, Benny (1447 Sherwood 14). Puddles did a little better under the grow light. We'll see how they adapt to the bigger house. All of the plants have been surrounded by the grow mats I got from Joel Holland. One other difference. I built the green houses inside of my existing garden structure (chicken wire covered by bird netting). The Big House is also covered by a 30 percent shade cover, which is necessary during most of the Phoenix growing year. It will be interesting to see how much of an affect the cover will have on the green house temperatures.
 
Tuesday, January 6 View Page
The hot boxes did their job last night. I know, I know -- you don't want to hear this. :-) But it got down to 40 degrees last night. Inside the hot box the low temperature was 74. That was with one candle. Today the temperatures reached 80. The seeds are nice and warm. I hope they take the hint and get growing.
 
Monday, January 12 View Page
Benny (1447 Sherwood) seems to have made it through the first week. I've seen some growth, but it needs to compete with its brother Puddles who is really starting to shine. It seems to be the best of the four starts that I planted last Monday. Weather has been very good. Soil temperature is staying in the 60s. The temps in the greenhouse have been reaching 90 during the day. I'm worried that I will need to find a way to keep the plants cooler -- even in this "winter" season. The day heat isn't the problem. It's the night time temperatures. I need to find a way to warm up the plants a bit more at night. I'd like to keep the temperatures closer to 70 at night. I'll start using 2 candles at night inside the hotbox.
 
Monday, January 12 View Page
Puddles (1513 Sherwood) has been a surprise. It has passed Harry as a quick starter. I'm looking forward to seeing what it does in the next couple of weeks. The Sherwood plants are in the Big House. The structure tends to be slightly cooler than the smaller Guest House, which is housing the 1666 Hollands.
 
Monday, January 12 View Page
Harry (1666 Holland-1) was a fast starter. It germinated within hours and was loving the heat lamp. It has slowed a bit since I transplanted it, but it still looks strong. The Guest House is the smaller greenhouse structure. It also doesn't have the 30% shade cloth over the top. The plants seem to wilt a bit at mid=day. I think the 90 degree temperatures and the residual humidity are causing some havoc. Opened the dutch doors at the end a bit more, and gave them a mid-day drink. That seems to have helped a bit.
 
Monday, January 12 View Page
Butch (1666 Holland-2) has been the ugly brother of the four starts. It's doing alright, but doesn't look as nice as Harry. It suffers from the same mid-day malady as Harry, but also responded to a bit more breeze through the Guest House and a mid-day drink.
 
Monday, January 12 View Page
Started two 1104 Young 2014 seeds last week, but they haven't germinated yet. I'm disappointed. I hoped to have them ready to plant next week. I'll give them a couple of extra days, but I've pulled out my last 1104 Young and two Delatas seeds (1719, 1754) to get them ready for the last spots in the Big House. Hope to have them ready before the end of January. Sure don't want to worry about pollinating pumpkins during the GPC Big Show. I just bought my plane tickets.
 
Tuesday, January 13 View Page
It's good to know that I'm not the only guy trying to grow pumpkins in January. I've got four in the ground (and two to three more on the way); Dave Smith has four in the ground, Mark Maffey (Las Vegas) has some seeds in the incubator; and Scott Culp is getting ready to start his January pumpkin. The weather has cooperated beautifully. Not much to complain about. Knowing we are going to get a full season of growth, before the desert heat sets in, makes this more fun. I'm looking forward to a good showing of Giant Pumpkins at the AZGPG Memorial Day Weigh-Off on May 30. You can see more about what we're doing at http://www.azgpg.com
 
Friday, January 16 View Page
The green houses are certainly helping keep the plants warm. the overnight temp in the 4x4 hotbox was 70 degrees. The mid-day temp in the green house is 82. The problem is that the Holland plants tend to flag at mid-day. I think the heat is causing them to wilt a bit during the day. I have given them a spray of water, and they perk up a bit. They seem to recover by evening and look fine in the morning. I think I'm going to have to consider putting in a misting system earlier than I planned. Apparently, the Holland plants aren't all that happy with the direct sunlight through the green house plastic. The Sherwood plants in the Big House are fine (however, they are covered by a 30 percent shade cloth and the temps are about 5 degrees cooler than in the Guest House.)
 
Monday, January 19 View Page
We love to share our weather with all of you "snowbirds". It's been getting into the high 70s everyday for the past week -- and it's supposed to stay that way all this week. Overnight lows are in the high 40s. Our greenhouses and hotboxes are keeping our plants nicely. I'm already in a t-shirt and shorts while working in the garden. Awesome!
 
Monday, January 19 View Page
Puddles (1513 Sherwood) is really starting to impress me. Love how it's grown in the last two weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing a couple of new leaves and some tendrils this week. It's like having a small child. You see it start to grow and then you want it to crawl, walk, and run all in a week. Still, quite pleased.
 
Monday, January 19 View Page
Harry (1666 Holland) was a fast starter, but had some early challenges when I transplanted him into the Guest House. The problems were grower related. Harry isn't a big fan of direct sunlight. The light coming through the 6 mil plastic was causing him to flag every day about 11 am. FINALLY, I put up a shade cloth today on the south side of the green house and stopped the flagging. I think he'll be find now.
 
Friday, January 23 View Page
Made more room for my "surviving" plants today. Culled the 1066 Holland-2 (Butch), and 1447 Sherwood (Benny) from their respective hills. Harry (1066 Holland-1) and Puddles (1517 Sherwood) made the cut. Used my garden fork to break up the soil in anticipation of the plants to start running in another week or so. The Holland plant wants to stand up and be a tree. The Sherwood plant is starting to lay down and get ready to run. I was pleased to see the number of earthworms that were in the soil. Every turn of the dirt produced another worm that I had to bury. I kept thinking about "Seven Years in Tibet" and how the monks prayed and buried the worms - rather than kill them - when the Dali Lama wanted a movie theater. I really like seeing the little fellows.
 
Friday, January 23 View Page
Holy {technical growers term} Pumpkinman! A Squash Bug in January! Dave and I were talking about bugs this morning and how we were lucky they wouldn't appear until March. Well, so much for that. This guy was climbing up the outside of the screen door I have on the Guest House. Of course I squashed him. You're seeing his remains. Tomorrow I go Neanderthal on all of his kin. I know they're there. (They ate well last year.) It's January! Give me a break. Obviously, they think our temperatures are spring-like and they've come out to feed -- early.
 
Friday, January 23 View Page
Baseball - and America - has lost a great man. I have never been a Chicago Cubs fan, but I have always loved Ernie Banks. He is a great example of how to live as a person. His enthusiasm for life, and his positive example, is something we all should strive to emulate. It's a sad evening, but I know his spirit will be sitting beside us this spring, and all summer, while we all enjoy watching our favorite team play. 27 days until pitchers and catchers report - and our days becomes just a bit brighter. Thanks Ernie - for everything.
 
Monday, January 26 View Page
It's been 3 weeks and Harry (1666 Holland) is doing well. He's very erect with a big stem. Dave Smith has taken to calling him Viagra. I'm trying to nudge him to lay down, but he seems very happy pretending he's a tree.
 
Monday, January 26 View Page
Puddles (1513 Sherwood) is moving into position to start running sometime soon. The Big House is about 5 degrees cooler than the Guest House that is housing Harry. I'm wondering if the cooler conditions are affecting his growth rate. The soil is still about 64 overnight. Wish I had electricity so I could get it up to about 70-something.
 
Thursday, January 29 View Page
Both pumpkins have outgrown the 4x4 boxes that we use for overnight protection. Overnight temperatures are about 50 and I still want to keep the soil around the plant above 60 degrees. Expanded the styrofoam boxes to 8x8 and will use two candles for heat. The plants have really responded to the extra protection at night.
 
Thursday, January 29 View Page
The 1513 Sherwood (Puddles) is laying down nicely. It looks like I need to spend more time digging a path for it and preparing for it run.
 
Sunday, February 1 View Page
What a great day to live in Arizona! We had some rain on Friday and Saturday and it made a mess out of my green houses. The pumpkins survived in spite of my lousy engineering. Skies cleared today and I took my wife to the Phoenix Open. Saw some great golf, enjoyed the warm sunshine, and had a couple of beverages to celebrate. Temperatures are supposed to hit 80 this week with lows in the mid-50s. I'm looking forward to the good weather as the pumpkins start stretching out.
 
Monday, February 2 View Page
Harry (1666 Holland) has had a tough week. Growth has slowed a bit - I think because he wasn't getting enough light. I had put up a shade cloth to the south because the sun was causing him to flag early on. However, once he was established I think the shade slowed him down. THEN, it rained. We don't see much of that in Central Arizona. We can't drive and we do stupid things around our plants. My green house sagged from the rain and when I went to brace the structure - well, the plant got a gush of water. Had to prop one leaf up as a result. Hopefully Harry will like the 80 degree temps and do better this week. (He's been in the ground for a month.)
 
Monday, February 2 View Page
Puddles (1513 Sherwood) continues to stretch out. He's already outgrown the bigger cold frame I built for him last week. So, he's on his own to run inside the green house. I did open the roof on the greenhouse. I pulled the plastic back so there is a five foot opening the length of green house. The opening is covered by insect cloth. That should allow some of this week's heat to disapate and not cook the plant.
 
Sunday, February 8 View Page
I had a heck of a time getting the 1104 Young '14 seeds to germinate. I had planned to get them in the ground by January 15. However, they just kind of sat there and we had to peel them to get them started. Finally, got them transplanted on January 26. Leave it to me to get one in the ground backwards. These plants don't like too much of the direct sun. Saw some early flagging, so I put up some additional shade cloth to help them along. Still waiting to see which plant will survive the first cut.
 
Sunday, February 8 View Page
After having the trouble with the 1104 Youngs I went ahead and started a 1834 Daletas (closest) and 1754 Daletas (back). They went into the ground at the east end of the Big House. They were planted at the same time as the 1104s (which were planted at the west end of the plot).
 
Monday, February 9 View Page
I can see the secondaries start on the 1513 Sherwood (Puddles). It seems to want to go long rather than spread. I'm sure those days are about over.
 
Monday, February 9 View Page
Look what I found 7-feet out from the stump on the 1513 Sherwood. A little early, but it's nice to see. I want to pollinate by the end of February, first week of March.
 
Monday, February 9 View Page
1666 Holland (Harry).
 
Wednesday, February 11 View Page
The first male flower bloomed today on the 1513 Sherwood (Puddles). Typical young male. Saw a female at the other end of the plant and bloomed early. We're still 3 weeks from pollination. Still, I did snip the flower and took it home to my wife. It's Valentine's Day week - you know.
 
Monday, February 16 View Page
The 1104 Young 2014 has been in the ground for three weeks. It's quite upright. A little leggy, but healthy. I blame that on the difficulty we had getting the seed to germinate. I'm looking forward to seeing how it does. I hope it can turn out as nice at Dave Smith's 1622 Young.
 
Monday, February 16 View Page
The 1754 Daletas is a small compact plant. It was planted three weeks ago at the east end of the greenhouse. Very compact - so far.
 
Monday, February 16 View Page
I'm so happy to see the secondaries developing. The 1513 Sherwood 2014 continues to chug along. The first female appeared at 7-feet last week. Plenty of male flowers. I'm just waiting until there are a few more females before I remove the early girl. Had one sunburned leaf. I removed it - just because I couldn't stand looking at it. I was afraid it would attract bugs.
 
Monday, February 16 View Page
I was so pleased to see the 1666 Holland 2014 have a great week. It's stems thickened up and there was some nice growth this week. The secondaries are spreading out nicely. It's showing some of the early aggressiveness I saw when it germinated and started out hot.
 
Tuesday, February 17 View Page
Well, that's a surprise. My early female flower (on the 1513 Sherwood) bloomed unexpectedly this morning. I really thought I had a couple more days. Cut the flower before some busy bees decided to pollinate my plant a couple of weeks early. Can't see any more females - yet - but I suspect they'll start popping up within the week.
 
Tuesday, February 17 View Page
I pulled down the shade cloth on the south side of the greenhouses this morning in order to get some more direct light to the plants. They've all been doing well with the filtered light, but I wondered if they wouldn't enjoy a bit more morning light. It gets up into the low 90s during the afternoon, and the light is quite intense during that time. Already lost one leaf to sunburn (it was crispy). So, I pull the shade down in the morning when I open up the dutch doors at the end of the greenhouses. Then I pull the shade cloth back up at about noon; just before I leave the garden for the day.
 
Tuesday, February 17 View Page
I've been watering (with a weak fertilizer mixture) every other day. It seems that our temps are drying out the top three/four inches that quickly. They're still moist (not bone dry), but I want to ensure I don't stress the plants anymore than necessary. I want to try and keep the soil temps down as much as possible. Right now they're running about 70 degrees throughout the day. I'm concerned about the leaf temperatures during the afternoon. I need to get the misting system in place - sooner than later.
 
Saturday, February 21 View Page
Finally, a female to excited about. There's a brand new female forming on the tip of the main; 12-feet out from the base of the plant. If all goes well, I should be able to pollinate by next week end (Right on schedule). I hope Dave Smith's 1622 Young has a bunch of males ready by then. If not I know my 1666 Holland will have some.
 
Sunday, February 22 View Page
Cleaned up around the 1513 Sherwood (Puddles) today. Cut some tendrils and buried some vines. Somehow I even managed to give myself some working around the plant. I'm looking forward to actually having a pumpkin started next weekend. Of course that means when it is 20 days old and I will be in Wilkes-Barre, PA - and freezing my butt off instead of tending to my pumpkin. I know it's only three days, but I'm a helicopter grower.
 
Sunday, March 1 View Page
This plant just keeps growing. Puddles (1513 Sherwood 14) showed a female at 12-feet back on 02/21. This morning I found three females on the secondaries - was hoping for maybe another chance on the main. Secondaries are developing nicely. Plant looks happy - except for the colder weather (mid-40s overnight)(well, 38 on Thursday night).
 
Sunday, March 1 View Page
Keep cutting flowers so I can pollinate the 1513 Sherwood. Doesn't seem to want to come out during this weeks cooler temperatures. Gads. It looks like I'll be up early tomorrow to see if she is ready.
 
Sunday, March 1 View Page
Don't know what to make of this 1104 Young 14. One day it looks like it gearing up to go, and then it does something funky. Hope it finds its way once this weather front moves through - and warmer temperatures become more predictable. This plant was put in three weeks after the Sherwood and Holland plants. I believe I might be impatient because the others are getting big. Next year, they're all going in early in January. The heck with the book saying last frost is March 5.
 
Sunday, March 1 View Page
This is what happens when you don't have time to prep the ground. I had 30 days after taking out my peppers and eggplants to get the east plot ready. The 1754 Daletas 14 is hanging in there, but it is the runt of the litter. It was planted at the same time as the 1104 Young.
 
Sunday, March 1 View Page
The 1666 Holland 13 (Harry) is 13-feet long and still no females. I have some young male flowers, but the first one opened just today. The plant looks real strong. The secondaries are growing nicely - except for one that should have gone north, but flipped over to go south. I didn't catch it in time. Being positive, it does give me a nice place to work near the base of the plant. After seeing what Dale did with this plant in Australia, I am excited to see what I might be able to do in Arizona. Hopefully, we can find a female and get this thing going in the next couple of weeks.
 
Monday, March 2 View Page
Well, it rained today. Big event in Phoenix. The forecasters said 1.50 inches. We got .45 inches at the garden. My rain gauges show I got .10 inches in the tunnels (I have the top 6 feet of the tunnel covered by insect cloth - the rest in greenhouse plastic). Anyway, I didn't want the female on the 1513 Sherwood to get wet, so I built a rain hat for it. Seems to work. Now if I can just her to open. (That's frog tape on the flower holding it closed. Don't want her to open until I'm there tomorrow.)
 
Wednesday, March 4 View Page
The female finally opened this morning on the 1513 Sherwood (Puddles). Went and got two males from Dave Smith's (Davephx) 1622 Young 2009 to pollinate the flower. (Dave was kind enough to show up at 7:30 am to cut the flowers for me).
 
Wednesday, March 4 View Page
There's a female just starting to develop on the tip of the 1666 Holland (Harry). Looks like it's going to be another week before I get to pollinate something on it. Harry has been a bit slower than Puddles, but it is steady and strong. Still inside the window for pollination. Plenty of time to get big.
 
Sunday, March 8 View Page
Nice surprise this morning. A second female has appeared on the main of the 1513 Sherwood (at bottom of picture). First female can be seen at the top/center of picture. With the rise in temperatures, I expect that the second female will bloom this next weekend - probably while I'm in Las Vegas watching the Pac 12 and Mountain West basketball tournaments.
 
Sunday, March 8 View Page
Here's a better view of the female that I pollinated on Wednesday using Dave Smiths 1622 Young 2009. Looks like a good start. (I'm betting the second female doesn't take 12 days to bloom. Warmer temps should help).
 
Monday, March 16 View Page
It's been almost two weeks and Puddles (1513 Sherwood '14) is growing nicely. It certainly looks like it will resemble it's mother. The secondaries are running like crazy now that the temps are back up in the 80s. Spent several hours today removing tendrils, tertiary vines, females on the secondaries, and dead males.
 
Tuesday, March 17 View Page
1104 Young '14 is starting to get long and it's developing secondaries. After a clumsy start it seems to be growing nicely. I just hope that I can keep the 1513 Sherwood from growing into it. If I do that, then I will need to figure out what to do with the 1754 Daletas '14 growing at the east end of the big tunnel. Not enough room for both the 1104 and 1754. I find the flagging on the 1104 Young leaves to be interesting. Noticed the same thing with Dave Smith's 1622 Young '09. Those plants just don't like Arizona's mid-day sun -- even in Jan, Feb, and March. I need to add some more shade to control the amount of sunlight that the plant gets. I plan to put the 60 percent shade cloth over the top of the tunnel tomorrow.
 
Tuesday, March 17 View Page
Haven't known what to think about the 1754 Daletas. It has been the slowest plant this year. However, it has started to run this week and I even noticed a female forming at 7-feet. (Early, just like on the 1513 Sherwood). I'm looking forward to seeing how it acts with the higher temperatures. It might give the 1104 Young a run for the east plot space.
 
Tuesday, March 17 View Page
We finally pollinated the female on the 1666 Holland on March 14. I was in Las Vegas watching college basketball (Wyoming won the Mountain West)(Don't ask about Arizona State). Thanks to Dave Smith for taking time to pollinate the plant with flowers from his 1622 Young '09. Now I have to expand the small tunnel. The female is at the doorway. No place to grow. This is another plant that seems to like the extra shade I put up on the south side of the tunnel this past month. I will replace it with a 60 percent shade cloth tomorrow. The sun is getting high overhead and beating down on the plant.
 
Tuesday, March 17 View Page
Every grower needs an official t-shirt and cap. The AZGPG now have both. I'll bring some back to Wilkes-Barr for anyone wanting to wear what "The Sonoran Heavyweights" wear.
 
Monday, March 23 View Page
Had a great time in Wilkes-Barre. So glad I had a chance to meet so many great people. Came home to reality. My first fertile pumpkin on the 1513 Sherwood aborted while I was gone. AND, the main grew into the side of a bucket I had in the tunnel - and snapped. I still have two fertile pumpkins on the main. Moved the main to give both pumpkins a better growing area. Buried the main after I was through. The second pumpkin is a 15-feet from the stump, and the third pumpkin is 19-feet from the stump. You can see where I cut the first pumpkin near the center of the picture. Had to remove the 1104 Young I had in the middle of the big tunnel. Needed the space to take care of the Sherwood. Also, the 1754 Daletas is coming fast from the other end of the tunnel and needed room as well.
 
Monday, March 23 View Page
Moved the two remaining pumpkins on the 1513 Sherwood away from the south wall of the tunnel. This should give them room to grow. It's still possible I will have to open up the south end if the second pumpkin turns out to be the final keeper.
 
Monday, March 23 View Page
I started the 1754 about a month after the other two pumpkins, so it's just now getting ready to pollinate. It had another strong week and has moved to within 6 feet of the end of the 1513 Sherwood. Secondaries are reaching the edges and I'm redirecting traffic the best I can. Wish I had a wider tunnel, but Don Young says it's just a matter of getting the vines to change direction and go where there is space. I'm trying to terminate as few vines as possible.
 
Monday, March 23 View Page
The 1666 Holland has filled the tunnel. The fertile pumpkin looks good and there is another on the main about 5 feet beyond the first pumpkin. I should be able to pollinate it in the next couple of days. This is a good looking plant. It's liking the shade cloth over the top of the plot. The leaves all look fresh. Who knew I would need 60 percent shade in March. I'm still going to have to extend the tunnel because the pumpkin is sitting too close to the door. I'm not planning on a small pumpkin.
 
Wednesday, March 25 View Page
Got up early this morning to pollinate the female on the 1754 Daletas 2014. It opened at 9-feet. Poached some flowers from Dave Smith's 1622 Young 2009 to be the pollinator. Glad the new piece of 60 percent shade cloth showed up Monday. Temperatures are going to be in the low 90s this week. With the shade the tunnels are staying closer to 80. Just another reason to plant in January to ensure it doesn't get too hot and abort the young pumpkins.
 
Wednesday, March 25 View Page
I'm glad I was able to attend the education sessions in Wilkes-Barre. The information was certainly timely. One idea that Beni Meier mentioned was to leave the tap roots intact near the pumpkin. I spent part of the morning carefully lifting the vines near the fertile pumpkins to give the plant room to grow and force the root to reach for the soil. Lightly placed dirt around the exposed root to offer it some protection. I think it makes sense to have the tap root intact right at the pumpkin to feed nutrients over a short path.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
1513 Sherwood at 15 DAP. Had to put up some more shade on the south side of the tunnel. It's been 94 for the past two days and will be 90 plus each day this week. The Sherwood is in the north tunnel and gets some additional shade from the smaller tunnel to the south (It also has 70% shade cloth over the top of the plot). Temperature in the tunnel was 76 at noon. The additional shade was added to block the sunlight from hitting the fruit. Watering at midday to keep the humidity up in the tunnel to help with evaporation and cooling.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
It looks like this weeks pollination of the 1754 Daletas took. It's located at the east end of the north tunnel and isn't protected by the shade from the south tunnel. Need to work on bringing the temps down at this end of the tunnel. I think I will pull the greenhouse plastic back further and add insect cloth over the top half of the tunnel. That should allow what little breeze we're seeing, along with a misting system, to cool the tunnel near the fruit.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
The 1666 Holland at 15 DAP. The south tunnel is warmer (84 at noon). Need additional shade on the south side of the tunnel and misting to bring the temperatures down. I should be alright this week, but this weekend has certainly been a warning about what's about to happen to our temperatures in the tunnels. I'll open up the top half of the tunnel and add insect cloth to help with ventilation. I've been lucky - so far - and haven't had any insects in the tunnels. Don't want to give that up. But I do want to get the temps back down to 75-80.
 
Friday, April 3 View Page
Finally got around to updating the webpage at: http://azgpg.com Also you can read our blog entries at: http://azgpg.blogspot.com/ ...and lastly you can find AZGPG on Facebook. We're there as Arizona Giant Pumpkin Growers. Let us know how we're doing.
 
Sunday, April 5 View Page
1513 Sherwood is now 20 days old. OTT 75 (C:30, B: 22, S:23). After all that great growth of greenery during January and February I expected that maybe the plant would grow a bit quicker. Obviously, I need to work some stuff out for next year. I certainly need to increase the size of the tunnel. 400 sf just isn't big enough -- for a lot of reasons (too tough for an old man to negotiate once the vines fill the tunnel.) Soil is still a work in process. Soil report from Western Labs shows boron is a bit low and I need some manganese and iron in my plots. The heat is still the big concern. No electricity, so I can't artificially control the temperatures. Think I need to replace some of the greenhouse plastic with some insect screen. Maybe that will help with air circulation.
 
Sunday, April 5 View Page
1754 Daletas is 17 DAP. It seems to be growing at the same rate the Sherwood and Holland plants were growing.
 
Sunday, April 5 View Page
1666 Holland 2013 was 80.5 OTT at 20 days (C: 31.5, B: 24, S: 25) I can't believe this thing is growing at the west door. I really don't want to have to open up the tunnel and invite all my neighbors cucumber beetles and squash bugs into my plant. I'll probably go ahead and move the west end of the tunnel about 4-feet west. I'll cover the additional space with some insect cloth I've got. Hope that keeps them down a bit.
 
Sunday, April 12 View Page
1513 Sherwood at 26 days since pollination. OTT: 109.25 = 36 lbs (C: 42.5 B: 30.25 S: 33.75) Well, it's official. It's growing by only about 3.5 lbs a day. I'm stumped. We had a great start; and we've certainly proven that we can grow leaves - but the fruit is just growing much slower than anticipated. It's the same with all three plants. I know I have great seeds. I've had fantastic weather since January. Leaves are great, if you're growing lettuce (and Arizona does that very well during this time of year). My soil reports show I've got a bunch of stuff in the soil However, I'm concerned that I'm not getting it out and into the fruit. How can I help my pumpkins along for the next 50 days (weigh-off May 30)?
 
Sunday, April 12 View Page
Here's the soil report for the plot growing the 1513 Sherwood.
 
Sunday, April 12 View Page
1666 Holland at 27 days since pollination. OTT: 110.25 (C: 43.5 B: 33 S: 33.75) I finally moved the door away from the fruit this week. Looks a lot better with some room to grow. Now, just to get it to grow. This plant has been the strongest of the three. Leaves are still in great shape. Each of the plants have been receiving between 40-50 gallons of water each day. They were being fed with every watering while I was hand watering, but now they are on drip. I'm feeding three times of week along the main and lateral vines.
 
Sunday, April 12 View Page
The 1754 Daletas had an OTT: 67.75 after 16 days. It's early growth is slightly faster than the other two, but still not the pace I keep reading about from everyone else. What is so different that we can't get 20-25 pounds a day from our pumpkins if we have the seed and weather? What can we do to mimic whatever it is that makes pumpkins grow big?
 
Sunday, April 12 View Page
Here is the soil report for the South plot where the 1666 Holland is growing.
 
Sunday, April 19 View Page
1666 Holland 36 days since pollination. OTT: 146.5 = 77 pounds. Spoke to John Taberna and Matt Debacco this week trying to determine why our growth isn't the 20-25 pounds other people get. They both agree there's plenty of stuff in the ground and they suspect the problem may be the amount of shade we have over the plant. The reduced photosynthesis may be affecting the plants ability to pull the nutrients out of the ground and into the fruit. I pulled all but the 30% shade cloth from the top of the garden plot. I also suspended a blue tarp over the fruit itself (primarily SE side to keep the plant in shade - 7 feet from fruit).
 
Sunday, April 19 View Page
The 1666 Holland seems to be growing a bit quicker on the top than the bottom. I'll watch to make sure it doesn't roll over on the blossom end.
 
Sunday, April 19 View Page
1754 Daletas at 25 days since pollination. OTT: 105 = 32 pounds. The fruit is larger than either the Sherwood or Holland was after 25 days. It's still not where it ought to be. I finally got the mill cloth beneath the fruit today. Erected the blue tarp on the SE side to get the fruit in the shade (I also cover the fruit in a towel). It's going to be interesting to see how the plant responds to the heat and the increased intensity of the sun.
 
Sunday, April 19 View Page
1513 Sherwood at 35 days since pollination. OTT: 151.25 = 84 pounds. The fruit has picked up the pace the last couple of days. It's not a lot, but 7 lbs a day is better than 4 lbs. Hopefully, it will continue to pick up speed. It's a long way to beat the 469 pound Arizona record. Six weeks until weigh-off (May 30). I'm going to stop feeding the plant ferts for this week. Matt Debacco believes there is more than enough trapped in my soil; and that I would just be adding more to the soil. Need to get it out of there. Hopefully, the lighter shade will help.
 
Sunday, April 19 View Page
I like the nice big stem on the 1513 Sherwood. The vine is rising nicely as the fruit grows.
 
Saturday, April 25 View Page
The real reason I grow giant pumpkins is that it is that rare thing I can do to impress my grandchildren. The boys were awed by the pumpkins they saw in the garden. I might not break the Arizona record this year, but I was able to make them smile and get them excited about pumpkins. Of course, then they asked if they could dig for worms, because they weren't THAT interested in helping tend to the pumpkins.
 
Friday, May 1 View Page
Phoenix enjoyed (suffered) its first 100 degree day today (only 96 in the garden). May represents the last month we can pretend we have pumpkin growing weather (average temp 86). The average temperature will be 95 during May and 104 in June. I really hated taking some of the shade off my plants, but I guess we overshot what we needed. I have great looking leaves, but I was getting terrible growth (3-5 pounds per day) on all the plants. Since I took the extra shade off, 10 days ago, I have been adding 10-12 pounds per day. Thanks to Matt Debacco and John Taberna for taking the time to help.
 
Sunday, May 3 View Page
Received our banners for the AZGPG Weigh-Off.
 
Sunday, May 3 View Page
Got our Team-Pumpkin banners back as well.
 
Monday, May 4 View Page
The 1754 Daletas (pollinator: 1622 Young) is the fastest growing plant in the patch. It was transplanted a full month behind the other two, but it is catching up fast. Temper that with - it's growing 12 pounds per day. It's 28 pounds heavier at day 40 than the 1513 Sherwood; and 50 pounds heavier than the 1666 Holland. OTT: 194 = 164 pounds on May 4.
 
Monday, May 4 View Page
The 1513 Sherwood has grown 102 pounds in the past 10 days. (Glad I took the extra cover off). OTT on May 4 is 194 = 164 pounds. The fruit is starting to get a bit of orange color and I've noticed the cantaloping near the top stem.
 
Monday, May 4 View Page
The 1666 Holland has also grown 110 pounds in the past 10 days. It has essentially caught up with the Sherwood - but it is one day older. OTT: 216.5 = 224 pounds.
 
Monday, May 4 View Page
Correction to earlier post. April's average temp is 86. May is 95. June is 104. What that means to me is that it's time to be done with the pumpkins and go traveling with my wife until it cools off this fall. (We leave for Colorado during the middle of June).
 
Wednesday, May 6 View Page
Great news! Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre has agreed to become the host sponsor for the 2015 AZGPG Spring Harvest Festival on May 30. Harper's has also agreed to host an expanded Spring weigh-off for a variety of giant vegetables in 2016. Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre, 2529 N Hayden Rd, has served as Scottsdale's hometown nursery since 1945.
 
Friday, May 8 View Page
The 1513 Sherwood is showing signs of slowing down. The weight gains started to fall the past couple of days. I think we have another week of reasonable weather before the heat really sets in on a regular basis. Hope the slow down is an aberation and that it starts gaining some poundage before the weigh-0ff. OTT: 231.5 = 270 lbs
 
Friday, May 8 View Page
The 1754 Daletas is picking up steam. It's a couple of weeks younger than the other two, so I am hoping it can remain strong for these last three weeks before the weigh-off. I love the shape - though I thought the mother was a little less round. OTT: 211.75 = 210 lbs
 
Friday, May 8 View Page
The 1666 Holland continues to be a sneaky plant. It has lacked the flash of the other pumpkins; but it's steady growth has now made it my biggest pumpkin in the patch. Weight gains are better than they have been at any time for the last 55 days since pollination. (Some of that slow growth was my fault). Still can break the Arizona State record (469 lbs) if the fruit can continue gaining at its current pace. That sure would be nice. OTT: 235 = 282 pounds. At any rate, I will have a new personal best this season. Considering I changed our growing season; amended the soil - a lot; learned to deal with cold; overshot my need to shade the plant to prevent sunburn; and kept it all in a 450 sf space -- I'm pretty darn happy with this year.
 
Saturday, May 16 View Page
The banners arrived for the weigh-off on May 30. Ribbons have been ordered. Now all we have to do is keep the pumpkins growing so we can beat the old Arizona record. My 1666 Holland was about 360 pounds on Friday. It's growing 10-12 pounds per day. At that rate I might have about a 5% wiggle factor to beat the record.
 
Monday, May 18 View Page
1754 Daletas is the prettiest of my three pumpkins. Sorry I planted it a month behind the others. It's going to be the smallest pumpkin at the weigh-off. (June's too hot. I'm not going to leave it in the ground to die.) Anyway, OTT: 240.5, or about 301 pounds. It's gaining about 10-11 pounds each day. Expect another 120 by weigh-off. Our moderate May temps seem to be helping the plants keep up the growth. The forecast gives me another week before it gets hot again.
 
Monday, May 18 View Page
1513 Sherwood has its good days and its bad days. They seem to balance out at about 9-10 pounds each day. Nice creamsicle color developing. Solid pumpkin. OTT: 258.25, or about 370 pounds.
 
Monday, May 18 View Page
1666 Holland looks like its going to be my best best to beat the Arizona record (which is only 469 - if you're wondering). People look at it and say "Wow, that's an ugly pumpkin!" and I reply ... "It's not a beauty contest. I just want the pounds." This pumpkin is still white. Can't see any color in it. Happy to see it's still adding 11-12 pounds a day. At that rate I should be over 500 pounds. Hope its 1) Not hollow, 2) Not rotted on the bottom. OTT: 264, or about 394 pounds.
 
Monday, May 18 View Page
One of the things I learned at the GPC Convention was that I don't need to cut the taproots near the pumpkin. I made it a point to gently go about and dig the roots up, lift the pumpkin vine, then pile some dirt around the exposed roots. That seems to work pretty well. I have the slack I need on the vine, and I'm still feeding the fruit from up close.
 
Wednesday, May 20 View Page
I've been measuring the pumpkins every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; then, I plug the information into the app I downloaded from Don Langevin's Annedawn Publishing. It is convenient to have my phone do the math. However, Dave Smith pointed out to me that my numbers seem to be lower than what the current OTT charts show. That may be. However, it is an estimate and I don't mind being a bit conservative. I would hate to get to the scale and find out I'm way high with my estimated weight. I think the lower numbers might offset any stretching of the tape that might occur when I'm taking my measurements.
 
Monday, May 25 View Page
1513 Sherwood has slowed down. 71 DAP with OTT: 272.5. I figure it will be at about the Arizona record weight, but probably not enough to win the weigh-off. I love how it's developed and want to plant the plant again next year -- without the mistakes I made this year. I'll cut this one on Friday for Saturday (May 30) weigh-off.
 
Monday, May 25 View Page
Well, couldn't go the season without something going REAL wrong. Got to the garden this morning and discovered I had a stem split on my 1666 Holland. 5-days until weigh-off and I got the chance to deal with this. Thanks to Dave Smith and Bart Toftness for talking me off the cliff. Treated the split with Captan. It appears to be about one-inch deep. I'll be nursing the plant until I cut it on Friday for Saturday's weigh-off. The Holland plant is 71 days DAP wot am OTT: 277. This one is my best bet to beat the record. Won't be as big as I hoped, but I've learned a lot this year.
 
Thursday, May 28 View Page
Tomorrow I cut two pumpkins and take them to the AZGPG Spring Harvest Festival Weigh-Off on Saturday. I'm taking the 1666 Holland and 1513 Sherwood to the weigh-off. The 1754 Daletas is two weeks younger. I'm going to hold it for another couple of weeks and enter it in our Virtual Weigh-Off. Spent the day removing the hoops and preparing to carry the pumpkins out of patch. I'm relieved it's almost over. Anxious to see how much the pumpkins weigh. Scared that I might find some undiscovered rot that will keep me from getting to the finish line. I'm glad the split stem on the 1666 Holland doesn't seem to have gotten any worse.
 
Friday, May 29 View Page
Moved the 1666 Holland (the white one) and the 1513 Sherwood (top left of picture) to Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre for tomorrows AZGPG Spring Harvest Festival. the Weigh-Off will start at 9 am PST.
 
Friday, May 29 View Page
What a weird feeling to be able to walk through the middle of the patch. I was pleased the soil was both moist and spongy. I guess I didn't trample things as bad as I imagined.
 
Saturday, May 30 View Page
The AZGPG Spring Harvest Festival weighed a new Arizona State Record. 486 Baker (1513 Sherwood 2014 X 1622 Young 2009) beat the old record by 17 pounds.
 
Saturday, May 30 View Page
I did it! What a relief. Now I have to start planning for next January. Note to self: Don't block the pumpkin. Nobody wants your picture. :-)
 
Saturday, May 30 View Page
I couldn't have done this without Peggy's support. Sure, she was happy I wasn't sitting around the house; but she was nice enough not to schedule any long trips for the last five months. That changes in a couple of weeks.
 
Saturday, May 30 View Page
Most of us were surprised that the 483 Baker (1666 Holland 2013 X 1622 Young 2009) didn't went the weigh-off. It was 9 percent light. The rest were about 2 percent light. Arizona's lack of humidity may be responsible for some of the lost weight. Still, it taped bigger than it showed. I was glad the grandchildren were there. Not much that I do impresses them. I was hoping the giant pumpkins would give me some credibility. I was competing with Comicon, so they were primed to go see their super-heros.
 
Saturday, May 30 View Page
I was glad Ben Buchsieb was in the audience for the AZGPG Spring Harvest Festival. We gave him a Personal Best ribbon and an Arizona State Record ribbon for his 2007 Arizona pumpkin. His 469-pound record stood for 8-years. He was good enough to help lift my new record onto the scale.
 
Sunday, June 7 View Page
I want to thank the judges at the weigh-off. They took the official measurements and assessed the fruit to ensure they were eligible for a prize. Bart Toftness flew in for the event (and was put to work). He was joined by two AZGPG members Scott Culp (Sandkin) and Wendy Woodward as judges.
 
Sunday, June 7 View Page
Next year I'm going to stuff the vines all the way to the bottom of the bottles. We staged the pumpkins Friday at 6 pm. We returned Saturday at 7:30 am and the pumpkins had consumed a full gallon of water. Would have been more if the vines hadn't lost contact with the water. It was only 105 degrees Friday and Saturday. Humidity was 5-7 percent. Everything, and everybody was thirsty.
 
Sunday, June 7 View Page
Finally got the webpage updated ( http://www.azgpg.com ) and updated the blog with a number of pictures ( http://azgpg.blogspot.com ). Then, I remembered I still needed to post entries here. I think I'm caught up. My pumpkins are still on display at Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre. Jay wanted them for an event he hosted yesterday. I had the chance to stand by the pumpkins and talk to people about them. I gave away several seeds for potential new growers. I hope to collect seeds tomorrow.
 
Monday, June 8 View Page
One pumpkin left in the garden. The 1754 Daletas was planted a full month after my other two pumpkins. It was showing great promise during May and I decided to give it a couple of more weeks to see if it couldn't move our Arizona record higher. Unfortunately, the heat showed up at the end of last week and the leaves are starting to look bleached. I've been giving the plant some overhead water during the day to try and keep the leaves cool and slow down the transpiration. The fruit has gone from 10-12 pounds per day down to 3 pounds a day over the last week. I've been getting quite a few people coming by to look at the pumpkin, but it's time to call it quits for the season. I'll be cutting the Daletas on Wednesday and weighing it at Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre as part of our Virtual Weigh-Off (We had several pumpkins, which were started late and weren't ready for the Spring Harvest Festival.)
 
Monday, June 8 View Page
The 1754 Daletas has an OTT of 271.75 at 75 DAP. Need another 50 pounds - but it's not going to happen.
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
Cut my two pumpkins from the Festival in half. I was wanting to see how bad the stem split got on the 483. I mean, I lost sleep over the split. It seems the split was truly in the stem. It doesn't look like it made any sort of gash in the flesh of the pumpkin. I see a little discoloring, but I think that may have been more from my aggressive treatment rather than from the split.
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
I was able to pull more than 300 good seeds from the 483 Baker (1666 Holland X 1622 Young). I was surprised at the number of seeds that had germinated inside the pumpkin. The pumpkins had been displayed at Harper's Landscape & Garden Centre since the Festival 10 days ago. I guess the high heat probably warmed the cavity enough that some of the seeds sprouted. (however, I didn't find any seeds sprouted in the 486, which was cut at the same time and displayed for just as long.)
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
End of the road for the 483. Ready to be loaded into the bucket on the tractor and moved to the compost pile.
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
cut open the 486 Baker (1513 Sherwood X 1622 Young) and was surprised to see how much the plant had fallen on itself. The shoulder was nice and thick, but the blossom end was scary skinny. I had to make a couple of extra cuts so I could get my hand inside the pumpkin and pull out the seeds.
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
I was able to get 300+ seeds out of the 486. Took a last look at the Arizona champion, then loaded the pieces in the bucket and hauled off to the compost pile.
 
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
Bucket of seeds from the 486. Put the seeds in a bowl of warm water and swished them about to get the pulp off. Did that three times to make sure I got them reasonable clean. Spread them out on some newspaper to dry. I know my wife is thrilled that I have all my seeds drying on her dining room table.
 
Wednesday, June 10 View Page
Set up the AZGPG's new floor scale and weighed my last pumpkin for the season. We've decided to have a Virtual Weigh-Off because we have a number of people who started late (well, they started using the traditional last frost dates). Plus, the start dates are later in Las Vegas, Northern Arizona, and New Mexico. We'll just take the scale with us and get everybody a certified weight. There just aren't any options in our part of the country. Anyway, the 461.5 Baker (1754 Daletas X 1622 Young) weighed in 3 percent heavy. After being disappointed that the 483 came in 9 percent light, I was down-right thrilled. It didn't break my new record, but it was a great way to end the season.
 
Thursday, December 24 View Page
The 2016 season is getting ready to start in Arizona. Just to make sure things aren't too easy, I picked up a new patch and had to tear out the old fence, water lines, and rip out the remains of the row garden. A couple of passes with the tractor - and a healthy dose of compost - and I'm a bit closer to being ready.
 
Thursday, December 24 View Page
Decided to overall the water distribution system I used last year. Wanted to ensure I had water to all parts of my new and old patches. The new system will allow me to automate the watering and include a fertigation system to each of my plants. I'm getting too old to do all this digging.
 
Thursday, December 24 View Page
It's Christmas Eve and I needed to make my seed selection for 2016. I'm planning to plant eight pumpkins and keep four. Each mature pumpkin will grow in a 600 sf area (This is up from the 450 sf I gave the plants last year). I'll plant two pumpkins heading toward each other and choose one after they are close to meeting in the middle. This should work better than planting two on one hill and choosing one in the first couple of weeks.
 
Thursday, December 24 View Page
Filed the sides of my chosen seeds and folded them into damp paper towels.
 
Thursday, December 24 View Page
Seeds are all bagged and on the heat mat. The mat is set at 85 degrees. They should germinate by the first of next week -- just in time for me to put them in pots and set them under the lights, on my desk, on top of my wife's NEW carpet. I'm betting she's going to be staring daggers at me. ;-) I sure hope I don't spill anything.
 
Sunday, December 27 View Page
Checked on the seeds I started on Christmas Eve and all eight has them had germinated. Had to finally decide whether to put the seeds in the small jiffy pots or go ahead and plant them in the larger pots. I decided I didn't want to risk the plants growing to fast and compacting the smaller pots. Put them in the larger pots. One lesson I learned from last year was that it is easier to cut the pots in half - now - and then tape them together before you plant the seed. I did a 3/4 cut last year and it was a pain to have to go back and cut the rest of the container without damaging the roots. The lesson I learned this year is to NOT use your wife's good scissors. Wow. She wasn't to happy when she noticed what I was using.
 
Sunday, December 27 View Page
I'm sure glad they make duct tape in colors. Bought a roll of orange tape to put the containers back together. Hope it's good luck.
 
Sunday, December 27 View Page
Put all the pots on the heat mat. Soil was about 70 degrees ...so, I guess the mat will be running for awhile until it heats the potting mix up to 85 degrees. The lamp should help.
 

 

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