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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 33 Entries.
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Our pumpkin patch this morning. That snow is over a foot deep and the consistency of a glacier, having been rained on and frozen. It has been hard on the hoop house I left up over winter for our early state fair pumpkin. It had a lot of leaves in it, and bags of wood mulch around the outside, so hopefully the frost didn't go too deep. Forecast for the next 2 days is highs in the 50's and 1" to 2" of rain, so most of the snow should be gone soon. Just as soon as the snow leaves, the hoops will get new plastic, and the ground around the hoops will get some clear plastic flat on the ground to warm things up. My daughter is teaming with me on this project and we will be growing a 1200 Engel here.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
I got new plastic put on the state fair hoops a week ago to start warming things up. In a few days I will take it off, till it up again with the fork and, put the plastic back on.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
2 watermelon hoops. I added compost, potting soil and sand last fall. It tilled up nicely with the fork. Plastic will go on as soon as weather permits.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
One of the pumpkin hoops. Soil is real mellow and full of grey angle worms and a few night crawlers. This spot was sweet corn and then mustard last year. I was also able to rake up and burn some pumpkin vines on other plot. More will have to be burned, but rain is coming in tonight.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
Jacob and I spent a few minutes looking for antler sheds and found these. We searched less than half of our acreage. I hope we find some across the creek. Bad thing was that I found remains of 2 small deer. It looked like they had been hit in the road and managed to make it a few yards down hill. At least they made meals for the coyotes.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
This is the photo I should have posted with entry 2
Monday, April 1 View Page
Windy day, but I took the plastic off the state fair hoop and tilled up the soil. Nice and mellow and full of worms. The 2 watermelon hoop houses will be connected and extended to make a 16' X 6' long enclosure for starting 3 plants. All of the hoops are now up with the soil tilled up. If weather permits, I will get the plastic put on tomorrow to start warming up the soil. Last chore before bed time will be starting the watermenon seeds.
Wednesday, April 3 View Page
I got the plastic on the pumpkin hoops yesterday. Today I got the plastic on the 6' X 18' long watermelon hoop house. Jacob and I decided to put 2 bushel gourds in the main garden. Last year the groundhogs got them but they will be well protected by the electric fence this year. We are only growing 4 Atlantic Giants this year, and one will be an early plant for the state fair. Hopefully we get at least 2 for the fall weigh-offs in Bloomfield and Anamosa.
Sunday, April 7 View Page
We are going to do things a little different for the field pumpkins this year. Last year we planted too early and lost some real nice ones that rotted before the weigh-offs. Also, We didn't do early tillage except for the planting sites. Then we tilled with the fork ahead of the growing vines. We also added mulch to try to hold down weeds and protect pumpkins from the soil. This year we will get our workouts with the fork and till up the whole area early. I bought some annual ryegrass and dwarf Essex rape seed and will seed a cover crop on all but the planting sites. Just broadcast it and throw on some compost so the rains can work things in. When the field pumpkins are getting ready to vine out in June, we will cover them with buckets and I will spray the whole patch with glyphosate. Hopefully this will hold down the weeds and grow most of our mulch right in place. And we will do a better job of vine pruning. Hopefully we can break the 100# barrier this year. Last year was close.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
This photo and the next show why I love my garden's silty soil. This is a 3' x 4' spot that I dug up with my 5 time pitchfork. Even though it is plenty wet, it is nice and mellow and fill of worms. Ans with sand subsoil, it drains out fairly well. I still dug drainage ditches and raised growing beds for better drainage.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
This is the same spot after I smacked the clods 1 times with the tines of the fork. Any clods that are left mellow out with the next rain. This method is easy on the worms, and the soil is full of them. Far more worms in the garden that in the timber right next to it. That type pf fork is not meant for digging soil, but it works in this soft soil, and it is much easier on my arthritic back that the short handled spading forks.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
Yesterday I brought home a truck load of compost and Jacob unloaded and hauled it around. Then I tilled up the field pumpkin patch with the fork and seeded annual ryegrass and rape for a cover crop. Clouds are already moving in ahead of the big storm. We are only supposed to get rain here, but it should work the seed into the soil and get it growing. I just wish I had a hot tub. That is too much work for an old guy. Jacob gets the next turn at the fork.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
The 6' x 18' hoop house for the watermelons. Jacob put piles of compost around it and I spread them out. After a few weeks of rains leaching the goodies out of the compost and into the soil, we will till it in.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
A buck ripped up this tree just 20' from the field pumpkins last fall. Deer, coons, groundhogs, rabbits, muskrats and other critters are why we need an electric fence.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
I found an error on entry 11. I smacked the clods 12 times, once per square foot.
Thursday, April 11 View Page
High winds took the plastic off the watermelon tunnel. It is just rolled up on one side, held down by the soil on the edge. Maybe the wind will calm down some tomorrow. I will put on more clips and more soil at the bottom. It is really muddy in the garden as well.
Saturday, April 13 View Page
I got the hoop houses repaired by Friday noon, and they held up well in the wind. No ripped plastic, just a few clips popped off and hoops popped off the rebar stakes. I changed how I attacked the support lines on the ends so they hold the hoops down better. Also added more dirt on the edges of the plastic. 3 watermelon seeds have been up for about a week, and 2 early fair pumpkins are up. Better success at keeping watermelon seedlings from getting so long and leggy.
Monday, April 15 View Page
Time to start more seeds. The 1047 that I started for the early plant is doing OK, but the 1200 Engel is not. Cots came out great but next 2 leaves are tiny and fizzling out. But I have more 1200 seeds so more will get started. For big but not necessarily pretty pumpkins, we will have 2 plants. I will be starting a 2091 Midthun (1781 Zywiec X self) 1239 Benson/Witter (2145 McMullen x self) 1587.5 Caspers (2145 x 2624.6 Willemijns) and 1442.5 Caspers (2363 x 1587.5) We will see which ones are the keepers later. Also will be starting long gourd seeds, when I decide which ones to plant. And 265 Engel and 279 English bushel gourds. Weather is looking up, with most of the next week forecast for the 60's. The hoop houses need continual attention with all the wind we have been getting.
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
I transferred 3 watermelon plants from peat pots to 1 gallon plastic pots. They are doing much better that any watermelons I have ever grown. 2 of the 257.5 Barlows and one of my personal best 115, which is 2 generations of selfing a 260 Clements. I couldn't find the 279 English seed I thought I had, so I started 2 71.5"s that are sib pollinated 279s. I also started a 260.5 Engel. Jacob hauled a bunch of compost to the bushel gourd spot, so we are giving them a good shot this year. I picked out 5 long gourd seeds to start out with. 121.5 Muis, 123.88 Vander Wielen128.88 and 134.75 Fleser, and 133 Eaton. We have spots for 4 gourds and will do some heavy duty pruning on them. We had our best gourds the year the patch flooded and the vines weren't so thick.
Thursday, April 18 View Page
Our early mustard plots have all been seeded. Just broadcast on the surface without tillage. The rain we got this evening should get it growing. I saved a little bit of seed for one spot that will go to sweet corn first. Most of the AG areas has rape and radish seeded for a cover crop to try to help with diseases. We will keep it tilled under ahead of the growing vines.
Friday, April 26 View Page
I transferred seedlings to gallon pots yesterday. I was planning on putting them out soon, but weather forecast changed. We are now on the edge of where Saturday's rain is forecast to change to snow. Farther north thy are predicting 3 to 7 inches of heavy wet snow. Maybe by Tuesday we can get to planting.
Saturday, April 27 View Page
11"45 AM, temperature has dropped 3 degrees in the last half hour. Now just 33 degrees. The rain is now mixed with snow and sleet. This is the latest snow I have seen in my 65 years. If this global warming doesn't let up we will freeze to death. All the plants are in the house under lights. It will be several days before some can go to the hoop houses. No hoops for the long and bushel gourds, so they will have to grow in pots a little longer.
Friday, May 3 View Page
Mustard crop growing great. No tillage, just broadcast seed and let the rain work it in. 3 spots planted to mustard for next year's pumpkins.
Friday, May 3 View Page
Rape and ryegrass cover for the field pumpkins is growing. I recently got a bag of cereal rye. I will broadcast some tomorrow and hopefully I will get a month of growth before I spray it.
Friday, May 3 View Page
I piled up some compost to mix with soil for burying vines. Deer have been getting in the patch and left tracks. I need to get the electric fence turned on soon. Hopefully tomorrow is planting day for the Atlantic Giants.
Friday, May 3 View Page
I hope this keeps the rabbits and groundhogs out. 4 hot wires down low with plastic baler twine lines include. I hope the twine forces the critters into the hot wires. The wire on the black insulator is at the height of a deer nose. There ate 2 more strands of baler twine to discourage deer from jumping. I have all of the electric wires in place, just need to string more baler twine.
Saturday, May 4 View Page
4 hoop houses planted, 2 pumpkin plants per house. Worm castings, Pumpkin Pro and 2 WOW starter packs per plant. Before dark we will plant 3 watermelons and water everything with warm water. Was nice to have Jacob get down on the ground for me. It is tough enough with a knee replacement, and now I have a hip getting bad.
Sunday, May 5 View Page
Planted the watermelons myself this afternoon. Soil in the hoop house was nice nd warm to the touch, outside it is still cool. I broadcast some cereal rye to fill in bare spots on the field pumpkin cover crop. Got a nice little rain, so it should take off and grow.
Friday, May 10 View Page
Frost. I went outside at 6:30 and found frost on the vehicles by the house. Temperature at the Monticello airport 12 miles to the north had dropped to 36. The sky had cleared and the wind stopped, so it got even colder in the valley. I walked down to the garden and found a little bit of frost on the outside of the hoop houses, but just water condensation on the inside. All but one of the plants in the hoops had extra covers, but even the uncovered plant survived. This seems to happen every year. I'm glad I didn't have any tomatoes in the ground. Maybe by Monday they will get planted.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
Weather man keeps predicting sun and warmth. Today is clouds, drizzle, mid 50's. Watered plants in the hoops with warm water. They need sun and warmth. Still looking for overnight lows of 39 to 41 for the next few days. Gourds are being kept in pots in a small hoop house near the house until the weather warms up.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
We started the field pumpkins this afternoon. 2 of the 146 Fleser (211 Mackinnon x 181 Mackinnon) Michigan state record 2 of the 119 Barlow Jacobus (175 Wagler x open) 1 189 Crews (158Crews x self) and 2 of my personal best 97 McWilliams (87 McWilliams x open) We are starting 12 days later than last year, when we had some mature too fast and rot. With the cold weather this year, the soil still needs to warm up a lot. This morning Jacob and I went fishing and caught 16 nice crappies. I buried the remains for 3 long gourd plants. I also tilled up 30 inch planting spots in the cover crop for the field pumpkins while Jacob planted 25 tomato plants. We want that soil to start warming up. Looks like starting tomorrow that might happen.
Sunday, May 19 View Page
The garden is really wet, but it is dry in the hoop houses. I rolled back the plastic on the watermelon hoop, hoed out the weeds and put down the weed fabric. I pinned it down with wire staples, added some compost and then a thin layer of wood mulch. The area outside the hoops has not been tilled yet, so I could work without messing anything up. The watermelons are looking better than ever at this time of the year. Tomorrow, Jacob and I will set out the long and bushel gourds. And we need to put the field pumpkin seedlings into bigger pots. Roots are coming through the 5" peat pots already. I hope to get some photos tomorrow.
Monday, May 20 View Page
Was going to plant gourds today, but it is cloudy and only 57 degrees. tomorrow is supposed to be 54, rainy and high winds. But the next 6 days after that are supposed to be mid to upper 70's. So we will wait until Wednesday to set the gourds in the ground.


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