Home What's New Message Board
BigPumpkins.com
Select Destination Site Search
 
MatthewO - 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. 26 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.
 

 

Top of Page

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