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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 17 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.


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