Home What's New Message Board
BigPumpkins.com
Select Destination Site Search
 
Gerald - 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. 17 Entries.
Thursday, January 5 View Page
Hello all, this is our second year growing the AG. Last year we grew a 333lb pumpkin outside on our allotment here in Oxfordshire, UK. We have learned a lot since then, and this year we hope to improve somewhat. First of all, a soil analysis showed a pH of 7.6 which is way high but not unexpected given the chalky soil we have here. I'd like to remove it all and put in fresh topsoil, but that will have to wait until next year when bigger things are planned. Until then, all I can do is add some sulphur and hope that will reduce the pH once things warm up a bit.
 
Monday, January 9 View Page
I've just built this trough container for our tomato plants this year. Hopefully the larger volume of compost will not dry out so frequently; last year the gro-bags didn't carry enough water and we ended up with blossom end rot.
 
Tuesday, January 10 View Page
Today I added a ton of new topsoil to the patch and mixed it in with some chicken manure and vermiculite. I will add more topsoil later. It's only for where the pumpkin starts off, though ideally it would cover the whole patch. I'll get a soil test done on this new soil, which I bought as 'vegetable growing topsoil' to see exactly what pH it is and what it requires etc.
 
Wednesday, January 11 View Page
When adding the soil, I partly-submerged some upside-down plastic milk crates into the patch. This is so I can use them like stepping stones, preventing soil compaction. I'll also use planks and boards, but these will be more permanent, take up less space and I won't have to make the effort of heaving them around everywhere. I've not tried this before, but I hope the gaps and spaces in the crates will allow soil, water & roots to pass through unhindered, while they're strong enough to allow me to 'walk on the soil surface' without disturbing anything.
 
Thursday, January 12 View Page
Before I send the new topsoil off for analysis, I had a quick check of the EC, and it came out at a respectable 1.3 I think is a nice base level because it leaves room for specific fertiliser treatment when necessary.
 
Friday, January 13 View Page
This is what passes for snow here in southern England!
 
Saturday, January 14 View Page
Today we also got some tasty Brussels sprouts from our allotment. Even though the plants were nearing the end of their life and some were toppled over, we still got some good ones.
 
Friday, January 20 View Page
OK the soil analysis came in today, all good but for potassium which is a bit on the high side, hopefully the rain will leach it out to normal levels by the time spring comes. Also the pH is a bit on the high side, so I will dig in some peat moss and/or add some sulphur to bring it down.
 
Saturday, January 28 View Page
I like to grow cactus as well as pumpkins and veg. Certain species like Mammillaria luethyi are tricky to grow and they often dry up and die during the rest period, So I brought this one inside and put it under the growlights with a drop of water. I wasn't expecting any flowers so this is a very welcome sight during this bleak January.
 
Tuesday, January 31 View Page
This new topsoil from another souce is a sandy loam, but it looks more sand than loam! I'll send off a sample to the lab to see exactly what's in it. The inverted milk crates are working well, I can work the land without getting all covered in mud.
 
Saturday, February 4 View Page
Now there's a sight - 3 tons of cow manure. Great stuff. Now for the arduous job of taking it down the track to our allotment. I estimate there's about 30 wheelbarrow's worth.
 
Sunday, February 5 View Page
10 down, 20 to go. We probably have too much for the pumpkin patch, but there's plenty of other spots on the allotment that could do with some so nothing will go to waste.
 
Friday, February 17 View Page
As far as gardening gadgets are concerned, these knee pads are one of the better ones. Today I spent a lot of time shifting soil and manure around using a short handled spade, which would surely have been impossible to do without them.
 
Friday, April 7 View Page
The main plot for this season and it's 9m x 6m. I'll grow 2 pumpkins at each end. We have 2x Wallace 1975 seeds and a couple of seeds kindly donated by the Patons. After about a month the weakest ones will be removed, leaving just one growing from each end. I'll then direct the vines to opposite corners so the plants won't clash in the middle. It's dry and warm here and has been for a while, we could do with some rain to get the soil better prepared.
 
Thursday, April 13 View Page
OK so this year we have 2 x Wallace 1975, one in each pot at the back, and some Paton 1865 in the other pots. Seeds were soaked overnight in the airing cupboard in Canna Start at pH 6.5. Today they were planted in Canna Terra Seed Mix with some Azos bacteria spores and Great White mycorhizal fungi propagules in the propagator at 28 degrees C. The pots were watered with Canna Start at pH 6.5 yesterday and left in the propagator overnight to get up to temperature before sowing today. Here's to a successful season, good luck to one and all!
 
Wednesday, April 19 View Page
Windbreak is up, nursery area on the right. There's another one at the other end of the plot. Next thing to do is make the cloche and prepare soil for seedlings.
 
Saturday, April 22 View Page
Soil test as of this week, I've put a lot of work in over the past 6 months so I'm very happy especially with the pH drop as it was high at 7.7. Still more work to be done though, like getting seeds to germinate! For some reason they're just not doing it :(
 

 

Top of Page

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