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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 29 Entries.
Thursday, April 18 View Page
On!
 
Saturday, May 4 View Page
150 sqft contest: This year, again, I will enter a plant (and hopefully a fruit) into the 150 sqft contest. Here you can see the location of the 150 sqft plot in my patch. New this year: I will grow two 150 sqft plants (for direct comparison with my big plants, I will also grow them back to back on one plant site). The orange line is the boundary of the two 150 sft rectangles, one plant will grow east and the other plant will grow west of the blue line. As soon as the plants are in the patch (hasnīt happened yet) I need to assign the status "competition plant" or "competition patch" to one of them. Oh yes, Iīm challenging Murphyīs Law, I guess the 2nd 150 sqft plant (the non-competition plant) will grow the heavier fruit and I canīt do anything about that.
 
Saturday, May 4 View Page
This is the development of my patch in the last 3 weeks (something like that). As you can see, the spot of the 150 sqft plot is still empty (no hoop house). The "big plants", however, are in the patch already. As in previous years, Iīm growing two plants on one site back to back (and for the first couple of weeks they will grow next to one another with backups of the same kind). Front: 701.6* Wagler 18 (1807* Holub x self) and 458.1* Wagler 18 (1807* Holub x sibb). Back: 1965 Brandt 15 and 1539 Toftness 16. The green stuff growing on the patch is rye and vetch. Strategy this year: Iīll let the rye/vetch grow for another few weeks, and as the AG plants grow I will just mow the cover crop and turn the top 2 inch of soil only (using a spade), and then it will be covered by a thin layer of mulch (for that purpose I will use the shredded and ensilaged cover crop).
 
Sunday, May 5 View Page
Doing some Kondor potatoes this year, Iīll leave them protected for the next two weeks (still risk of frosty nights).
 
Sunday, May 5 View Page
Today some pics of my pumpkin plants, here the set of squash seedlings (#1 and #2 indicate my initial favorite at planting time and the backup plant, respectively).
 
Sunday, May 5 View Page
Same here (with my pumpkin seedlings), #1 was the favorite seedling at planting time, #2 the backup. In case of the 1965 they are likely to swap roles, #2 became #2 because of a deformed cotyledon (otherwise similar in terms of hypocotyl thickness and appearance of the first true leaf), but after a while of growing some leaves it seems to be the more vigorous plant. Time will tell.
 
Thursday, May 9 View Page
Donīt take any height away, itīs a hideaway. Oh yes, in addition to merely being cover crop (shading the soil, stabilizing soil structure, producing heaps of underground organic matter) this field of rye may in fact have another benefit in case of my pumpkin patch. Located in a valley, my patch is (very often) cooling down pretty fast, because cold air from the hilltops is flowing down into the valley at night. Now the rye is as tall as the hoop houses and poses a barrier to the cold stream (to some extent).
 
Thursday, May 9 View Page
Whatīs around the corner?...oh, itīs a CORN-er ;) Yes, the pumpkin patch isnīt the only spot in my garden where rye is grown. In a corner next to my home I had created a slightly raised bed where I had grown rye on top of it and around it. Now I have mowed the rye which grew on top and I planted some plants of tall corn into this bed, which is still surrounded by a "wall" of rather tall rye, giving some protection to the corn plants.
 
Sunday, May 12 View Page
150 sqft contest: On 24th April I had started six seeds of my 217*(uow) for the 150 sqft patch, and it looks like it will be a tough decision to find the best seedling. Iīll let them grow in the big pots for another week or so before they finally need to be transplanted.
 
Thursday, May 23 View Page
150 sqft update: Yesterday I transplanted some babies into the 150 sqft plots. Now the decision is made, the plot EAST will be for the competition, WEST will be just my second plant (for breeding purposes). So far, I had transplanted the two strongest candidates and a backup next to it (backups are seen in the back when you look up). Tried to find some names for the two similar babies (same seed stock, similar strength / characteristics), and because they came from a no-name pumpkin, I thought I could call them something like "any pumpkin" (pumpkin in German is "Kürbis"), therefore I thought I could call them "any K." (with German pronunciation it would sound like Anika or Annika...would be two similar names, indeed). However, thanks to some additional inspiration I found two other names, the EAST and WEST plant (and their fruit, hopefully) will be "Sweet Butt" and "Psycho", respectively.
 
Sunday, June 2 View Page
Look what Iīve found: Some people are gardening in a raised bed...literally.
 
Sunday, June 2 View Page
Last week weīve had a cold night (unexpectedly cold), and now the AG plants show some nasty signs of frost damage :( At least the rye plants are looking great (but need to be chopped down now before they go to seed).
 
Sunday, June 2 View Page
Got rye? The white bar is 6.5 ft tall, which means my cover crop (rye + vetch) is about 6 - 7 ft tall now.
 
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
Found this beauty of a grass snake on our yard :)
 
Sunday, June 9 View Page
Looks like the Kondor potato plants are doing fine, the first couple of flowers opened.
 
Sunday, June 9 View Page
Talking about flowers, hereīs one of the most beautiful flowers from one of my cacti (which opened yesterday and is still open today), itīs a Trichocereus hybrid.
 
Sunday, June 9 View Page
Another cactus flower, to me this is a very special one, because it is the Echinopsis hybrid 'Hades', and this name got a special meaning to me. A while ago I met a cute cat named Hades, and since a slightly shorter while this cat is (as I believe) in cat-heaven. Now this cactus 'Hades' developed more flowers than ever before, and it seems like little Hades wants to send a smile from somewhere above.
 
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
The Kondor potato plants are growing and growing and growing...fingers crossed that they will be growing underground, too.
 
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
150 sqft contest update: Decisions have been made, because of frost damage I removed the initial favorites and retained the backup plants a couple of days ago. In spite of the many days between frost damage, which was more severe on the initial favorites, and the already good growth now, the less damaged backup plants were doing much better (better growth of main vine length and longer secondaries). Framed by the blue lines: "Psycho", the 150 sqft contest plant. Fighting inside the orange boundaries: "Sweet butt". Murphyīs Law, oh well, "Sweet butt" looks much stronger already. Fingers crossed that "Psycho" will produce a decent fruit, though. In about 7 - 10 days the chosen females should be ready for pollination. Some time left for the plants to fill their 150 sqft plots.
 
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
Pumpkin patch today (early evening). You can see the 150 sqft plots (in orange and blue). The other plants are doing fine, too. So far, from the two squash plants (701* Wagler 18 and 458* Wagler 18) the 701* is the more aggressive plant. From the other two pumpkin plants (1539 Toftness and 1965 Brandt) the 1539 is the much more aggressive plant. Basically, they are doing fine (non of them sterile) and each of them has a pollinated little baby sitting on the main vine since just a few days. Now they want to have names, too.
 
Thursday, June 27 View Page
So far, Iīm happy with what the first couple of pollinations look like, these little buggers could indeed become the keepers. Even though the shape of the 1539 isnīt perfectly perfect (would like to see a blossom end which is a bit more pointy, like in case of the 1965), there should be about 6 or 7 days between this fruit and the next female down the main vine (which, if itīs genetics, might develop a similar shape). Anyway, itīs time to find some names for the babies. For the 701* x self and the 458* x 701* itīs pretty easy, they will inherit their mothersī names and will be "Elphaba 2" and "Little Sister 2", respectively. The other two will, hopefully, do some miracles, too, and since the plant of the 1539 is aggressive as if it wanted to fly, whereas I can only susspect that the power of the 1965 plant is diving down toward the roots, the 1539 x self and the 1965 x 1539 will be "Angel" and "Mermaid", respectively. (Time will tell if their final color will also reflect this difference...with a touch of blue in Mermaid and pronounced white with maybe a touch of pink in Angel).
 
Tuesday, July 2 View Page
Crap! Itīs been a hot and dry June this year (especially the 2nd half), and weīve had some higher than usual aphid pressure (and the aphids probably have been dirtier than usual, I reckon). What would you do if you were a poor little starving aphid sitting on some poor weeds, running out of juice? Right, you would fly to the nearby pumpkin oasis (and spread whatever diseases you carry). Found the first signs of virus infection, pretty early this year. The first and most signs appeared on the 1965 Brandt plant (the weakest plant in my patch), but some other plants are showing some first signs, too.
 
Tuesday, July 2 View Page
Last year I found out that virus infected AG plants can still produce some decent fruit, and therefore I will retain the two plants which had the earliest pollinations (my green squash plants), also because at the weigh-off I donīt want to show up with empty hands. For the sake of "there will always be next year" (and one needs good soil) I will sacrifice the other AG plants and one FP plant, their sites shall be covered with mustard soon.
 
Saturday, July 6 View Page
150 sqft update: I AM OUT! Yes, I pulled some plants (incl. the 150 sqft plants) because of the virus issue, and yesterday I have sown some mustard. 50% of my patch will enjoy some soil cosmetics now, while on the rest of my patch Iīll try to get at least something for the weigh-off. "Elphaba 2" and "Little Sister 2" are still alive and their babies are growing. "Sweet Butt", "Psycho", "Angel" and "Mermaid" had to say Good Bye. RIP, Iīll keep your names in mind for next year.
 
Friday, July 12 View Page
Basically every year some growers are wondering why they should do an S-curve into their AG main vine. Here (to visualize some effects) I have created a litle model, which shows the nice work an S-curve can do for you. For comparison, the three strings are "main vines", "A" is a straight vine, "B" is a smiley mouth bend, and "C" is the sharp bend of an S-curve. The sections marked in black are of the same length and, for an S-curve, correspond to the total length of maybe 7 nodes (6 vine sections). For "C" I have also added the baby pumpkin, which will grow in all directions (and therefore I have also indicated the final position of the pumpkin). The strings are attached to a piece of cardboard with some rather weak glue (so I can carefully lift the strings and see how much of the vine I, or the pumpkin, will have to lift as the fruit grows).
 
Friday, July 12 View Page
The fruit will grow toward the stem end, and as it grows wider and taller it will lift and push back the stem and the vine. In case of an S-curve the fruit will basically lift an arch in the vine, which eventually is as high as the S-curve had been long. In order to match the final positions I used, what else could have been any better, a match.
 
Friday, July 12 View Page
Here you can see the matches attached to the cardboard. Their heads represent the final (target) positions of the pumpkin stem. Now we need to move the vine into the same position...
 
Friday, July 12 View Page
Done! Of course, with the S-curve it was pretty easy. In case "B" I (or the growing fruit) had to lift a longer section of the vine, and in case "A" the stem didnīt even reach the target position (perhaps the fruit ripped itself off the vine, RIP dear little fruit). The pencil marks indicate the parts where the string (vine) is still attached to the cardboard (or soil). You see the difference of how many leaf nodes (and tap roots) need to be lifted from the soil if there isnīt any S-curve and you still try to get some slack on the vine.
 
Friday, July 12 View Page
Side view. See the difference? Also, in addition to lifting up many more nodes and tap roots, many more secondaries (on the pumpkin side of the main vine) will cause further stress, because they need to be pulled into the direction of main vine motion, but thatīs not easily possible, because they are attached to the ground by their own tap roots.
 

 

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