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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 122 Entries.
Saturday, April 23 View Page
Seeds soaked for 4 hours with a splash of seaweed extract, filed gently on one edge, and popped in a bag between two cotton baby wipes. Now in the airing cupboard. We wait! From having started late last year, as on a new (&windy) site, hopefully rather more early season growth this year. Still wrestling with keeping the plant warm once transplanted in overgrown cloche (5x8?) - soil cables with in built thermostats don't seem to exist in the UK. May rig non-thermostat soil cable to timer at night, or find something similar. Happy growing all from the UK!
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
Airing cupboard - do I detect the merest hint of a crack in the seed?
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
In anticipation, the mini cliche (6 ft x 11 ft) tunnel is up. A light sprinkling of pelleted chicken manure down just to help start the plant get off the mark.
 
Monday, April 25 View Page
Into pots with 2 spoons Rootgrow, and a little vermiculite. And then back into the lizard tank (it's warm!)
 
Thursday, April 28 View Page
First upgrade to the mini cloche - self opening louvre vents (remote plot)
 
Thursday, April 28 View Page
One up, one to go. Lizard tank has done well... Out to the GH in a nice spot on the propagation bench
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
Transplanted the 1297 Ansems. 702 Holland didn't make it, 755 Berard x2 went in zip loc bags as back ups on 29th April
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
Bone meal added to front 4x4 ft planting site, 40 ft soil cable down (timer at night) with tail end of cable for above ground frost protection. Hunted out old greenhouse termostat - will have to see what night temps drop to
 
Monday, May 2 View Page
Painted my butt. After all that work heating the soil, the on site water direct from the well is freezing - and may undo half the good work at each watering if direct (?). We'll see! Need to sort short & long term irrigation...
 
Friday, May 6 View Page
1297 Ansems is in. I would have liked more time to check that the cloche is venting at the right temps, and soil cables are turning on at the right times - but a trip away means it's got to go in, or wait over another week. Fingers crossed all will go well in my absence! 755 Berard back ups are now up.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
1297 Ansems is alive! Been away for the week so it's had to fend for itself - water & venting on auto (but best guess
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
1297 Ansems (side view)
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
A few tiny yellow spots on leaves - will google on my return. Reduced watering timer to 10 mins as seems a bit on damp side.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
Playing with some tech - a few cheap data loggers ($16?). According to this over the last week, soil temp recorded has been between 23 degrees and 12. It checks every 15 mins. The time signature is out due to a battery change, but ultimately I'd like to see how impactful soil heating cables are - and if they are on at the right time.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
Mainly lessons in data logging than any useful data for air temp in tunnel. Time stamp out again due to batt change. Metal sensor in direct sun so that accounts for sky high peaks - will see if I can rig something in shade to get more accurate air temp. Ultimately, I want to check if tunnel is self venting at right temp and if it needs more ventilation etc. (Remote plot). Like to think the tech may be useful in getting conditions right long term as to what's working and what's not.
 
Tuesday, May 17 View Page
755 Berard planted out in second site at farm. Far less coddled conditions - later, no soil cable or self venting house etc. The mrs and young one to look after this one. Competition time! Could be pollination parter. Bone meal, Rootgrow & a few chicken pellets added. Under cloche.
 
Saturday, May 21 View Page
1297 Ansems
 
Saturday, May 21 View Page
755 Berard (being looked after by wife & young un)!
 
Thursday, May 26 View Page
Everyone else in the UK is posting, so I best get an update one in! Ansems 1297 doing well, starting to vine
 
Thursday, May 26 View Page
Ansems 1297 - side
 
Thursday, May 26 View Page
Berard 755 Both plants had a watering of seaweed
 
Thursday, May 26 View Page
Just re-found a picture the Ansems 1297 which is main seed I'm growing, so thought I'd post. Pretty, ain't she? Big and orange. Fingers crossed.
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
Ansems 1297
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
Ansems 1297 - side. Vine = 2ft, 2 in
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
Berard 775
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
Regular plants doing well too; good weather of late, but little rain.
 
Friday, June 3 View Page
A damp cold week here in the UK, Ansems 1297 at 3ft...but...
 
Friday, June 3 View Page
...Dang! Had meant to add in more supporting material, but ran out of time at remote plot - it's been 5 days since the last visit. Potentially, gardening on a south facing slope, with the vine running downhill, it's exacerbating the lay down angle and increasing drop distance that has to be made.
 
Friday, June 3 View Page
Kinked with split running down vine both sides; reading posts, seems it sounds like it will heal, although may not deliver full potential due to restricted flow. Plant seems happy enough. Dang, dang, dang...
 
Wednesday, June 8 View Page
Ansems 1297 - a bit unexpected, the side vine is making a break for it outside the cloche at 2ft 3. Cloche is 6ft wide and 11ft long, but plant offset to accept backup. Main vine at 5.5ft. Placed windbreak to try and stop wind catching that opening, and will try and centre cloche over new growth.
 
Friday, June 10 View Page
Umm. This isn't on all leaves - and it's not on young leaves - but one or two around same position. I'm guessing temp blip - sunscald as a young leaf on a hot day earlier in the week (for the UK 75f+ outside temp - plant's inside a mini tunnel. Any thoughts (or confirmations!) do let me know.
 
Friday, June 10 View Page
But it was exciting to see this! Rather early - both date and length on vine. But great to see
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
1297 - 7ft main, sides 3ft and 3.5 ft respectively. Had some love today: vine burying (Rootgrow, rooting powder & compost - no pots, don't have enough), seaweed drench, and SB foliar.
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
1297 - side
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
775 Berard - far more primitive conditions, later planting - the back up's back up. 4ft, 6 inch sides. Seaweed drench and just one node buried only
 
Saturday, June 18 View Page
1297 Ansems
 
Saturday, June 18 View Page
1297 Ansems - main vine is at 9.5ft, weather fairly dull and cool. Great for lettuce, not so good for pumpkins. Males and females appearing tho.
 
Saturday, June 18 View Page
1297 Wrapped up again
 
Saturday, June 18 View Page
The late starter 775 Berard. Making good ground in dull conditions. Some vertical sidevines at present.
 
Saturday, June 18 View Page
Forecast for next five days...be nice to see some sun soon.
 
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
Weather still a bit meh. The cloche had an extension for the main vine tip - and it's just shy of 12 ft, by an inch or two.
 
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
Vine burying today - but most importantly, irrigation is down. It works, but need one more timer to automate. Thanks @dandytown for the advice, much appreciated. This is the view from the water butts on top of a shipping container - they'll be warmed by sun, then irrigate.
 
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
Pah.
 
Monday, June 27 View Page
775 Berard - was an open pollination at an early stage, 5 nice lobs tho, will keep for a bit if it took, but hope to set further down if at all. Focus remains the other larger plant who gets all the love due to increasing time constrains outside the world of pumpkins!
 
Wednesday, June 29 View Page
First pollinated female on 1297 Ansems at 11.5ft (selfed) - 9 secondaries ahead of it. Always thought she'd be prettier (and without seeds), but pollinated regardless. Next at 13.5ft, and after that at 15ft
 
Wednesday, June 29 View Page
Side position of Ansems 1297
 
Friday, July 1 View Page
Female #2 on Ansems 1297. Plant = 16 ft wide, main = 16ft. Pollination at 12.5ft. No seeds, slightly protruding lobes
 
Friday, July 1 View Page
#2 position - good, stem not too long but can go with pitchfork
 
Friday, July 1 View Page
Glamorous assistant
 
Friday, July 1 View Page
Next up are #3 & #4: close together at vine end
 
Friday, July 1 View Page
Weather still poor; the big concern is that post pollination, night temps for week are less than 15c (60f) (=no night time growth?). At moment #1 & #2 under pollination fleece bag and whole plant STILL under cloche, which may raise by a degree or two. Need a plan to keep more warmth in overnight if anything is to grow. Starts with water filled black buckets tomorrow.
 
Saturday, July 2 View Page
Female #2 on Berard
 
Saturday, July 2 View Page
Female #2 position
 
Saturday, July 2 View Page
The Berard is proving to be a much ganglier plant than the Ansems.The Berard is making big gains in distance but with huge distances between internodes. Given I'm limited by space 25x30 ish per plant - I'm not sure it's a characteristic I'm sold on, given fewer secondaries per patch - but remain open at this point. As a result tho, I'm pollinating the Berard with the Ansems - but selfing the Ansems as I'm liking the smaller internodes and want to keep this characteristic. Checking the Ansems family tree, doesn't seem to be much selfing - so selfing should be fine. Behind on Ansems vine burying - but caught up on one half this am.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Measuring up: Berard 755 (left to itself a lot of the time, other than straightening vines).14ft main, sides 5.5ft. #1 (open) at 5.5ft #2 at 9ft. Distance between side vines ~ 2ft. 6 sides before 9ft pollination.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Measuring up: Ansems just over 18ft main, 9ft sides. #1 at 11.5ft, #2 (more likely) at 13ft. 11 secondaries ahead of 13ft. Secondaries 1.5ft apart.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Ansems 1297 - better photo
 
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
Ansems 1297 #3 pollination at 15.5ft, selfed. Delighted with perfect 5 lober, flowers progressively sorting themselves out - hope this will be the keeper.
 
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
Weather, middling. Warmer, but not blazing sun. Timed water butt: 105 litres dripped in 30mins.
 
Thursday, July 7 View Page
Ansems 1297 #4, 16.5ft.
 
Thursday, July 7 View Page
Ansems #1 culled at 8 DAP (had seeds, but went thru motions). Uneven growth, lots of better options presenting themselves.
 
Monday, July 11 View Page
Ansems #2 at 10 DAP, cc 12 inches.
 
Monday, July 11 View Page
Berard #1 aborted & removed (early, open pollination - I didn't actively pollinate but didn't remove either)
 
Monday, July 11 View Page
Berard #2, 9 DAP. Cc = 15, due to that torpedo nose! An aggressive side shoot lying down is causing a split in stem tho, so I'm thinking this is unlikely to be the keeper if I want something to keep going to end of season.
 
Monday, July 11 View Page
Cold nights at the mo, which is why I think pumpkins are slow out the gate as outside plants... Feels a lot colder than temp suggests with wind up today.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
#4 Berard, open pollination. Removed side and leaf as aggressive nature seems to be creating splits on stems of earlier pollinations. It's the back up.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Cold nights (50 degrees f) holding back any growth in pollinations for me here. Aiming to stop some sides, create windbreak around pumpkin pollinations to reduce windchill and rig some sort of tent to keep earth in - difficulty is that as a remote plot... what ever is built, has to stay there during the day. Any suggestions of what's worked for you outdoors - shout!
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Thrown this up - issues to look out for will be overheating in day, ventilation for anything longer term. Buckets for a bit of thermal mass, a thermal (but high ventilation) mesh, and cover. Hopefully good ventilation but keeps heat in. Temp data loggers inside and out to find out what happens during day and night. A temp, rather than long term solution...
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Hardly definitive, but currently running just over 2 degrees c higher (5 degrees f) at 20.6c inside, 18.5c outside (mid day, cloudy). We'll have to see what happens at night / in sun.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Experiment 1 & 2 in action to see if we can't tickle up some better early DAP growth in these outside UK pollinations.
 
Friday, July 15 View Page
Bit of an odd blossom end on Berard 775 #2 pollination 13 DAP
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
With some good weather forecast in coming week, I've bitten the bullet with some culling as ideal fruit are further out beyond the earlier pollinations. The chosen fruits are #3 Ansems (#1 had seeds, #2 slightly twisted lobes and pumpkin at 14 DAP started getting uneven growth) and #4 Berard (others would have started with stem splits). There are back up (open) pollinations on the main for these. Earlier fruit half cut, rest tomorrow.
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
Plants looking good, Ansems 23ft across but Berard made huge headway catching up. Leaves if Berard much greener. After all recent pollinations been and gone, top dressed Ansems with blood fish bone.
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
Pumpkins selected and culled. Going with:
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
And:
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Berard catching up in size to Ansems, and I've still have back ups running here. Can I cull now tho? Chosen pumpkin is at DAP 19 and gaining well against my other pumpkin - getting a little lumpy in appearance, and skin does have texturing to it tho rather than smooth (?) (next pic you can see better) but seems taunt to touch and no soft spots seen so don't think it's aborting which was a thought. Always assumed they'd be smooth at this stage (other one is, but diff genetics). Time to cull back ups and go with this? Choices, choices...
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Berard skin texture
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Berard skin texture. Should I be worried?
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Ansems - larger, but a week older than Berard at DAP26. Slower growing but lugging a bigger back up. Just checked if back up was growing more quickly, and I should go with that... But checking notes, despite 3ft+ between them was just one day later - so I'm guessing it's now competing, and with the main one. At DAP 26, safe to cull back ups I think...
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Float value to fill solar heated water fitted & working well!
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
...but drip line irrigation needs work to get even coverage. Gravity fed, to a sloped site, I'm too dry at the top (where stumps are located) and too wet at the base (where pumpkins based and less root mass to take up excess). Pressure compensating lines would't have worked with low pressure from butt. Next year growing uphill could work! But in meantime, need to come up with solutions to implement now - split zones, alternating lines at diff distances - or run new lines at top only? Halved timer for now, and will need to top up, top half manually for the moment.
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Vine burying with 0.8 litre pots with peat free has been enough to start rooting on top of nodes - but not enough capacity in pots / water retention to see second set of roots to the ground. Will spend time going over some of the vines - hopefully enough time to still get some roots in as pumpkin starts to grow. Something to pick up on next year.
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
Weather cooled considerably here, but hopefully a bit of sun next week.
 
Wednesday, August 3 View Page
Back up pumpkins culled, and hopefully last vine / pumpkin positioning done. I'm all in with these two. I feel nervous, like a on adolescent school boy on a first date and I don't know how it's going to turn out... ?? Butterflies. Fingers crossed. First up, the Berard
 
Wednesday, August 3 View Page
...and the older Ansems. This plant's foliage isn't as green and leaf stalks diminutive by comparison to normal Giants - I think a section of it's growing site has become waterlogged over time due to drip layout on a slope, and it's prevented as good growth / messed with availability of nutrients. It's drying out now.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
Ansems: ( 70 48 50)= 168 OTT 111 lb 7 day av = 8.9 lb per day Plant's greening up, but limited (no?) rooting at nodes. It's getting remedial care.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
Star of the patch: Berard 74 57 55 = 186 OTT 149lb. 7 day av = 13 lb per day. Gave both patches Tomerite last Wed, but advised it may ripen fruit so aim to switch to Maxicrop Plus Tom feed. Foliar with Epsom salts + Maxicrop original.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
Been drying out the patch, and automated irrigation isn't back on or consistent yet which is a bind. Still yet to go back and cover unrooted vine roots for both plants, but progress made (time is v. short!). Berard generally needs encouraging top roots - bottom form without an issue...but Ansems has limited rooting top and bottom - vines in places unattached. Eek. Assuming it's all related to watering issues - nutrient lock up and too soggy in places.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
Weather
 
Tuesday, August 16 View Page
Now, this is a little OTT for my rather modest Giant Pumpkin ambitions... But I had a tissue test for the big (and better pumpkin) to give me an idea what's going on generally behind the scenes to help focus in future years. An old soil test for the larger site attached too - it's had a lot (!) of cow manure added which will start to pull down pH - but nothing else. Tissue test of "very low calcium" blows my mind. There's 4000 ppm in the soil! Not making it from A to B, although I'm not sure why. Sulphur / Manganese look easy - but boy, I'm trying to get my head around the calcium thing. Is adding plant soluble calcium to a soil which already has calcium (potentially insoluble?) a good idea? Is it there, but other factors (watering, high ph affecting Boron, K competes with Ca) affecting uptake? I also know that calcium doesn't move well. Getting some good input on the Giant Vegetable Facebook group; IanP suggested looking at Boron levels to help Ca flow + lab suggesting direct application to fruit as foliar application unlikely to help increase calcium in pumpkin. If anyone one else has input - please share! Love to understand what's going on.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
It's been a good week! Weekly update: Ansems - now known as 'Lily' 176 lbs + 65 lb on the week. Plant's got some colour back in the leaves, if on short leaf stems. 2 gallons Maxicrop tomato feed + 2 gallons comfrey tea & a handful of dried blood for nitrogen, as I think it's been leached with the irrigation muck up.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
And the Berard, now known as 'Stella'. + 102 lb in the week (it's not Ron W territory, but it's good for me!) to land on 251 lb on day 35. 2 gallons Maxicrop + Tom feed, and 2 gallons comfrey.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
Weather, nice today, wet later in week.
 
Sunday, August 21 View Page
Soil test mystery: part solved. With extremely high calcium in soil test, but very low tissue - this was a surprise. Tissue lab suggest the soil tests acid extraction - if calcium carbonate present - could be over emphasise levels. Redigging a lump of soil and testing with house vinegar - it does seem I've small lumps in soil. Impact: believe Ca,Mg,K,P amounts & ratios will be inaccurate on soil test.Metals etc fine. New, different soil test needed which will be we're that's more suitable for my soil type. And the plant's can get a drench of more soluble calcium now I know soil doesn't have a type they can reach.
 
Wednesday, August 24 View Page
Another week on: Lily up to 239 lb, up 63 over the week. 7 day av just 9 lb a week. Noticed a soft spot on stem - have gouged, scraped, and applied sulphur. Fingers crossed...
 
Wednesday, August 24 View Page
Icky gunge, scraped and sulphur applied. Deeper than I first thought, and not sure it's all out without severing into vascular issue. Fingers crossed, but doesn't sound good.
 
Wednesday, August 24 View Page
Stella up to 342 lb, up 91 lb over the week. That's a little slower than last week, even with a really nice day yesterday but hoping up can keep this up for a while longer. First sign of powdery mildew spotted - SB applied. Plant is getting 2 gallons Maxicrop twice a week + same comfrey. Applied some liquid calcium as foliar and drench in week given soil tests.
 
Wednesday, August 24 View Page
Weather: hot yest & today, cooler in the week.
 
Wednesday, August 31 View Page
Measuring Wednesday: Stella up to 424lb, up 82lb for the week. Taking comparative numbers with slight pinch of salt - measuring now outside ribs with sticky tape (thanks @biddygoat & Bart from Team Pumpkin). But hopefully more accurate now ribs are growing. I'll take the gains where I can! :)
 
Wednesday, August 31 View Page
Lily up to 293 lb, up 54 lb. Icky stem seems to have been checked with the sulphur treatment, so that's good.
 
Wednesday, August 31 View Page
Patching looking full; a lot of unburied vines in there tho...(shh - time is not my friend). Plants healthy, but a few more powdery mildew spots appearing. More foliar SB applied & worst leaves removed.
 
Wednesday, August 31 View Page
Weather has seen some good sunny days for the UK last few days; forecast a bit more cool and cloudy it seems.
 
Wednesday, September 7 View Page
Lily up 45 lb on the week; 104,72,71 = 247 = 338 lb up 45 lb and 6.4 lb 7 day av. A bit of funk back on the stem, so needs another scrap or I could try aspirin spray
 
Wednesday, September 7 View Page
Stella up 52 lb on the week to 476 lb 117,84,78 = 278 OTT. 7.4 lb per day. That's a fair drop in week on week growth, although it has been much cooler this week.
 
Wednesday, September 7 View Page
Didn't notice this until looked at pic; hopefully it can hang on in there for another month!
 
Wednesday, September 7 View Page
Weather
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Stella up 41 lb on the week to 517 lb (yeah - 500 lb milestone broken). Powdery mildew really seems to have stepped up a notch. And some blighter had a nibble. Off damn you!
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
That's the mildew - new growth isn't impact, so some green leaves, but oldest leaves much more severely hit. Stella not been 'fed' this week, and since Monday, exposed to sun to see if she'll colour up and if the warmth might eek a bit more out. I'm recover at night when I can...but as it's a remote plot - not always an option.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Lily also up 41 lb, and in this case to 379 lb. Removed another bit of soft rot on the stem - new location now.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Full die back from the area under the cloche cover: have to review time under next year, thought it would help push temps up in cool UK and therefore growth - but really seems to have aged the leaves. Umm.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Some unseasonably hot Sept days this week - surprised it's not pushed a bit more growth tbh. Hard trying to keep the full plot (and salads) watered at present but spent time getting irrigation in which will hopefully help here going fwd.
 
Saturday, September 17 View Page
Deluge of rain here over last few days - these cracks all appeared in last 2 days; now filled with sulphur, nothing too deep. Still staying off feed tho; weather suddenly feeling cold and autumnal.
 
Sunday, September 25 View Page
Soft rot on the stem of Stella; just on the intersection - scraped and sulphured. That makes both pumpkins with a bit of soft rot on vine into pumpkin - so need to find out more on something preventative next year. Stems have been dusted regularly with sulphur, so looking for something more I could have done ahead of time... Answers on an email...
 
Friday, October 7 View Page
Lifting day; thanks MatthewO!!!
 
Friday, October 7 View Page
On pallet... *phew*
 
Friday, October 7 View Page
...and now in Southampton, ready for tomorrow alongside MatthewO's in Southampton. Look fwd to it!
 
Friday, October 7 View Page
Arrival at Southampton (front), together with MatthewO's (behind)
 
Saturday, October 8 View Page
Wow! Stella came in at 624 lb and placed 6th in the UK's Southampton weigh off. Good to meet IanP and see the new UK record hit the scales.
 
Friday, October 21 View Page
Seeds from the smaller pumpkin Lily ready - some hopefully available via Farm Shop where Stella is still on display
 
Tuesday, October 25 View Page
One of my giant pumpkins is now officially a pumpkin beer & 3,000 pints - headline seems to have added a few baby elephants to the weight and lost the all important qualifier 'baby' - but "hey ho! Opening paragraph is right at least http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/pumpkin-weighing-more-than-four-elephants-converted-into-beer/story-29836139-detail/story.html
 
Tuesday, October 25 View Page
And another in "Beer Today" - http://beertoday.co.uk/seasonal-beer-giant-pumpkin-lily-1016/
 

 

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