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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 56 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.
 

 

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