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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 33 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 :(
 
Saturday, April 29 View Page
Today I got halfway through building the coldframe/cloche/nursery when I ran out of time. I'll finish it tomorrow. It's 2m x 2m and will house 2 plants of which I'll eventually keep just one. Also some good news, I finally had a couple of germinations today. Thanks to Ian & Stuart Paton for the seeds.
 
Sunday, April 30 View Page
Here are the Paton seeds that germinated yesterday, I'll find out exactly which plant they came from later in the week. The temp is too high for them so they will be moved somewhere a bit cooler soon.
 
Monday, May 1 View Page
We tried out these Root Riot germination pods this year with 100% germination out of 6 seeds. When you pull the pod out for potting up, you can see the extent to which the roots burst out of the seed case. There's no need to remove the seedling from the pod cube, it just gets absorbed into the potting mix. I'll certainly use them again next year.
 
Tuesday, May 2 View Page
We are a couple of weeks behind everyone else but in the scheme of things it doesn't matter. Here are the seedlings under the grow lights. Soil temp 20C and air temp 22C. Watering today with humic acid and Cannastart, pH 6.8, EC 0.7 with water at room temp. The ones in the larger pots had some Great White mycorrhizae and Azos added to the rootzone.
 
Wednesday, May 3 View Page
Here is the growing area this evening with the grow lights switched off after the daily 12 hour stint. There's additional light from the window too, and it's all reflected back into the growing area by silver foil sheeting.
 
Friday, May 5 View Page
Less than one week after germination and here we are, looking good so far
 
Sunday, May 7 View Page
Just 8 days after germination and we have a 4" first true leaf on a couple of plants. I'm always astonished how quick they grow. This week I will be putting them outside during the day, and bringing indoors during the night. Room temp water with Cannastart and humic acid, pH varying from 6.8-7.0 and EC 0.9-1.1.
 
Tuesday, May 9 View Page
They seemed so happy and cosy indoors under the growlights, but they have to be hardened off at some point. Here they are outdoors in the back garden, albeit in a mini-greenhouse to get them aclimatised. It's not too cold, but overcast today. They will be brought back indoors for the night, then outside again tomorrow. I expect to plant out at the allotment somertime next week.
 
Thursday, May 11 View Page
It's been sunny and/or mild this week, so the plants have been quite happy outside. As you can see they're outgrowing their mini greenhouse. I'll further harden them off this week in order to get them ready for the plot next week.
 
Saturday, May 13 View Page
They're bursting out of the mini greenhouse and are desperate to be planted out, roots growing outside of the pots now. Tonight will be their first night outside, albeit in a sheltered coldframe. Night temps are expected to be about 9C tonight (48F). Watering with the same as before.
 
Sunday, May 14 View Page
This is the water butt which holds 1000l with a head of 6 ft. It took well over an hour to fill from the hosepipe. I don't really want to use tapwater because it's chlorinated but I don't have much choice. A water filter will be considered next year. We don't have any electricity at the allotment so I am hoping there will be enough pressure to irrigate the patch without using an electric pump. I have some drip tape arriving this week but I'll have to experiment to see how it works best.
 
Tuesday, May 16 View Page
I think I have solved the problem of chlorinated tap water without having to use a filter - this stuff will turn the chloramine into NH4 and the chlorine is either bound or released into the atmosphere (not sure which), either way it's safe for plants as it's intended use is for aquariums with plants. The pH is unaffected. The reason for doing this is to keep the chlorine in tap water from killing bacteria. There's no point in using Azos etc if tap water just kills them all. If it's good enough for aquarium plants, and fish which are especially sensitive to chlorine, then it should be ok for pumpkins, but I'll do a bit of testing first before chucking it into the 1000l tank!
 
Friday, May 19 View Page
Yesterday I wrapped the water tank with black plastic film to prevent light from entering and thus prevent algal growth. It will also warm the water somewhat though I'm not sure how much yet.
 
Saturday, May 20 View Page
Planting out time, at last! I can't imagine a better rootball than that. This thing is dying to get out of the pot and into the wild. We used Paton seed, either the 2157 or 1949, not sure which, I'm not really that bothered TBH they're both good. We'll grow two side by side and see which one does best before removing the weaker one.
 
Saturday, May 20 View Page
We planted both into Canna Terra Pro with some extra vermiculite added, pre-warmed to 17C (64F). The rootballs were dusted with Azos and Great White myco, and everything was watered in with Canna Rhizotonic, humic acid, yukka extract (surfactant) and pH adjusted to 7.0 with EC 1.1. Last night the temp went down to 8C (36F) and during the day gets into the mid 20s (80F) which I'm happy with though I wouldn't want it to get too much colder than that at night. At the other end of the allotment we also planted some plants from our own 333 which we grew last year, our first attempt at growing the Atlantic Giant, and with way less knowledge than we have now! Ironically the 333 plants look to more vigorous than the Paton plants, but it's a long summer, let's see what happens.
 
Wednesday, May 24 View Page
Here are the two 333s growing side by side in the smaller of the two grow houses at the other end of the allotment. Somehow I think we may have mixed the seeds up with the Paton ones because they are way ahead in development and looking much stronger. But time will tell. It's been quite hot today, plain water refreshment pH6.5 with yucca extract.
 

 

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