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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 91 Entries.
Saturday, April 7 View Page
The new plot which has now had all the cow manure turned over into the soil. I'll get the rotovator on it later this week to churn in a load of vermiculite before putting up the polytunnel. Soil testing and amendments after that. The idea is to have two plants at each end to start off, before thinning to one. I'll also have a gravity fed 1000l feed tank and a 1000l water tank side by side set high up on pallets at the far end.
Saturday, April 14 View Page
These were filed and soaked overnight before being sown in Root Riot plugs at 27C a few days ago; several Paton 1949, 2269 Paton, 1527 Melka and 1745 Jutras although this one looked a bit worse for wear and I won't be surprised if it doesn't germinate.
Saturday, April 14 View Page
And here after 3 days is a Paton 1949, another one has germinated also as well as the 1527 Melka. Hopefully the rest will pop up in the next day or two. They will go into a 5l pot with Canna Seed compost with added Azos & Mycorr Giant Veg Mycorrhizae . Water is room temp & deionised, no tap water as it's high pH and chlorinated.
Saturday, April 14 View Page
This thing on our driveway is a 24x42ft polytunnel which we'll put up this week. Weather forecast is looking good, dry and not too windy so it should be up by next weekend. I'm hoping the increased temps and greater control over watering & ventilation etc will greatly improve things!
Tuesday, April 17 View Page
Today I rotavated the plot and the rest of the allotment too. It's been too wet until now, and even today the going was a bit slippery at times. The cow manure didn't help things either. I also added 500l of vermiculite to the main growing area.
Tuesday, April 17 View Page
The 1527 Melka was first to germinate and seems to be doing fine. The others are 2-3 days behind.
Thursday, April 19 View Page
A view inside the nursery. The propagator thermostat is set for 20C and there's a fan permanently on to get the air flowing. This will cool things down if it gets too hot under the growlights. Silver foil reflects light back into the chamber that would otherwise be wasted. The lights make a lot of difference to the light levels, without them there's 100x less lumens given their position on the west facing windowsill - we don't have south facing windows in our house :( Meanwhile at the allotment the foundations have been sunk into the ground for the new polytunnel, and tomorrow the outer frame will be assembled.
Friday, April 20 View Page
The polytunnel is starting to take shape! It should be completed next week if the weather holds.
Sunday, April 22 View Page
We've had hot sunny weather for a week, and thunderstorms overnight. The pumpkins are doing fine in their lighthouse with a fan giving some air, temps are min 20C and max 25C and we're watering with compost tea & seaweed.
Tuesday, April 24 View Page
Yesterday we repotted 7 plants into 5l pots using Canna Terra Pro compost augmented with 25% vermiculite and some Azos, Mykos, Giant Veg Mycorrhizal fungi, worm castings & compost tea. This year I will try and do a lot more with beneficial bacteria compared to last year. Water is pH 7.5, EC 1.0 and daytime temps are 20-25C. At night it goes down to 15C.
Saturday, April 28 View Page
It's been cool, cloudy and wet all week with no change forecast. The light meter shows me there's about 10x more light under the growlights than outside under the grey skies.
Saturday, April 28 View Page
Cosy inside at 20C under the lights. I may have to repot from 5l into 10l pots sometime this week as the polytunnel won't be done for a while yet, not until the weather clears up anyway.
Wednesday, May 2 View Page
The polytunnel still isn't finished and the plants are itching to get outside, but for the moment they will have to stay indoors under the lights. They seem healthy and happy enough and are growing well. I've upgraded some to 10l pots.
Thursday, May 3 View Page
Here is the soil analysis as of now. Everything but N is high, which is easily rectified through adding ammonium, but I am a bit surprised as there has been 6" layer of cow manure on the plot for the past 6 months which I thought would have added some N. The other levels are high too despite nothing having been grown on this plot for a couple of years. As there is nothing I can do to remove the excess we will just have to deal with it. Same with the pH, sulphur chips may work in time but they are very slow.
Saturday, May 5 View Page
As a special treat all 8 plants are allowed outside today for the first time. It's warm and sunny with just a hint of a breeze. They should be in the ground already but this is as close as they're gonna get for now. Fingers crossed this week.
Monday, May 7 View Page
Pick of the bunch so far is this Paton 1949 with the big leaves, just over 2 weeks since germination. The weather is hot and sunny so the plants are outside taking full advantage. They are all still in 10l pots and are now showing signs of wanting to lay down; they must go in the ground this week or they'll start getting a bit tricky to handle.
Friday, May 11 View Page
I'm thinking this is the start of a ribbon vine - normally just one leaf, one tendril and one vine should grow per node; but here we have two leaves from one node growing in opposite directions, and two small vines starting either side from the node too ie double vine. I had this problem last year and it meant the late removal of the plant, but it looks like I have caught it much earlier this year. Into the compost bin it goes. It's occurred on another plant too, but I've learned my lesson from last year and have several backups available.
Sunday, May 13 View Page
I wish I could have got this plant into the ground last week, as you can see it's almost potbound. All the same, it's good to see a good healthy root system. The polytunnel isn't finished yet but I just have to get these plants out of their pots before it's too late. Decent weather is forecast for this week, the builders will just have to be careful where they stand!
Sunday, May 13 View Page
The 1527 Melka has the prime spot on the right with a Paton 1949 on the left. The other two 1949s we had went ribbon so I am hoping this one won't do the same. The plastic sheets provide shelter from south and westerly winds. No bad weather or frost is forecast this week so the top can remain open. The polytunnel cover will be up this week with a bit of luck.
Sunday, May 13 View Page
Another view with the cloche in place. We're all set.
Thursday, May 17 View Page
A leaf with some mild interveinal chlorosis, in fact all the leaves are lighter in colour than the dark green that I'd like. It's probably down to our alkaline soil, cold nights or transplant shock because there's plenty of iron & Mg etc in the soil, unless the ratios are wrong for uptake. In terms of treatment I'll give a foliar spray, I can't do much else.
Tuesday, May 22 View Page
This is the Paton 1949 as of today. It's finally starting to show some growth after a period of settling in. Some cold nights, including a frost a few days back, coupled with warm, dry days haven't helped much. I hope this plant doesn't ribbon, so far 3 of the 6 1949s we planted have gone ribbon.
Tuesday, May 22 View Page
1527 Melka that's also now starting to show signs of proper growth.
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
After some research and advice I think the chlorosis is down to a Mn deficiency. I thought you couldn't have too much cow manure but apparently you can, and the combination of all that organic material coupled with our alkaline soil appears to have locked out the Mn. So I will get some in and apply foliar asap.
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
1527 Melka showing some chlorosis
Wednesday, May 30 View Page
1949 Paton also with chlorosis, probably a bit worse than the 1527 Melka, but overall the plant is showing more growth. At some point I'll have to decide between the two, at the moment I'll probably choose this one because I think with the Mn treatment the problem will be solved... but I could be wrong... I have a week or two to decide before the two plants begin to interfere with each other
Friday, June 1 View Page
Foliar spray of chelated Mn applied this evening pH 6.5 EC 4.0; there's a 30% chance of rain I just hope it doesn't go and wash it all off. I also watered some in with some added urea pH 6.5 EC 2.0. The weather forecast for the weekend is good.
Sunday, June 3 View Page
The 1527 Melka a couple of days after the Mn foliar treatment and in retrospect the EC was a bit high but nevertheless it looks to have done the trick. The plant looks so much better. It's been a warm & sunny weekend.
Sunday, June 3 View Page
There's a bit of sun scorch on one of the younger 1949 Paton leaves but other than that it's growing at a much faster rate than the 1527, about 6-10" extra main vine this past 24 hours! It's not so badly affected by the Mn deficiency either. I gave a foliar treatment this evening on both plants, this time again with MnSO4, urea, fulvic acid, seaweed, yucca & nitric acid to adjust to pH 6.2, EC 1.8.
Sunday, June 3 View Page
Here's a view of the plot from the East. It looks like a building site at the moment. You can see both plants are sheltered by clear double-wall polycarbonate sheets. If it rains it rains. The risk of frost is pretty much over now. I'd rather have the drip lines set out and be completely under cover in the polytunnel, but for one reason or another it's still not finished. But it may be completed this week! When it does happen, and that's a when not an if, I'll tell the story.
Tuesday, June 5 View Page
When shown side by side it's pretty obvious which one will be The One for this season, the 1949 on the right being far superior. Secondaries are making an appearance but are hidden by the larger leaves. I'm continuing with foliar treatment which makes all the difference, today with Mn, Fe and Zn chelates at pH 6.2, EC 0.8. Tomorrow we start work again on the polytunnel which means I'll finally be able to do some more tilling and then I can get the drip lines in place before the plant gets too big.
Thursday, June 7 View Page
The first female flower spotted today about 6ft out on the 1949 main vine. We got the plastic sheeting on the polytunnel today and the difference in warmth inside/outside is immediate. No wind inside either, which means no battered leaves and stems. There is plenty of ventilation though with double doors each end and both the sides roll up 1m if necessary. Now I can get to work on the soil and after that the drip lines can go down.
Sunday, June 10 View Page
The 1949 branching out a bit now with excess salt at the tips of the leaves probably from too much foliar treatment, but no visible damage so it should eventually just wash off. Some leaves have been damaged by the extreme heat in the polytunnel, it's been a hot weekend and I've only been able to open the doors at each end for ventilation as the roll-up sides won't be installed for another couple of days. I did manage to spend some time misting with water so it could have been worse.
Wednesday, June 13 View Page
The 1949 starting to make some gains now and the secondaries are becoming more prominent. I gave it a good soak today as the drip lines aren't connected up yet. Weather has been good and by opening the doors and sides of the polytunnel I can maintain a temp in the mid 20s during the day with either natural airflow or supplemented by the Ryobi fan. The Melka is still in the ground, just in case. It's a good plant it would be a shame to pull it but it will probably happen one of these days.
Wednesday, June 13 View Page
The 1949 growing tip with another female bud at about 9 foot out. Hopefully we will have another at 12-14 foot in the next couple of weeks. I'll have to start curling the vine round soon as we'll run out of space, then I might have to curl it back again if the bud is on the inside of the curve... it's a 50:50 chance.
Friday, June 15 View Page
The first female flower opened this morning on the 1949.
Tuesday, June 19 View Page
On the right is the 1949 which I'm curving round due to space limitations in the polytunnel. At the tip about 12 foot out is a perfectly positioned female that's pointing to the outside of the curve, see pic in the next entry. Maybe this is 'the one'? I gave the fruiting area a foliar dose of Ca chelate this evening with fulvic acid, seaweed, EC 2.0 pH 7.0.
Tuesday, June 19 View Page
It's in the right place, possible pollination in a couple of weeks? Probably less as growth is really speeding up now. I've decided to keep the 1527 plant on for use as a pollinator.
Thursday, June 21 View Page
The past few months I've had a problem with something burrowing under the beans and parsnips in the allotment, I thought it was rats due to the absence of molehills, and rats are a problem as I've seen them running around. So imagine my surprise when I saw this little fella scurrying about! I'll have to find a new home for him out in the countryside.
Thursday, June 21 View Page
I spent all day yesterday getting things fixed up as I'll be away now for a few days. The polytunnel is finished now and the past few days and nights have seen highs inside of 30 and 16C respectively which I'm happy with. All nodes have been buried these past few weeks with JI2 mixed with 50% compost, worm casts and Mykos. The irrigation system is all plumbed in and tested and and is on a timer. No more extra N for the moment as the flowering & fruiting is about to begin, the tank holds just seaweed, humic, yucca, pH 7, EC 1.8. The pic shows the 1949 curving round, you can just see the second female which opened today at about 10 ft but I won't be pollinating.
Tuesday, June 26 View Page
Just 5 days after it appeared, and while I was away, the female I was hoping for pollination opened. It hasn't opened properly and doesn't look right inside so this is a no-go. The rest of the main vine is 3 ft longer now, and no more females are apparent, so fingers crossed one will show up soon, if not there are plenty on the side vines I'll have to use instead.
Tuesday, June 26 View Page
I decided to get rid of the 1527 anyway as there just wasn't enough space. I can use one of Oliver's pumpkins outside as a pollinator. It's been very hot and sunny and with more to come so the vents and doors are open 24/7 and I also have the fan on. I'm trying out a product called Mammoth P which is a bacteria mix which releases P. Other than that just water, seaweed, humic, yucca as before.
Thursday, June 28 View Page
Shade netting put up this morning in an attempt to alleviate signs of sun & heat stress on the growing tips. Good news is that another female bud has appeared on the main vine which is now about 14 ft, hopefully it will develop properly as it's in an optimum position. Foliar spray with silicic acid and water pH 7.0
Friday, June 29 View Page
Looking closer at the growing tip of the main vine you can see the small female bud but it hasn't really changed or grown in the past few days. Where there should be lush green growth is desiccation and poor colour. It's been very hot and dry for ages and many (but not all) ends of the secondaries are showing similar signs of distress. The main body of the plant is OK, it's just the growing tips on the youngest vines that are suffering. So I might need to think twice about pollinating this one, and perhaps use a side vine instead. But which one?
Friday, June 29 View Page
The female on the main that didn't open properly might have pollinated and might pull through. I have my doubts but I'll see how it goes for the next 2-3 weeks. It might even be my only chance, who knows. I'll be happy if it does because it's in a great position. The watering regime changed slightly today, now using phosphoric acid rather than nitric to reduce pH in the 1000 litre tank. I also did some ad hoc watering with some added potassium.
Saturday, June 30 View Page
A couple of females pollinated on side vines today, this nice looking 5 lober was x with an Oliver 965, another one but not so pretty x with a 1618 Berrens but there wasn't much pollen. Neither flower had opened properly, in fact none of my females do for some reason. Male flowers no problem. Weather continues to be hot & sunny with no sign of change in the foreseeable future.
Monday, July 2 View Page
Current pollination dilemma; many options, none ideal, I will do several pollinations and decide which to keep later on: 1) side vine #1 direct from the stump, strong vine but I'd rather have one further out, will probably pollinate tomorrow morning....... 2) side vine #3 x with 1618 Berrens....... 3) side vine #5 x with 1618 Berrens strong vine but ugly flower....... 4) side vine #6 x with Oliver 965, not an especially strong vine but nice symmetrical flower....... 5) main vine this is ideal but I was away when the flower opened so I've no idea about the pollination situation
Tuesday, July 3 View Page
The fruit on the main vine that 'might' have become pollinated in my absence isn't looking too bad, perhaps it will be ok after all? I'll know in a few weeks, but in the meantime I will see about keeping the others on the side vines.
Wednesday, July 4 View Page
I've been concerned that the nutrient solution in the water tank has been getting a bit stale during the warm weather and that sediment has been building up, with the more viscous liquid settling at the bottom. There's no electricity at the allotment so the solution (thanks Ron!) is a solar-powered pond aerator! The solar panel powers a small pump which feeds air through a pipe which opens out at the bottom of the tank. It works a treat straight out of the box - now we have oxygenated water, and the constant flow of bubbles will impede water stratification.
Thursday, July 5 View Page
This is (probably) DAP 9 and it's certainly growing. I have backups on secondary vines, but still no idea which one will be the one. I've upped the watering through the drip lines which now alternates between a nutrient solution comprised of seaweed, humic, yucca & Kristalon brown 3-11-38 adjusted with phosphoric acid to pH 6.8 EC 1.8 about 100l per day from one tank and water + yucca adjusted to pH 7.0 about 20l per day from the other tank. It's still warm and sunny and looks set to continue.
Friday, July 6 View Page
DAP 10 with good shape and position and long stem. Also a large female flower on a strong vine coming from the stump opened this morning which was x with 1618 Berrens. This will probably be the last pollination, we have plenty of backups to choose from now should the main pumpkin fail.
Sunday, July 8 View Page
A quick view inside from stump end. I've terminated a few secondaries on the left side as they've hit the side wall. I'll be doing the same in a few days on the right side too. It should be pretty much full up in 2-3 weeks apart from the far end. The football sized pumpkin on the main vine is under the white chair at the end, and two smaller ones are on a couple of side vines to the right.
Monday, July 9 View Page
DAP 13 and I've repositioned it a bit and provided some proper shade cover. I like this one so I hope it'll pull through but that remains to be seen.
Monday, July 9 View Page
Two backups on secondary vines side by side - vine #5 x 1618 Berrens on the left, and side vine #6 x Oliver 965 on the right. The Oliver is winning the race at the moment, just.
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
On a sad note this is the sight that greeted me this morning at the water trough. The plank at the end is there to allow animals to crawl out should they fall in; unfortunately it didn't work for this hedgehog. Tonight I'll make something a bit more sturdy.
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
The Oliver x is still winning the race of the backups. It's just a matter of time before the other one gets the chop.
Wednesday, July 11 View Page
DAP 15 and still ok. How long to go before this is a goer?
Thursday, July 12 View Page
DAP 16 and the pumpkin was moved into position just a little bit more. Today was a compost tea drench & foliar using a culture made from Mammoth P, guano and worm casts pH 7.0 EC 2.0. I also upped the nutrient solution to EC 2.0 with pH 6.2. It hasn't rained for about 2 months and there's talk of a hosepipe ban looming... if that happens then it's game over as this thing is getting well over 1000 litres a week (1000l = 264 US gallons).
Friday, July 13 View Page
DAP 17 and I think it'll soon be time to get the tape measure out. I've had aborted pumpkins much later than DAP17 but even so this is way ahead of last year.
Friday, July 13 View Page
A quick view inside. The chair is where the backup is. Vines have been terminated when they hit the sides, but until then I'll keep the plant growing until all the space is used up.
Saturday, July 14 View Page
DAP 18 and still it grows. I've changed the base over but soon I'll put it on something more permanent and add some sand/cat litter. The backup looks like it might have stalled, it's certainly not as vigorous as this, so all hopes may rest on this one after all which is a surprise given the circumstances. Let's wait and see.
Sunday, July 15 View Page
You never know when you buy live bacteria/fungi, so just to be sure that the vial of Mammoth P is actually viable, I took a sample and made a small culture. The colonies formed ovenight and were dense to say the least. I'll do some more tests on other biologically active products over the next few weeks.
Monday, July 16 View Page
DAP20 and if I'm doing it right this is ~98lb. Skin is still pale and supple but it's beginning to take shape. There's still about 15-20% space for plant growth, so time is still spent burying nodes and pulling out bindweed which is a nuisance if not removed early. This stuff is so persistent, even glyphosate and a year under black sheeting didn't get rid of it. Over time I've managed to clear the rest of the allotment of it so I'm confident I'll get rid of it all sooner or later.
Monday, July 16 View Page
Here's a better view from today, with the sun cover & fan not showing. I'm pretty sure all the backups have stopped growing now; it looks like the plant is putting all it's energy into this single fruit. So unless another female flower appears in a promising position, which may or may not happen, it's all or nothing.
Tuesday, July 17 View Page
This appeared overnight near the end of the main vine at about 16-17ft, so I may have a backup after all. In other news, the pumpkin gained about 20lb. I'd like to grow it on a pallet so we will have to move fast or it'll be too heavy to shift.
Wednesday, July 18 View Page
Due to the pumpkin being too big to manoeuvre without damage, Nic, Ron & I decided against the pallet and in the end settled for kiln dried sand on a wooden board. There's no risk of rain under cover so I expect the whole fruiting area to be reasonably dry throughout the season. There's also fan on the pumpkin stem 24/7. This is DAP 22 @137lb with daily gains in the region of 20lb.
Thursday, July 19 View Page
Oliver undercover this afternoon with the pumpkin at 155lb. He's also growing a couple of plants outside on the plot I used last year. Due to school etc he doesn't have the time that I have so his ambitions are modest, but he is determined to do everything himself so who knows how things will turn out come October?
Friday, July 20 View Page
DAP 24 @ 173lb. While waiting an hour for the tank to fill this evening I gave everything a spray of Kalium 50, a potassium-based 0-0-51 mix made specifically for foliar application. I added fulvic, seaweed & yucca and adjusted to pH 7.0 EC 1.8
Saturday, July 21 View Page
A view from the other side for a change. I'm a bit concerned the pumpkin won't roll back on itself and crush the stem; there's not a lot I can do about it given its weight apart from move the vine around a little bit every day to relieve stress. Today I spotted the first signs of blackfly which usually appears at this time of year on the underside of some leaves, so everything got sprayed with BugClear. Meanwhile we saw a gain of 31lb to 204lb @ DAP 25, the largest daily gain I've experienced in the short time I've been growing these things.
Sunday, July 22 View Page
DAP 26 is up 25lb to 229lb. The main vine was terminated today at about 22ft. Feed has been mostly K for a while now but I will get a tissue and soil test done this week to see if there's anything else required. The leaves look ok and there are still some secondaries still growing. I'm expecting powdery mildew to appear at some point, and you never know if the aphids will make a return. I also expect Mg to leave the older leaves too at some point; I'd like to be on all these things before they happen.
Tuesday, July 24 View Page
Pic taken this morning DAP28 @295lb which is up 36lb since yesterday, it looks like this one is starting to take off, just as I'm about to go away for a few days! Everything is set to auto but supplemental feed will have to wait. We're off camping and we'll visit the Patons too which we're all looking forward to.
Sunday, July 29 View Page
Back from holiday and nothing's died, quite the opposite in fact, DAP 33 comes in at 483lb which is a weekly gain of 254lb. Today it's been very windy, and we've had an inch of rain, the first rain in about 2 months, possibly more.
Sunday, July 29 View Page
As can be seen here, it's an odd shape in that it's growing tall and wide, but not deep. I'm not sure if the measuring charts take this kind of shape into account, so I'm somewhat dubious of the estimated weight as calculated in the previous entry. FWIW, the measurements today are 74 BS, 83 SS and 130 CC which is a total of 287 inches.
Sunday, July 29 View Page
View from the stump end with Oliver by the pumpkin. He was thrilled (and so was I!) to meet the Patons at their nursery again a few days ago. They showed us round their patch (the ultimate - has to be seen to be believed) and gave me a few tips which might prove to be invaluable this year. What's more they also presented Oliver with a Giant Pumpkin book personally signed by all the Top American growers!!! It doesn't get much better than that! Big Thanks to all involved and especially to Ian & Stuart :)
Tuesday, July 31 View Page
I took a leaf sample last week and here are the results, it's plain to see there's some Ca lacking so I did a foliar spray of Ca chelate last night and added some to the irrigation water. I don't expect it to make much difference as Ca isn't very mobile but it doesn't harm to try. I'd be more concerned if there's a deficiency in the pumpkin itself but there's no way of telling; as it is the skin is still smooth and supple with no signs of ripening or splits so let's hope for the best.
Wednesday, August 1 View Page
DAP 36 with 303 OTT and 561lb. The growth rate has slowed slightly these past few days with daily progress being 36, 35, 34 - and then yesterday it was 30lb - last week it was making mid-30s per day. The weather has been slightly cooler and less sunny, perhaps that's the reason, or perhaps it's normal at this stage, not sure. Just like its 1949 parent the skin is very pale, I'm not too bothered but it does mark easily.
Friday, August 3 View Page
DAP 38 and an overnight gain of 26lb with OTT 313". It's been a bit slower this week but even if the gains are in the 20s rather than 30s that's still good progress as far as I'm concerned. I've already beaten my PB and there's still 2 months to go! But that's only if there are no splits, rot etc, I'm well aware that it's not over until the fat pumpkin sings :)
Saturday, August 4 View Page
DAP 39 with OTT 320" and a weekly gain of 226lb which despite a slowdown early in the week is more than the previous week, possibly because I upped the watering these past few days. It's holiday time now for a week and the weather forecast is warm & dry, again. Both 1000l tanks are full and are on slow timers so they should easily last the week out, I only expect about half to be used in total. OK back online in 7 days.... fingers crossed it's still there when I return
Saturday, August 11 View Page
Back from holiday and first thing we did after a 300+ mile drive was have a look down the allotment before we even went home - I'm glad to report everything is still in one piece, and things are still gaining but slowing a bit, DAP 46 is 347OTT, 816lb, weekly gain 189lb which is about 27lb per day. The shape is almost exactly the same, it seems to have just expanded in all areas, but some weight does seem to be gaining in the lower half. I sprayed the plant with fungicide before I left but despite that there is about a 5-10% coverage of powdery mildew so I sprayed again today and removed the worst affected leaves. There's also a lot of new shoots and flowers sprouting from all over the place, especially the stump area. They're a bit of a pain to get to without creating havoc in the foliage. No matter how thorough you are with removing tertiary vines they always seem to appear somehow. The bindweed is relentless too despite my attempts to clear it, I will really have to work on that when the pumpkin has been harvested, I don't want a single bit to appear next year.
Sunday, August 12 View Page
The latest soil analysis suggests that K is being taken from the soil at a great rate despite additional K having been added through the season, same with the EC being lower. The lower pH is great news, I wasn't expecting that to be so much given our chalky soil.
Monday, August 13 View Page
No measurements today, it's getting too awkward to do on my own so they will be just weekly from now on when I can get assistance at the weekend. Webbing is starting to appear and most weight gain seems to be around the lower part where it's akin to 'middle age spread'. Maybe I should feed it beer to give it that real pot belly look. Otherwise the foliar regime is and will continue to be a rotation, in no particular order, of compost tea/Kalium/plain water/fungicide/insecticide/microchelates and also nutrient tanks with either Kristalon Brown & seaweed or just water.
Wednesday, August 15 View Page
As an aside, Oliver found this 21" cucumber in the greenhouse this afternoon. I can't imagine how big it would have grown if we'd actually been trying - maybe a new project for next year?
Thursday, August 16 View Page
I thought I'd wade through the leaves to have a look at the stump today and was surprised to see so many leaves, male flowers and small vines poking out in all directions. It's a right mess, as you can see. I was also surprised - and concerned - that the stump appears to be oozing some fluid, see inside the white circles. I don't know if this is due to an infection that's taken hold, or if the roots are taking up too much water for the leaves to transpire so it's bursting out of the stem. It's been much cooler this week than it has been for ages, and I have lowered the watering but perhaps not as much as I should have done. Either way I chucked a load of powdered sulphur over it and put a fan in there blowing 24/7. I don't know what else I can do apart from remove a load of the unwanted growth, is this advisable?
Friday, August 17 View Page
This morning I had a closer look in the light and stripped away all the excess growth. In retrospect I really should have been on top of that, I had no idea how crazy things were getting down there. So I dug out the rot which went into the stem about 1/2" at most, it was mostly superficial from what I could tell and didn't go that deep. Probably Fusarium of some sort, infection possibly caused by a combination of sudden cooler conditions, damp and poor ventilation. All I can do for now is dust with sulphur and ventilate with the fan. Today I will check out which fungicide products I can get which might be useful. I don't think the rest of the main vine or anywhere else is infected - for now at least. Pumpkin seems fine and I'll measure it tomorrow.
Friday, August 17 View Page
A view of the patch after the 'open vein surgery'. From now on I will try and keep this area clear and dry, but I'm sure the leaves will try to close the gap when they realise there's light to be had.
Saturday, August 18 View Page
Still growing but the rate is 50% down on 2 weeks ago, possibly due to natural reasons, but also possibly because this past couple of weeks been much cooler and cloudier than before. The stump rot might not have helped, but I think the powdery mildew is under control as it's nowhere near as prominent as before. No signs of aphids or other bugs. This week, if the charts are right, which they may not be due to the huge depression where the blossom end lies, gives us 362 OTT which charts as 917lb, a weekly gain of 101lb or about 14lb per day.
Monday, August 20 View Page
Oliver found another giant in the greenhouse the other day, this time a 2lb tomato
Wednesday, August 22 View Page
Trying to toughen up its image and look less like a saggy beanbag, the 1949 finally looks like it's acquiring some muscles with some bulging appearing at the far side. Just 6 weeks or so now to keep it up. I'm not doing anything too adventurous now, the stem rot seems to have dried out and cleared up so they last thing I want now is for it to come back, or worse, a split pumpkin. Just steady feed & water and a bit more control over ventilation.
Friday, August 24 View Page
OK the good news is that a gain of 108lb this past week has tipped the balance over 1000lb.
Friday, August 24 View Page
The bad news is a double blossom end split.
Tuesday, October 16 View Page
A lot of people ask if I'm disappointed about the loss back in August but to be honest I'm not too bothered because it was always in the back of my mind since the flower first opened. Also I know that I can grow a 1000lb pumpkin now, I just have to get it past the finish line, so I'm very much looking forward to next year. I've learned a lot too, so I have a long list of improvements and I've already started preparing the patch. Here's a pic of Oliver at the Southampton show where his first solo effort got him 262lb and he's very happy with that. We had a great day out, and he told me he'd like to give a big 'Congratulations!' to Stuart and Ian and also to Matthew Oliver for his record-breaking squash. I second that and we'll see you all next year!


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