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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 55 Entries.
Saturday, January 28 View Page
Never really rounded last years diary off properly so here goes. Finished the season off last November with a pumpkin boat race on the lake. All four of my pumpkins took to the water...
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
I have hundreds of photos from last years growing season, but this is one of my favourites. This is the 1333.8 Oliver.
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
The boating got news coverage on both BBC and ITV at the time. Started off as regional but slowly broadcast across the rest of the country. One of the 'pirates' is a journalist for a boating magazine, who will doing a write up in the style of a 'boat building project'. He had lots of fun!
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
Thankfully, I came across the finish line first in the inaugural RHS Garden Hyde Hall Giant Pumpkin Boat Race ?? The best day at work ever.
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
On a separate note, I harvested over 700 seeds from the 791.4 Oliver (842 Holub x 2096 Meier), a staggering amount. I have posted out loads of these this winter so hopefully more gardeners across the UK will give giant pumpkins a go in 2017. If you fancy a go with these seeds email me. The 842 Holub shares the same genetics as the 1060 Holub that grew Scott's WR squash. Last years diary shows that I grew two pumpkins on this plant, totalling 1800 lb. Seriously tempted to grow one of these myself this year.
 
Monday, March 6 View Page
Unsurprisingly, it is still a bit cold and damp here in jolly old England and spring is a bit late. I think we are in for a wet one as not much significant rain all winter. Managed to finish a bit of digging (that didn't get done in the autumn...) so now have three full sized patches ready for prepping.
 
Monday, March 6 View Page
I am also planning on entering the 150sq ft competition this year. The motivation for this is to try and prove that giant pumpkin growing is still doable for the average gardener. There is certainly a thought that it's no longer a 'Joe Public' class in the giant veg scene in the UK. I will be preparing the beds this week, weather permitting.
 
Monday, March 6 View Page
So, going in the ground this year will probably be x1 AG, x2 Squash, x2 150sq ft AG and hopefully a field pumpkin. More than plenty I should think.
 
Friday, March 17 View Page
We have had a warm and mild week here with no rain so I had perfect conditions to get the patches rotavated. Some heavy frosts this winter have helped break up the clay soil and I'm delighted with the structure I now have. 18 months ago this was weedy, sticky, heavy compacted field and I now have something resembling a decent loam. Soil samples will be sent off shortly. I am deciding whether or not to mulch the patches again this year, I can't decide if the extra work is worth it in the long run.
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
More good weather so spent all day in the patch. Raked level, wind netting up, leaky hose down and began to repair the cloches. 3 large patches all ready to go, still can't decent de whether to mulch them again. Decisions decisions...
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
I am entering the 150sq ft competition this year too and have finished prepping that patch up too. Rules state I have to post photos so here goes... I actually have space for three 150sq ft plants but this middle bed will be for my official entry.
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Standard 15x10ft rectangle. First edge.
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Bang on 15ft
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
First short edge
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Accurate measuring eh? :)
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Second long edge. Had to put a nee edging board down this side. Used to be part of our veg garden and I grew soft fruit on it. Soil is spot on.
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Looking square
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Only two more boring photos I promise...
 
Saturday, March 25 View Page
Last one. Black piping is for irrigation. Orange bailer twine marking bed edges will be removed. Hope I have abided by the rules; here's to a 1000lbder! Lots of options on seed but reckon I will go with a 1641 Clementz that I have chanced upon.
 
Thursday, April 6 View Page
So I decided that go for the mulch in the end. Still on a relatively new patch so no harm in getting as much organic matter in the ground as possible. So dry here that anything that helps reduce evaporation is useful and I think the fine texture of greenwaste compost helps with vine burying and rooting too. Got my cloches in place too (after repairing winter storm damage!) Weather has been unbelievable here, more like June than April.
 
Thursday, April 6 View Page
Had my soil test results back too. Three slight shocks, but everything else as expected: pH has shot up since last year. Not sure why or whether to do anything about it. Molybdenum low but doesn't seem to be a major concern. Manganese is the real unexpected one. Not sure what to do about it, thinking of treating with manganese sulphate in my dosatron. Any thoughts/experience from fellow growers on this?
 
Tuesday, April 11 View Page
Fired the starting gun on my season today by giving the seeds a soak in maxicrop. Desired line up this year will be x2 1844* Holub, 2252 Paton, 1641 Clementz (official 150sq ft entry) then 917 Sullivan and 1333.8 Oliver as two other 150sq ft plants. The rest are back ups. Pint glass full of 791 Oliver seeds are for a seed giveaway we are doing in the garden tomorrow as part of National Gardening Week here in the UK. Aim is to get families to have a go and bring the resulting pumpkin back on our pumpkin day in October.
 
Tuesday, April 11 View Page
Not 100 percent happy with the drainage on the patch, so dug in a healthy amount of perlite in each of the planting pits. Unconventional I know but had problems last year with foaming and wanted to avoid using too much sandy grit. Fish, Blood and Bone down too.
 
Friday, April 14 View Page
Hmmm, some of my seeds being a bit slow to germinate. Think a dodgy thermometer might be to blame so whacked the propagator temp up a bit. Anyway, here's a pic of all the stuff I'm bunging in my potting mix. Didn't use any of this last year (apart from mycco) so lets hope it has a positive effect.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
Plants are growing well under the lights in the glasshouse. An improvement on last year. Bit slow out of the blocks but cold nights forecast here this week so not too worried as better for them to go out once it warms up as I have no soil cables. Planning on hanging the lights in two of my cloches to start with. Plenty of plants to choose the strongest specimens from.
 
Monday, April 24 View Page
Put some sulphur chips down on the patch today to slowly bring the pH down as the tests came back a little high. Put some fleece over the tops of the cloches too, will experiment to see if this keeps the night time temps up as this is my main concern.
 
Sunday, April 30 View Page
My patch is becoming a bit of a tent city. Knocked up some smaller hoop houses for a couple of my 150sq ft pumpkins (don't worry I'm only entering one into the competition!). Weather has changed for the better, night time temps anyway, so will be planting out this week.
 
Sunday, April 30 View Page
My patch is becoming a bit of a tent city. Knocked up some smaller hoop houses for a couple of my 150sq ft pumpkins (don't worry I'm only entering one into the competition!). Weather has changed for the better, night time temps anyway, so will be planting out this week.
 
Monday, May 1 View Page
But I won't be planting before this lot goes in. Temptation got the better of me and I had a splurge on some tech for the patch. Soil warming cables for my two best plants and an irrigation timer. Could save me a serious amount of time this gear.
 
Wednesday, May 3 View Page
Plants are getting a bit desperate to go out now. Soil cables started up today, whacked the thermometer right up so hopefully warm enough for planting tomorrow. The 1844 Holub and 2252 Paton are my main plants this year and both were really slow to germinate, so a bit behind the others but coming along now so will stick with them.
 
Thursday, May 4 View Page
Got two 1844 Holubs planted out today. These were slow to germinate and a bit leggy at first, but looking much better at second leaf stage. The genetics of these are so far ahead of all other squashes they are worth persevering with. Soil cable, fan heater and grow light should give me a much better start than last year.
 
Thursday, May 4 View Page
Also planted out two 2252 Paton plants. The soil warming cables have worked a treat after only a day. Would like to see better drainage in the patch if I'm honest. Using AZOS and a compost tea this year also so every chance of going bigger than last year if the weather plays ball.
 
Thursday, May 4 View Page
A pic of one of my cloches glowing in the evening light. Other plants will go out tomorrow, but no electric luxuries for them.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Got my 150sq ft pumpkins in this evening. Here is my official competition patch. These are a 1641 Clementz and a 918 Sullivan.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Second 150sq ft patch has two 1333.8 Oliver's. This probably won't go orange but wanted to grow at least one of my own seeds this year.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Last 150sq ft patch. I'm experimenting with different training methods. These are two more 918 Sullivansand probably the strongest seedlings I have grown out of all my plants.
 
Saturday, May 6 View Page
Trying out a new product available through the Giant Vegetable group here in the UK. Hoping this compost tea will have a significant impact, as didn't use anything like it last year. (P.s. Hope the photo comes out the right way up-my phone doesn't let me check anymore...)
 
Saturday, May 6 View Page
Started off the giant marrows today. Only have space for two so will be selective.
 
Tuesday, May 9 View Page
Decision made. Plumped for the 1262 Jutras and planted them out this morning. Will pot on my spare 1578 and 464 Bohnert squashes and plant them in a spare sliver of space I have available when the weather warms up a bit more.
 
Wednesday, May 10 View Page
Absolutely scorching here today. This time last year I couldn't keep the plants warm enough, now I'm struggling to keep them from wilting everyday. Pretty much the whole of the southern UK is approaching drought conditions now. We haven't had any proper amount of rain here in Essex since last June. This could be an interesting summer...
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Interesting to see Ians update the other day and hear about the problems they have had with the 2252's. My two also both show double vines. I pulled the weaker this morning and replaced with a squash but am being indecisive about whether to stick with the bigger one for now. Any thoughts? Is it worth the bother?
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
The 1844 Holubs are doing OK after a slow start, a little bit kinky and ugly at first but sticking with them. I am still struggling to keep night time temperatures high enough and that combined with having the lights on is what is causing me trouble I think.
 
Sunday, May 21 View Page
Here's my giant marrows I'm giving a go this year. Two will make the patch. Be interesting to see how I get on with these. Not really too sure on what I'm doing with these!
 
Saturday, May 27 View Page
First bit of vine burying on the 1844 Holub. Weather has been fantastic this week and this has really started to sprint now. It's my best plant in the patch, approx 4ft long which is a dramatic improvement of this time last year. Still have one next to it which I should get on with culling really.
 
Saturday, May 27 View Page
Ended up pruning the tip off the 2252. Really wanted to grow a pumpkin in one of my full size patches so changed the back up squash for one of my own 1333.8 seeds. Straight race between this slightly dodgy back up plant and a secondary vine on the 2252 now. Slightly disappointing I have had this problem in one of my patches with soil cables, lights and fans, otherwise I'd have two plants as good as my 1844. Other plants slow but steady.
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
918 Sullivan is the chosen plant for the 150sq ft competition. The 1641 Clementz just couldn't keep up.
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
Planted a final squash is this odd shaped bit of ground I have. It's a 464 Bohnert. Just couldn't help myself but to grow one more...
 
Wednesday, May 31 View Page
Got the marrows planted too. These are from a 131 pounder. Have two others from a 110lb. Weakest will be culled.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
Have neglected my diary a bit recently. 1844 Holub is out of the cloche today, main vine is 9ft long. Was 20th June before I reached this stage last year, so my improvements have gained me 16 days. If the decent weather continues I will be right where I want for pollination.
 
Sunday, June 4 View Page
I stuck with the flat vine 2252 Paton. Trained a secondary as the new main and its growing well after lots of watering. Only downside is I'm a few secondaries light on one side of the plant where the original main got a bit kinky. Be interesting to see how this pans out.
 
Sunday, June 11 View Page
All my plants are out of the cloches now. The 1844 Holub is my best plant, female about to fall 13ft out, right in the zone...
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
... Until this. Bugger. Been exceptionally windy here the last week and I have been caught out. Main vine managed to rub against the wind netting, couldn't be saved. Gutted. I will be lucky to pollinate earlier than last year now as I will have to train a secondary. I have been struggling to put the time in this year and it's showing.
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
2252 Paton lives on. Very lopsided but quite vigorous now. I should be able to get a half decent pumpkin on it. Let's say the season is not going to plan.
 
Wednesday, June 14 View Page
918 Sullivan is my 150 square ft entry and is doing well. Wind was horrendous here so even more wind netting has gone up. Other two plants are plodding along. 1262 Jutras is ok, but slow to produce side vines. Hard to say how this season is going to pan out if I'm honest.
 
Thursday, June 22 View Page
Will be taking my first pollinations tomorrow morning. First ready is my 918 Sullivan, my 150sq ft entry. Probably not in a perfect position and have a better placed one about 3 ft further down but makes sense to take this one for now.
 

 

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