Home What's New Message Board
BigPumpkins.com
Select Destination Site Search
 
Dustin - 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. 245 Entries.
Sunday, March 5 View Page
Spring is on its way! An orange start to the year with my first round of Chrysanthemums. I was in a nursery on a school trip last fall trying to buy these as our bus was loading to leave and the credit card machine was broken. A woman in line saw me set them down sadly, realizing I couldn't hold the class up for the purchase, and told me if I took them and learned from them, she would pay cash for them as a gift to my education. So here is my promise kept, exhibition style, grown as dis-buds over the winter. Front pots are 7" x 7", back pots are 9" x 9".
 
Sunday, March 5 View Page
This round wasn't for any show, more just to learn the growth characteristics and timing of the blooms. The variety is 'Coral Cavalier' football mum, and while not the largest out there, should be respectable once fully open. These were grown under a 240w G8 LED (full spectrum) for the duration, and so far I'm very happy with the quality of this light. Next part of learning is in the sun, which presents challenges of rain and UV damage to blooms, as well as pests, but as with most show quality horticulture, overcoming those challenges is part of the allure for me. I hope everyone is gearing up for a personal best this year and good luck to it!
 
Thursday, March 9 View Page
Topped out at 4 1/2 inches across for my first try at it. The color on this one got washed out a bit from light intensity, so I'll have to look into how to 'bag the blooms' for my outdoor flowers.
 
Thursday, March 9 View Page
Three blooms is the standard for judging so I put together this vase to see how they compare in uniformity. All in all, a beautiful orange start to my growing season. Good luck to all this year, hope to see you at the scales!
 
Thursday, March 9 View Page
So as a veteran, I appreciate my benefits as well as my fellow veterans. Our Welcome Home center got a grant for a high tunnel as part of a community teaching/gardening project, so I decided to join the crew and volunteer to help build it. A soggy day full of rain but as the old saying goes 'if it ain't raining, you ain't training!'
 
Thursday, March 9 View Page
Today was full of sunshine, though the wind was fighting us this time. I don't like heights to begin with, so a windy day on a ladder was no fun, but I like to challenge myself to do the uncomfortable. Made good progress while on Spring Break this week and should be ready for plastic soon!
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
Picture didn't post
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
Got to help set up a hot air ballon while we were there. Pretty cool experience! It was tethered for rides, but the wind kicked up right after setup, so we stayed on the ground, but still pretty fun.
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
7th place overall in Hardscape installation. 2 hours to build a fire pit and patio.
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
13th overall in wood construction. 2 hours to deconstruct a blueprint and build a planter box. Relatively math based as you have minimal scrap and little time to figure it out.
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
Rounding out my day was 1st place in truck and trailer operation! I like to practice safe pumpkin hauling.
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
Even thought we saw Bart in Utah with his new truck!
 
Sunday, March 19 View Page
Lol, don't even think he's this old! I love people with a sense of humor.
 
Thursday, March 23 View Page
My wife supports me a great deal, so I try to be a good husband and support her as well, even if it means going to law school events like tonight's charity auction. Was a ton of fun and I haven't eaten that much since Thanksgiving! WVU LAW puts on a Great show!
 
Thursday, March 23 View Page
Even tripped across the most random silent auction item, so I HAD to have it! Money went to support public interest attorneys. My new 100 lb scale :)
 
Wednesday, March 29 View Page
A few end panels and I'll be all set! Thanks Team-Pumpkin, great info you guys are putting together! Won't be long now...
 
Thursday, March 30 View Page
All snugged up! One with cables, one without. Hope it pays off.
 
Monday, April 3 View Page
If there is one thing that life has taught me, it's how to dig a good hole... took a beating this weekend, but got this project knocked out just in time for the season to ramp up.
 
Monday, April 3 View Page
All set to divert 3 gutters worth of rainwater to the yard instead of our gravel driveway. Bring on the Spring Storms, I'm ready to test it out!
 
Monday, April 10 View Page
Decided to change things around a bit after soil tests came back. This is the new patch I started prepping last fall... the one where I popped myself in the lip. As you can see just from what I dug out of the soil cable area, there's lots more work to be done yet, but this will make things easier for the wife and I this year. Every garden has its challenges.
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
Looks like it's go time here...
 
Thursday, April 20 View Page
296.5 Barber in front, 290.5 Terry in back, will keep one of each.
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
1912 Carter in the ground. Thanks for the bubble Danny, let's see what happens!
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
2106 Schmit in my other larger spot. Time to fear the beard!
 
Sunday, April 23 View Page
I went with my own 631 from last year for my 150 patch. This one had the most uniform walls of all my pumpkins last year, and was growing fast until the staple got it. This is the first of my own seeds that I have ever planted, so I'm excited to see what happens. I have some of my 982's in towels for a 20 x 20 patch as well.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
Lol! Same watering can Ron Wallace uses... SURE to hit 2500 this year!
 
Tuesday, April 25 View Page
Panax quinquefolius or American Ginseng :)
 
Tuesday, April 25 View Page
I didn't get all the seeds planted before frost, so I threw some in trays under the lights I already had going to overwinter a few tropical plants. Ended up getting some nice starts out of them. The bud at the stem end is where next year's growth will come from and is also how you are able to measure the age of the roots.
 
Tuesday, April 25 View Page
A lot of chatter has been going on about "club root" since it is seed starting season, so I thought I would share this pic. I did some searching but wasn't able to find any pictures of it, so hopefully this is an accurate representation. It has been said that the club root talked about here is not the same as the disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae. The radicals formed 2 days after placing in paper towels but were barely showing, so we're left just a bit longer. After 4 days in towels, they looked like this. The tap roots have either died off forcing the branching or were stunted in some other way.
 
Wednesday, April 26 View Page
Watermelons are going ok, Barbers are starting to fatten up a bit. The Other melons in the back don't wanna get in gear, so I might just swing one of the front plants around to the back.
 
Wednesday, April 26 View Page
Doing 5 carrots this year just to see what happens. My best is 5 lbs so that is what I'm trying to beat this year.
 
Wednesday, April 26 View Page
Have a couple nice ones so far. Thank you for the seeds Peter, cucumbers are next!
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
Here goes the 2106. She's trying to stretch out, but mostly reaching for the sky early on.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
Better view of the profile so far. Trying to gradually help her lean, but no wind inside the hoop, so also just letting her do her thing.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
1912 is starting to stretch out. Last year I wasn't at this point until last week of May, so just slightly ahead as far as starting the season goes.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
631 Trychta is up next in the 150 spot.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
Not doing the icosagon thing here, just a good ol' fashioned rectangle will suit me fine.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
And the length. Raised bed type of plot about 4" above grade, same exact spot the 631 grew last year.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
A view from afar, 150 is in top left with the hoop. 2 x field kin plots, also 150 each, to the right of that.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
Barber melons up front, Terry melons in back. Back two were pouty until about a week ago, but starting to at least show some movement now. Front two starting to head in opposite directions.
 
Friday, May 12 View Page
Some Yellow Icebox melons that were a hit last year. To the right with the tires is where I'll plant my lopes when they're ready.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
Carrots are asking for a bit more room
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
These were in 3 gallon pots. Hopefully some of these roots start to fatten up a bit.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
I have these bags that are made for insulating food in the mail. They're made of bubble wrap with a reflective layer on the outside. Didn't think they'd be strong enough to use as grow bags themselves, so I sunk a couple 10 gallon pots and a 15 gallon into them to try to cool the soil a bit. The lip on the pot created a nice air pocket between the bags and the pot, so we'll see what happens.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
Best 3 got the bigger pots, other 2 will go in a raised bed. Little bigger than a half dollar right now. Really helped putting a twist tie around the tops for transplanting.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
Best 3 after tucking in.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
An idea of the soil I'm trying to work with here. This is where the 671 grew last year. Couldn't tell you how many wheelbarrows full of rocks came out, but it's over 20 so far. Every one out is another full of good topsoil in though, so it'll be sorted out soon enough.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
Decided to pull out the equipment for the new patch. This is the patch I busted my lip in last year, so I decided to get a good deep till with the backhoe before going back in with the tiller. Spot is behind the 2106 and should have a squash soon.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
As you can see from what came out of a 20 x 20 spot, I'll need to keep going for the rest of the patches. Went through the top 12" or so before finding a boulder, so that's good enough for this corner. Time to get busy, weather is picking up!
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
Got it :)
 
Friday, May 19 View Page
Did some careful digging around the 2106 today, about 2800 of 3000 sf dug out now.
 
Friday, May 19 View Page
A view from the rock pit... err I mean cockpit.
 
Friday, May 19 View Page
So my mom insisted on a day of garden help today. Boy did she pick the WRONG day to come garden at MY house! Lol! Yes, I did in fact enlist her in rock picking duties and got a good sized haul out. Whatever it takes, right? :) surface rocks and tiller busters should all be done by tomorrow, hope to be finished planting this weekend.
 
Friday, May 19 View Page
LMAO! Orange with sandbags... oh how true it is...
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Oh what a difference a week has made in the patch! Starting to look and feel like a decent garden.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Mike has a sharp eye, noticed it trying to ribbon about a week ago. Tip seems to have pulled out of it, hopefully I just get some extra roots out of it.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Unfortunately the wind caught it today in a nasty burst. More just a kink than a snap so going to try to save her. There was a heavy leaf just on the far side of the bend that probably was the culprit, happened just past the triple root node.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
1912 is pushing out well. Won't keep this one, but nice to see it's ready to go.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Caught this crazy woodpecker pecking my front post again. He was after carpenter bees last year, so they must be back.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Having same kind of trouble with my 631 as I am the 2106. This one is actually trying to go backwards. Very stiff too, not able to move it much with stakes.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Other than the tip looking at me, it looks ok.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Couple 982 Trychta in my last spot. Was gonna leave this spot open, but couldn't not grow this one myself.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Field kins went in today, first up are the 189 Crews (that wierdo mutant one). I like fasciated fruit, I think they're neat, so this one caught my eye last year as soon as I saw that He kept it. Thanks for the seeds Don!
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
188 MacKinnon gets the other spot. A little ahead of the Crews sprouts, but not by much.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Melons are looking good, will probably have the hoop down this week sometime.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
1511.5 Haist squash
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
1060 Holub squash x 3... I fried a couple on the heat mat :(
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Lopes went in today, will keep two of these. 55 Vester coming at ya! Thanks for the seeds Danny! First try at these guys, so it'll more than likely be a personal best no matter what.
 
Monday, May 22 View Page
Heavy cukes went in today as well. Not sure of the exact variety, seeds are from Peter Glazebrook. First try on these guys as well, thanks Peter!
 
Tuesday, May 23 View Page
Did a little weeding today and found these :) German iris and Calla lily. I have a near black iris that I was trying to pair with these but the bloom time is a little off. I sure do LOVE orange! Alliums in the back of the vase.
 
Thursday, May 25 View Page
Kelp meal bowl I used on Tuesday... been a steady light rain for about 48 hours now. That's my sidekick and patch protector Roxy getting some rainwater. Puddle water is her favorite. Doesn't look like it's drying out any time soon, but patch is draining well after the deep dig.
 
Sunday, May 28 View Page
Da BEARD! This plant is a lot like a beard actually. Starts out, you really wanna grow it. Then, just like a new beard that gets to the itchy stage, it was a little aggravating and uncooperative. But it's just a little hump to get over and it hits its stride and straightens out. Buried main vine today, split is healing.
 
Sunday, May 28 View Page
1912 hit the end wall and was ready to come out today. Was a beautiful day today, nice break from all of the rain.
 
Sunday, May 28 View Page
Did my first thinning of the glass gem corn, pretty good roots on these sprouts. Doing 100 sqft for decorations and crafts.
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
Peek a boo :)
 
Friday, June 2 View Page
150 patch... seeing a lot of chatter, seems Bob and Tiger Girl are pretty confident. Running neck and neck with Bart though, sooo...
 
Friday, June 2 View Page
Ok Bart, you show me yours, I'll show you mine ;) 631 Trychta in the 150 spot
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
1912 with patch supervisor in the back.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
2106 with a couple 1060 Holubs in back.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
1511.5 Haist *
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
189 Crews Large Side.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
188 MacKinnon.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
Down to 2 keeper melons, both 296.5 Barber, back to back.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
55 Vester x 2
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
631 Trychta in 150.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
982 Trychta for a fundraiser.
 
Tuesday, June 6 View Page
Somebody has been stepping in my patch...
 
Tuesday, June 6 View Page
I suppose an electric fence may be necessary... a HEAVY DUTY one!
 
Tuesday, June 6 View Page
They go all the way around both big plants in a circle, didn't go near my smaller plants. They must know it's almost GO TIME!
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Slow going but making progress. 1511 Haist Squash
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
1060 Holub is growing in circles after being gone for a few days. Sister showed yellow fruit, so this is my last one standing...
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Still way too small of a plant to set, but if I can get her straightened out, it looks like I might have gotten green with this one... fingers crossed!
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Monster Claws on the 631 Trychta in the 150 patch
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Plucked this from a 631 side vine, my first 6-lobe ever.
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Then I found another! In a few days we'll see if the keeper makes it a third :)
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
188 MacKinnon field pumpkins, will cull tomorrow.
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
189 Crews LS Field pumpkin
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
982 Trychta
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Down to one sunflower
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
Heavy Cucumbers
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
55 Vester Heavy Cantaloupes
 
Tuesday, June 13 View Page
296 Barber x 2
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
Heavy Carrots are doing well despite the recent heat wave.
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
Poor little guys in front never made it to the raised bed, might be time to cull.
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
1912 Carter is all ready to go! My lead plant despite a number of missing or weak side vines.
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
Got one set up with 2 backups close behind. Wasn't gonna take the first one but got a good couple day swell and nice shape so I pulled out the mill fabric early this year. Have a couple plants right on schedule, others WAY behind. Just having fun with it here :)
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
Wife wants to cut sugar from our diets and to be honest, it's a really good idea. Problem is, I loathe black coffee... Bit the bullet this morning and went cold turkey.
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
Turns out, I had something pretty sweet with my coffee after all! 631 Trychta x 2106 Schmit in the 150 patch. One set in front, one close behind in couple days just to be sure, can't be too careful in limited space.
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
Pulled one of the runty carrots just to see what was going on and it's no wonder it wasn't happy in that 3 gal pot.
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
All cleaned up it came to one pound even. Tasty carrot, super crunchy!
 
Monday, June 19 View Page
2106 has one set at 11' or so, short and chinky growth so far. Smaller in size than 1912, but better side vining and more leaves overall. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
150 patch is all set, terminating vines and tucking them inside the borders.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Cross is 631 Trychta x 2106 Schmit, set 6-19. Small split in stem but that's just because it wants to beat Flat Norm real bad.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
My 982 is still stretching out a bit from a later planting. In the back is the glass gem corn and what is left of my big head sunflowers.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Seems not even walking up to these guys scares em off... new fence will be up this week.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
55 Vester starting to gain some size.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Starting to set melons here, nothing really special yet though. 296.5 Barbers
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
188 MacKinnon
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
189 Crews LS
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Heavy cukes are taking off, will set soon
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
2106 looking good
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
1912 Carter is ready to settle in for the long haul.
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Pollinated 6-15, 1912 x 2106 10 day cc was 21"
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
Noticed this on the boulder I dug out, an unusual sight to see :)
 
Tuesday, June 27 View Page
A pair of Imperial Moths mating. They only come above ground once to mate and are fairly succeptible to foraging raccoons... I'd imagine because they choose to lock up on the ground. Really cool when your bugs get super sized to fit the scale of the patch. Thankfully, their appetite isn't for cucurbits. Gnarly looking caterpillars as well, hope they made it to safety!
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
In an effort to make some room on the deck I sunk one of my carrots into the garden.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Doing ok so far, hard to tell really what's under there, but nice side rooting here.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
631 Trychta in the 150, bout 9 or 10 days old now.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Back end of 150 tucked in neatly.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
1912 Carter @ 16 DAP
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
2106 Schmit is starting to put on some power. Was slow to get going, but she's in gear now!
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
2106 @ 8 DAP
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Number of people happen to be growing pineapples this year, here's mine just starting to bloom. This was grown from a cut top from a store bought pineapple, and is about 16 months old in a 30 liter pot. In February, an ethylene treatment was done and the spike began to show about 10 weeks later. Should take about 4 months for the fruit to mature, so right on time for the end of the season. Shame I saw pineapples for $3 the other day, but I'm sure this one will taste just like love. A good sign your pineapple is ready to go, are the pups at the base. If you look closely, it has already stated to split off for the new plants. These can be harvested and grown on, or left on the original roots.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
1060 Holub... first fruit was green at 7 feet from stump, rest have been yellow or striped. If it doesn't show green on the next fruit, I'll pull it.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
1511.5 Haist Squash
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
188 MacKinnon
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Monster blooms on this field pumpkin, really like this plant.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
5 days old
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
189 Crews LS
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
55 Vester starting to vine out
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Giant cukes are looking good, prolly 5 or so set over the past week.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
This one is 5 days old
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
296.5 Barber has a good one started, little mis-shaped on top, but doing well.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
My buddy Harrison was over to help get a few projects knocked off the list. Glad to finally have my new fertigation station set up. Just need to clean the tanks and I'm all set. Gravity feed for the front patch, will need pump for the back patch.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
We have some gorgeous natural woods here, spent a few hours away from the patch yesterday to go hiking behind the house.
 
Sunday, July 2 View Page
Lots of cliffs, boulder overhangs, and small caves like this one. It's no wonder we have bears with this kind of territory less than a mile into the woods. Also caught a fox on the trail cam the other night. Just need a bobcat now and we'll have the whole zoo out back.
 
Wednesday, July 5 View Page
So I thought I'd share how I set my boards by myself when the wife's toenails are drying. I always dig mine level as I'm on a hill, so there's always a bit of room underneath until they get a bit bigger. The foam is a nice start, but once ready to commit, it's also a little shelf to hold your pumpkin while you have both hands on the board. Propped up by 2x4 chunks, gives you just enough room to get under, while also protecting the pumpkin from the edge of the board.
 
Wednesday, July 5 View Page
In it goes! 2106 @ 22.5"cc 11 DAP
 
Wednesday, July 5 View Page
If only I'd have protected her from myself... had some spray drift and tried to wipe it off, musta had dirt on my hand or something? She didn't like being touched and has a slight crack already, have a backup ready, just in case.
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
631 Trychta @ 17 DAP
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
Happy with the shape so far, tough to keep the young skin blemish free though. Even the slightest contact leaves its evidence.
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
Starting to show her freckles already :)
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
This is my 982 in training. Trying to go big this year but I still love beautiful as well, so trying another show pumpkin here. I was happy with my Cinderella last year, but I find people have a hard time understanding giant pumpkins as it is, so having an upside down giant pumpkin is even harder to explain why you would want to...
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
So I'm back down the rabbit hole... I really wanted the shape of the pumpkin from last year (perfectly round and squat) but with the stem on top. This year I took a cross section from a log, and knocked a flat spot on it. The pumpkin just past the log will be the chosen child if pollination goes well. The main vine will be terminated after pollination takes, and I'll set the pumpkin upright at the front of a 4' x 4' platform so that I have room to slide it backwards as it grows. A similar foam ring to the "pumpcone " will be used to hold the blossom off of the board until the sides seat themselves around it. Hopefully I've left enough room in the vine for it to raise enough. Could be amazing, could be a lot of work for nothing, but I like to at least try different things.
 
Thursday, July 6 View Page
Glazebrook 16 cucumber
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
1912 is starting to show a little color, decent shape so far. Should get a nice orange off of this one.
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
Side view
 
Friday, July 7 View Page
2106 also starting to show freckles just like Mama Beard :)
 
Saturday, July 8 View Page
Certainly no shortage of male flowers on these cukes :)
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Not too sure what the measurements of a heavy cuke should be, but she's pushing out for 13 days old. 22" long.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Finally got my 982 pollinated x sibling (plant pictured in Kirsha's diary).
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
2106 @ 20 DAP, 68"cc
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Split is doing ok so far, pumpkin is staring to pick it up a bit.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
1912 @ 28 DAP
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Just a touch of the blocky shape that Shannon had last year. This one is showing more color by the day.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
631 @ 23 DAP... she's trying hard to pass the 1912 in size.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Beautiful pumpkin so far, can't wait to see how she turns out!
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Something musta limped home this morning... hope it tells its friends to stay out. You can see the second wire up got yanked off, it's laying at the camera post.
 
Thursday, July 13 View Page
Lol... haven't gotten one of these in... oh 11 1/2 months or so...
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
First 30 day measurements are in for the Trychta patch. Her name will be Petunia (1912 Carter x 2106 Schmit). 91.5" cc, 62ee, 67ss for 220.5 OTT.
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
Stem side of Petunia
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
She will be Pebbles (2106 Schmit x 1912 Carter, Anthesis treated). 80"cc @ 22DAP.
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
Stem side of Pebbles
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
Penelope is chugging along in the 150 patch (631 Trychta x 2106 Schmit, Anthesis treated) 87"cc @ 25 DAP
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
Stem side of Penelope
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
A late pollination on the 982 Trychta. That cucumber beetle in the bloom is only about the fourth one this year so far, but with 3 weeks of rain, it's been hard to keep up with spraying in between showers. He got smashed like the rest, sun this week so I will get back on track!
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
Vine is fairly secure, this next 10 days or so will take a lot of attention to get right, but I'm up for a challenge.
 
Saturday, July 15 View Page
For you odd veggie lovers out there, this is off the Glazebrook '16 cucumbers, 9.5" cc, 22.5" long @ 15 DAP... might just hit the ground on this one!
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
Lol Jay, student surpasses the teacher on stump covers, nice job!
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
Been a few days since I got into the patch... also been a few hot dry days after about a month of rain. Plants looked a little witty, so I walked around to find this. I remember last year, at about this time, another grower saved my season by reminding me not to sit back and relax after the vines fill in. Weekly (if not more often) inspections are necessary from now to the end, and not JUST your plants either.
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
Fed the turkey vultures
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
982 is just about vertical. Tomorrow she'll get her ring.
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
I've left a little slack in the last side vines in case it needs to raise a little more than expected. What am I talking about, I don't really know what to expect with this at all? Super fancy top secret prototype vine lifters in place to start the fun.
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
1912 got some big britches... she's eventually going to close, probably sooner rather than later.
 
Tuesday, July 18 View Page
A better look at the blossom. I was hoping to get into August before worrying about this, but I'd rather worry all season with a good one on the vine, than be waiting for it to eventually do something. If anyone has experience with this, I could use some advice on how to mitigate potential issues. Touching already. Should I remove, and fungicide powder, or leave well enough alone and hope for best? I believe it will eventually break off inside on its own if left.
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
The new and improved "Pumpcone 2.0" ready to be deployed. Went with a single top piece this year as the pumpkin spread the 2-piece top ring from last year.
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
Went 1 1/2" thick instead of 3" as well. It did well and touched the board last year, but the sooner it touches, the less room for shape change errors.
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
Vine supports invented
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
I believe I have her vertical enough to settle in. She'll need to be adjusted daily for a bit, but I like a challenge.
 
Wednesday, July 19 View Page
Front view, fingers crossed for a beauty. 982 don't let me down!
 
Thursday, July 20 View Page
Day 2 on the cone. I tried to cut a corner and use 1/2" plywood here as the 3/4" is hard to manage by myself while also supporting the pumpkin. As you can see, I'm warping just a bit as a result. At any rate, little left of center now because of a twist in the main at the top of the bend, soil underneath was flat and level so hopefully with a bit of size it'll settle down. That tomato cage in the middle has a volunteer sweet potato being trained upward. No idea where it came from but not allowed to stay on the ground, pulling a couple leaves down.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
There's been some surprising interest in this project, so for those of you who have contacted me with encouragement, thank you! It's difficult to push yourself to do better sometimes, but knowing that others are rooting for you makes it a bit easier. Here is a top view of the setup for a birds perspective of what's going on. I believe the cone is symmetrical enough (for a hand carving) as it doesn't show anymore and covered all in same night rather than over a couple days. Notice the wet mark on the board, this was the amount of adjustment made after sitting from about 9PM, through 7AM this morning. Roughly 12-hour re-adjusts until about 10-14 days on the cone and it should be ready to leave alone as regardless of the shape at that point, it will be in-correctable.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
The reason for me being off-center. So we all know how pumpkins sit straight up at pollination, then lay down as they get heavy. It is this critical time period that I believe determines your final pumpkin shape, more on this later. I propped the stem itself to straighten it out for the vertical set as the curved stem last year slightly affected the end shape. In doing this, the pumpkin itself must have been leaning slightly and twisted the main vine in order to help itself straighten. More of a twist straight than a lay opposite the curve. Also, if I have to be honest with myself, I can see she's not perfectly round looking at the 10 o'clock position.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Modifications are already necessary... again... was hoping after last year I'd have it sorted out, but I think it's going to take me the rest of my life to perfect this style of growing. So I made the vine supports before I had her platform ready, and as you can see, they're meant to stick in the ground. No good for platform. I will use these next year to begin propping the vine earlier in the season, then use flat-bottomed stakes that can be fastened to the platform as it gets adjusted. Also, the platform will be set before the plant reaches it, and I may use a 4' x 6' board rather than 4x4.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
So let's talk shape for a few posts, please bear with me here, but there have been some recent questions around here about it so I thought I'd share what I've noticed about how it expresses itself. I'll try to post the best pictures I have for explanation purposes even if some are older. While talking shape, I want to be clear that I am not talking overall genetic expressions like color, innie vs outie, strong ribbing vs smooth round skin, these should all be taken into account when selecting a seed for exhibition. I will just discuss what can be done to affect shape once the seed is in the soil. Discussion and questions are open so just click the mail button and let me know what you think?
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
I believe end shape is determined within the first 10 days following pollination and is very much related to how many lobes there are and how symmetrical they are as well as arranged. I feel the number of lobes has more to do with shape than it does overall end weight as lots of large pumpkins have been grown on 3 or 4 lobes, but just speculation, no data to prove. When I select a keeper, I look for symmetry on lobes, then vine positioning. Cross is usually not a concern when selecting as I only try to grow seeds I like, and any seed to any seed in my own patch is fine with me, as long as it sets well and I like the lobes.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
My 1912 at 4 days old. I liked this bloom and position from the start, so she is already elevated. The key to early positioning is getting the stem to blossom line parallel to the LEVEL board underneath. If your soil or board is out of level, gravity will ruin your efforts. A 5 lobe flower is what I like best and I will explain why.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
You can see here that as she went perpendicular to the vine, I was able to keep the center lobe on the bottom directly in the middle. This caused two wide lobes to sit either side and two stacked tight on top. I started to think about this as my pumpkin was getting the same blocky shape on the same seed that Shannon had last year. Sure enough, same thing on his.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
If you look closely, I believe you can make out the 5 lobes and how they are swelling. This setup with 5 lobes and one ending directly in the center on the bottom will give you a wide bottom pumpkin with good shape. Conversely, if your center lobe ends up on top, you will more than likely get a skinny bottom pumpkin with a heavy top that sags to the sides.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
You can see on my 2106 that I didn't get the lobe to center well. It is a little off to the left.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Here, you can see the "shoulder" developing on the top left where two lobes meet. Had it been centered better, I believe gravity would help it smooth out a bit. Also just a slight dip on the right side near the 2:30 position. I would have preferred this section to be a little more on top, but she'll still be beautiful. If you watch these pumpkins, these minor imperfections will only get more pronounced, emphasizing how early and how discerning you have to be if you're looking for that "perfect" shape.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Again, a 5 lobe set on my 631, and again just slightly missed when centering. Sometimes the twist of a vine or curve of a stem will keep you from getting it perfect, but that's just Mother Nature. Don't snap a good pumpkin off trying to manipulate it, just get it as close as you can. These adjustments are made once daily until it sits on a flat spot.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Again you can see the top two lobes forcing out shoulders from the 11 o'clock to 2:30 position. I believe, had it been centered, this pumpkin would have the same square-ish shape as the 1912 puts out, rather than a rounded left and square right side.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Will probably get in trouble for this one, but this is my wife Kirsha's 982. Nice symmetrical 6 lobe pumpkin and it set down well despite the bent blossom. 3 on top, 3 on bottom.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
At day 19 or so, the top 3 lobes are showing a bit, bottom 3 are holding well, but not as symmetrical as the top 3.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
I should have taken better care of her at the beginning of the season but got behind. When my wife propped her pumpkin, I only had small scraps of foam to support it to the stem/blossom level line. Her pumpkin grew to the edges too fast and we had to get it on the board before it sagged around the foam, so it ended up out of level as you can see by the veins running along the side. This was a big lesson in early shaping of pumpkins, make your leveling supports bigger than you'd expect to need, or you may end up with a nose dive over the blossom end, again gravity affecting the shape of the top mostly. Hopefully my wife forgives me for not getting a nice big new piece of foam in the first place for her.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
This brings us to the original pumpkin in question. This one is difficult to say the least. 4 lobes and with a bent blossom just like Kirsha's. I believe the veins and the bent blossom are characteristics of this seed as several of the offspring all have the same thing going on so far. The blossom is touching the inside of the cone with me trying to keep it centered. I tried to get a large enough hole in the center for the bloom while keeping the ring small enough to catch the pumpkin early. Perhaps next year will be a hanging pumpkin until it's just a touch bigger so I have more room for blossom maneuvering. If all goes well, the goal is to get all 4 lobes to hit the edge of the ring at the same time so that gravity pulls them all equally here. Didn't choose a 4 lobe, was only main set I could get on a late planting so I went with it.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Back to some old news just for fun! If you have the ability to zoom, notice the 5-lobe setup on the 982 from last year. Center lobe on bottom, flanked by two set wide, and two squeezed on top. If you get the point of those top two just right, you can get the center hump without having it lean to one side or the other. Good luck out there, and take a look in your own patch to see if this all checks out. We'll talk soon about the nose dive...
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Back to the 631 for "Vine Line" explanation. In a way, I prefer the hillside method. Yes, it's a little more work, but you get extra room for the height of the pumpkin. This gives an idea of the slope of my front patch, note the board cut into the hillside for the base, and how young the pumpkin is at time of setup.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Please pardon my gimpy finger in this shot, but you can see that there was about 4-5" of soil cut away on the top side of the hill, leaving a gap between the pumpkin and the level base. If you leave this, nose dive for sure!
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Here I have it leveled with foam boards, several layers that will be taken away one at a time as the pumpkin swells... or will they?
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
This is the critical placement age, as it sets down and you position away from vine. Easier to do when vine is young and can create S curve, but in the 150 patch I took what I could squeeze into the corner.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
At 9 days later, the flat spot has formed and your lobes are already set in place, but you can see that there is still some foam underneath keeping it level. I got lucky and was on the last layer here, and also caught it the day it started to sag over the edges which would leave a concave bottom and risk of transport splitting. Another demonstration of why to use larger bases than expected to need, sometimes they swell out before they swell up.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
A final example of the "Vine Line" I was talking about with the 2106. Level from stem to blossom. If you plan on growing large ones, this becomes more difficult as you need to prop the main vine up as the pumpkin grows, as well as slide it away from the main vine periodically in order to maintain level throughout the season.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
An early picture from my 631 from last year with the Vine Line just starting to get out of whack. This is when I started to learn about sliding the pumpkin forward as it grows. It'll go on it's own for a bit, but then gets too heavy and friction takes over. If this is not adjusted periodically, you will more often than not get a forward lean to your pumpkin.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
A clear example of how you will lose shape even with sand and mill fabric if your pumpkin is not manually adjusted from time to time. This was about two weeks after my neighbor broke the blossom off when I asked him to help me adjust it because it was getting too heavy to move myself (500ish). I got gunshy about adjusting it again, and it was still growing so had no choice but to swell over the top since it can't slide on its own. It never ended up a problem as I only hit 631 lbs, but you can imagine how quickly this gets exaggerated when you're able to gain 400 lbs in a month. I believe if you used two strips of mill fabric from the halfway point of the pumpkin past the blossom end, and also on top of a full sheet of mill fabric, the pumpkin would grab the two strips and push them out and apart, allowing for some movement, or at least an easier time sliding it forward... if I could only find some more mill fabric to try it out!
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
The simple man's guide to lobe placement! Step one, prop up on piece of garden hose... just don't forget and go yanking the end of it.
 
Friday, July 21 View Page
Step 2, jab sticks in ground and use tendril as support to turn lobes straight as it lays down. Step 3, grab a chilly beverage and hope you're not in Q-tip's patch, otherwise you got no chance of going pretty =p
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Same old story here this year. Gonna be some soggy updates today, but I'll have extra inside time to work on a better support.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Morning coffee, tuck in for the evening. Twice a day. 4 DAC (day after cone) and she's leaning a bit. I noticed this on day one and have been re-correcting the lean ever since. It is due to a bent blossom that is touching the inside of the cone, perhaps from malformation in the baby pumpkin initially? My wife's 982 has same bent blossom, might just be how my seeds run?
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
A look inside after 3 days, and several things concern me so far. First, you can see where the blossom is touching the ring inside. Second, the contact is holding moisture on the bloom, making it a bit soggy. Third, judging by the wet mark every time I move the cone, the base needs less contact in order to trap less moisture overall.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Glen, what a great idea! Your bucket idea gave me the perfect babysitter whilst I make some modifications to the Pumpcone. Filled a big ol' tub with loose coco fiber and she tucked in comfortably. Additionally, this may be how I get a larger pumpkin next year before needing the cone. Dry coco, and keep it dry, and the blossom can push out into the coco for a bit. Great to know the discussion is already working.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
A look from underneath, neeeeed moooore roooom...
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
One of my best qualities in life, but also a drawback sometimes, is I will not give up. I refuse to give up. So back to the drawing board as they say. Beveled out the bottom side of the upper layer of the cone.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Then I took a ring off of the inside of the lower level of the cone. Note the side marks for re-alignment, and the shaded area on top from about 6 o'clock to 9:30 position. This is where the marks from the bloom were on the inside of the ring, so that when I place her back, the blossom will be in similar relation to the cone as it was before.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Worked through a variety of shims to try to fix this lean a bit.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Settled on this style. Tapered at both ends, probably 3/16" thick at center.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Also tapered off the back for a smoother drop, rather than a bump.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Here she is with shim inserted left side. If you couldn't see the lean before, try looking at the line where the stem connects to the pumpkin now that the shim is in. This is your level point to keep, and try to let the sides melt into the hollow spots until she grabs the ring enough to stay put, and you are comfortable you won't be able to adjust anymore. My advice, never stop the adjustments until you can't make them anymore.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Last round of flowers pollinated and swelling on the pineapple. This was one of the hummingbirds' favorites this year.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Side view after 8 hours of no stem support, stem is bending from straight again. No big deal as I like a girl with a few curves anyways. Needed to be supported though, so during the last few hours of rain, I went to work inside and came up with something.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Bout to go Bruce Lee on this crazy vine! Inspired by the Salmon Ladder from American Ninja Warrior, a double support with incremental adjustment for the remainder of needing it. The supports are attached to the base with only one screw each so they can move independently, and the base is screwed to the platform with room to move back if necessary.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
Side view after setup. I also moved the board about 8" to the left to re-center the pumpkin on the platform.
 
Saturday, July 22 View Page
And a better view of the supports. Needed something with the same diameter for the rods (bamboo would have the knuckles on it) but not a bolt or allthread or anything that would scratch, so I used the fiberglass rod from an old driveway reflector that got run over for the cross bars. So far I'm happy with how they worked and the fact that I won't have to figure it out again tomorrow. Keeee YAAAH with the G I Joe kung fu grip baby!
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
982 Trychta, 10 days old, 5 DOC, her name will be Patience. Something I'm trying to have more of in life. Ring on the board shows the adjustment made, again leftward to keep correcting the lean despite shim insertion. Having the support firmly attached to the base is proving useful for opposite pressure on the vine to help with leans, notice it it touching the left support, but not fixed. This allows it to move and bend as it wants rather than being tied to something. She is 29" in cc, and starting to get heavy enough to hold an edge of the cone rather than just slipping into the divot because of size.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
At 10 days old, the 4 lobes are beginning to express themselves. You'll never have a perfectly round pumpkin, there will always be a distinction of lobes. Some will swell more symmetrically than others, but in the end, there is no control over genetic expression, or how those specific blooms formed in early stages. you just have to look at the specific pumpkin you are working with and make decisions based on what it is telling you it will do.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
Petunia is proving to be uncooperative. From the stem to blossom, she is stuck and won't stretch lengthwise, so is swelling outward pretty hard. Still super skinny vines on this one too, main looks more like side vine size.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
Closing fairly fast on the blossom end as well. Still ok in there, but I'll only be sure of that for a little while longer.
 
Sunday, July 23 View Page
A new leader in the Trychta patch. Took her a month to catch up, but Pebbles has staked her claim! These numbers are all behind pace of my pumpkins last year, but I also didn't hit my first day 30 until about August 1st last year. Additionally, we've had one of the wettest years I can remember, so that affects things as well. People always like to compare to others, so I thought I would share mine. I would consider these numbers to be average across the board, not great (on pace to win anything) but not terrible (a respectable showing at the weigh off). Numbers for 631 are of Penelope in the 150 patch for those of you in the contest. No sandbags here, this is where I'm at.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
Hillside growing has its challenges, and as always, I'm out of room about a month into growing. One of these years I'll learn to set the board in further, I always have this problem because I try to save the roots at the pumpkin for as long as I can.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
Slid her forward and took some more soil away. Always hurts cutting things after a kin is growing well, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
Also started pulling the far side of the vine. Didn't think it through all that well on the 150 patch, and ended up with a tight vine to keep the pumpkin I wanted, so using the trick Larry Checkon taught me last year for this issue.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
6 DOC and a taller shim (about 1/4") replaced the original shim, same style just thicker. Starting to express herself and will soon start her descent down the mountain. Keep winning battles, but not too sure how the war will turn out yet.
 
Monday, July 24 View Page
I love all of the shiny basketballs this time of year for size comparison. Still fairly round, let's see what she got!
 

 

Top of Page

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