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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 127 Entries.
Monday, April 3 View Page
This is out 2017 orange lineup, as long as everything germinates. Clockwise from upper left: HD winner 748 McWilliams; HD winner 288 Buglio, 1047.5 McWilliams (self pollinated HD winner 359 Foss, grew the 748) and HD winner 1710 Stevens/Hopkins. We will also be growing some big ugly pumpkins, field pumpkins, watermelons and long gourds. It looks like I may have to take a few weeks off in the middle of the season. 6 weeks ago I got an injection in my knee to try to hold off knee replacement until after the season. It didn't work and the knee got a lot worse. I go in for X-rays this week to see about scheduling the surgery. I'm hoping it will be right after pollination time. I am really glad that I have had Jacob growing with me the past 10 years and can let him take over for a while. Now we need this cool wet weather to clear up so we can get things started on time. Hoop houses have been up for over a week, so that should help the planting sites.
 
Friday, April 7 View Page
Here are some potential big ugly pumpkins for our 2017 patch. Clockwise from upper left: 1742.5 Steil. 1579 Carlson-Petersen. We tried growing one last year. It was the fastest grower in the patch, and the first to go down to disease. It needs another shot. 962.5 McWilliams. This one was grown from a 1493 Witter, selfed 2009 and crossed with a 359 Foss. 1001 McWilliams, 1818 Bryson x 1597 C-P. It lost the stump and most of the vine close to the stem, no growth for a month prior to weighoff. Terrible weather. 1716 Schmit, way heavy. We have a few more that we may start. If we have extra plants we have friends who could use them. I got the knee x-rayed yesterday and it is bone on bone. Replacement surgery will be after the previous cortisone injection is out of the knee and the surgeon has an opening. He is very good and in high demand. Hopefully it will be after pollination but soon enough that I can be mostly healed by weighoff time.
 
Monday, April 10 View Page
I got a whole truckload of potting soil on clearance last fall. All of the hoop houses, field pumpkin, watermelon and long gourd planting sites had a generous amount added along with compost and some composted horse manure. I plan to add some potting soil and compost to the trenches for vine burying. I will mix in kelp meal, Pumpkin Pro and some Jobes, Espoma and Burpee organic fertilizer mixes. They are all heavy on beneficial bacteria with some mycorrhizae. Then I will bury the vines with a mix of compost and soil that has never grown pumpkins. I bought some Espoma liquid product that is mainly beneficial bacteria and I have some Companion biological fungicide. I will be using Agri Fos and Daconil to try to prevent the disease problems of last year. Hopefully the weather will be better this season.
 
Monday, April 10 View Page
7 hoop houses have been up for close to a month for our Atlantic Giants. We have been doing the first tillage pass with a fork to preserve our worms. Our soil is just crawling with those nutrient cycling little gems. My tiller broke down last fall, and I'm in no hurry to fix it. I don't like to use it until the soil gets real warm and the worms go deeper. I'm glad that Jacob is young, strong and can help with the fork work. We just missed a big storm last night. We had lots of lightning and thunder, just a light rain. But 4 miles away 15 minutes of golf ball size hail did lots of damage.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
It rained hard last night. The creek didn't flood, but low spots around our property have standing water. This is where I cleaned out the old creek channel to raise the garden and give flood water a place to run by. With the drainage ditches and sand subsoil, it will only take a few dry days to dry out the garden to allow patch work. Hopefully the soil in the hoop houses will be nice and dry.
 
Sunday, April 16 View Page
This is a low area that I sacrificed to raise other parts up. It would have been too wet to grow anyway, so my effort wasn't wasted. We were blessed in that we missed the hail and tornados, and flash flooding just one county to the west.
 
Tuesday, April 18 View Page
I got these organic fertilizers on fall clearance and early spring sales. I have a few more bags in the house. I till have the whole patch fertilized as close to optimum levels as I can get, Then I will mix the granular products and some kelp meal and band that ahead of the growing vines. And Pumpkin Pro will be placed at root nodules. All of the granular fertilizers have different mixes of beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae. The liquid Espoma product is very high in beneficial bacteria and trichoderma. I am also going to use Companion bacillus subtilis to wage all out biological war on disease. The patch is starting to dry out after 2.8" of rain last Saturday night. But heavy rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Looks like we are starting out wet like last year. Watermelons have sprouted, pumpkins will go in germination chamber in just a few days,
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
We had storm watches last night when I went to bed. West of us they were getting high wind, hail, heavy rains. When I got up this morning I learned that the storm mainly went to the north, a little bit went to the south and we stayed dry. That was very welcome news. We are supposed to get about 5 dry days, so maybe patch preparation can resume. My watermelon seedlings got leggy like usual. They don't stay nice and short like pumpkins, so they must not like my lighting system. I guess I will just plant them deep like I always do. Just a few days until pumpkin seed starting.
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
This is the reason I don't like to use a rototiller early in the year. I don't want to kill all these worms and wreck the soil structure. I just turn it with the fork, give the worms time to go deep and shatter the clods with the tines of the fork on top. Deeper down all the worm holes are intact. After last Saturday night's 2,9" downpour, the areas I had tilled that way are nice and fluffy and dry.
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
Compost pile on the right will get turned one more time and put on the patch this fall. Pile on the right had dry straw, grass, leaves and pine needles mixed with fresh grass clippings. More will be added with the next mowing. It is heating up nicely. Under the tarp are bales of oat straw for mulching and adding to grass clippings for composting
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
Another fall clearance purchase. I figure that the planting site is where the roots will be located the longest and where the nutrients will be depleted the fastest. I plan to use a light application on most of the plants, about half the recommended rate or less. It is supposed to be a slow release over 6 months and has lots of trace nutrients. I hope it will keep a little feeding going through the season. The price was right so I decided to give it a try.
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
I just put 8 pumpkin seeds into the germination chamber. I will start a few more tomorrow. We will be growing 7 plants and we want to have a few backups. All hoop houses have now had a 3' wide strip all around tilled deep with a pitch fork. We have just a couple of amendments to spread before we finish tilling. The spring cover crop, weeds, is starting to take off and grow. I don't use rye cover anymore; the rust fungus it gets looks just like the fungus that attacks the long gourds.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
I started more backup seeds this morning. My starting method starting at upper left, going clockwise: 1.I punch a bunch of extra hole in a 5" peat pot with a Phillips screwdriver so roots get out easier. 2. Pots filled 2/3 to 3/4 full with Miracle Gro potting mix dry. I add 1 teaspoon of Espoma Starter Plus and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Wallace Pumpkin Pro and mix it up well. 3. I finish filling the pot with Jiffy Mix at the appropriate moisture level. 4. I scrape the edges and sides of the seed to get moisture in. After this, I place the pots in a tray and water them from the bottom. The pots and potting soil soak up what water they can hold without getting too wet. Excess water stays in the tray to be drawn up as the mix dries in the germination box.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
O guess I switched the bottom 2 photos on the previous post. but you see what I am trying to describe. The method seems to work. I get good germination, no damping off and quick early growth.
 
Wednesday, April 26 View Page
I just picked up my final amendment for the patch. Has all of the trace elements that were just barely into the optimum range in my soil. And I like the molasses, fish and kelp to help boost the soil bacteria. I hope to get it all spread before the soaking rains come so it can start to work into the soil.
 
Thursday, April 27 View Page
Fertilizer was applied yesterday afternoon, then we got a half inch of rain on it. The rain was followed by just a little bit of snow. Now we are facing 5 days with highs in the 40's, right as the pumpkins should be sprouting. At least they aren't already in the ground. There is a frost advisory just one county to the north, means almost certain chance of frost in our valley.
 
Thursday, April 27 View Page
Fertilizer was applied yesterday afternoon, then we got a half inch of rain on it. The rain was followed by just a little bit of snow. Now we are facing 5 days with highs in the 40's, right as the pumpkins should be sprouting. At least they aren't already in the ground. There is a frost advisory just one county to the north, means almost certain chance of frost in our valley.
 
Saturday, April 29 View Page
By noon today. 11 of 12 pumpkin seeds have germinated. We should have plenty of plants for 7 planting sites. Next to germinate will be the long gourds. I decided to grow a bushel gourd again this year. I will see if I can get one over 100# this year.
 
Sunday, April 30 View Page
The last pumpkin seed germinated, 100% for the year. I also had 2 long gourds sprout too, I got an early start on them. 129 McWilliams and 141.25 Vunak. I have backups of each in pots too. The pumpkins are doing great under the lights that made the watermelons leggy. Bushel gourds will go in the germination chamber tonight. We still have one more wet cold day tomorrow before the weather warms up.
 
Tuesday, May 2 View Page
I went to Walmart this morning to get some vitamins and a storage box to use for carrying my pumpkins down to the garden. Waiting at the red light to turn onto the highway. A woman came whipping around the corner, talking on her cell phone and bam. But she said it wasn't the phone that made her crash, it was the coffee she was also drinking that spilled on her and made her lose control. So my pumpkin truck will be out of action for a while. I will have to delay my trip to Cedar Rapids for more compost until it gets fixed. At least the pumpkins are growing great. Most have 2nd true leaf showing already, getting some outside time to harden off. But we have frost advisory tonight, which means a hard freeze in my valley if the wind quits.
 
Tuesday, May 2 View Page
6 of the pumpkin plants in the box I got at Walmart. They went into the mini greenhouse with a cover that isn't real clear. It is 50's and windy outside, but the mini greenhouse is 80 degrees. 2 more, smaller plants are still in the germination box under the grow lights.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Jacob and I put 7 plants in the ground this afternoon. Orange plants are: 288 Buglio, 748 and 1047.5 McWilliams, and 1710 Stevens-Hopkins. Big and ugly plants are 1579 Carlson-Petersen, 1716 Schmit, and 1724.5 Steil. We have 5 plants in the mini greenhouse for spares, all our own seed stock; 962.5, 1001, and 3 more 1047.5's.
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
Pumpkins survived a cold night in the hoop houses, with an extra 5 gallon bucket over them for safe keeping. We started field pumpkins, 6 pots for 4 spots. 2 of Jacob's 77.5# winner at Pawnee City, 2 of my 104.5 dmg, a 105.6 House and a 114 Witter-Benson.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
Lots of growers are posting pictures of their cleanly tilled gardens. Here's mine. Last fall we pulled vines, mowed weeds, spread a mix of chopped leaves and grass clippings and covered it with a light coat of compost. Then I worked the hoop house areas with a fork. This spring we added amendments including a truck load of horse manure. The hoops were worked again with added potting soil and covered in early March. Areas around the hoops were worked with a fork in April. Hopefully it will all get sprayed with glyphosate early next week.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
The field pumpkin patch. 1300+ square feet for 4 plants. Planting sites have been worked with a fork, with added potting soil and trout heads and guts.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
Sweet corn patch between 2 pumpkin plants. A few days after planting it will be sprayed with glyphosate. As corn and weeds grow, we will hoe and mulch with straw and grass clippings. When corn is done, stalks will be chopped and pumpkin vines can grow through.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
This needs some explanation. I keep 2 strands of baler twine above the electric fence wires to deter deer. A few days ago my daughter hit a groundhog on the road by the garden. The next day an eagle tried to fly away with it but dropped it in the garden. He ate what he wanted and the next day 2 vultures picked it clean. I threw the hide and bones in the timber. But when the eagle dropped the carcass, some guts got hung up on the twine. Hopefully guts hanging from the fence and a carcass near the garden will deter other critters.
 
Monday, May 15 View Page
100% germination on Field pumpkins. Long and bushel gourds are about ready to get planted. I got my knee replacement scheduled for October 11. It will be a long, sore summer, but I won't be out of commission for part of the pumpkin season. Just 3 days after our last weigh-off. The surgeon was booked up that far ahead. A long wait, but he is that good.
 
Thursday, May 18 View Page
Things just aren't going to plan. It has been too windy to spray my weeds. so I tried to start up the push mower to knock them down. The cable on the safety shutoff handle snapped. So I had to do what I could with the rider. My bushel and long gourds and field pumpkins were ready to plant yesterday, but we had a big storm coming. It was a little muddy today, but the next 2 days are supposed to be rainy too. So I set them in the ground. Then I thought my knee surgery was supposed to be 3 days after the last weigh-off, I figured wrong and its 4 days before Harvest Bash. Maybe someone will cancel and I can get it done earlier. But not all is bad. We missed the winds that blew down trees in town. The plants will get a few cloudy days to prevent early sunburn. Bugs haven't showed up yet; I hope I didn't just jinx myself.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Peace, Wayne asked to see some of my daughter's photography. This is one she took less than a mile from our house. She excels at landscapes, sunsets, and wildlife. I copied these from her Facebook page, so the quality is not the greatest. I will post some in the photo gallery too.
 
Thursday, May 25 View Page
We are getting a break in the weather. The rain has stopped, temperatures are almost up to normal. We had one casualty in the patch. A groundhog dug up one of my 104.5 dmg McWilliams field pumpkins. I had a 105.6 House as a backup to replacement. And after 3 weeks I have my truck back. I plan to go get more compost tomorrow
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
Something dug up a watermelon plant, likely a groundhog. I fixed a broken fence wire, Jacob used the weed eater to clear off the electric fence, and I got it plugged in. We are tilling our cover crop (weeds). I'm using the long handled fork and Jacob is busting clods with the mini tiller. AG's are finally running main vines, a little behind schedule. It has been a cool May, but at least we didn't get frost.
 
Friday, June 2 View Page
Its getting warm and dry. Jacob and I gave all of our plants a small shot of water laced with the Espoma Grow fertilizer/bacterial inoculant. We are down to our last 2 watermelon plants, and they are way behind schedule. We found a groundhog had chewed through one of our hoses. We will give him a small shot: about 30 grains of lead at 2000 fps if we can catch him. We mulched the tomatoes and peppers with straw.
 
Friday, June 2 View Page
All of our pumpkins are growing well, so I gave my last 2 backup plants to my niece. Her to high school boys are anxious to grow them. They are both 1047.5's, so they should have great color. They were growing in 2 gallon pots, but they need to get into the ground before getting root bound.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
91 degrees today. Too hot after most of May in the 60's. I applied Pumpkin Pro and other products and buried vines after it cool off. 1716 Schmit and 1579 Carlson-Petersen are growing 90 degrees off the direction they should. Seems like there always are a couple of problems. At current growth rates. most should be out of the hoop houses by the end of the week. Weeds are growing fast and the new crop of young rabbits are visiting the patch.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
Got back from a 3 day trout fishing expedition with my wife today. Jacob was left to deal with 3 days in the 90's and terrible winds yesterday. We had 2 plants get rolled a little, worst one was the 1047.5. But Jacob did a great job getting them straightened out and re-buried. He even managed to get the clouds to drop a nice half inch of rain on Friday, and watered them with a little humic/fulvic on Saturday. We aren't over watering, just giving them enough to keep them growing and sending out a strong root system. I might be able to get some photos posted in a few days, if it cools off enough for us to do some weeding so the patch doesn't look like such a mess.
 
Thursday, June 15 View Page
I got a shot of soil applied Merit on the patch right before the rain started. I hope we get decent rain, but not the wind and hail the storm has been producing to the northwest. Striped cucumber beetles showed up in low numbers, no sign of svb yet. I got some more Eight dust for my t way bug war. Systemic, dust and contact spray.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
1724.5 Steil. Growing in a nice Christmas tree pattern just like it should.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
1716 Schmit. This one started running the main 90 degrees off the direction I wanted, but we are getting it trained.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
1047.5 McWilliams. This is the runt of the patch. It is in the spot with the most shade and had the most damage from last Saturday's high winds, There still is a lot of growing time ahead.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
288 Buglio. Not overly aggressive growth, but still looking good.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
Female on the 288 Buglio. Too early, the plant is too small to set this one. I don't know why the last photo posted sideways; I saved it the way it should have. I will see if some others show up on their sides.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
748 McWilliams, putting out big leaves, just starting to grow fast.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
1579 Carlson-Petersen. This one started growing 90 degrees off too, bit we trained it how we wanted it.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
Female hiding out on the 1579 C-P. Again, the plant is too small.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
1710 Stevens-Hopkins. The ends of the vines on this one keep wanting to grow up in the air. But it is the fastest growing plant in the patch.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
129 McWilliams long gourd, about 5' tall.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
141.25 Vunak long gourd. Just 2 plants on the trellis this year. I'm hoping for better air flow and less disease.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
A row of tomatoes for eating and canning. Not trying any for competition. I use 5' high cages, a fence post at each end of the row, a line stretched between the posts and the cages tied onto the line. I also set a stake to support the bottom of the cages. Looks like I will have to get some tall stakes and tie up the vines once they grow out the top of the cages in a few weeks.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
One of several clover plots I have planted around our acreage. My theory is to give the deer access to favored food sources so they aren't tempted to test the electric fence. Later this summer, Jacob and I will plant some rape, rye and other food plots so there is more food when the pumpkins get bigger. It seems to work; no deer damage in many years.
 
Friday, June 16 View Page
We got lucky last evening. The storms lost their punch before they got here, and we only got much needed rain. One county to the west had lots of real bad hail damage. More rain coming this evening, I hope it doesn't get bad.
 
Wednesday, June 21 View Page
We are making progress turning over our weed cover crop, and Jacob has been cleaning up the drainage ditches with the weed eater. Some spots get hit with the mini tiller after using the fork, other areas break up nicely after smacking the clods with the fork. One good rain and the small clods mellow out, an advantage of alluvial silt with very low clay content,
 
Wednesday, June 21 View Page
Previous photo was the 1710 Stevens/Hopkins. This one is the 1579 Carlson/Petersen. We are keeping an untilled strip so we can walk through the patch and keep the plants from growing together.
 
Wednesday, June 21 View Page
This area is missing a secondary. I will train one tertiary to take its place. I like to have the maximum soil coverage with leaves and roots to feed the pumpkin.
 
Wednesday, June 21 View Page
1724.5 Steil is growing great, perfect Christmas tree pattern just the way I like it. We had 3 short batches of rain go through today, and it looks like we will get one more. After the rains are done for a few days, I need to spray some bifenthrin. I saw another striped beetle again today. And the rabbits are becoming a real problem. The second crop of babies has showed up, and we could get 2 more before fall.
 
Thursday, June 22 View Page
I am training the early secondary vines on the long gourds to run along the ground so they root out. I found 1 root started already. I applied a little rooting powder and buried the nodes. A few real small spots of the brown fungus is starting to show up. We have rain coming in with a chance of rain tomorrow so it would not do much good to spray. I also found the first adult squash vine borer. I hope the first application of Merit is working. After the rains are done I will spray bifenthrin and dust Eight. Second Merit application will be in a few days.
 
Friday, June 23 View Page
We missed the big storm again. just got a little rain. We had 2 females open on secondaries on the 288 and 1579. Bugs gad gotten to them, but I added pollen and left the flowers open. They will just be backups. We are supposed to have at least 9 days of nice pollination weather, but the striped cuke beetles are coming on strong. They get sprayed this evening. I was concerned yesterday afternoon when I saw the neighbor spraying a patch of thistles. But the wind had calmed down, the spray nozzles were down in the weeds, I didn't smell any 2-4-D, and we got the rain. So I'm not worried about any chemical damage.
 
Saturday, June 24 View Page
First pollination on a main vine this morning. 5 lobe female on 288 Buglio, pollinated with the 748 McWilliams. Both HD winning pumpkins. 53 degrees this morning, forecast high 72, so heat is no worry.
 
Sunday, June 25 View Page
Cold in the patch this morning; 48 degrees. This is the first female to show up on the 1724.5 Steil. Problem is it is on a secondary and the leaf stalk on the right side of the picture is the main. I will go ahead and pollinate this one as an emergency backup. But If I have to keep it I will have to cut the main off. The 559 last year was a similar situation, only on a tertiary that close to a secondary. I didn't get the secondary cut off soon enough and it split the vine and the stem. But there is a tiny female about 4' farther out on the main that I hope to pollinate in early July.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Pollination on the 1579 Carlson-Petersen. A 5 lobe on the main, crossed with 1716 Schmit. An earlier female on the 1579 and the one just off the main on the 1724 Steil failed to open. I think it was 3 mornings with temperatures in the upper 40's that caused the problem.
 
Wednesday, June 28 View Page
Yesterday the forecast for Wednesday was wind and heavy rain. So we pinched off tertiary buds and buried vines, sprayed the electric fence line with glyphosate, and sprayed Merit in the evening. By 6AM it was raining hard to get the Merit into the soil. No wind so far but we are under a tornado watch until 10 PM.
 
Thursday, June 29 View Page
2 more pollinations today, the 288 and 1579 again. Hopefully something else will start blooming. Our cool weather won't last much longer, then I will need ide and coolers. We got lucky with the weather. A tornado went across the northern part of the county and one was in the south east. Here around Anamosa we just had some nice rain. I saw a few cucumber beetles, all but one was dead.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Pollination on the 1724.5 Steil, July 1. Left is a 4 lobe on the main, pollinated with 1716 Schmit. Right is a 5 lobe on a secondary, pollinated with 1710 Stevens-Hopkins.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
The 1724.5 had a visitor; a groundhog found its way through the electric fence. Luckily this was just a secondary. I'm going to put out cotton swabs soaked with fox urine as a repellant and start carrying the .22 magnum revolver to the garden just in case the varmint decides to show his face when I'm around.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Pollination on 1710 Stevens-Hopkins, 5 lobe on secondary, 4 lobe on main, Used the 1047.5 McWilliams for pollen.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Had females on the 1579 Carlson-Petersen open this morning. 4 lobe on the main, 5 lobe on a secondary real close to the main. Used the 1716 Schmit for pollen. Another one opened on a secondary, but I already had one going on that vine. In a few dats I will have to do some culling.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Tomatoes are growing out the top of the 5' cages. I got some 10' rebar to tie them up higher. Last year they bent over and really hurt production. I was able to shove the rebar 2.5' deep by hand in the raised bed. Shows I don't have a compaction problem.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Messed up flower and lobes on the 748 McWilliams. I used the 1716for pollen. Hopefully We will get a better female in the next few days.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Some kind of bug has been chewing on the 748. I hope the Merit killed it. This plant is also showing some sunburn on a few leaves, but that problem isn't showing up on other plants. Cucumber beetles are back; I guess it means weekly insecticide sprays. I hope I find something that wipes them out. I never got them under control last year.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Distressing sight this afternoon. Nearly all of the 1579 and the end of the main on the 748 started drooping. Its just in the upper 70;s, so it shouldn't be heat. The neighbor's sprayed a patch of Canada thistles a week ago and mowed them off yesterday, along with a patch that had not been sprayed. I don't know if they sprayed with the mower. Some farmers rig up a sprayer under a rotary mower just for thistles. Or maybe the mower just got some spray airborne? Ur maybe its something else. Last evening when I sprayed Afri Fos, Companion, and humic/fulvic, some late planted sunflowers were all wilted. Today they are all OK, so maybe the pumpkins will pull through. Those plants are the closest to walnut trees, but that has never bothered anything in the past. Every year its some new problem.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
Some leaves with brown spots that I cut off the long gourds. Last year I treated them with Infuse, Daconil, and AgriFos. This year I am using Agri Fos and Companion, both foliar and root drench, along with Daconil and neem oil. Hopefully I can get it under control.
 
Saturday, July 1 View Page
The 1579 looked great at 7 PM. Don Young sent me a link from Iowa State to check for bacterial wilt. It didn't show up, but its just the first day of the wilting. Time will tell. I sprayed Bug B gob (bifenthrin and zeta-cypermethrin) and Ortho Flower, Fruit and Vegetable (acetamiprid). Should cover both the cuke beetles and Japanese beetles and squash bugs.
 
Monday, July 3 View Page
We have something pollinated on all the AG's except the 1047.5. That one will have one to go on the main in a couple days. The sick 1579 was wilting by 11:30 yesterday, but perked up by 3 PM when clouds rolled in. I guess we just wait to see if it will survive.
 
Wednesday, July 5 View Page
Hot today, 87 degrees, supposed to be 90's tomorrow. The 1047.5 will open the first female on the main tomorrow, so its time to start making some ice. The first female long gourd opened, but its only 6' off the ground so we won't keep it. 10 years ago we would keep it. I tried to be proactive getting fungicide on the field pumpkins to prevent powdery mildew, but when I got to the last plant it was on 3 leaves. Then about 9 PM as Jacob and I were finishing up hoeing, clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees in 2 minutes, and 20 minutes later it was pouring rain. Washing the fungicide off. Severe thunderstorm warning. Anyway I go to Walmart tomorrow to pick up some neem oil, so tomorrow evening I will spray that.
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
and Pollinations this morning on the 1716, 1047.5 and 748. Coolers with bottles of ice are covering these, as forecast high is 92. The first pollination with the messed up flower on the 748 is looking crazy. It has some green flower growing into the pumpkin. I hope today's pollination takes so we can get a good looking pumpkin on this plant.
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
The wilting problem on the 1579 seems to have spread to the 748. I hope its just heat stress. they are closest to the creek and have more sand in the soil. Maybe because they don't get sun until it is directly overhead, it stresses them more. It is 88 degrees, no breeze and not a cloud in the sky. They aren't hurting for water, we picked up a quick quarter inch last night.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
After the first main pollination on the 1047.5 yesterday, we got several on secondaries this morning. Today we get a break in the weather, just mid 80's and lower humidity. Then a week of 90's high humidity, night storms.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
The long gourds are doing better this year. I dropped Infuse from the fungicide plan and added Companion and neem oil, along with the Agri Fos and Daconil. I'm also removing any diseased leaves as they show up.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
The 1579 at 10 AM, wilt starting with the newer leaves first. I hope this isn't bacterial wilt. For now, bugs are under control.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
A wild sunflower that the birds planted. It was out of the way so I let it grow, one of the decorative varieties that is supposed to get 5' to 7' tall. The sweet corn is starting to tassel, 5.5' to 6' tall. The sunflower is pushing 12' and still growing. I think we have soil fertility in good shape.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
The first pumpkin to get weed fabric and sand, and a sunshade. A potential HD contender about basketball size with good shape.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
A row of peppers between the 1716 and long gourds. Mulched with straw and 2 layers of grass clippings. Looks like Jacob needs to run the weed eater on the drainage ditches again.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
1724.5 Steil. Cooler with ice on this mornings pollination. Once it fills up the area between the fences and corn it will be over 750 square feet, Hopefully the corn will be harvested soon enough for the pumpkins to grow in there and reach 1000 square feet. I fertilized the sweetcorn like the pumpkins, then I threw on more horse manure and banded 10-10-10. So there should be plenty of goodies left in the soil for the pumpkins.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
The misshapen flower on the first 748 female is leaving a green growth on the blossom end. We will let this one grow some more to see if it straightens out. This plant is being grown as a HD contender, so we may have to go with a later pollination if this one turns out badly.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
First main pollination on the 288 Buglio has great shape and a nice long stem. Jacob and I will be putting weed fabric and sand under this one soon.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
Open pollination. I didn't get up early today, as this is way out on the 1579. We have several pollinated on this plant and need to start culling soon. Wilting isn't as bad, and a quick sprinkle of water perks it right up. I can't justify expensive misting, high tunnel, or heat cables on our floodplain garden, just too much risk. So we use the garden hose, cheap hoop houses and pray for favorable weather.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
Backup on secondary of 1724.5. Looking good, a couple days ahead of the fruit on the main.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
1716 Schmit, first main fruit. I'm happy that most of our pumpkins are starting out with long stems like this one.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
Japanese beetles eating up my pole beans. Time to spray again this evening.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
This is a hoe that my wife bought for me at a garage sale in Monticello a few years ago. That is the town with the Yo-Ho factory, and I don't know if this is something they were selling or something that someone modified. You can scrape off weeds, and the pointed end lets you get close up to vines. And if you walk on tilled soil, you can use the pointed end to rip up your footprints to prevent compaction. I really like this one.
 
Sunday, July 9 View Page
I made an observation about our patch this year. 2 plants are growing taller and with heavier vines that the rest. The spot where they are growing had a lot of soil added in the fall of 2015 and had compaction/drainage problems last year. We lost the plants early to root rot, so I planted a fall cover of oats and a brassica mix. Brassicas have some of the same disease fighting properties as mustard. I won't be able to plant a fall cover this year with my scheduled knee replacement, but I will try a spring brassica cover crop next year. Just till it under ahead of the pumpkins and use more Pumpkin Pro.
 
Monday, July 10 View Page
By this time last year we had watermelons pollinated and growing. By the first weekend of October they were done growing and rotting. I wanted to be a little bit later this year, but not this year.
 
Monday, July 10 View Page
This back secondary on the 1710 had to be terminated. Can't allow it to short out the electric fence and let critters in.
 
Monday, July 10 View Page
View of the 1724.5 from a drainage ditch. Leaves about as tall as the 3' high hoops. Sweet corn starting to tassel and silk.
 
Monday, July 10 View Page
We had a needed rain last night but missed the high winds that hit other parts of eastern Iowa. About the only sign of damage was a few young sunflowers bent over a bit. Our deep valley has its problems, but it does shelter us from a lot of wind.
 
Tuesday, July 11 View Page
Next to last pollination this morning on the 1047.5. I didn't cover it, bees got to it, But I was more concerned about getting one more set on this plant for a backup. I will try for one more on the 748, but now all new flowers are being nipped in the bud. I don't want unnecessary male flowers attracting cuke beetles. We missed another big wind storm, went just to the south of us. No wilting on the 1579 or 748 yesterday even though it got up to 87. It was cloudy, and the 1.5" rain the night before didn't hurt. I did notice Sunday that just as soon as clouds came in they perked up. I guess they would benefit from shade cloth if it was in the budget.
 
Tuesday, July 11 View Page
Another female on a 748 secondary has the same messed up flower with a green growth going into the fruit. We have one decent one on the main and will try for one more.
 
Tuesday, July 11 View Page
5 lobe June 24 pollination on the 288 has a blemish. I don't know what did that. We have another one 3' farther out on the main, 5 lobe June 29 pollination. That one may be the keeper. We will see in a few days.
 
Tuesday, July 11 View Page
I don't know if this one on my 104.5 field pumpkin will take off and grow, but its too early anyway. But I really like the stem. This plant has been putting out 6 lobe females.
 
Tuesday, July 11 View Page
Our pest patrol is out doing his job this morning. Too bad he doesn't eat cuke beetles. The spotted variety showed up this morning. More spraying this evening if rain holds off. Will add some Sevin to the mix this time.
 
Wednesday, July 12 View Page
I found a problem on the 1724.5 Steil last evening when spraying bugs. The end of the main and the last couple secondaries were looking off color, just like the start of the disease that hit last year. I gave the whole patch a foliar shot of Agri Fos after spraying the bugs. Then this afternoon I mixed up Agri Fos, Companion. I heavily sprayed around all sick leaf nodes, any roots coming to the surface and the stump. If I don't see good improvement soon, I will remove all of the sick vines and try to salvage a backup pumpkin on a secondary. The rabbits went beyond just nibbling vines and chewed a pumpkin on this plant. Time to get serious with them.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Severe thunderstorm last night, but no damage to the pumpkins. Some of the sweetcorn went down but should straighten up some. The 1724.5 has better color, and the problem has not expanded. Keeping our fingers our fingers crossed on this one. Found an injured rabbit hiding in the tomatoes, wet and back end looked chewed. I put it out of its misery and threw it out of the garden with a shovel. I like predators taking out rabbits, just wish they would make clean kills and haul them away.
 
Friday, July 14 View Page
aThe main on the 1724.5 was looking worse, the pumpkin on it had aborted, so we cut a bunch off. We will try to salvage a pumpkin on a secondary. The 748 that had a messed up flower is quite misshapen. We will go with the later pollination. Jacob helped me get fabric and sand under the best main pumpkins on the 1579 and 1710. No sign of PM on any plants; the Daconil and neem oil are working. Long gourds are getting a little bit of the blight. I keep cutting off diseased leaves and spraying Companion, neem oil, Agri Fos and Daconil. I hope we can get some decent gourds this year.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
Quite a change from May 13 to July 17. Weeds turned into pumpkin plants, but we are still fighting the weeds, On the right side of the first picture in the 1579 Carlson-Petersen that was wilting a few days ago. Not doing too bad now, this was 3 PM today.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
1710 Stevens/Hopkins is starting out white. Nice shape but the area where the stem attaches to the vine has me worried. We have a backup on a secondary but I really hope we can keep this one.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
1579 Carlson/Petersen looks like it wants to go orange. That's OK with us.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
One of our HD hopefuls. Shape is getting a little blocky, but that can change. Color is OK so far.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
I hope the blemish on the 288 Buglio stays small. Shape is good and it is growing OK.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
1724.5 Steil with the end of the main cut off. I hope it survives so we can grow out the pumpkin on the secondary. Wind damage to sweetcorn isn't as bad as last year,
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
The sweetcorn is just over 7' tall now. The sunflower the birds planted must be over 12' tall :) 1716 Schmit on the right, long gourds in the background.
 
Monday, July 17 View Page
Jacob and I got fabric and sand under the 1716. We found where a rabbit got into the 1716 and ate the end off the main, about 10' past the pumpkin. Jacob put fox urine out to scare them off; we need to go Elmer Fudd on those critters. We set a fencepost next to the big sunflower and tied it on in 4 places. Then I ran 2 more lines to closer, taller posts on the electric fence. We have a chance of storms the next few evenings and I don't want it to get blown down. Jacob pollinated the bushel gourds this evening, and I trimmed sick leaves off the long gourds.
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
Went out to water the pumpkins with the water Jacob had warming in the sun and got rained out. My 104.2 field pumpkin was looking real sick. It had been a lighter green color but it was getting yellow and wilting. I gave it warm water with soluble tomato food and more cold water from the hose. If it doesn't perk up quickly I will pull it to give other plants more room. I guess the other plants will get disease treatments like the giants.
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
I had to pull the 104.5 McWilliams field pumpkin today, and found the likely reason. Squash bug eggs on 2 leaves, and I killed 4 adult squash bugs. I need to spray insecticide this evening. It was 90 degrees at 1PM, but the plants that had been wilting were looking OK. But fruit growth slowed in the heat. I gave then a light cool-down sprinkle. We are supposed to get heavy storms late tonight and tomorrow morning. Last evening's rain was intense but didn't last long. We could use a good inch now.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
I didn't get bug spraying done last evening. I wait until bees leave so I don't kill them, but by then the big storm was getting close. But it missed us by just a couple miles No rain, just a cool down and breeze. It is supposed to get hotter today and we are supposed to be in the middle of the afternoon/evening storms. They say the heat wave will break by Sunday
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
Dang rabbits. Left is the end of the main on the 1716. Right is the deformed fruit on the 748. The shape was terrible, a wheel with a dent in it, then it hot chewed. We can use the next pollination on the 748, let a secondary take over on the 1716. I put out more cotton swaps dipped in fox urine to scare them off, and will be spending some time around the patch with the pellet gun. Its time to get some chicken wire around our better pumpkins too.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
1st pollination on the main of the 1047.5. Day 14, not growing, shriveling up at stem end. We will try to go with a July 11 pollination. It was pollinated on a hot day, with a cooler and ice bottles. It looks like it will take off and grow.
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
The 1724.5 is a loss. The disease is spreading. We will have to pull it and seed a dwarf Essex rape cover crop. Next year we will plant mustard, till it in and plant tillage radish and rape for the fall. Losing 2 plants in consecutive years tells me we need to try to rid the soil of disease. Both rape and radish have some of the same disease fighting properties as mustard, in the same plant family;
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
The 1579 is no longer wilting. The backup pumpkin on a secondary quit growing. I can't tell how fast the fruit on the main is doing, so I measured it today. Measurements in 2 days will tell me if it is growing. The stem/vine connection that I was worried about on the 1710 had a bit of clear stuff oozing out this morning. Not good. We have one on a secondary, about the same age, better shape and a little bigger. We will keep both for now and wait to see which one will be the keeper.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
We missed the rain last evening, so I got out right before dark and sprayed the bugs. Found a couple wilted leaves on a field pumpkin plant, hope it was just from the 90+ heat. I also found a few suspicious leaves on a secondary on the 1716. I quickly ripped out most of that secondary, will do more amputation today. But first I have to wait for the rain to let up. We are at the black star, and the storm is moving like a slow train right over us. We needed the rain, and so far no wind or hail.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
The storm moved off after giving us a nice shower. I cut a little more off the suspect vine, and moved up the Agri Fos treatment. Hopefully we won't lose this plant. Long dourds are getting lots of diseased leaves. I keep cutting them off, sprayed Agri Fos. They are due for Daconil and neem oil treatment by Monday when it is supposed to cool off.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Storms all around us, flood warning for our county, we had lots of rain but no damage. Our creek could handle more water without leaving the banks. The 1579 seems to be totally out of the wilting phase, vines growing like crazy. Jacob and I culled it down to the 2 best pumpkins, and the both stopped growing. Our only hope for this plant is one that the bees pollinated and we missed way out on a secondary. We have one plant with 2 going, one on a secondary and a younger one on the main. We just may let both grow so we have something this fall. Still nothing set for sure on the 1047.5.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
Lost a secondary on the to a vine borer. It got in right next to the main, between the stump and pumpkin. I hope it didn't get into the main. First SVB damage in years. Our main vine hopeful and a secondary on the 748 aborted, leaving us with a deformed, rabbit damaged wheel. Our only hope for the 1579 is a bee pollinated fruit on a secondary. I'm not sure if the main vine pollination on the 1047.5 will take off and grow, and I broke the stem on a secondary set while repositioning it. At least we didn't get drenched, blown away or dried up like some other growers. It has been a tough season so far.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
The lost secondary was on the 1716. Didn't realize the number lock on the keyboard was off.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
This morning's trip to the patch was a little better. Only problem was more rabbit damage on the 748. If it survives it will be orange and ugly. Biggest fastest growing pumpkin is the 288 Buglio. 30 DAP est. 282# gaining 23.5# per day the past 4 days. Not spectacular, but for this screwed up season I will take it. Last few days have been upper 80's to mid 90's with tropical humidity. Today will be just mid 70's, less heat stress. It doesn't surprise me that our biggest one came from the smallest seed; my personal best came from the 359 Foss.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
Had the first ripe tomatoes from the garden this evening. And we have a couple watermelons about twice the size of a softball. Some bushel gourds are set, waiting to get long gourds on top of the trellis. Long gourds are full of leaf disease, bushel gourds 100 yards away have no sign of disease.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
Soil is fairly saturated and they are predicting heavy rain for tomorrow afternoon. The 3 plants with our best pumpkins on main vines also have smaller fruit on secondary vines. We be leaving them on the plant as "shock absorbers" to suck up excess moisture to prevent blow-outs. On the 1724.5 plant that had a bunch of main vine removed, we already had a small pumpkin split wide open. We have been fortunate. Down by the Missouri border they are in drought conditions, and just 2 counties north of us they had 40 inches of rain in the last 4 weeks.
 
Tuesday, July 25 View Page
Out of 3 bushel gourds that Jacob pollinated 8 days ago, only one is growing. I went out this evening, had one female open on the other plant along with 3 males. So it got a triple shot of pollen. I found out what wrecked the pumpkin that I had to cut off the 1579. An exit hole from some kind of borer appeared. I'm not certain it was a SVB. Yesterday I found the end of a secondary on the 748 wilting. It had 3 green/black skinny worms in the break in the vine. Not white and fat like SVB I have seen in the past. A couple plants are showing signs of nitrogen deficiency. Mainly in areas where they grow into the edge of the drainage ditches that have weeds and don't get fertilized. I will pick up some 10-10-10 tomorrow and spread it along the vines. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so that will get it in the soil and give the plants a boost.
 

 

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