Home What's New Message Board
BigPumpkins.com
Select Destination Site Search
 
Iowegian - 2017 Grower Diary Point your RSS aggregator here to subscribe to this Grower Diary.

Show Entries in

Grower Diary Menu
  Back to Previous Page
List Other Grower's Diaries
Submit to Your Own Diary

 
Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 204 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.
 
Wednesday, July 26 View Page
288 main pumpkin DAP 32, est. 335#, gaining 26.5# per day. Pumpkin on a secondary shows no growth the past 2 days. 1710 main pumpkin DAP 25, est, 343# gaining 24.5# per day. Pumpkin on a secondary also shows no gain in 2 days. 1716 DAP 24, est. 201# gaining 17.5# per day. 1579 showing same sighs of the disease that took out the 124.5. Pumpkin on the main of 1047.5 continues to grow, a good 18' out from the stump. Its a July 11 pollination, way later than I like, but that's how the season is going,
 
Wednesday, July 26 View Page
Big mistake on the weight of the 1710. It's just 242#. I wish it was over 300#. So far it is white as a ghost, no sign of any color so far.
 
Wednesday, July 26 View Page
I'm going to pull the 1724.5 today and spray the spot with glyphosate. I picked up some Daikon radish seed to add to the dwarf Essex rape cover crop. In a few days I will be able to pick my sweetcorn, put the stalks on the compost pile and seed the cover crop there. Its cloudy, hot, super humid, rain will be here this evening. Next year there will be fewer pumpkins and some mustard planted to try to get a handle on the disease problems. I'm getting too old to work this hard in the Iowa heat.
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
We have a pumpkin going on the 1047.5 main, finally. 17 DAP, 143'' OTT, est 69#. Jacob and I need to get fabric and sand under this one this evening, or it will soon be too big to lift. Being its our last pollination, it will likely be saved for our last weigh-off. Nice shape and hopefully it has the same great color as last year's 1047.5 offspring,
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
1716 Schmit, 26 DAP, est 236# gaining 17# per day. Hopefully by day 30 it will start gaining faster. We need to add sand and do a little re=positioning. The 288 Buglio is 34 DAP, est. 395# gaining 30# per day. So far, so good and it looks like it will be orange. 1710 Stevens-Hopkins is 27 DAP, est. 285# gaining 22# per day. It is bigger than the 288 was at day 27 and has a bigger plant. Hopefully it will get big, color is staying white like the 1716.
 
Friday, July 28 View Page
We have watermelons going, but odd shaped. At this point we will take what we can get. Japanese and cucumber beetles are back, we need to spray again.
 
Sunday, July 30 View Page
Rabbits hit one of our watermelons. just as it started growing fast. We will put chicken wire around them and Jacob will try to give them some poison at 1200 feet per second. Can't fine for or coyote urine to repel the rabbits anywhere in Anamosa or Cedar Rapids, will have to order some online. Found a vine borer in a 1710 secondary, also some small centipedes in vine blowouts. It looks like the pumpkin on another secondary quit growing, leaves looking bad. We will have to cut that off and hope we can save the main. That pumpkin is looking great. Cut off the secondary pumpkin on the 288, took the whole vine off back tot he stump. Scraped off any suspicious looking material and will paint on full strength Daconil. To make matters worse, my hip on my "good" leg is going bad. Had it x-rayed, said they saw degenerative changes, AKA arthritis. I have to get back to the doctor, probably get an MRI and stronger pain meds. I'm needing crutches to get around now. At least Jacob is good, knowledgeable help. I don't like to have him doing the spraying, but it looks like that will be our only chance to salvage the season. On a good note, the 1047,5 plant is looking great, we got fabric and sand under the pumpkin, and Jacob will get chicken wire around it.
 
Monday, July 31 View Page
Pumpkin on the 1710 secondary has had no growth in a week, will get cut off, vine removed. All pumpkin growth has slowed due to cool nights. It is tough trying to measure pumpkins, bent over, using a hoe as a cane. I see doctor tomorrow, hope I can get some relief for my hip.
 
Wednesday, August 2 View Page
We had to cut a secondary off the 1716, looked like phytophthora. Over half the vine started dying suddenly. We cut it off back into good leaves in hopes of stopping it. It looks like disease is a big problem again this year. Jacob has most of the chores now. I can only walk as far as the riding mower, them just enough to take a quick look at things. Have to wait 19 more days to see orthopedist. Garden is getting dry, but we just had a storm pop up and is almost here. So far, rains have been good to us.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
Got orange? 288 Buglio is about 150# ahead of my personal best on August 5. I hope we can keep it going until the weigh-off season.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
One small blemish on the 288 Buglio, but overall it looks great. I guess we do best with small, orange Howard Dill Award winning seeds. My previous best was from a 359 Foss.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
I thought this watermelon would rot after the rabbit attack, but its still growing and healing. We have one more bigger and one more smaller going.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
We are giving up on the 748. Deformed blossom and fruit, couldn't get anything else to grow, rabbit attack, and now the plant is looking really tough. We will just let it go without any care and see what happens.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
I was not happy seeing this on the 1047.5 main vine. I had high hopes for it until the white rot started. The fruit on the secondary with the half cracked stem is growing unevenly, way bigger on the side with the intact stem.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
1710 is going OK, part of the plant is looking a little sick. Now the cucumber beetles and rabbits are chewing on it.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
01716 Schmit is doing OK. A vine on it started dying very fast, looked like phytophthora. But I think I caught it in time.
 
Saturday, August 5 View Page
The big sunflower is looking a little lonely after I picked and chopped up the sweetcorn. Too bad it doesn't scare off bugs and bunnies. A couple dozen ears for fresh eating, 25 quarts in the freezer. Another patch of corn will be ready in a couple days.
 
Monday, August 7 View Page
Cool weather has slowed growth. Best pumpkin is 605# gaining 22# a day over the past week. Second best is 429# gaining 20# per day. As long as nothing else goes wrong, I think we can get one over 1000# and one close to 1000# by weighoff. Forecast is for 9 days with highs 77 to 82 and lows 57 to 62. Just one day with a chance of rain. So we will be watering with a bit of fertilizer added to keep growth on track.
 
Monday, August 7 View Page
We finally have some long gourds trying to grow. Jacob and I got some straightened out on the trellis and culled a few that got twisted up. Jacob on the ladder and me steadying it seems to work best. We are starting up feedings, drench with Schultz tomato food, tomorrow foliar with the Schultz and some molasses. Higher potash and higher sugar on the leaves to signal the plant to send more to the fruit. We will do more culling in a few days. We just hope we can get them grown before the leaf disease gets too bad. Will trim off more bad leaves and spray more fungicide.
 
Wednesday, August 9 View Page
Powdery mildew showed up again. We had a bit a month ago o a field pumpkin and knocked it out. It is on another field pumpkin and the 1716 now. Hit it with infuse and neem oil tonight, daconil will be next. We are watering plants now, cold water in morning and water heated by the sin in garbage cans in the evening. We learned years ago that cold water in the evening hurts growth. Spread dog hair around to try to repel the rabbits.
 
Thursday, August 10 View Page
Dry weather, cool nights has growth slowed way down. Its going to be a long 7 to 9 weeks for the weigh offs. The open pollinations on the 1579 are aborting, we will need to pull that plant and seed a cover crop. Even my computer is screwing up. But the long gourds are growing now and I hope they keep on going.
 
Monday, August 14 View Page
Pulled the 1579, mowed off the weeds and seeded cover crop. It just kept aborting pumpkins. Saw signs of vine borer damage, it was closest to the creek, which meant sandier soil and closer to walnut trees. Then add in beetle pressure crummy weather and it didn't have a chance. The walnuts were cut down last year in the spring but re-sprouted. They will get hit with glyphosate. The 748 pumpkin rotted, it will get pulled this afternoon after the morning rain quits. Makes 3 out of 7 plants down for the count. I'm worried about the 1710 because it is starting to get color. I hope it holds on for the early weigh-off in Bloomfield. It is supposed to rain again on Wednesday, so its a good time to seed cover crops.
 
Tuesday, August 15 View Page
Made measurements after 5 days. As I feared, the 1710 only grew 5#. I doubt that it will make it to a weigh-off. The 288Buglio continues to be the best in the patch, estimated 714# gaining 16#per day. Everything else is in single digits per day. Weather is still way too cool for mid August. At least the long gourds are looking good so far.
 
Tuesday, August 15 View Page
Sometimes long gourds get tangled up on the trellis and start out a little crooked. If you let them hang free the often will straighten out. This one did except for the curl at the top. I figured it would cause a problem as the diameter grew, so I culled it.
 
Thursday, August 17 View Page
We were supposed to get an inch of rain yesterday when we moved my daughter to college, but just got light showers. So its back to watering. I got a call that the doctor wants to move my knee replacement up to the end of August. So as long as I pass my physical and lab work, Jacob will have to take over the last month of the season by himself. He is more than up to the task. I just hope we have something worth taking to a weigh off so I have the chore of rounding up loading help. I don't think the doc will want me moving the tripod around 4 weeks after surgery. The 288 is still going, I'm not too sure about the 1710 and 1716, The 1047 might have a 70 day pumpkin on a secondary if nothing goes wrong. And the long gourds are doing OK.
 
Sunday, August 20 View Page
1710 Stevens/Hopkins is gone, rotting out at the blossom end. Will pull that plant, seed radish and turnips. Next year the plot that held this plant and the 1579 Carlson/Petersen will get the mustard treatment. Sane for the plot where we lost the 1724 Steil. I need to cut back next year, and get some soil in better condition. The 1716 Schmit is at 575#, adding a little over 10 pounds per day. PM is getting bad. The 288 Buglio is 790#, gaining 15# per day. We need to try to slide it back to take off the stem stress. I found a pumpkin hiding out on this plant, maybe 75#. I think we will keep it just to take pressure off the main fruit. With not much left in the patch we need to keep it going, We have a couple late sets on the 1047.5 that might have 500# potential for a late weighoff if weather cooperates. Long gourds doing good, bushel gourds OK considering the site and weather. Watermelons are about average for us despite the real slow start. I have just 8 days to get things in order so Jacob isn't overwhelmed after my knee surgery. I just know it will be nerve wracking not getting to check on them for several weeks.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
Sneaky little open pollinations that will be allowed to grow. Leftr is on the 288, hopefully takes some stress off the main's stem. Right is on the 1047.5
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
Our 2 best watermelons, all lumpy. The one on the right was chewed by a rabbit over 3 weeks ago. With the fungicide, it won't be eaten, but at least it still is growing. We have one more smaller melon with good shape.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
Our best long gourd is 75" skinny and still growing. We need to push it if we want to get decent length.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
1716 Schmit, pushing 600# but growing slowly. Mornings below 50 degrees like today won't help.
 
Wednesday, August 23 View Page
288 Buglio, over 800#. Still has a chance to be a personal best. Color is OK but shape is less than spectacular. Deep ribs, lumpy, developing a sag line and skinny blossom end. At least it isn't growing towards the vine, with a short stem.
 
Friday, August 25 View Page
PM is running rampant on the 1716 and the field pumpkins. I gave them a shot daconil and neem oil this evening along with some insecticide. A few cucumber beetles are back, and I found squash bugs in the tomatoes. I got good reports on my checkups, OK to go ahead with the knee replacement. Since I had to quit taking my pain pill on Monday, the pain has more than doubled. I just don't look forward to having to stay out of the garden for a few weeks.
 
Sunday, August 27 View Page
1710 pooped out at about 400#. b Too bad, it had huge stump and vines, and decent color and shape. It had a combination of problems: vine borers, disease, major vine splits, bugs and weeds. Jacob pulled the plant, I mowed off the weeds and seeded a turnip, radish, rape cover crop. It started raining as I finished seeding, so hopefully the cover crop will take off and grow.
 
Sunday, August 27 View Page
3 shots of the 288 Buglio main vine pumpkin. Great color, shape could be better. It is having stem stress issues. I tried sliding it back with a come-along Monday during the eclipse. It wouldn't budge even with me pushing on it and I was afraid I would beak it. So we are using Styrofoam and fiberglass posts to try to hold the vine back. Also letting the little pumpkin grow on a secondary. I was weeding it, slipped and gouged it with a fingernail. And I trimmed my nails yesterday. Its just how this season has gone.
 
Sunday, August 27 View Page
Open pollinated pumpkin on the 1047.5, hanging out with the weeds and sunflowers. It won't get much special care. Only about 40 hours until they start putting in my new knee.
 
Monday, August 28 View Page
I didn't get as much done in the patch as I wanted. Got things watered and fed but no measurements. Its up to Jacob to finish out the season in charge of the patch. One of his first chores will be killing off a new crop of bugs. 13 hours till the knee gets a needed overhaul.
 
Wednesday, August 30 View Page
My daughter snapped this pic of me at Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids. You get good care, have a great deal with my insurance. I just pay $150. Hard to type when pin pills make me dizzy.
 
Friday, September 1 View Page
Jacob gave me a report on the patch. He fed and watered the remaining pumpkins, painted fungicide on the stem of the 288. They were all looking good, but he couldn't find the tape to take measurements. The big watermelon the rabbit chewed is turning yellow. I had seen the damaged spots were getting cracked and soft. I guess its a miracle it lasted over a month. Our best long gourd is rotting at the tip and another has a shriveled tip. I guess we need to give the gourd patch a rest next year.
 
Tuesday, September 5 View Page
Jacob drove me down to the patch after physical therapy. Some PM, the damaged watermelon needs to be culled, a deer broke an electric fence wire, rotting tips on long gourds, but otherwise its good. 288 is looking great. Jacob has the list to spray the PM and bugs but too windy now. Should calm down this evening. He had to water bushel gourds, ash tree roots stealing water from them. Except for swelling, my knee is better, but my back decided to give me trouble. I hope that once I can walk around, that will get better.
 
Wednesday, September 6 View Page
You can't keep a pumpkin grower down for long. Jacob went to fix the fence but found a broken insulator. A deer took the hard way in to eat some of our cover crop. He didn't know where to find one, was sick and needed to see the doctor. So I had my wife Lu Ann drive me down the hill, and using my walker on level, mowed ground, I made the repair. Lu Ann is a RN and removed the big padded dressing from my knee surgery. We got to count the staples, all 42 of them. That will sting a little when they pull them out next week.
 
Tuesday, September 12 View Page
Knee report first. All is going well. I graduated from a walker to a cane. I only need the heavy duty pain pills to sleep at night. All 42 staples are supposed to come out tomorrow. I will be able to drive in another week. Patch report. Jacob drove me down to the patch and I got to walk around and check things out. Field pumpkins are a pleasant surprise; we may have a new personal best. Long gourds will be respectable, but not near as good as 2014. 1716 Schmit is getting tall, 288 Buglio has gotten visibly taller. We might have one close to 500# with decent color be the Pawnee City weighoff. We will have to wait to see how the shape will be, but so far its OK. We just have 2 watermelons left, later pollinations than last year, so they may get to grow until Pawnee City. No rain in over 2 weeks. Jacob is doing the watering. He sprayed for bugs and mildew last evening, may need one more bug spray before harvest. We really need rain, just a slight chance by Sunday.
 
Tuesday, September 12 View Page
I have sent seeds the past 2 years to Becky Settlage, The Hawaii Extension and 4_H leader for their big pumpkin and watermelon contest. This spring I sent her some seeds from a 71# uow bushel gourd, that was a selfed 279.5 English. She got one person to grow one, and this is the result. I haven't heard the final weight, but they were guessing it at 125#. Looks like we have some future record contenders in the 50th state.
 
Tuesday, September 12 View Page
Sometime between Jacob taking me to the patch at 1:30 PM and starting watering at 6:30, a rabbit chewed on the 288. Time for WAR. It gives me incentive to get totally off the pain pills so I can ride the mower down to the patch to deliver hollow point justice to the vermin.
 
Friday, September 15 View Page
Knee report: all 42 staples are out, just steri-strips now. Finally able to take a shower instead of just sponge baths, Physical therapy isn't bad compared to the pre-surgery pain. Patch report: Its drying up, even with Jacob watering. Clear skies, low humidity, upper 80's, breeze, no rain in 3 weeks is not what we need. As it looks now, the first pumpkins to stop growing will be the first weighed. 1000# may be out of reach this year. I just want it to cool off before everything cooks. Long gourds stopping in low 90's, but field pumpkins are doing OK. Lots of PM, but they were mulched to save some moisture.
 
Tuesday, September 19 View Page
Had a little rain last night, more coming tonight and tomorrow. Not a drought buster, but plants aren't using as much now/ Our water and fertilizer is keeping the 288 Buglio going. 8# per day the past 5 days. Maybe it has a chance to go 1000# if it doesn't go too light.
 
Thursday, September 21 View Page
Our 1716 Schmit pumpkin won't make it to a weigh off. It has several black soft spots showing on top, more than enough to call it DMG. We had grown a second one on this plant and it did the same thing. I blame it on weather, bugs, and planting too many pumpkins when my knee was going bad. We will have a smaller pumpkin to take to our Anamosa weigh-off, along with one or field pumpkins, a watermelon and 2 long gourds. We will support our local site with our entry fees, even though our chances of winning anything are dismal. The 288 Buglio is still healthy and growing. It has a chance of making 1000# if weather cooperates. So this one may get to wait for the later weigh-off. Today through Sunday we are supposed to be way too hot, close to 90. Then 85 on Monday and 70's after that. MY knee is doing OK except for the swelling that won't go down, and my back is acting up. So it might be best to wait an extra week before trying to load something real big.
 
Friday, September 22 View Page
Jacob got a closer look at the 1716 Schmit pumpkins than I could, and said it wasn't as bad as I thought. Mainly just cucumber beetle damage, not soft or very deep. He treated them with daconil and we will see what happens. I know the 95 degree heat today didn't help. The 288 is still hanging in there, only the oldest leaves are showing much age. We give it cold water in the morning, then water warmed in the garbage can in the evening. I am always scared of a big rain causing it to split, so we are keeping it moist. Plus we let one other pumpkin grow on a secondary vine, looks like it is well over 200# by now. It will be a shock absorber in case of a downpour.
 
Monday, September 25 View Page
With my knee improving I was able to get to the 1716 Schmit plant, and Jacob may have been right. No rot spreading, the beetle damages spots seem to be crusting over. We have 11 days until Pumpkinfest to get them healed up. And the heat is supposed to ease off tomorrow.
 
Friday, September 29 View Page
The 90+ weather really cooked the 1716 Schmit pumpkins. We will have one small orange AG for Anamosa, along with long gourds, field pumpkins and a watermelon. We will also have a couple of exhibition for the "weird veggie" display. This evening Jacob and I picked 2 field pumpkins to take to Bloomfield. Actually, Jacob did most of the work. I still have to be real careful with my knew knee. Looking forward to tomorrow, have heard there will be some big pumpkins from 4 states.
 
Saturday, September 30 View Page
We took 2 of our field pumpkins to the Bloomfield Pumpkin Bash. For their first year as a GPC sanction site it was a big success. There were entries from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. We got to see the Kansas watermelon state record broken twice. Jacob took 3rd place with his 61.5# pumpkin.
 
Saturday, September 30 View Page
We estimated my field pumpkin at 90#, but it weighed just 87. Too bad because the next one weighed went 89.5# and knocked me down to second place. But I'm thankful that this one made it to the scale as a sound fruit. It had a stem split but it didn't get into the cavity. My big one last year opened up into the cavity on the drive to Pawnee City. Sheriff Dave Davis and his club put on a great event! And as a bonus, they held a drawing for door prizes for the growers. Jacob won a package of WOW Soil and Plant Booster, and I won a Subway sandwich and 5 Pounds of WOW Pumpkin Pro. A big thank you to Ron Wallace for his generous donations!
 
Saturday, September 30 View Page
We made it a family trip and included more than just pumpkins. We made a stop in the town of Eldon to see the American Gothic House. Since the artist Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, it was nice to visit the site of his most famous painting.
 
Monday, October 2 View Page
Lineup of the entries at Bloomfield. A nice building on the fairgrounds means the show can go on, rain or shine. You could tell from the shape of some of the pumpkins entered from Southern Iowa that the extreme drought really hurt growth. They are a new club and I have no doubt that with good weather they will have some impressive pumpkins. Now on to Anamosa Pumpkinfest and the Ryan Norlin Memorial Weigh-off this Saturday.
 
Wednesday, October 4 View Page
With rain coming the next 2 days, Jacob and I decided to load up what we have for the Ryan Norlin Memorial Weigh-off. Definitely nothing spectacular, but it was a tough year. We had a couple of repo guys from Wisconsin drive by looking for a car and they saw our patch and stopped to look. We ended up selling them a couple of 150-200# AG's that grew on the 1047 after the main aborted, and 4 decent sized field pumpkins. It filled the back of their truck. They were thrilled to have them to take back to their kids. That is one of the best parts of this hobby; seeing the smiles it brings to others.
 
Wednesday, October 4 View Page
After the rain is over, we need to hit the patch hard with insecticide. we have a couple items to take to Pawnee City, and we don't want the cucumber beetles to eat them first. Those spotted monsters are everywhere, even though Jacob hit them with a shot of Sevin a couple days ago.
 
Thursday, October 5 View Page
This is what was left of my pumpkin for Anamosa. No getting it to heal up as the growth had stopped. It thumps solid and is a good cross. 1716 Schmit X 1724.5 Steil. I may save a few seeds.
 
Thursday, October 5 View Page
Here is a big part of the problem. Spotted cucumber beetles. we also had squash bugs, striped beetles and vine borers. It is hard to believe that Jacob sprayed them with Sevin just a few days ago. My knee going bad early in the season really limited my patch time, and then the surgery took me out completely at a critical time. Next year will see fewer plants and more intensive management.
 
Thursday, October 5 View Page
I'm not completely shut out yet. I have one left. I took some plastic from the ends of hoop houses to try to keep it dry in the rain predicted for tonight and tomorrow. I have always brought me best to the local weigh-off, but a few things changed. My truck was in the shop getting the brakes fixed today, and I wasn't looking forward to slipping around in mud with my repaired knee trying to load it tomorrow. We already had hotel reservations made to make a little get-away for me and Lu Ann, and having a decent pumpkin to show will help. And J&P Cycles gives a $250 prize for the biggest pumpkin grown in our home county. I have won that 3 out of the last 4 years, so it is time to let someone else have a shot at it. Let some other growers get a reward for hard work. But Jacob and I will be at the Ryan Norlin Memorial Weigh-off on Saturday with field pumpkin, watermelon, long gourds and a tiny AG entries. Sounds like we have a good shot at a new state and site record.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
Awards to the pumpkin growers. John and Meri took home the big check for the 3rd year in a row.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
Jacob had the 6th place pumpkin overall. He also won the 5th place plaque for the Jones County growers for his field pumpkin and first place for his AG. He also got the second place Jones County long gourd plaque. I had the first place Jones County long gourd and watermelon and 3rd place overall watermelon. Then the Jones County Ducks Unlimited donated a $500 Yeti cooler, and every paid grower got their name thrown in the hat foe the drawing. Jacob was Mr. Lucky and won the cooler.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
The weigh-off committee was aware of Pete Caspers' battle with the wind damage to his screen house and all the zip ties he went through to put it back together. It was a breezy day, so they made sure he had a cap that would stand up to the wind.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
A new site record and maybe a Wisconsin state record watermelon. The biggest watermelon I have ever seen.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
Marty Schnicker won the long gourd contest, his kids took second, and Doug English brought the 3rd place long gourd all the way up here from the St. Louis area.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
A big spread from first to third place in watermelons, but I'm not complaining. I at least won enough to buy a little fertilizer for next year.
 
Saturday, October 7 View Page
I made a little error a few entries back. Jacob got 8thm not 6th. It was his highest placing with his smallest entry. It was another tough year, as the low turnout showed. Still we had some fantastic pumpkins for the parade float for the top 4 pumpkins.
 
Thursday, October 12 View Page
We loaded our last pumpkin for Pawnee City. As I was running the chain hoist, Jacob was checking the bottom. He was horrified to see a mouse nest complete with 4 mice under a small concave spot. Fortunately they did not eat into their roof. It was a light mist. making work miserable. But we got it done safely. 2 decent field pumpkins and a small watermelon finish our entries. I just hope that the weather forecast for rain is wrong.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
When we woke up in our hotel room Saturday morning, the TV was reporting a thunderstorm warning with quarter size hail near Pawnee City. The weigh-off site is usually the courthouse square, in the open. But Nanette Smith managed to secure a building a few blocks away so we could stay dry.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
The Nolte family brought field pumpkins they grew from seeds I gave them last year. They nearly beat us, taking 3rd place about 1# behind Jacob and 3# behind me. And all 4 broke the previous Kansas state record. We also saw the Nebraska state record watermelon broken by a 1st year grower.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
My 288 Buglio made it to the scale but went way light. It only went 830#, and took 5th place. I still had fun with it. All kinds of people on the interstate driving beside us to snap photos, semi's honking, People at gas and food stops asking questions, wanting to take photos. Some of the best fun of growing these things is all the joy and smiles it brings to others.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
Another 1st year grower from Omaha got a seed from Darren Christiansen and planted it in his yard. No soil prep or even tillage, just some Miracle grow and some advice from Darren. It weighed 680#, placed 5th and won the Howard Dill award. It beat my first attempt 16 years ago by over 500#.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
Jacob and me with the 830 McWilliams, my ribbons and our door prizes. Lee and Doris Perry made the drive from Utah with the Laub's for the Harvest Bash. Lee brought some samples of his work to donate for prizes for the growers. I won one of Lee's travel straps and Jacob won a set of lifting ring straps. They will go great with lifting ring I want to get. I just have to talk my brother with the mig welder into making it for me. Lee also brought samples of his next project, wildlife photography. Lee has some excellent photos. Thank you Lee for your generosity.
 
Sunday, October 15 View Page
Some well earned excitement after learning her pumpkin weighed 1314#.
 
Sunday, October 22 View Page
I have been scouring the fall clearance sales, getting insecticide, fungicide, worm castings and a few other products for next season. Saved a whole bunch of money compared to regular retail. Soil sample has been sent to the lab for analysis. I am going to leave the vines on the garden this winter and burn them in the spring. But I think I will clear off the spots for the hoop houses and bring in compost and pile it there for the winter. I can spread and till it in next spring, but the area that will have pumpkin roots the longest may get a little extra "goody" leaching into the soil over winter. My knee is almost back to normal and I will be ready to hit the next growing season ready for the long haul.
 
Wednesday, October 25 View Page
Soil test results are in, and I have ordered the needed micro nutrients. All I need is 2 loads of compost, and a bag of kelp to mix with the micro nutrients for spreading, and the garden will be set for next season. I was pleased to learn that I have raised the organic matter by 0.5% each of the past 4 years and now have it at a much better level. P and K levels look good, salt levels nice and low. I can get by with a very light application of the 10-10-10 I bought on clearance. The rest can be used on deer food plots to keep them away from the garden.
 
Wednesday, November 1 View Page
All of the micronutrients and a new fungicide have arrived for the garden. I have been on critter control duty and was successful this morning. I dropped a nice buck just 400' away from the garden with my crossbow. Not my biggest buck ever, but at least it won't eat my pumpkins or get hit on the 4 lane highway 1/4 mile away. There are still lots of these critters in the neighborhood with some large areas of land that can't be hunted. Maybe I can get another in gun season next month.
 
Saturday, November 18 View Page
I was going through my seed box to get seeds to send out when I made a pleasant discovery, 2 seeds from a self pollinated 2145 McMullen. Went over 1200#, 18% heavy. A gift from a good grower friend who I have never met face to face, just through this website and email. Thanks, George! I may have to change next year's plans. Watermelons never do great for us, and I am running into super tough competition. I may have to drop them to make room for this seed.
 
Sunday, December 3 View Page
1710 has grown just 12# per day the last 3 days, and the plant is not looking real great. The 1047.5 main grew just 2" in circumference, with white spots forming around the blossom end. Looks like the end of the line for that one, the secondary pumpkin with the half-way broken stem is growing slowly. The 1716 gained 22# per day, needs some vine positioning, and needs a couple open sets culled off. the 288 Buglio is the star of the patch, gaining 113# in 3 days, or about 38# per day. It has a short stem and has grown nearly out to the vine. We will have to do some repositioning tomorrow to prevent a problem.
 

 

Top of Page

Questions or comments? Send mail to Ken AT bigpumpkins.com.
Copyright © 1999-2017 BigPumpkins.com. All rights reserved.