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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 384 Entries.
Thursday, January 3 View Page
Five variable, 36 seed trial: Seed tray Columns: bleach or h202 or water soak Seed tray Rows: of garden soil vs seed starting mix. Result: 33/36 germinated, 1 fail in bleach/seed starting mix 1 fail in bleach/garden soil 1 fail in water/garden soil These results may or may not be significant, clearly not highly significant. The main takeaway is that the fizzing observed from the H202 seeds was clearly not harmful to the seed as they performed the best in this trial, regardless of the medium used, perfect germination (12/12). Method: warm water, 10 min, half tsp per quart bleach, half tsp. per quart, 30% h202. Seeds were weighed prior to planting. Lightweight seeds, below germination threshold, were not used. All seeds were from the same cross (407 Est).
Thursday, January 3 View Page
There's a few small things worthy of note here. There is a cucurbita plant in the lettuce which shows a severe deficiency. I don't know the exact cause. I believe with some certainty that it is ph/calcium related. I corrected with calcium towards 7.0 and the next leaf shows healthy growth and color. (I also boosted transpiration by adding a fan.) The deficiency in the older leaf has not corrected itself. I've read that sometimes the less mobile nutrients, when corrected, will improve the new growth but won't fix the deficiency symptoms in the older leaves. That seems to be the case here. Planting multiple species can give a good indication of soil nutrients/ health. Some plants show deficiencies, others will simply grow slower. Tomato sprout here is off to a slow start... I believe a sterile seedling mix with myco could give a faster start. The advantage of using my own soil is I can learn about my soil problems. The lights wilt the lettuce at full strength... I'm having to reduce the lights down. I was wrong in my posts last year the white LED is 150 real watts not 300-500, it may only be equivalent to 750 watts in halogen. Both lights together @ 12" is too much for the lettuce (1650 equivalent.). 1050-1350 seems good. They would probably also grow fine at 900. Without a laboratory with good quality testing equipment, I will instead rely on the lettuce to tell me when I've reached "full sun".
Thursday, January 3 View Page
Where I live: The mountain at the end of the glen. I want to post one more thing about the cucurbit growing in the lettuce. The soil tested very high in nitrogen, which would interfere with calcium uptake. Specifically, probably ammonium pellets. (Ammonium interferes the most.) The roots probably grew into an undissolved ammonium pellet and, I don't think they can regulate the uptake of it, so it binged on ammonium. I want to move away from pelletized fertilizers towards powders, soluble, or organic fertilizers because the root uptake from an undissolved pellet can be very high/excessive.
Thursday, January 3 View Page
One more mountain pic, and then I'll be getting serious about growing a big pumpkin.
Monday, January 7 View Page
I have been thinking a lot lately about really good soil. (That's why I am posting all over the place on bp recently... Sorry if it's excessive, there's a lot I need to figure out. There is a lot I need to get done. I'm really wanting a big improvement this year. Here, the soil in this area is protected by hay. It was not well protected in the past. This was an over-grazed & over-trodden pasture. I'm racking my brain trying to think how to turn this into a pumpkin utopia... Possibly this area will not get used at all. If I grow any large tomatoes, it will likely be here. This area is 3600 feet... but partially shaded around the edges. Fortunately I'm on the south side of the trees, they reduce the light from the sky a lot... but they block the wind nicely. I'm searching for a high and low for a eureka moment... How to deal with all the problems... How to deal with all the problems...
Monday, January 7 View Page
). There's the missing punctuation lol. Forgive all my mistakes... many more to follow. Anyhow I'm at the same elevation as mobeymike 2106 lbs and way lower than cojoe 1685.5 (is that about 2400 at sea level?)... No excuses for me. But Mr. Daletas and Mr. Holland are at about 150 ft or less so no excuses for them... Either. Wait a sec, I have a new text message from Steve. Let me check it... He says, "Willemijns was grown below sea level" Ok, well, looks like the excuses are rolling in already... Ha ha. (Why can't I joke a little...) Back to being serious. I think 1500-1600 would be a very good result for me. That's what I hope to achieve. BTW, when I was working at the fair booth someone asked if they could grow a pumpkin at their elevation. My memory is getting worse but I knew the Colorado record. I think they told me they were from Colorado. Well it hadn't occurred to them that anybody from Colorado would know such a fact, much less someone a few states away. Normal to us... Very oddball to anyone who actually is normal. If you love a sport...then you love the stats.
Thursday, January 10 View Page
Less than a week later (photo taken three days ago). Note: I posted a mistake in the recipe used for the soak. I meant 1/2 tsp. per pint not per quart. Not much else to say except that the oxygen in the H2O2 may help the seed grow. The seedling is burning stored energy, it's not creating its own energy. So during this stage, maybe it needs oxygen, just like how we need oxygen to burn energy. I haven't researched this yet though, so don't take my word for it.
Friday, January 11 View Page
Exceptionally warm weather. To not freeze on a clear night in the middle of January... Is abnormal. I may get important patch work done this weekend?
Saturday, January 12 View Page
Burned the straw off two of the patches. The ground is still very cold and wet but I am trying for an early tart. No clue what I am doing. Also spread calcium hydroxide. It can work like magic on the acid soil here. I think I have seen a real positive affect especially when there is magnesium available too. I need a plan for dealing with perennial weeds. Bindweed and blackberries, specifically. Other than that, I am ready to get some amazing results!
Saturday, January 12 View Page
By early Ssssstart!!! I mean in the ground in early March, possibly. Which is crazy. But I dont mean mid-January... Just to be clear, I AM crazy but not insane. Sorry to disappoint. But... yes, dont be surprised if I get things going here very early. It might not be the best idea for you all I can say is it's a strategy that has worked for me.
Sunday, January 13 View Page
Great weather. 60 degrees today. It could be followed by five months of cold rain, who knows. We had snow on the ground the entire month of February two years ago. This is the least amount of 'winter' I've ever seen... fall to spring, with only a couple weeks of winter? So confusing. Is winter over? Has it not yet begun? I do not know. Feels like spring... so I guess winter is over!
Tuesday, January 15 View Page
Tomato update. Two true leaves on the 5.04, working on third. (Where is it????) I guess it might set a tomato by March... Looks healthy so far. Picking a medium sized salad every few days! No slugs or bugs. The soil freeze worked.
Tuesday, January 15 View Page
This is the setup for growing the lettuce. (Eventually the tomato will be the dominant plant and grow above the lettuce). Working well... It's a seven gallon plastic storage bin with some small drain holes. The lid of the storage bin is working well as a tray to collect any extra water. It takes a lot of water to grow all this lettuce, about a gallon per day. I water every other day or so.
Tuesday, January 15 View Page
The pic for the previous post. The photo at the top is my great grandfather who grew maxima squash commercially (for pie or baby food?)
Friday, January 18 View Page
Earthworm population is getting high in the 900 ft patch there are well over 100 worms per square foot... They are helping a lot the soil is still dense but its not totally compacted. It was dense. It was like cold cheese. Now its like Swiss cheese. Dense but porous at the same time.
Sunday, January 20 View Page
HERE'S A CRAZY IDEA: Use the seed bag as a grow bag. (It might have the seed label on it already)... The tap roots reached the bottoms of the bags today... Today was 6 days after planting. It's a temporary home... the seedlings could be divided and reported after tearing/cutting the plastic away. It's kinda convenient... if you are in a hurry to get your seeds into dirt!
Sunday, January 20 View Page
Another crazy idea! Grocery sack method: I put cardboard in the bottom, then I loaded this paper sack up with wet dirt. The plastic bags, doubled or tripled, are strong enough to pick this plant up. The paper sacks can be peeled away at planting time and the plastic slid out from under, with the cardboard helping. The paper sacks will be weak but they are supposed to act like a big peat pot and allow the roots to grow into a friendly barrier. All & all the goal is to get a bigger plant with more roots but still be able to transplant it outside, without bending or breaking even a single root. The paper bags hold 5-6 gallons of dirt, they're shorter than a 5 gal bucket but slightly wider. The cardboard can either stay or be removed, if it stays it will get eaten by worms it'll soon be soft enough the roots will go through it. Hard to explain. I'll post again in a week when I do the test planting. Planting a pumpkin February 1st...??? It's gonna have to be a really lucky plant with that planting date! We did have one year that did not freeze beyond February, but the odds of that must be 50-1 against. Trying these new tricks now so I will be ready. If you've been on the planet awhile, you have no doubt learned that new things always must be tested first. Going good so far...!
Sunday, January 20 View Page
The pumpkins at the bottom show good stages for transplanting... The scissors are for scale. Middle: The half gallon pot (although this might be called a gallon by some nurseries) is about 6" wide by 7 or so deep. I like these, but the roots are at the bottom at the 1st leaf stage. It's a good size to use though. Left: this is a 9" pot x 9" tall or so I would say about 2 gallons the nurseries might call it 2.5 gallons. In this one, multiple roots have reached the bottom edge by 2nd leaf stage. In other words, neither of these plants is root bound yet. Unfortunately, for the rootball to not break apart, they do need to be a little bit root bound. But other than that, now would be an optimal time to transplant these two. Right: Well this is the one in the paper grocery sack, and it has a huge amount of soil so I will let it get to 3 leaves before checking the root development. I think that @ 3-4 leaves it will show moderate rooting throughout its soil, extending to the bottom edges of the bag. ...So this setup might give the plant another week of growth. I'm pretty excited about this. A very early start with a very big plant... I would really like to reach the podium at the late summer fair, again. Will an early grow, with a big plant, make a good result?
Sunday, January 20 View Page
The craziest of all: A round bale of hay, dropped in the ground on its side. I threw all kinds of garbage onto the bale like miracle grow and blood meal. Then I piled dirt on top. The dirt one foot above the bale was 120 degrees in December around Christmas... Now it's down to 73 degrees. This project is not something I wanted to post other than to humor you and give you something to think about. If I had only thought put up some plastic around there I could have had a redneck, electricity-free sauna. (With an ammonia smell that would knock you over!). It's my self-appointed job to keep you amused in the middle of winter... Well, even supposing it works and grows a huge pumpkin, it's so much work. It's not a fit for my goal of doing things in an "effort-sustainable" manner. I probably will never try this again.
Wednesday, January 23 View Page
This is a 1/4 inch or less pumpkin stem section viewed through a microscope. There is a mite, which is exceedingly tiny. There were many of these, and only one was large enough to be seen by the naked eye... Far smaller than a spider mite. I guess they came from the soil. Some of the soil I used was not frozen, but perhaps there could have been eggs or perhaps they can survive freezing. Anyhow... I had no clue about the hordes and never would have... if it wasn't for cutting some plants up to study the xylem and phloem... these guys we're an unexpected surprise. Some of the bundles of xylem and phloem are visible here also.
Friday, January 25 View Page
Itís crazy but there is so much info in a search for ďxylem phloem fruit developmentĒ I am going to devote an entire day to study just this one thing. I like minimizing time and effort... but I think I have no choice... 24 hours from now this is a topic I will understand. Full throttle crashing my brain into it, yeah baby, this is how I like to roll... itís late January Iím low on vitamin D here and sanity is out the window! Woo hoo!!! Lol... hit the fast forward to March please.
Sunday, January 27 View Page
Anna and one of her tomato plants, late May, last year. Two days after this picture was taken she decided she couldnít handle living with me anymore. Oof. Another oof... Iím sure Iím at $1000 invested so far this year, now. Ouch. All on a gamble. It will likely take double that to get me through the season. Whether Iím successful or not, I think this hobby will be headed to the back burner next year. Next year is going to all be about being economical. Next year... $200. One ĎWow pakí helped each of her tomato plants, like the one pictured here, btw. Mulch water and miracle grow, too. The only thing she did wrong was let them get root bound they should have been planted in the garden two or three weeks prior to this photo. Other than not getting them in the ground on time, Iím 100% going to be stealing from her playbook. She also had some early aphid problems, and the aphids were transmitting viruses. No snow yet this year and very mild weather again.
Sunday, January 27 View Page
Great weather in the Pacific Northwest so it's planting time!
Sunday, January 27 View Page
...just kidding. It's test planting time, though, ...grocery bag method.
Sunday, January 27 View Page
Plastic slid out from under the paper and cardboard without much trouble. The paper was rotting. Root development was poor but one root can be seen emerging. Most roots were 1-5 deep they did not grow deeper. Poor soil conditions for root development (I think the soil was overly wet and anaerobic, also the third leaf shows nutrient issues) for but other than that, the timing @ 3 true leaves was appropriate. The plant would benefit, during transplanting, from staking. Using the entire depth of full size paper grocery bag might not provide much benefit, because the roots appear to mostly want to spread laterally... I expect the plant would not use the entire depth until after being significantly restricted by the width. But even half full, a large paper grocery bag can hold 3-4 gallons.
Sunday, January 27 View Page
Successful. This one had two layers of cardboard. One is shown off to the side. This soil was very sticky so (although there were few roots) there was not much risk of the rootball breaking apart. I will probably continue to use two layers of cardboard under the plant, as a precaution, to give stability when handling the plant. Hopefully in a month I will be trying all of this again, but with looser soil with more calcium, for hopefully a bigger, healthier plant. I'll also stake it somehow before it reaches full size, or just let the sides of the bag hold the leaves up during transplanting until the plant is better supported.
Monday, January 28 View Page
Has to be the warmest January on record here. Just thought Iíd document this.
Wednesday, January 30 View Page
Significantly fewer worms in an area that got thoroughly tilled at the end of June last year. 5 worms in a quantity dirt that would contain 100 elsewhere. Mulch was the same. Heavy mulch, just like the other areas. Also the tilth is very different in various areas. These are things I never would have paid attention to in the past. Now, Iím trying to learn and make better decisions... The worms do seem to add a lot of gumminess to the soil.
Thursday, January 31 View Page
Wikipedia: ďInvestigations in the United States show that fresh earthworm casts are five times richer in available nitrogen, seven times richer in available phosphates, and 11 times richer in available potassium than the surrounding upper 6 inches (150 mm) of soil. In conditions where humus is plentiful, the weight of casts produced may be greater than 4.5 kg (10 lb) per worm per year.[3]Ē The leaves I added last spring were not noticeably beneficial last year. (Despite adding nitrogen to offset their decomposition). But maybe thatís because the worms didnít digest them sufficiently. Maybe they are digested now. When I consider the amount of worms that a cubic foot of soil can contain, the amount of castings could be truckloads per year. Maybe when they say feed the soil, they really mean feed the worms. I can see that if, rather than rototill, I simply keep the worms well fed... they can do the equivalent amount of work. Should I mow and spread clippings more, and till less? The only problem with no-till is the earthworm tunnels probably provide habitat for various plant and root eating bugs. But nutritionally, it looks like a better vegetable cropping system. So how can I get the best of both worlds?
Saturday, February 2 View Page
Another test. Testing a few things. Seed weight. Seed coat deformities. And position, right or left hand edge down.
Saturday, February 2 View Page
A poor start (the dirt is not sterile). Way up in the right hand the smallest seed germinates first! The seed weights increase in a diamond pattern from lower left to upper right. From .67 to .17 grams. The seed weighing .17 grams was viable and it was the first to fully sprout. But some others are not far behind.
Saturday, February 2 View Page
Looking better @ 9 days old. Interesting thing is, the smallest seed had equal vigor, as far as coming up quickly, but now it's clearly a much smaller plant and its (hopelessly?) behind. I examined the roots, and the full seeds, (the heavier ones) as expected, had more robust root systems. I previously had assumed that the smaller seeds would be slower to germinate. That was the most unexpected result in this trial. Direction (which edge went down) did not matter, which was also unexpected. Overall, the conclusion once again, is the heavy (fullest) seeds will make bigger healthier plants, at least initially. Lastly, no noticeable problems arose with the seeds which had deformed seed coats. Notably, the one seed with a crack going through the seed coat did rot, however. Cracked seeds need special care. That's a 'whole nother topic'...
Saturday, February 2 View Page
Tomato in lettuce. I know there's a tiny bud and I bet it's a mega. Not that it matters... I doubt I can get a mega to its full potential in this limited environment. Have same trouble as last year. Edema I think. Fan 24/7. Lettuce and mini pumpkin plant are sorta happy, tomato is not. Also the tomato is showing some nutritional issue. I love the way photos don't lie. Photos are very useful because the plant issues seem to really show up well. Lettuce growing was a fantastic success, I am at about a medium salad every other day now.
Saturday, February 2 View Page
Lettuce overview. Some other plants in case I want to experiment. Last year one of these nameless medical volunteers got promoted to the best patch... So you never know. It ain't over till it's over... life is always giving second chances! Not every time, but sometimes...
Sunday, February 3 View Page
Footnote: I thought I should mention the seeds in the latest trial were all from Anna's big pumpkin... Same stock the better looking plants were simply from better filled seeds. There are further possibilities for selecting a good plant. What seems logical to me is to compare at least a few plants using your own dirt / at each planting location. I may try planting my own seeds as a backup to my 'obtained' seeds... There is a protection effect in a group because the pests will eat the outer plants first hopefully. So I could plant my own seeds all around the middle plant... Knights around a king. If the plant in the middle fails to be healthy... as a replacement the healthiest one of the surrounding plants will then be a fine choice. For now, thats the best plan I can think of.
Thursday, February 7 View Page
High of 33 or so. Fall spring and then winter, this year. Next pic shows some pruning.
Thursday, February 7 View Page
I tried to leave all the two year wood on this cherry. I will prune it down farther after it bears fruit. Normally I would cut more. Instead, I will prune it down farther in July at the same time I'm harvesting any fruit. I think this idea might work well, it's worth a try. Btw... Fruit size is all about the phloem... That's what I've learned so far. The cherry orchard guys prune every branch 1/3 or 2/3 of the way back so the tree will make larger cherries. They want to concentrate the phloem on fewer numbers of blossoms so the get real big. I can't guarantee good pollination the way they can though! So I'm choosing to leave all the blossoms (on this one, anyhow). I'll post the results in mid July.
Thursday, February 7 View Page
"Weak tip" I saw this last year on some of my outdoor plants. I suspect a potassium deficiency. There is enough nitrogen. It could be lack of boron or some trace nutrient, or phosphorous or sulfur or... well the list goes on. I should have lab tested the plants that did this thing last year. The leaves show a somewhat gradual fading from what looks like excess nitrogen in the center to more yellow green around the edge. I believe it is a nutrient issue or ph issue, not a light or watering issue. Please send me an email if it's obvious to you... thank you.
Thursday, February 7 View Page
Another pic.
Saturday, February 9 View Page
Change in weather.
Saturday, February 9 View Page
This might become my daughters pumpkin diary. She wants to grow big. I might drop my own pumpkin ambitions and just help her. In which case, we will be following Joel Holland methods. And her sister wants to grow one too. Hopefully her mom will help her grow a tomato because I don't know if I can coach more than one future pumpkin grower. I get stuff done by cutting corners. If I'm helping someone else learn via the Joel Holland videos there won't be any more cutting corners. Instead of cutting corners... more likely we will be filing the edges of her seeds.
Saturday, February 9 View Page
My companion/ helper. This cat adopted me she is a good companion sometimes she acts more like a dog than a cat. I don't know if she can catch a mouse but she seems interested in hunting. So if she can't catch them, perhaps she scares them away.
Saturday, February 9 View Page
Yet another test. This one shows best position to plant a seed is lying flat. 6/6 up, with no leaf damage. Uniform seed was used. This result makes sense, because in nature, a flat object will most likely lie on its side. So they'd better know how to sprout from this position. FYI, The third row here is the seeds that were laid flat. Some others had leaf damage, and overall all the other rows are a bit slower. Point-down seeds like to keep the seed coat on. Testing the boundaries of traditional pumpkin growing methods! In a very small way.
Saturday, February 9 View Page
That's what they looked like. There is also a checkerboard of myco, but I don't think that any of the myco treatment differences will show up another week or two, if at all. Maybe one or two more tests before the actual growing season begins...
Monday, February 11 View Page
Mikkal has got me thinking about tomato watering. Meanwhile though my tomato is in poor health. The lettuce is doing ok and the mini squash plant is ok. The good news is there is a very worthy bud on it but the plant as a whole is a disaster. The bud looks mega bigger than a triple and not a ribbon. Yet another good domingo bud... this was my 5.04 so maybe it bred true to its 8.22 parent... But other than that its a fail. Lettuce and tomatoes don't like the same growing conditions. Purslane and a tomato might work ok together... Oh well.
Monday, February 11 View Page
Maybe the best way to irrigate tomatoes would be overhead up until blossom then switch to flood. Perhaps even the first bit of time after blossom could still be done overhead. After that flood irrigation with warm or calcium fortified water? But tomatoes are well suited to drip irrigation also. If the water is cold thats ok as long as its not the entire root zone. Cold water on the entire root zone equals calcium issues. They like the low soil moisture and cool nights I think so in this regard the pacific northwest is perfect... yet most home gardeners struggle here probably because of lack of sun or 80 degree days or having the wrong soil fertility--which is normal here after it rains all winter.
Tuesday, February 12 View Page
Well this is what I get for thinking spring was here. A couple branches broke shortly after I took this picture. Power is out. Running wood stove. 12" here. It's cast iron w/flat top so I can cook on it. Spread 50 lb of perfection k-special fertilizer. 12-12-28 with micros and cheap. Didn't quite cover everything. Thought the snow would show if I was spreading it evenly, but it turns out the snow surface has dips and curves and it didn't end up distributed better.
Tuesday, February 12 View Page
Apple tree, again. Sick of snow yet? The tree in the previous picture is a Sitka spruce. The branches are tremendously strong. It's known to be the strongest commercial softwood. It was used to build the "Spruce Goose"... One of Howard Hughes great accomplishments. And I read that our modern Howard Hughes... Elon Musk, is building his Mars spaceship out of stainless steel. The ordinary can become amazing (in the right hands!).
Sunday, February 17 View Page
I just realized a strategy I could use to help make good crosses. Last year I planted three Radach seeds in one hill. They performed well and I used at least two as pollinators. However, despite being in most ways a uniformly good seed there ended up being some potentially important differences in the plants. And the only way to tell if the differences might be genetic is to have all three plants growing out of the same hill...otherwise all of the differences may be ascribed to location. So my idea for 2019 is to have my pollinator plants in the same hill so I can compare them as they grow. I can then use them for pollinations and later in the year I can look at them and judge which was the best plant overall so I can better know which of the crosses I made are ones I may want to grow again. I can still try for 1000 lbs with three in one hill. Might do 2005 Haist 1625 Gantner and 2528 for use as pollinators. I think this would make an interesting comparison of these plant's traits. Perhaps I should squeeze in a fourth plant just for the sake of comparison.
Sunday, February 17 View Page
Looks like someone hasn't been eating their veggies! Tomato bud isn't open. Its a mega, but the plant has had too many root and leaf issues, from less than ideal growing conditions. I will have to be more careful...
Sunday, February 17 View Page
In these I tried common biological products that are supposed to help with roots. Myco and tricho. Two control plants were not treated. Out of the four best developed plants, 1/4 was myco, 1/4 was tricho, and 2/2 on control... Neither used. I also added oat seeds to see if I could tell a difference. I see nothing I can attribute to the biologicals. I'm beginning to suspect that the biologicals may not have much affect, if the soil is already highly biological, and reasonably healthy. Under some conditions, it may not result in a notable benefit to add these??? It might be expensive to try to push soil biology one way or the other with these, unless it's a sterile system to begin with? This wasn't the best test. I can say I did used uniformly mixed garden dirt, and the seeds were uniform, but I may not have applied the biologicals optimally or the ph could be an issue, etc, etc. I only post these results to inspire growers to experiment with your own dirt and your own products, not at all trying to discourage or endorse any product based on one test. The results in this case the results were not conclusive, and that is why you should test the products you're using. Try to get the variables like seed cross and seed weight the same, and the soil moisture the same, and temperature/ location within the germination chamber evened out so the results reflect only the variables you want to test.
Sunday, February 17 View Page
Tomato graft pictures I promised. Next two are also graft pictures.
Sunday, February 17 View Page
These stems were close to the same size when grafted. Now the added stem is smaller, but it did graft in... I could cut the large stem and the plant might struggle a bit as it begins to grow on just the smaller stem. Really I would like a much better method, a better result than this, because its going to slow the canopy down to remove 3/4 of the roots.
Sunday, February 17 View Page
Waxed dental floss. If you think this looks like a first time attempt to graft tomatoes, you are correct!
Tuesday, February 19 View Page
Squash bloom, tomato bud. (Hard to see. Vibrating it now... probably a bit early.) Not expecting more than 3 oz. Nice size bud though if it was on a normal healthy plant outside... Maybe it would hit 4 or 5 lbs.
Tuesday, February 19 View Page
Squash flower looked big. Turns out it has eight sepals. Five is normal. This is a male flower, but if it was a female AG this would make quite a pumpkin. I've found sepals corresponds to ribs. And theoretically if the baby pumpkin had six more ribs (two extra ribs for each extra sepal... eight sepals equals 16 ribs, instead of the usual 10)... It could achieve an extra 60% larger weight. This is something competitive growers might want to pay attention to. This probably holds true for field kins melons, watermelons, and marrows.
Tuesday, February 19 View Page
Normal five sepal bud. Sepals are the green fingery parts, the lowest/outermost part of the flower... Another part of the flower, the stigma lobes inside the flower, corresponds to ovaries, which are the hollow female part of the pumpkin that contains the seeds. So more lobes does not equal more weight, but they can affect the shape of the pumpkin. And more lobes could correspond to more seeds.
Friday, February 22 View Page
795.5 grown blossom-down. Got 3rd place in Puyallup... We are so cool. My kids are angels, which is too bad... cuz if they were really bad kids maybe their moms would want me to see them more! Moms are perfectly happy... collecting child support. Everyone is happy I guess... Pollinated indoor tomato today... I think I saw pollen flying. 27 days left so it should be halfway done growing. Should have started sooner. Oh well I'm happy that I tried.
Monday, February 25 View Page
2005 Haist vs 186 Radach started today. Not recommending an ultra early start just trying it myself to see how it goes. Will require artificial light, heat, and double layer plastic cover. And unless I do everything else with some skill it wont amount to much. Would like to get up to 1200+ by end of August. The 186 is guaranteed orange with good potential to make a big healthy plant. The seed weights are very close. The Radach is one year older. I might start some others soon as extra backups but thats it for this evening.
Monday, February 25 View Page
1484.5 Tobeck and 38 Peine 1836 Tobeck x 2002 Tobeck (3) into the next pot. Going with all 3 seeds because they are woefully light maybe one will pop. Thanks for the seeds Greg.
Wednesday, February 27 View Page
No skimping on backups... 795.5 Peggy 143 Ms Warty and my 274 est (1774.5 Carter x 1992.5 Vincent) are joining the competition 2 days behind the others except little Peggys were in a paper towel 2 days ago but 3 are now in dirt. Mid to late May pollination hopefully...
Saturday, March 2 View Page
Indoor tomato. Probably a six pounder under ideal conditions... but the plant is suffering still. It only has a few immature leaves supporting this tomato. 19 days left... So... 6 oz??? Fun, fun, fun.
Saturday, March 2 View Page
Myco plants are now as good or better than control plants. Tricho plants seem to be lagging. Wish I had azos here also. Not scientific... so consider my results while inhaling plenty of fresh air. They're not meant to be definitive results for every situation and the statistical value of these observations is very low.
Saturday, March 2 View Page
186 Radach is first to pop. (Despite being a year older!) Pic @ 3.5 days after start of initial soak. If the 2005 Haist isn't an amazing plant, it will be fun to grow Radach's 186 again.
Saturday, March 2 View Page
Cabbage croaked and Kale did too. Snow still on the ground and still 6" deep or so in the shade. Year-round gardening works until one of these bad weather events. ...Which do happen most years. So what's the point of even trying? (At least the aphids got killed too?)
Saturday, March 2 View Page
Oops probably Radach pic is @ 4 1/2 days not 3 1/2. So... Germination is proceeding normally, nothing exciting. I am liking starting multiples per pot with the tips pointing inward. The cotyledons may overlap but I can blast them with enough light to make up for this. I'd rather have them compete and pick the best plant later. I can make up for a less-than-perfect start later as long as it's still a healthy start. Stocky plants are awesome, but if they compete early and get a little less stocky, they'll lay down easier. A totally non-conventional (so you might assume bad?) starting method.
Monday, March 4 View Page
Got down to 15 degrees last night. Hopefully thats it for real winter weather. Winter did come and as far as I am concerned as of this morning it has overstayed its welcome.
Saturday, March 9 View Page
Hobby level start to my season... 186 Radach = Normal leaf 2005 Haist on right = Curled leaf too much ammonium/ammonical nitrogen. Not enough calcium, temps too high and transpiration too low. ...That's the culprit here. I did not add ammonium. I just used a potting mix that contained too much. The other plant is one of my seeds.
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Ending my tomato grow. 1/2 oz only 26 grams.
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Going dark here to be in solidarity with the victims of U.S. imperialism in Venezuela. Our empire breaks these commandments: "Thou shalt not steal". "Thou shalt not bear false witness". I'm going to stand up to these lying stealing thugs on Wall Street because its Gods commandment... however I can. Its Gods commandment, even if I have to switch my own vote to a fringy socialist candidate, I will. Capitalism is great but Wall Street has turned it into a means towards slavery and abuse. They've turned capitalism into imperialism. The oil wealth stolen from Venezuela will pay for next great immoral war, one in which your kids may be killed or their souls destroyed. The cycle will continue until we stand up loudly against our thuggish capitalists on Wall Street. There are also high-tech "bullionaires" and defense department bullies that we must stand up to. These people are not fit to have so much wealth and power. The truth will set us free. That's the good news... but only once we refuse to bear both external and internalized lies. Can you see this: There is a double meaning in "Do not bear false witness" it means dont lie... It also means if we see a lie, dont put up with it. The truth is Bolton and Rubio are greedy bullies and we are shooting ourselves in the foot to let Wall Street win in Venezuela because Wall Street is already winning via inflation and via your mortgage and simply printing money out of thin air. Why do they need to win more than that. Maybe we, the citizens of the world, will dump the Federal Reserve banking system on its head... because their own corruption is too excessive. They will keep winning and winning, but suely the day is coming that all the slaves will revolt and they will lose. If you don't want socialism then stand up for FAIR capitalism. Unfair (money printing plus warfare) capitalism destroys true capitalism. Unfair capitalism is imperialism. The last global empire used to be London, England. Now its Tel Aviv and San Francisco and New York. Lies destroy justice. Lewis County, where I live, is the Venezuela of the new global order... Full of exploited impoverished people with no one who cares and no one to lead them. Who will we vote for? Will we even have a choice? A candidate who will really stand up for us?? Won't any such candidate be destroyed by the imperialist media as anti-semitic or anti-gay etc. etc... The only people who are allowed to run for office are the ones who will trade away your wealth, and sell you like slaves. Guiado comes across as a glorified slave trader. He promises that the conditions in prison are better than those in the real world. Well, that may be true in the short term. How long will you or I be free when 95% of the U.S. is NOT protesting... its just too hard to be the one sheep that fights back. But if we do try follow Gods commandments there is something better in store; something better than endless sin. We can ha
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
We can have more prosperity if we do not steal, lie and bear the lies of others. Perhaps we collectively covet the sovereignty of our international neighbors, because we have lost own, or we never had it to begin with, or because we are slacking in our own defence of our own sovereignty. China and Russia love that we are messing with Venezuela and not paying attention to our own sovereignty... They are laughing at us right now aren't they? I am going to rebuild this county myself. And by I... I mean we... if anyone else is with me. If Venezuela doesnt have power because of CIA/mossad tyranny... then I dont have power either. Tired of all the lies. Can I build a truthful life? I wonder, because look at this turd of a human... I have a long, long ways to go. Totally ill... I am a victim of the war on all of us, and of my own sins too... and I look like it. Hopefully this changes henceforth.
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Day one after being computer hacked by the imperialists... I will see if I can last longer than Venezuela or Gaza. Gaza also suffers from a lack of electricity due to an overly powerful neighbor. Tomorrow: making emergency candles with old beeswax. These few candles wont last long. Processing it using propane as a heat source. Phone can still charge ... but in a real outage I would not be able to post we dont even have automatic generators on our cell towers out here. All I can say so far is... I would be MAD AS HELL if I was a freedom loving Venezuelan... Its no wonder we are removing our embassy personel. If law and order falls apart that embassy is gonna get roasty-toasty. US media is backtracking and painting Guiado as less of a freak. I guess it sounded a little too CIA for him to self appoint himself president. Bing search engine says Maduro is the former president. Well thats not awkward.. lol. Maduro is president of the Bolivaran Republic of Venezuela. And Guiado is the president of the "U.S. Colony of Venezuela." This should be interesting to see. Its psychologically interesting... Lets see if we can rape Venezuela and get away with it. And still have our reputation of being the "land of the free and brave". Who knows, maybe I will still grow a pumpkin... if I can get a generator to run my pump off propane economically :) Probably not. Victims of imperialism dont grow pumpkins. I think I will devote my life to something more meaningful like finding and exposing tyrants. But I will try to keep my posts relevant to "growing pumpkins during a civil war/under foreign tyranny."
Thursday, March 14 View Page
Heating ground with storm debris for my anti-imperialism pumpkin protest. I dont know if this works as well as soil cables but I know i can put a plant into 38 degree dirt.
Thursday, March 14 View Page
Illuminati aliens leave their junk behind... Awesome :) But they took their fancy purple grow light so this year... Candle power. 1 candlepower = 80-100 watts like a lightbulb should raise the temps 5-10 degrees. No grow light might mean pumpkin plant does not grow... But it may be sufficiently warm to grow. Beeswax, since parafin would be too toxic.
Thursday, March 14 View Page
Here is a peak inside. This is a plant that was a little too good to discard. So one of my test tube babies makes the cut again... The plants I intended to grow are now backup plants.
Thursday, March 14 View Page
*I meant I CANT put a plant into 38 degree dirt. I could but what would be the point... The roots could not grow.
Thursday, March 14 View Page
Last bit of snow hopefully. All pics from today except the fire pic was last night. I can look back later at these posts & see. Hard to imagine getting an earlier start. Definitely ahead of last year!!! :)
Friday, March 15 View Page
Imperialists win... Oddly I do not have a whole house breaker switch. So thats sobering. If the war on our own society ever gets real... I'm back to the stone age. I cant even go to solar or a generator for temporary/partial power supply. I doubt the US will ever be subjected but if it is...I will certainly be a weak link. Gaza and Venezuela will hopefully win the imperialist wars being waged against them but as for me, I was easily defeated. I will finally get to mailing out tomato seeds now... maybe...
Wednesday, March 20 View Page
Pumpkin!
Friday, March 22 View Page
Mommy potato. 1.62 lbs. Maybe she should get replanted :)
Tuesday, March 26 View Page
Finally tried making my own potting mix. Bad luck again buying it. 419 Pukos 563 Garofano 658 Garofano 695 Handy 895 Nesbitt 982 Gadberry 1454 Gadberry 1963.5 Stevens All in the homemade potting mix today hoping to get a few good plants out of this assortment.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
Scraggly plants are going to test my potting mix. I did a rapitest home analysis on it... Low in nitrogen and acidic. We'll see.
Thursday, March 28 View Page
It took a five gallon bucket of potting mix to fill the paper bag. Two plastic bags were barely strong enough to lift the paper bag without the handles breaking. The paper bag handles are toast as soon as the bag gets moist. Hard to transplant floppy scraggly plants. The pot was used to create the correct sized hole... This trick worked well.
Friday, March 29 View Page
No roots after 48 hrs on the "old seed contest" seeds... So for me this is usually when I lose them to rot. So rather than lose them to rot I have stripped off the seed coats and put them into h202 water. I am risking an excess of plants but in case my potting soil is no good AND the old seeds are no good I am presoaking also: 1219 Pukos 2011 1623.5 Wallace 2012 1172 Grande 2015 1551.5 Rodebaugh 2018 I do have one more round of old seeds before I give up. I already sent in the $20 for the prize pool so to be fair I'm already in... even if nothing sprouts. Hopefully you have fun winning!!! I know I wont win.
Saturday, March 30 View Page
895 Nesbitt root is growing. 695 Handy rotted and the 419 Pukos has not done anything yet. Excited to try an old seed! Fun so far.
Saturday, March 30 View Page
Probably hard to see but the root on the 895 Nesbitt 02 was about a half inch long. I've planted them like this before with good results. As long as its humid and there is light, the chlorophyll will develop, and then you're all set. Looks unnatural right now. But this should allow development. It may not have been strong enough to germinate on its own . It might have, but it also could have partially germinated then run out of energy and rotted.
Saturday, March 30 View Page
A bit closer view. If the root is short, it may be good to have the cots halfway in the dirt so they dont dry out completely. Rot is much less of a factor once the cots are exposed.
Saturday, March 30 View Page
Plastic bag acts as a liner. Also can be pulled over the top to create a more humid mini greenhouse. This is how I am boosting humidity. 658 Garofano and 156 Klaus watermelon are popping up. Kinda disappointed in my achievements already this year. Problems with acidic soil, tomato soil being too warm (causing disease), and generally nothing is looking super healthy. But its better to be having these problems now. I can be glad its March 30 not April 30. But still... struggling is no fun.
Sunday, March 31 View Page
Kale... The redwood of the garden. I cant say anything bad about Kale. Could probably live on just kale, potatoes and red meat. Transplants easy... and what else is there to eat this time of year??? If I had chickens they'd be laying now but I no longer have chickens. I am only a week ahead of last year despite my attempt to get started insanely early. We'll see.
Monday, April 1 View Page
Good news! My potting mix is not a total failure. Plants are loving it. It tested low in nitrogen and acidic but it does contain a lot of nitrogen it just hadn't decomposed. (It was not yet in a form that would show on the rapitest.) Garofano, Stevens and my own 430 from two years ago look good. The Nesbitt 02 was the only survivor 1/3 on my old seeds. Its weaker than the new seeds but coming along relatively well... Thanks mattman the 895 Nesbitt 2002 was from your 2017/2018 silent auction. For my future reference I mixed about two 5 gallon buckets of fine sifted beehive debris with two buckets of peat moss. I added myco and a cup or two of dolomite (should have added a quart?) and 1 1/2 buckets of dirt/sand. Blah Blah Blah I write/post so much!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 2 View Page
Best 2018 seed vs the 2002 seed. I put some fungicide on the 895 Nesbitt... Gettin worried. Its still a bit sickly. The real sad part is 895 is 100 lbs above my own pb so its doubtful it will reach its potential. I will run a comparison maybe against the 1963.5 Stevens or 1551.5 Rodebaugh.
Wednesday, April 3 View Page
No luck with the purchased starting mix (plants below). Miracle Grow was too high in ammonical nitrogen or too low in calcium... & Black Gold was too lowin nitrogen?? Not only that but the Black Gold seems to have gotten pythium tomatoes all went down with pythium too. Thank goodness my own mix is working the way I want !!!
Wednesday, April 3 View Page
I think I've got the picture orientation thing totally figured out now.
Wednesday, April 3 View Page
What a confidence boost. Pythium as far as I can tell. Maybe I should take the year off from tomatoes???
Thursday, April 4 View Page
An excess of seeds. Thank goodness I just let go of 50 packs of tomato seeds.
Thursday, April 4 View Page
Today is tomato-start day. I hope I dont ever have to repeat last year where I was starting tomatoes all the way into June. I kept having problems. But it wouldnt be fun if it was easy right. I made some changes so as to not have any more issue with pythium --- hopefully.
Friday, April 5 View Page
I think I am spending too much time on bp but then I find something unexpected and have to post it. Peas finally came up... But the surprise is I am already seeing volunteer tomatoes coming up. In fact these are ahead of my indoor starts. They dont like the cold wet weather at the moment. I left about 100 lbs of green tomatoes on this 500 sq ft garden so the volunteers will be plentiful here and in the other garden too. Its too bad they dont transplant well.
Saturday, April 6 View Page
Grocery sack working... should have double bagged the paper maybe. I think @five true leaves will be a good time to transplant outside. Almost there! 2-3 days. I like this method a lot.
Saturday, April 6 View Page
A root went through the paper. Double the paper and triple the plastic! I should plant up to six plants per bag then thin down. (At least two per bag?) This bag had three plants. Down to 2 now. One was not a contender so it got pulled already. I'm doing this both because its economical but also I couldnt think of any other way to transplant such a large root ball without damage. I will pull the plastic away and out from under. Then fill dirt around. Then pull the outer paper up out of the ground and anything not already rotten from the inner paper bag. The roots should develop naturally enough. No roots should be damaged which would be great. The year I have zero transplant shock might be the year I grow a real big one?
Monday, April 8 View Page
Terrible weather bad time to plant but... They're getting big. So its time for these little birds to leave the nest!
Monday, April 8 View Page
Plastic pulled out from under easy enough. Whole process was somewhat easy. I left the paper because the roots were having no trouble getting through it. The worms will eat it. Many worms! I fear a repeat of last year so I had better get a cheap light out there tonight. I might try to boost soil oxygen artificially with H202. The ground was saturated so I did not make it worse by watering the plant in. No clue if these plants will thrive or croak.
Monday, April 8 View Page
Cant recommend this method of greenhouse building but lol sometimes you just dont have time. The plan was to build pvc hoop houses, Joel Holland method. Oh well.
Tuesday, April 9 View Page
Bear with me... one more post. I am going to try to learn from past mistakes. 1) Not going to water the plants in because root rot pathogens may be active. Last year when I watered my first one of the season with warm water it was much better for the pathogens than the roots. 2) I set up a small heater blowing air rather than an artificial light. I think this will help with calcium/ transpiration and shock issues better than an artificial light. Last year shock due to cold and lack of transpiration might have been more important issue than lack of light. So then logically a fan/heater would be a better choice (and set on low maybe cost about the same). I think I am set up pretty well to get an 800 lber to the late August fair. I wanted to grow one much bigger but it doesnt look like that is going to happen this year. I dont do everything perfect, so later I will fall behind. I will do my best to max this little bit of ground out. However, I wont be a heavy hitter this year. The goal here is two 800 lb pumpkins.
Wednesday, April 10 View Page
As wet as a drowned frog swallowed by a six humped camel.
Wednesday, April 10 View Page
This is me. Excessive rain...
Thursday, April 11 View Page
658 Garofano 1963.5 Stevens and 430 Est. Clayton were biggest so they got put in the biggest pots aka the (5 gallon, yes, hard to believe a grocery sack holds the same as a 5 gallon bucket, but try and you'll see) grocery bags. 895 Nesbitt 2002 is alive but still sized right to be in 1/2 gallon. Crazy Glenoma Kins...
Friday, April 12 View Page
Today's unexpected surprise... These seeds sprouted outdoors with no assistence or covering during the horrible wet weather!
Friday, April 12 View Page
They did have assistence though. The round hay bale placed in December is probably in the mid sixties or even seventy degrees. You can kinda see the outline of it. Also the seeds were presoaked in warm water. The timing of the hay bale placement was just right. I think it is ready for roots. Rather well decomposed now... oxygen levels are high enough and pathogen levels are low enough now. I had my doubts all along but I actually believe this is a viable substitute for electric heating cables. I'm surprised how well it seems to be working so far. "Inch by inch, row by row Someone bless these seeds I sow Someone warm them from below." Indeed.
Friday, April 12 View Page
This is why I was not expecting germination. Weather station nearby in same valley as me. Getting old took me a little over 5 min to figure out screenshot. And still dont know what I finally did right. But... there it is.
Saturday, April 13 View Page
Weakest of the year award... Could it be any weaker???
Saturday, April 13 View Page
Thin vine issue. I would love to know why I do not have normal healthy plants!
Sunday, April 14 View Page
Starting 1324 Kline squash today. I appreciate the seeds I've been given. The first step towards improbable success... is putting them in dirt.
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
186 Radach is biggest & best. 2005 Haist is a runt by comparison. A third is one of mine... its the most disappointing. I know these look terrible. They've been neglected outside and the weather has been awful up until today. Radach looks best and will be orange, so its probably the keeper!!!
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
Leaf crinkles.
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
Later in the day. I guess the lighting affects the appearance. But still the camera does help show nutritional issues. Unhealthy roots... I'd estimate 50 % of the roots on these are lost. I will have to come up with a better plan for next year. One that increases oxygen, silicates, calcium and nitrate and decreases ammonia. Things are not looking too great this year...
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
Pumpkin. Looks just like its momma Sherwood did at that age. The genetic traits really carry... The leaves are the same also. Thin leaves long-tipped angular spade shape.
Wednesday, April 17 View Page
Plant its on is trashed. 2 things: Cant seem to get the soil biology right early in the year. And the teepee was never properly maintained. So there is a lot of tlc missing here... No amazing early start. No really big pumpkin for the puyallup fair. Part of the game. Fail = learn.
Thursday, April 18 View Page
I think next year I should get the compost tea setup going early so that I can, as an option, give not only the artificial lighting, artificial heat, but also some "artificial" biological activity. I think this might help. The amendments do no good this early in the year they just rob oxygen and acidify things! I need things to be plant-ready form (already broken down) ahead of when I plant. Is this an essential key to getting a very early start!? Im not going to beat myself up too much I have made some progress this year. Baby steps...
Friday, April 19 View Page
I dont have space this year... overbooked. 4x more plants than I can attend to. I cut corners and even more so this year the plants will get even less care than usual.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
Not a real soil test but I read these have high accuracy amongst these types of tests and owing to questionable lab results I've gotten I'd rather pay $1. I find these to be pretty useful for NPK and ph. They do nitrate though, not ammonium. So you will only know half of the nitrogen equation. Its an incomplete picture. But if you want to spend less money and answer just a few questions, these can answer a few questions. And raise a few questions also... Like...
Saturday, April 20 View Page
If I water a plant with the water on the left, which I calculated to offset the acidity in the soil, and the water that comes out of the bottom of the pot is on the left, what happened??? Now the exact answer of course would require a real soil test to look at CEC and hydrogen. But maybe I can save the money and hassle and just say, "The soil is acidic and the peat is holding onto a large amount of acidity, because peat can do that, because it has a high CEC." If thats a good enough answer, why spend more money. I get the fancy test results back... and its all Chinese to me. Peat moss is a pain. And so is CEC. I think CEC stands for Chinese Costs Extra. (Chinese... Extra Cost).
Saturday, April 20 View Page
Got the plastic out. Left the paper and carboard underneath. Some roots going through the paper.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
658 Garofano. Great location great seed genetics has a chance at 1000 in 150. If I start doing things right. I gave it too much micro nutrients and burned the leaves not looking 100. But it will recover. Thanks for the seeds Emmanuel.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
Cutting corners :(
Saturday, April 20 View Page
563 Garofano??? x 2. Guessing this patch has about 2000 lbs of worm castings. That might be under estimating--- by a lot. 700 sq ft here.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
I ASKED the 1810 Marley if it wanted a place to grow... "Oh hell no!!!" 1551.5 and 1219.5 Pukos are up for it. This, even I will admit, is not ideal. Soil temp. 55 degrees. Better than expected actually but it felt cold. Plants may perish really 60 would be ok. Oh well. Not expecting much but with ten plants or so that need spots someone had to draw... The short straw. Get it. Hillarious.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
895 Nesbitt went out today also its just going to try to survive 400 lbs would be like 2000 lbs for that plant. 50/50 odds of making it. If it does survive I give it 50/50 odds of passing 200 lbs.
Saturday, April 20 View Page
Cheap covers. Work well. Might be a redneck if you use sawed off barrel tops to weigh down your 5-minutes-to-build 'teepee greenhouse' plastic. Pumpkins dont care.
Sunday, April 21 View Page
Short teepee. This one might get cooked if it ever gets up to 70 degrees outside. It wont survive a windstorm, but using the marker flags to hold the plastic was very easy. Not trying for record sizes on these... just trying for survival.
Sunday, April 21 View Page
I dont have a great feeling about this 895 Nesbitt 2002. Its protected from frost though. Again, just trying for survival... A plastic bin or garbage cans works for frost protection. Borderline for light frost tonight. Plants decline at less than 38 degrees but can remain healthy and thrive (albeit slowly) with night time temps in the 40s. Heat/heating cables and balanced soil are important keys to growing more competitively. I am looking at 100 to 1000 lbs from these various setups.
Sunday, April 21 View Page
Starting Top left going clockwise 1172 Grande 2015, watermelons, ristomate tomato (hidden), 430 Est. Clayton, 1963.5 Stevens (a big leaf), and 982 Gadberry (150 sq ft record). I have spots for these plants and I'm happy with this lineup. They look like crap but initial appearance shouln't affect my results much. Let me clarify... I'm not worried about the micronutrient burn. I am worried about the roots, however. I probably have hurt my results if there are any persistent root issues. Ive done such a poor job all around. A great lineup, though. Real pvc hoop houses coming... Next weekend hopefully...
Sunday, April 21 View Page
156 Klaus watermelons. I guess they like acidic soil they look happier than the pumpkins. I wont graft these. A PB is certainly possible however. Magnesium= sugar right... Who cares about tomatoes and pumpkins. I've got the melon bug.
Sunday, April 21 View Page
Both of the 143's have bent or cracked vines. I will not be watering onto the vines so maybe its ok. I was thinking about this and my goals in general. I think my goal is getting narrowed down to the 150 sq ft challenge. And since I am already having main vine issues, what about setting on a secondary. Everything blossom down. Last year my 795.5 'Peggy' was not an exceedingly beautiful pumpkin. But she was kinda smooth skinned and blossom down. People like the blossom-down look. Maybe a perfect pumpkin is boring. Last year I had some calcium/potassium/water/water temp issues. If I fix these issues, I can maybe reach 800 or so in 150 like some of the better growers. I have a few patches that are larger but I already dread the amount of work it takes to get a good return on investment from a large plant.
Monday, April 22 View Page
Light frost last night. No danage. But no great help either. To be expected this time of year! This when everyone else's plants grow easily twice as fast as mine. But I get a lot of enjoyment even without winning. Im getting closer to a full picture of what it takes to win. I am already thinking about next year... but I will push a few of them hard this year, hopefully bump it up a notch or two.
Tuesday, April 23 View Page
Crimpy and Cracky... Beavis and Butt-head. They look pretty good to me in person, but the photos do show some minor issues. My first guesses would be potassium sulfer zinc and moly. (And silicon). Its not perfect, but its a success as far as I'm concerned even with the stem issues. Add silicon to that list... A small success. Hopefully a MORE successful start next year!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 23 View Page
Does brown scum mean its done? I've noticed the color of the liquid changes with changes in acidity... Dark tea seems to indicate a basic ph, while light indicates acid. Add more ph test strips to the list of things I need, but dont have money for... Oh wait $100 from porkchop/Eddy... hopefully... have not opened the box, was waiting for my kids. They will be proud and excited for my tomato trophy. Fun fun fun! Thumbs up porkchop/Eddy. Saints & martyrs...
Tuesday, April 23 View Page
I have an idea for next year. With the multiple plants system, I could cull one and leave the other. And run a tissue test on the culled plant. This would provide enough material for an early snapshot of whats going on. It wouldn't be an exact analysis because the remaining plant might have different internal chemistry, genetically. Different root uptake, genetically. So it would be an approximation. But still useful. There is no way I would want to strip off the required 3-6 large leaf stalks at this age. I will leave both Beavis and Butt-head because they're a genetics project... But there's this pair of Garofano's which look identical (probably nearly genetically identical). I could pull one of these plants. And getting tissue results on the one... could help me add 100-400 lbs on the other.
Friday, April 26 View Page
April has been cool. Beavis & Butt-head are doing great. The others are simply alive. I dont know what I did right exactly --poor record keeping -- so every year I start back at "0". I know I overdosed the micros although I thought I calculated it. Anyhow, in the future... I can maybe not make that mistake. All plants r alive... Just needing a couple hoop houses and finish the manure tea setup and 2019 is 'go for launch'.
Friday, April 26 View Page
Preschool level photo editing :( Anyhow not the worst nor the best little plants Ive got. I have no clue what they will look like next week... I suspect they'll continue to improve but a novice grower still, so I cannot guarantee it!
Saturday, April 27 View Page
430 Clayton (Est.) 2017 (1992.5 Vincent x 1505.5 Haist) Wind, hail, freezing, moles. Bring it, Nature!!! April has been an annoying month here too. Temps are 5 degrees below a "good" April. This one will be in 150 ft... for fun and comparison, but not my official entry. Official plant will go in soon, just east of this one.
Saturday, April 27 View Page
This plant was just a bit past five leaf stage. (What I would call five leaf stage). Which is the maximum size they can be moved and transplanted without assured damage. Three plastic bags worked. This one had only one paper bag. I would prefer two. I think two is a better setup. The piece of cardboard on the bottom under the paper really helps. The cardboard doesnt break apart easily the way the paper does. The cardboard portion of this setup acts very similar to a peat pot... Its deep under the plant and wont keep the roots from spreading so wont be an issue. Got this one in with a minimum of broken roots...! The roots were numerous, so it needed to get planted. This plant could be much healthier. ...Thats me not doing an awesome job of making my own potting mix. And... Not dosing some micros correctly. The leaf edges indicating a potassium issue is (I believe) actually related to ammonium and acidity, not a shortage of potassium although more potassium might not hurt. ...This all relates to not correctly dealing with ammonium/acidity in my novice potting mix project.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
143 Clayton's... Beavis & Butt-head... 4ft and 5ft vine. These guys are really growing. I am about two weeks ahead of last year. I dont know if I can hold that lead or not. If I can hold that lead then I would be on track for an early June pollination. However I will probably use strong side vines instead because both mains have issues they are either crimped or split. I may have just lost the 1172 Grande to frost. Hard freeze tonight... may yet lose others but all have double plastic or a heat source. Terrible weather...
Sunday, April 28 View Page
150 sq ft, expected layout. Using 6 ft boards to mark the perimeter. Me and my girls will do this pumpkin together. 1963.5 Stevens... This might be out Puyallup fair pumpkin if all goes well. Although, the early harvest would kill our chances for the 150 sq ft competition. So... maybe I will have to rethink this idea!!!
Sunday, April 28 View Page
I wont get the layout fastened to the ground for a few weeks. Too busy. But here it is, visually. The mug is where the plant will go. The plant is at six leaves and cruising. So it really needs to go in the ground today. We'll aim for Baumans, a late weigh off. We're aiming for 1000 lbs. :)
Sunday, April 28 View Page
Skipping heating cables. If this plant is really lucky I will dump compost tea in the hole. .. To 'instantly restore the biology' and nutrients destroyed by the fire. Plus... plenty of myco. Going with the 'one species' myco... I think it works for me.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
Want warm water? Two options fill a black barrel and let it sit in the sun all day. In the summer this can heat the whole barrel 80 degrees. Today Im running water slowly through a long hose exposed to the sun. I will drench the fire with this warm water. I may or may add compost tea or fertilizer to this water. The main problem with adding tea or fertilizer is (i think) a situation where the biologicals quickly do their thing eating nutrients and organics and then rob the soil of oxygen and create acidity. Its hard to create ideal conditions for roots instantaneously. But thats what I gotta try to do.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
Into the pit of despair. This is the last of the paper bag princesses.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
About ten pounds of alfalfa. The cut compressed bales are nice. The material is less stringy. It will probably be late summer before the nutrients reach the plant. Not sure its a net benefit, however, top secret methods may soon make this plant very, very happy... And alfalfa may be part of the secret plan.
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
Caught a small rabbit yesterday.... She is my semi wild resident cat. I guess arguably she is taking prey from the more native weasels. Takes 20+ min to feed her and uncover the pumpkins and feed the pumpkins then have to do the reverse in the evening. And probably start on vine burying at some point today. Dang pumpkins... as soon as Im done with planting they go straight to needing something else... not one day off. Hopefully tomatoes will be going into 4" pots. Plus tons of real work to do today.
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
895 Nesbitt 2002... Worst performer. I may have underestimated how cold the ground was here. Plus... Maybe the more recent genetics really are better?
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
Trying for 6' by the end of April. Almost ...Maybe by 11:59 pm & if I yank ithe vine real straight!!! I did not have high hopes for... They were scraggly plants put in a ramshackle tent. So how did this happen??? I dont know. My strategy is to try ten slightly different ways of doing things, and not record what I did, so that next year I have to start all over from scratch.
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
Hoping for a good year! 150 sq ft plant under plastic. Still have not worked out the boundary. Tough competition this year! We are gonna give it our best!!!
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
Up next... Ristomate tomato doing the best... most of these are novelty types... no great looking plants yet on the giants. Maybe plant a cantelope today. Plus, maybe try for 100 lb melon on the 156 Klaus (looking good!). Marrows and field kins are a month away. I see no point in starting them too early. Thank goodness this month is over another frost last night. I hope May sings a different tune...
Wednesday, May 1 View Page
Leaf edges getting cupped, growth is less luxurious. I believe this means there is an important area of the root zone which has become too dry. You'd think wilting would be the first symptom. But here I think the issue is, there is enough water to achieve turgor from other parts of the root system, but a large area of roots is too dry to move any nutrients. Mole damage can be similar in effect. But in this case I think with two big plants and sunny days this is purely a dry root zone symptom... Its not that the whole root zone is entirely dry or the plant would wilt. But its too dry somewhere. Thats my take on this.
Wednesday, May 1 View Page
A big focus on the 150 plant this year. I may have only one "large" plant this year... To cut down on work. I've gotten ok results in the past. This is the latest plan. I can build this design entirely out of 6 ft fence boards so it makes my effort simple. I seem to get a boost when removing the apical dominance so dead-ending the main will be part of the plan. I feel confident in setting a flower on a strong secondary as a backup, if needed. Probably-- I will pollinate and dead end the main at the same time. Not sure. Reduction of auxins is the goal. If done right, I think it can give a 10% boost. For full size plants I have theorized that temporarily shading the vine tips would reduce auxins but still allow a full sized plant. The auxin reducing affect would peak about 2-3 days after shading them? The most critical pumpkin cell division probably takes place in the first week or two? After that, then I would push the plant again with full sun.
Wednesday, May 1 View Page
Unhappy plant.
Wednesday, May 1 View Page
Will move the 895 Nesbitt to replace the very unhappy plant. Likely will be pulling the Pukos and Rodebaugh they just have no great future maybe they can compete for a spot with the Nesbitt. This pic: Just want to fully document the problem with the plants that were my best plants. Hopefully solved. Many problems. Tomatoes are diseased with a virulent water fungus. Last year was hard... but easy compared to this year... How can I get good results when the roots are unhealthy? Peat holds too much water. Once the infection starts it never goes away... there will always be too much water and not enough air space.
Thursday, May 2 View Page
Redo on the 1172 Grande patch. Trying ammonium sulfate and magnesium sulfate here. Not totally satisfied that this will work. We'll see... I want an easy 'Dig, burn, plant... Done.' recipe that gets me a 600-800 lb pumpkin every time.
Thursday, May 2 View Page
"At about five feet down, ground temperatures lag three months behind seasonal air temperatures." Having trouble finding an exact formula for heat dissipation through the ground. I could take temperature readings, graph them, then come up with an exact formula for "correcting" my soil temperature. I'd estimate we have a 15 degree seasonal difference. If there is 3 months lag soil temps 5 ft down should be 35 then 50 then 65 then 50. Offset by 3 months.... we would never hit 65 five feet down maybe 60 at most... Basically it is all about getting temps into the 50s hopefully 60s. Because in the 40s the roots will do nothing. 60 degree ground should be my goal.
Friday, May 3 View Page
Bale kids. Lots of work to do tomorrow. If I dont accidentally destroy the Big 186 Radach or 2005 Haist then little Lady Gaga will likely get culled. 2005 Haist looks like a good plant but I can say the Radach is the biggest plant at this stage that I've ever seen. Hay bale may turn out better than expected. For all the criticism Ive gotten... Lol these are my healthiest plants. Beevis and butt-head are bigger and they are aggressive but they do have a nutritional or water issue which is noticeable. Other than some bad leaves these hay bale plants are showing no such complaints... There is some diatomaceous dust fyi also I might wash that off tomorrow. I was not expecting this result. So far these are doing much better than my other plants.
Friday, May 3 View Page
They have had a double layer of plastic but as you can see its very ratty. And a white sheet on top of the plastic most nights. I try to give six hours of darkness then there is a small grow light 100 watts or less I think. I dont know exactly. But the bale itself is probably a comfortable 70 degrees in the middle. Not hot any more, but not cold either. So far its working. Although... the height has dropped by a full foot since I placed it there in December. I sort of anticipated this, but if it sinks any farther the roots won't line up with the surrounding soil anymore. But thats ok. Because a foot of good clean dirt could be used to cover the sunken area. I have not leveled the patch yet but will soon. And then... only you guys will know its a 'buried hay bale patch'. It will look normal.
Friday, May 3 View Page
I had this idea just now. Maybe the number of layers matters more than how tight the edges fit to the ground. Four layers of plastic here. In terms of heat loss maybe this is equivalent to one layer airtight to the ground... but four layers loosely fitting to the ground is easier. Idk. Something to think about. We dont get blizzards here our issue is mostly radient heat loss. Our humidity can be very low, so our dewpoint can be low, so we can freeze at night 10 months out of the year. Here it's mostly a radient heat loss issue, not a cold air issue. Some things to think about. Who has time for that!
Saturday, May 4 View Page
143 Claytons. Beavis & Butt-head. I cant help it. They are not perfect but can I complain? Hard to do much better. Ive set the bar high for next year. Seeds were in the exotic seed exchange. Labelled " 143 Clayton Ms. Warty". Plus I have a few more somewhere. Chances of actually getting warts is probably low though... I would guess 1/16. Could be 1/4. Well see. If 1/4 then its 50/50 here that one of these could be warty.
Saturday, May 4 View Page
My fingers are numb its cold out... But thermometer under these particle boards says 74. So the fire added some heat. I think soil temp is a big factor in why some of my plants have done well and others have done... Nothing.
Saturday, May 4 View Page
982 Gadberry. I thought I was doing this plant a kind favor putting it where my best plant was last year. Its a good healthy plant but it has litterally grown only one leaf, in two weeks!!! And the other leaf I burned with a halogen lamp. So two weeks = no net gain whatsoever. A waste of effort and electricity. I trust its a good plant genetically... The only factor that my worst growers have in common: cold ground?
Saturday, May 4 View Page
This connects to a pipe that goes under the hay bale. When I hit so much "clay" I thought I might have to pump water out. Well... My clay turned out to be mostly fine loam. It does drain. And the portion I removed has not turned to concrete either... It has loosened a lot. Anyhow, if I thought it would help an alternative use would be to create an oxygen source for the roots, either pumping air down or pouring H202 down under the plant. While this seems extreme, my guess is healthy roots have been a limiting factor for nearly everyone at some point. Some exceptions... If your last name starts with a Q or if you grew 2106 your first year.
Saturday, May 4 View Page
Enough alfalfa to feed a rich man's horse!!! Alfalfa... Its just easy because I know I cant mess up... I know its balanced. Using chemical fertilizers is about the same once you factor in the cost of the testing the soil. Save a little on the fertilizer cost but add time to figure everything out. Alfalfa just plain works... no fiddling. In the future I might bump the alfalfa up... I just have to figure out how to feed the worms and plants and not feed any bad insects...
Sunday, May 5 View Page
I think I discovered another reason for the leaf curl/ lack of luscious growth: cold temperatures. The roots might be ok but if the vines and leaves get near freezing the plant probably gets stressed. It probably takes a few days to recover. Reminder to self: How are they going to be vibrantly full of life when the temps get near freezing? So far this year: Fire pit idea is working. Hay bale is working. Rickety plastic covers are working (but for overall convenience i should build real structures in the future--using scrap cedar or pvc). I think the plants miss out on their "sleep cycle" chemistry when its too cold at night! Good luck everyone.
Monday, May 6 View Page
Warm night... Finally. Weather.com keeps saying we are going to be about 8-9 degrees warmer than we are actually getting. Weather Underground seems to be getting it right. Owned by the same company.
Monday, May 6 View Page
If your plants are upper 50s to low 60s at night then you should get better growth rates than me. I had no time to make better hoop houses yesterday. My demise begins.
Monday, May 6 View Page
This one is for North Shore. You are saying you would be disappointed to wake up to a plant that looks like this?
Monday, May 6 View Page
But yes I cant keep up with these plants. Probaby will not bury vines. Both plants showing kins... but I might prefer side vines on these. This will bloom in about two to three weeks depending on the weather. I know some folks are going to use what I post to their advantage. But yes some of what I post is crap. But I am not doing everything wrong. The first year I tried growing ugh its embarassing I got no pumpkins I really didnt get anything so... Forgive me for being a little bit proud of the progress I have made.
Monday, May 6 View Page
I could have found one more piece of plastic if I wasnt busy with other important things.
Monday, May 6 View Page
See if this works. Ground temp 95 now should hit 105 today I think. Trying this prior to planting a cover crop of oats or rye. I hope it gets up to 120 in the next few days so some sterilization will take place. I think Ive beaten a whole herd of horses dead ... So switching to imaginary elephants... There is an idea that everything I'm doing is wrong. Perhaps. But if you really look at what Geddes and the top growers do... Many of them just read their plant. Maybe they dont even count the number of oz or lbs of this or that they add in a season. The idea that I cant think for myself... Or that all the top growers just follow a published recipe and get great results by that alone without following their instincts and observations... Well that notion my mind blows up and thats not cool. But... Its hot out and I am hot headed. Anyhow, I love getting criticism... but I really encourage everyone to use their head. I'm trying to use my head: If the top growers are reading their plants (and they are) then thats what I am going to (hopefully learn) to do. So I see myself as using my head and following the top growers. I pay rather close attention. Might not seem like it... I do things differently but that doesnt mean I am unaware of other more common methods. I post a lot. I am just posting what I am doing... If later this year my pumpkin is not higher than my tailgate, then you can read this as a what-not-to-do diary. I am going to record a lot of what I am doing... And if it doesn't work... Then this is a what-not-to-do diary... I like what-not-to-do diaries! They are great, too.
Monday, May 6 View Page
What not to do... Use an unsterile environment with moderate light and excess water??? I've really failed at tomatoes this year. I want healthier plants and an earlier start. I want them to be in gallon pots by now & healthy.
Tuesday, May 7 View Page
Possibly the earliest set I will ever have... Not the 150 plant but can is there for scale. Kin is before vine tip bend, pruned the main (dead ended). Trying to ensure that the flower is a dominant bud/ not too much auxin. This wont be a 2k pumpkin, the root system will be smaller with no vine burying and its directly competing with another plant. In my limited experience, under conditions of resource scarcity & space limited growing, this will actually give me a bigger result. If I was going for 2k I would probably not do it this way. I would probably follow a proven vine layout. I would probably want at least five secondary vines past the pumpkin. Here I am allowing just one. I dont like cutting the vine right at the pumpkin in I worry about splitting and rot at the cut. But dead ending at the pumpkin should work fine too. Perhaps better--because then there would be no auxin whatsoever. There is a lot I dont understand. Not recommending this... just sort of explaining & recording what I am doing... For better or worse. I'd rather use a secondary than put an S bend in this main... The main is kinked upstream... Tired of explaining! From now on... just think of this diary as one big experiment... like 100 monkeys with keyboards try to write Shakespeare... I am one of those monkeys.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
The solarization is is an exciting method, for the intended affects of of killing bugs and weeds and maybe even some shallow tree roots. I wonder which bugs know to dig deep in the soil and if the worms are smart, or if they just boil like the fable about the frog getting boiled and not sensing the need to move. I wish I had adequately prepped one patch to grow a large plant, but instead I will be an underdog at the scales as usual. Its looking like I will have 8 good plants in 150 ft (approx.) and a few stragglers. Getting a larger patch prepped is going to require better planning. Solarization should perhaps be part of that planning. I used to like being on bp but I've pretty much got the seeds bashed out of me not fun anymore. But I will keep this diary going. The negativity has overwhelming, even if it was deserved, which I guess it was. I do appreciate the few friends I have:)
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
In approximate order of hoped-for size: 186 Radach 1000 lbs. Orange 143 Clayton x2 850 & 600 lbs 2005 Haist 800 lbs 274 Clayton 800 lbs 1963.5 Stevens 750 lbs 658 Garofano 700 lbs 430 Clayton 650 lbs 982 Gadberry 500 lbs 261.5 Clayton 400 lbs. Orange 1551.5 Rodeb 300 lbs. 563 Garofano x2 300 & 250 lbs 985 Nesbitt 100 lbs Tobeck --- Clayton --- Only the 563 Garofano and the Nesbitt seem to be underperforming... Not sure yet if its genetic. I should give the 563 a big push on the ferts it can probably handle way more. The Rodebaugh just not lucky, the genetics seem fine. Thats where I figure I am at, currently. I only marked orange if I thought it was a guatantee. There is a Tobeck straggler 1484.5? it went ribbon and also got lifted backwards by wind so its out there and another of mine out there... I think Anna's 541 actually... But I am writing them off at... 0 lbs. I think I will start a giant cantelope tonight. Ps. Star of the week... goes to Lady Gaga the 274 Clayton. She remains on the stage! Not a drag anymore, she is a queen.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
Another revision of my understanding... The yellow/light green cupped-up leaves... This could be an excess of ash salts... Which is good they will come in handy later but right now I probably am still relatively short on nitrogen and some micros. Last year my best plant tested a little "too high" in nitrogen but the pumpkin was unaffected by disqualifying problems... The way high nitrogen might have been ok because it also tested high in calcium. I need to push the plants. Since I did not prep the soil perfectly or even adequately, the result of this is that feeding becomes a daily routine. With a large area of balanced soil, they might not run out so quickly of "this or that." Pruning & Fertilizing... Hardly anything else matters now. The good news is the "excess-ash" plants do respond well to watering & soluble fertilizer. As a foliar it will not add further salt to the roots. I will try daily foliar. I have a good little sprayer dialed in lightly so it wont burn.
Thursday, May 9 View Page
124 degrees should get near 130 in another hour. Officially killing bugs and weeds today. The second sheet of plastic has boosted the temps. If the next two days are clear and 80 degree days (forcast says so) should be near 140. Most years... early May would not provide this type of weather. I am very happy to have an alternative to roundup. I dont need roundup to bind what few trace minerals my soil has. (A step in the wrong direction.) I think using glyphosate has been a 'one step forward one step back' kinda deal. I will probably just sow rye/oats and white clover here?
Thursday, May 9 View Page
Pic. Area is approx 40x 30.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
Nesbitt looking for a comeback. It was flirting with death.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
Hot weather for May, low 80s two days in a row. Tomatoes 5.04 Clayton 4.05 Piene 6.93 La Rue and 3.11 Oglesby. Gregs looks the best at the moment. But these all a have 3-6 lb potential in this location. Onions here, too.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
982 Gadberry. This plant is looking better. Another chance for me to hit 1000. All depends on weather, disease, and if U can keep up with the watering and fertilizing. All pants are responding well to Jack's Blossom Booster. I have been applying a dilute spray daily. I always think of Mr. Jack La Rue... Like I am using his fertilizer... Just a coincidence in the name, though.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
My own potting mix the right half. These are ornamental types and marrows and field kins. The store bought mix holds water better and has more nitrogen fertilizer. I am happy that they are not rotting in my mix, (I dont think the misses were rot--just randomly bad seeds) but the fertility has been surprisingly low. I thought the "beehive waste" goodies I used were very fertile... But lately it appears it has very little nitrogen and perhaps it lacks other nutrients...
Saturday, May 11 View Page
While most plants have been improving in the warm weather and light fertilizer, this one (1963.5 Stevens) in the 150 ft patch of couse! ...has not. Its turning yellow. Its not wilting so I do not think the roots have not been damaged. Perhaps what hapoened here is I added calcium in the form of gypsum. And I added enough that its interfering with the ammonium and magnesium uptake. My soil doesnt lack iron. So altogether I think this problem is narrowed to just "excess" calcium. But there is no such thing as excess the plant is not wilting so I think pushing a lot more nitrogen and magnesium will be successful. Its often such a gussing game... but its getting fun as I get closer to knowing what Im doing...
Saturday, May 11 View Page
Its going to take a lot of effort to be successful at the 150 competition. I wish I had full sun... short a half hour in the morning and about an hour in the evening. Close to full sun... but if sun & light is the limiting factor... My results will be down about 10%-20%. I would think 800-900 lbs would be possible here but without more light I cant see getting higher than that. Even if we do everything else perfectly, 1000 will still be a struggle.
Sunday, May 12 View Page
Pumpkin #2 a little behind the other. Vine bent in towards the pumpkin... This is because I forgot about cutting the tendril. So there will be no "keeping one secondary past the pumpkin" here. I might also prune off the secondary at the pumpkin as an experiment. I believe dead ending wont hurt my final weight on these and it really makes positioning easier.
Sunday, May 12 View Page
A couple things I like... Marker flags: Have many uses including holding vines, leaves and plastic... And... Yes, marking. It will be easy to align these vines perfectly. Ps...This plant looks a bit mottled but the other has shown nitrogen deficiency. Probably still have enough ammonium and not enough nitrate. I cant add more to the other plant without adding more to this one. This one looks like its got plenty, so why is the other acting deficient? I dont get it.
Sunday, May 12 View Page
I liked this rebar over this plant. Keeps me from dragging a watering hose on the plant. Also its easy to throw a piece of plastic on it (then secure the edges of the plastic with boards or dirt). Hopefully wont have to do that any more covering since they are outgrowing all the setups, even this one is past the end of the rebar. This is a good plant. Most of my plants dont look impressive this one is not impressive either, but its becoming a nice plant. Its the 430 Est.
Sunday, May 12 View Page
I ended up NOT rototilling the solarized ground. I decided it was too much work. I spread oats clover and turnip seed. I put a thin layer of "horse dirt" on the patch. A tractor would be great because I dont really have the time or energy to rototill that big an area. I could... But trying to lean my gardening efforts towards things I can still do 20 years from now.
Monday, May 13 View Page
'Majesty' looking so regal-green. Its showing a kin. So thats kin #3. Probably at least two weeks out and not far out on the plant. But I might go for it. Beavis pollination tomorrow possibly. Hopelessly far behind on tlc I dont know if I can make any of my weight goals. For now though, the hay bale plants look good. And I think the nutrients locked in the hay will help later this summer. It also locks under the plants a huge volume of water. These plants will have a lot of water below them but they will need every bit of it. I wont have much time to take great care of my plants. Might not do better than last year. Looking a little better than expected right now though.
Monday, May 13 View Page
Weather has been on a nice track... Doing my best to jinx it. Almost two weeks without rain. Only an inch in the past 30 days. Its getting dusty out there.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
Success!!! (Well in terms of getting to the starting line! But haven't turned the car on yet...) This should be the earliest pollination ever for me by far. However no males are set to bloom tomorrow... I picked the four new males available today and they're being refrigerated in a plastic bag. I hope its not too cold and the pollen remains viable. Also the female is under plastic in case it does open... Rain ruined a nice early pollination last year. No Murphy's law hopefully!
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
I may already seem to be unorthodox, but I must confess I find myself blindly accepting and following the common growing methods. But I must not accept things blindly without any thought. Thats so unscientific. What I am thinking is, although some main vine roots could help contribute to the xylem, they are a sink for phloem. And I want phloem sinks as far away as possible from the pumpkin. I want xylem flow which is equally important but if the pumpkin is set close to the main roots... And dead ended...Perhaps no additional xylem flow would be needed? In this situation phloem may be the more limiting factor. How big a pumpkin could I get without any vine burying? I was assuming I would at least bury the main but my thinking is changing. The other thing I am considering is, for Steve Daletas, consistency was a big part of his 2018 success story. If I can focus on consistent & good pumpkin growth over a long period of time... That might be an effective strategy for me. I wish I could try for 40 or 50 lb days but I think that would take larger plants that have been set up better. At this point I can only try to maximize what I get from smaller plants lacking large areas of 'perfect soil'. I think consistent feeding and watering alone wont get me a monster but perhaps by channeling Steve Daletas consistency I can reach my goals and consider my year to be successful. Most of the top growers are smarter than me and that may never change, but I could at least be consistent.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
I will try for consistent watering: temp, fertilizer ("tea" and/or chemical), and soil moisture. In the past I have been haphazard. I want to try to push the forward growth more and not allow any back vines to become dominant, since I feel they are not sufficiently connected to the pumpkin.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
895 Nesbitt on left. Its soaking up a needed psychological boost sitting next to the---weaker, surprisingly!!!---1234 LaRue on the right. I gave it enough potassium nitrate to get it going so it might finally green up and go. Its been struggling for quite awhile... some of its peers in the same germination group are already vined out near 6 ft. Its about 3 weeks behind...? Weak seeds should certainly be started early although it might be just 1-2 weeks behind if it had gotten a better location and better fertilizing.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
Beavis is now a 'she'. (It happens a lot nowadays.) Butt-head is getting more feminine she is 3-4 days away. She will soon be 'Buttina'. Beavis already sounds feminine? Anyhow, hopefully Beavis likes older men. But those older men were not performing normally--no joke--something about the pollen, didnt seem to be sticking quite right. Too bad because she is a beauty of a plant! With no other pollinations in sight, probably 3 weeks until the next pollination!!! Look at that plant, pollination on May 15. And yet people say my methods dont work. Well they might not! Unlucky in love, perhaps.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
Fyi, you can still start seeds now if you are wanting a Halloween pumpkin. There's an idea behind the extra early start I have demonstrated---the idea is to give a full growing season to a pumpkin that would go to a fair event here--at the end of August. Thats two full months ahead of Halloween... Mid-May is a late start for a competitive AGs but its ok if your goal is a Halloween harvest... Most competitive growers start mid April but dont give up on having a big one for Halloween. It's possible. Get started now.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
How aggravating. There WAS a male open today... I failed to see it. Also the dampness (cooler, on and off rain, and very humid) seems to have degraded the flower. This is what happened last year and lost that pollination. So realistically I no longer have any reason to hope this one will take. Now the plant will go crazy and get too big for its location. I really wish that energy was going into a pumpkin.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
Cantelope is a "go"... 1/2 sprouted. Thanks to the person who sent them... Well, thats it for me this year. My plate is entirely full. Most things are doing well. Even my tomatoes are mostly alive still. Could they grow a big tomato??? Maybe...
Friday, May 17 View Page
One male for the next pollination set for tomorrow. Will be running a heater on low to dry the flower off a bit. Its covered, and sealed closed. Discovered at least one mole turning the root zone into swiss cheese. I again noticed the plants just didnt look right... Set the traps. Less than an hour later, I had my first catch. Other than the weather being crummy at times things are going great... Dusted all the plants with sulfer because they have been wet for over 24 hours. I use and electric leaf blower and blow a cloud of sulfer on vines its not something you want to dust onto yourself. Same thing with diatomaceous earth... Hopefully I dont give myself cancer. Safe to injest I think but maybe not great to inhale. Idk. Many foods have sulfer and the diatomaceous earth is food grade. Probably means it doesnt works as well against bugs but oh well... it was not exceedingly expensive. Trying a fertilizer spike on 'em. Plants are growing well so that means I need to try some new ideas. And risk messing them up. But it well balanced fertilizer. It might be just the boost they need.
Saturday, May 18 View Page
Pollination #2. On Butt-head, I mean Buttina. This entire plant is just 2-3 days behind 'Beavis'. Ideal conditions for pollination on this one, though. If she takes, then the battle is halfway over. (Thank goodness.) ...800 lbs with warts!!!
Saturday, May 18 View Page
The sun is twice as bright here? No, I dont know why that picture is over-exposed.
Saturday, May 18 View Page
Partial removal of the secondary at the pumpkin, left the first tertiary... Just trying it. Could be a mistake. Will be relying heavily (nearly entirely) on the vines behind the pumpkin. I thought this is the best setup for a small plant. I wish I had space to grow these plants out full size. 982 Gadberry looks like the only plant I could go full size on this year? Looks like a real winner genetically. All the others... 150-350 sq ft only.
Saturday, May 18 View Page
Buttina. Secondaries could wrap forward around the pumpkin.... Hmm. Nowhere else for them to go. (Not much space. Planted back-to-back with Beavis & near a fence line too!)
Saturday, May 18 View Page
Bale kins. Weekly update: 2005 Haist and little Lady Gaga (my 274 Clayton) got roughed up a bit when the inner fence came down. Her pumpkin will have a big scar if it survives. 186 Radach is back to being the star of this show. I might try the impossible... A main vine set, close in to the stump, blossom down. A major pain---but woulld be worth it if it worked. I have aligned the plants at 120 degrees (1/3 third for each) so the vines can all have their own space, for now. Not worried about a few leaves overlapping.
Sunday, May 19 View Page
I think she is a dud. 4 DAP. The growth of the secondary here is more dominant than I would like. It might not affect the pumpkin, but maybe it does. Hard to know. Some growers remove the leaf here because it will start to scratch and conflict with the pumpkin. I think its an important leaf but its certainly inconvenient especially when its directly under the pumpkin. An idea---it could be bent out of the way (likely w/damage to the stalk but cracked or bent leaves can still contribute) and staked/artificially supported, rather than completely removed. There is a whole spectrum of opinions some folks will hate this idea. Its just an idea. Really, I dont know what I am doing... I am just forwarding some ideas. Not the absolute truth---which some of us may be seeking---idk.
Sunday, May 19 View Page
Tore the flower off to get the stigma to not get too soggy. I think this one will set. I like the secondary pared down to a tertiary here. Again not saying anyone should do this. Just saying I like it. I dont like the brown rotting/cracking/shrivelling on the vine end where the main was terminated. In the future, for small plants, I will probably want to: -Pare the main down to just the subsequent secondary. -Pare the secondary at the pumpkin down to its first tertiary (as seen here). This could be redirected back up the plant's main... to replace old leaves and keep the plant compact. I could set myself up better results just buying a tractor paying for soil tests and running big plants. Maybe some day. Meanwhile--- I am figuring out how to do the best I can.
Monday, May 20 View Page
Switching to growing rhubarb... & Compost tea setup. (Have not figured out why its not as potent as I would like it to be...) I have only one positive thing to say about the weather: rhubarb is ok with it. Everything else... looks like a swimming rat in a rainstorm.
Monday, May 20 View Page
150 patch 1963.5 Stevens. This is what I mean by inadequate patch prep. These are bindweed roots. Including a momma bindweed root. Shovel breaks them which causes more starts. Four tine broadfork lifts them nicely out of the ground though!
Monday, May 20 View Page
I sprayed the bindweed here twice with glyphosate. This knocked it down for a month. Not bad... but the roots are alive still. It's starting to revive itself. I want to get away from using glyphosate because I dont want any minerals to be bound to it / removed from being available to the pumpkin plant. Plus it doesnt work on perennials. With perennials its three strikes your out--maybe. I cant get clear answers from the internet about what it does exactly. The answers on the net are general type answers they are not precise... Drives me nuts. I would still consider using it for prepping ground for commercial jack o' lanterns but for competitive growing I cannot figure out whether its a step in the wrong direction. I could go on and on. Roundup rant: I like having clear answers. Murky answers keep things profitable???
Thursday, May 23 View Page
This is supposed to be a picture of a finished 150 sq ft patch. Other than being a week or two behind, everything is going great. I don't want to jinx them but my early pollinations may have set. Trying something new, cutting male flowers off. I dont think its a cost effective effort. But, I need to control the stump-end vine growth better this year. Weather has been poor and cooler so this has slowed the growth greatly and the 10 DAP numbers will be half what they should be. Weather is the early season variable. But from past experience I know that as the weather gets better, watering and fertilizing will become the limiting variables... Soon I will get to see if any of my new tricks will work.
Thursday, May 23 View Page
In the previous picture my 430 is the better looking plant, on the right surrounded by potatoes. I dont know for sure if its genetic or just a nitrogen issue. I do see a female bud on the 150 plant (1963.5 Stevens) about 2 weeks out. Right where I want it :) So things are looking really really good other than the nitrogen/magnesium issue.
Friday, May 24 View Page
If I figured it out in the past-- then now have forgotten--which bugs do this... These are octopus gourds from the seed exchange.
Friday, May 24 View Page
But they do the same thing to the bindweed. In fact, the great advantage of not using pesticides is the pests can nearly kill every weed. The only requirement is that the weeds must be lightly covered in dirt so the pests can much all night and day 24/7. And this actually works. On bindweed!!! Crazy. So my choice is to use insecticide and have weed problems... or just cover the weeds with dirt while covering the vines and the pests will switch from eating the pumpkin plants to eating weeds.. And then have I dont have to care about weeds... or pests... or my own health!
Friday, May 24 View Page
I lied I do use one pesticide... Slug line. Its way too cheap and convenient. Gotta remember to apply diatomaceous with the alfalfa, and prior to dry weather. The alfalfa does mold if we get more than one day of rain. Then I have to cover it with dirt and start over. I think one of the molds that can occur on the alfalfa is a type that is not good for pumpkin plants.
Saturday, May 25 View Page
Same as Rmen... 10 DAP. This is size of one @ 6 DAP (under more ideal conditions) but only a few sunny days here and not warm enough. It appears to have set though so complaints!!! 8.75 " circ.
Saturday, May 25 View Page
NO complaints! Set outdoors in Washington. May 15th. It was possible in theory... but it seemed like a long shot. I would say the weather here has been slightly favorable overall--not over the top great--mostly its just not nearly as bad as elsewhere. A couple years ago we got a frost in June...
Saturday, May 25 View Page
Bale kins weekly update. Not much to report. Still going with all three plants. The 186 Radach is twice as big as the others, but the others (2005 Haist and 274 Clayton) look good by normal standards. The 186 is a bit of a freak. (Selfed x selfed seeds might have some extra hybrid vigor? ...This does seem to be the case with this seed.) Glad the weather is cool... or I wouldn't be able to keep up. Ironically my other set is at 7 DAP... so mirroring Rmen there too. Except, it looks like 3 DAP! Next, I need to mirror his final weights.
Sunday, May 26 View Page
Would Howard Dill like this pumpkin? No... its not round and its not very big. It was plain orange, not dazzling. To me this was evidence that the public dislikes them grown on their side. The only HDA award I have ever won. Public just loved this one. Which probably backs up the argument for letting the growers choose.... But how do we connect with the public if we dont care what they like? Maybe some clubs will consider a people's choice award. I guess the GPC/orange guys are right... keep the HDA award amongst growers. Always a little awkward turning the HDA award into a public award. I just want to connect with the public... Thats what brings in the buck$. Sponsors are important. Public not excited = we don't have sponsors. And buyers are important. Growers don't buy pumpkins. It's good clean fun! Feed the pumpkin to pigs or cows when done displaying them so that growing giant kins is not a wasteful activity. Well... there I go thinking six months ahead rather than about the work I need to do now.
Sunday, May 26 View Page
Seems like March 21 is a good day to start tomatoes. All tomatoes going in today. Those that survived. I am really going to get serious about finding good starting mix next year. If I am going to spend money the product must deliver value beyond what I've been getting. Or I will create my own again. All mixes I have used are disappointing. My own mix wasnt so good either, it lacked nitrate and was too acidic and the nutrients just were not available to the plants... Very poor results. How can you buy potting mix and get worse results than garden dirt? Whats the point of a potting mix ithat can't sustain healthy plants? Why would anyone buy that garbage. I guess thats what I get for not wanting to spend $60 on the stuff the pot growers use... Another thing that has thrown me off is, the 'store brand' miracle grow has zinc sulfate while the real stuff has chelated zinc. It analyses the same but again cheap products where quality is poor. Would it cost them 3 cents more to use chelated zinc? Even the WOW packs seem to be less potent this year. Now I am really stepping on toes... but the point is I need to stick with the things that continue to deliver value and find new ones 9 out of 10 products dont. And those that do... you lose them to trade restrictions or loss of purchasing power, or sustainability pressures. Plenty of political fertilizer out there that I wish I could utilize. End of rant.
Sunday, May 26 View Page
I am ready for the 36 sq ft competition. 200 lbs?? ...I think so. Still not ready for 150.
Sunday, May 26 View Page
Butt-head @ 8 DAP. Too cold lately and cold again tonight. Beavis off in the distance getting an artificial tan. Tan is the word. Or maybe white. Neither has the smallest hint of orange... Pull 'em and replant!!!
Sunday, May 26 View Page
I love the amount of space for the pumpkin here. Not sure if 2000 lb would be possible on a dead ended vine but it may make a 600-800 lb pumpkin easy. Normally a curve would be put in the main, and some secondaries would be removed, and this would accomodate the pumpkin's growth. I wouldnt recommend to dead end unless you are ok with maybe cutting the growth potential in half. These plants don't have full size patches, so I dont think I will lose any lbs here. Thats just how it happened to work out. Best start wasnt in the best patch!!! They are in a little side patch. One more post!
Sunday, May 26 View Page
I won't even try to appear sane... New plan for the 150 patch. 1st rough draft. Sorry thats it putting new batteries in headlamp, going to go plant some tomatoes. This is the end of me being on schedule! From here until late August, I will never be caught up. Maybe that will mean fewer posts. Being caught up on work is nice, and unusual.
Tuesday, May 28 View Page
Rmen has posted what a normal 10 day kin should look like... his pic @ just 9 DAP very nice. This is butthead at 10 DAP. I would be fairly certain this was an abort if this was mid-summer. The nutrition in my plants may be off. But the main issue, I think, is that its just not mid summer. These plants are hungry for full sun. Whats the point of an early start if they are going to grow at half speed, or less...??? (Mine are growing at 1/4 pace!) Well, until night temps stay close to 60 there perhaps there is not much I can do. I can plan to do better next year. I had a very slow start on my biggest one last year. And these are even slower to start.
Tuesday, May 28 View Page
I found myco under bindweed seedlings (away from where I have applied myco in the past. And this confirms a previous suspicion because I thought I saw bindweed with myco last year too. I am harvesting this myco a full bucket of myco dirt... for...
Tuesday, May 28 View Page
...Use around the 895 Nesbitt. I added some purchased myco also. And compost tea with potassium nitrate. My compost/fertilizer tea is testing very high in phosphorous and low in nitrate and potassium. Not sure its a reliable test, but this plant still needs nitrogen despite applying a lot already. If this plant doesnt grow very well now... I will be surprised. So far the "old seed competition" it's been a lot of work, and no good results. Roots on this plant were surprisingly good though.
Tuesday, May 28 View Page
You can tell its the same plant as my previous pictures--no cheating here. It has grown three leaves in two months. ...Yay.
Tuesday, May 28 View Page
Compare it to the 982 Gadberry started at the same time. Given very similar care. Yikes... is it genetics, or just weak and can't find its footing in the world? Maybe both. In my book, Gadberry's 982 is a proven seed already, it has not gotten the best care. Genetics are showing through!!!
Wednesday, May 29 View Page
Help!!! I have leaves not petals. All three hay bale kins the flowers are opening early and seem to want to grow leaves more than proper petals. Please email me if you know the cause. I am sure it will sort itself out eventually but I am very curious to know...!
Wednesday, May 29 View Page
Other than that they look fairly normal. Maybe weather related... lack of heat. Its gotta be nutritional though because the others dont have this issue... Maybe something is locking out phosphorous.
Thursday, May 30 View Page
Reflecting on one thing learned. The round bale kins... Having three in one spot lets me compare genetics AND see what is not genetic. The three round bale plants are not-closely-related plants, but some traits are the same, like the leaf growth-hormone blossoms... all three have it. No plants elsewhere have it. So, then I know its their "nutrient environment." It seems like a great advantage in gaining knowledge to plant multiples. As single plants I might assume it was partly genetics. Another plant comparison: The 2005 Haist has the largest leaves. This must be genetic. ...If it was planted elsewhere on its own, I wouldnt know for sure if the leaf size was genetic or just a factor attributable to the planting location. The point is, it's very handy for learning when there's a chance to compare plants. Unfortunately crowding them may not allow for a 2K pumpkin. But 1K might still be possible.
Thursday, May 30 View Page
4.05 Piene in front. 6.93 LaRue in back. 5.04 Clayton on right. Pair of 3.11 Oglesby's on left. Recent diatomaceous dusting... Has reduced flea beetle activity but not completely.
Friday, May 31 View Page
186 Radach slips into a May pollination. I was unprepared fir two reasons... First its flower petals were deformed crinkly green stubs. Second I cut way too many male blossoms off my other plants. I figured I would have many available at this point--did the best I could with two from the 143's. Not sure they were today's flowers, but they had some pollen. Did the best I could. Little mistakes that aren't really so little. I will have a nice plant... yet no pumpkin to take to the fair?
Saturday, June 1 View Page
Up for an extra challenge? If you want to grow one blossom down mail me- I want to comiserate about growing this way. I did a preliminary lift here to see if the pumpkin will bend without issue. Was going to time lapse it using an ipad. Unfortunately I will have to lift this a lot more, and all the side vines too. I am considering just going with a set out on a secondary. Lifting a secondary is easy. Lifting the main is not.
Saturday, June 1 View Page
This one I waited too long. The vine wont bend easily nor will the pumpkin bend down without risk of something breaking once they get to this size. Interestingly the pollination here using refrigerated 2nd day males did work. They were picked the previous day and put in a plastic grocery bag... It might help if the humidity is not too high or low.
Saturday, June 1 View Page
In other words, the males were already open 24+ hours: They opened the previous day, the day before the female opened. The 186 Radach was actually supposed to be open today so maybe I doubly botched that one... Had a few other early ones open today too... but most of the good ones are a week or more away...
Saturday, June 1 View Page
If Steve Daletas thinks this is a bigger problem for him than most other growers... Well then this is a good sign that I am doing something right. No ferts prior to hot sun??? ...Or shade 'em.
Sunday, June 2 View Page
Bale kins weekly update. All the early pollinations on all three had issues... so no early pollinations. I am aware of a manganese deficiency in many of my plants. I like that the round bale can hold a weeks worth of water. Also the potassium should be sufficient. This is no till. No doubt many roots are encountering hostile slime and bugs. But sort of keeping ahead of the nasties so far... Although if I was to do this again, I would want the prep work on the surrounding patch to be much better. This patch will soon be a major disaster?
Monday, June 3 View Page
This is png file not sure it will work. Was looking for reasons why Butthead is no longer doing better than Beavis. Heat stress and a kink were the only two causes I could come up with. Doesnt look like much... but the reduced growth suggests otherwise? I guess I need to be more careful about any small damage to the plumbing. It can probably fix itself/compensate in just a few days. The setback should be temporary.
Monday, June 3 View Page
They should be able to hang at bowling ball size without any issue as long as the vines are tied in a way that wont kink. Next to a quart jar here not bowling size yet. Will put sand under this one... in a day or two. I am starting to think main vine sets are not compatible with blossom down growing because a side vine requires lifting only one vine. I will have to lift five or six vines here. .. That would be fine if I had only one plant. But, five or six vines multiplied by five or six plants? Equals lot of work, right.
Monday, June 3 View Page
I am gonna owe Ken some money to host more than 200 photos... yikes. Blossom-down growing: This is the idea, sort of. Suspension bridge. I may tie the leaves rather than the vine. This could prevent kinks in the vine. The idea of putting sand atop mill fabric sheets is questionable. I dont want to grow them on their side anymore. I need an easy system that works!!!
Monday, June 3 View Page
Not as straightforward as hoped. I am thinking a more shoelace-manner to string up the next one.
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
DAP 20. Nylon line of this type works great as a permanent measuring tape. (Pinch the line & it will hold the mark for the entire season!!!) Right at two feet circ. -- which is small. The markings were increasing until last night which was especially cold--temps dipped below 40. I assume thats why the gain was down a bit on both. DAP 25-30 should give the max gains normally but if nature refrigerates the pumpkin... this may prevent and/or delay the normal development. I believe near 60 degrees overnight would be better. Upper 30's does cut growth in half.
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
Knuckle dragger here. It looks painful the way this plant is pushing along at ground level.
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
Leaves are bloated with nitrogen. I will try some potassium/calcium. I am surprised nitrogen is not getting these vines off the ground. 658 Garofano.
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
The cherry tree I pruned back in January. Cherries are far and away one of the most satisfying things I have ever put effort into.
Tuesday, June 4 View Page
Baby AG is a delicacy. If you dont use systemic pesticides it can be picked at 2-4 days, and its the same as a yellow summer squash. Better, in fact. Love it.
Wednesday, June 5 View Page
I think I would have been better off to not dead-end. The goal of a smaller plant could be acheived by limiting the growth at the back if the plant but allowing/keeping more growth at the pumpkin. I am unsure if xylem or phloem is limiting. The vines certainly need both. Some nutrients do not enter the phloem very well, but yet... the pumpkin may rely entirely on phloem?
Wednesday, June 5 View Page
Second instance of seeds in blossom in bale kins patch on genetically unrelated plants. Makes me think this is a nutritional issue not just random. However, as predicted some blossoms are now normal--its a problem they can easily grow out of-- but nevertheless I may if I do some tissue testing it may reveal something about this. And a host of other issues I am having now.
Thursday, June 6 View Page
Finally got enough nitrogen into the ground for the 895 Nesbitt 2002. I believe it can do as well as the others despite being my smallest viable plant. Goal is 500 lbs blossom down. Good weather coming up, and its in a somewhat good location.
Friday, June 7 View Page
Genetics anyone? 1381 Checkon x 1625 Gantner. This plant was so slow I can happily say--finally-- it actually knows how to grow! I hope this one further proves itself by going heavy/ over-the-chart.
Friday, June 7 View Page
I should have noted... Emanuele Garofano made the cross. (658 Garofano). Ideally, I would use the 2005 Haist as a pollinator but so far its been short on good males, which is probably a nutritional issue. Maybe that will change so I can continue some good genetics into a new line.
Friday, June 7 View Page
Some no-till aka worm tilled tomatoes. Too wet to till plus I want to see if they do the same of better than those which got tilled. Tilling disrupts both the good and the bad cycles hard to know if it matters in some situations it might help. I am thinking worm-tilling is better overall for me more of the time but there may also times when rotilling is useful. Getting rid of mole tunnels is a good reason to rototill. Can't have root health when there are moles!
Friday, June 7 View Page
Here's what you might want to see. In the future I may want to look back as a comparison to see where I was at this year. This is proof 24 hour refrigerated pollen can achieve a pollination--used nothing here but pollen stored 24 hours beyond when the time when they opened. Nice light orange tint showing up, but at this stage I think the light orange ones can still turn to that pink/white/green motif. I've been fooled in the past. But ...it wont be plain white. Unsure why this one is growing faster than the other. My pruning scheme may need to be adjusted to get them to grow better in spring weather.
Saturday, June 8 View Page
Trying an idea, getting the plant to think this pumpkin is set in a good sunny location. The light is hitting the main leaves near the pumpkin but really trying to hit the tertiary vine bud coming off the pumpkin, which is (maybe?) too shaded. I don't know how the chemistry works but I believe I do know the plant would prefer to set fruit in a sunny location / abort fruit that is in total shade. I think it "knows" via calcium and auxins/gibberellans. The chemistry is just too complicated. It wouldnt really matter if the weather was consistent and favorable. Then the only issue would be water and nutrients. Many issues here. Trying to avoid an abort... so if the plant thinks its sunny near the pumpkin, in spite of heavy rain/spring weather it may not abort. One less issue is good because its down to abort-level growth rates. Last chance. Hanging on still... but if anything else slows it further, this one may be done.
Saturday, June 8 View Page
That last pic was DAP 20. So something pretty seriously wrong. Some things that may be going wrong/may have gone wrong: Weather. Plant nutrition. And my well-intentioned pruning.
Monday, June 10 View Page
Bale kins update... I think I omitted this weekend. There certainly are some nutrients in the big hay bale. But there are deficiencies too. This was low grade hay off a low fertility pasture so its more like straw. Which is probably a good thing. Easy to add nutrients and just let the hay be a reserve source of nutrients and water. It must be hard on the roots to deal with uncomposted material but if that sets the plants back a few weeks, could they still make up for it later?? Two inches of rain here so everything is out of contol. If I dont get these plants pruned it will all be a less-productive mess very soon. Many early females on weak side vines already but main pollinations looks like 1 week away basically on schedule with last year. Will better pruning and fertigating this year make a positive difference over last year? The only sure thing is I am not where I wanted to be for a big fair pumpkin.
Monday, June 10 View Page
Abort on the May 18th pollination. I am attributing it to weather. It stopped growing during the last bad weather. It probably would have made it if I was not adding fertilizer. Fertilizer plus bad weather... Probably threw the calcium off or stressed the roots. Oh well. The May 15th pollination is going ok growth should improve now. Glad I was able to prove an early plant and pollination is possible here & it was with relatively minimal inputs: Certainly nothing fancy... A drafty plastic shack with a small heater set on low. Used two t-posts and a bunch of junk laid on the outer plastic keeping it taught. An early start was the number one goal for me this year. The only unknown I have remaining about getting an early start is if the pumpkin itself should be more pampered or left alone. I could have put a heater or blanket or something out to assist the little pumpkins... but did not know if it would help so I did not do any such pampering. I occasionally did use a grow light though near the pumpkin. But its just 90 watts I think. Hopefully that info is worth something, to someone?
Tuesday, June 11 View Page
Soil test. Oops... not good here.
Tuesday, June 11 View Page
Oats about 1 ft tall now. Rodebaugh and Pukos. One cotyledon broke off the Rodebaugh and its been behind ever since. I might try these as --very unorthodox --"40 sq ft plants" and see what they can do. Never tried it before so guaranteed to learn something. I like oats and clover... I love looking at this patch because there is no work that needs to be done. Its... the sabbath patch.
Tuesday, June 11 View Page
Ran a trickle through the hoses all afternoon. Now I have a barrel of water at 90 degrees. Which means I have two barrels of water at 70 degrees...( if I add an equal amount of well water at 50 degrees.) Works for now. And yeah I looked for zinc etc at the store but hey a little miracle grow never hurt. Its the perfect time of year and meets my needs at the moment. In my opinion. I do plan to use some other good fertilizers at some point. I have some kelp and Holland's blossom/fruit one. I have been too lazy in the past and cheap in the past with my fertilizer and water. I need to remember not to fall into that old habit. But... not go overboard either.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
Part of the issue here looks to me like residual herbicide damage. They say glyphosate breaks down but I think they mean under certain optimal conditions. Less than optimal conditions... Then soil affects will still be seen six months later.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
Another just for the heck of it. I post too much because I am basically posting anything I an intrigued by. It's interesting to me when trust fails... I trusted an herbicide and--this isnt the first time--it has really let me down. Of course it seems to work around other plants without lasting ill affects. I wonder if anyone else has seen this. It may just be my particular soil or how much gets washed into the ground. Perhaps I am applying it excessively (I dont think so) but for me ot certainly seems to persist. What a fail.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
The mole is certainly not helping but the small leaves at the growing tip looks like the herbicide is still actively binding to zinc, boron, etc. What its designed to do...! Oats for some reason seem immune to one or more of these deficiencies and can appear very healthy where other plants would be deficient. Or perhaps they do nevertheless find these nutrients, by very effective fungal interactions. They are known to associate with multiple myco species, some that pumpkins may not favor.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
Credit where credit is due. Wilbur Ellis, "Perfection". Its marketed as a turf fertilizer. Also WOW myco. And a bit of calcium sulfate. Thats the only two items these got amended with... It's an area that has been terrible in the past. Fourteen cherry tomato plants here and they all look good. These were ones that had pythium which they've now overcome so I guess its can be a transient disease, not necassarily a fatal disease. Ok have posted plenty... Maybe too much? Thank goodness I am out of things to post for now.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
Ok dang. Its "Perfection: Special K" not just "Perfection". Many blends under the perfection label. Anyhow not here to promote anyone just giving credit. Its a happy contrast from my experience with other products.
Wednesday, June 12 View Page
Direct planted marrows today. Four seeds. A late start for an AG but the growth period of the fruit is about 60 days less so it will work fine for an October weigh off, perhaps... Ok officially done posting.
Saturday, June 15 View Page
Notes for my future reference. I will probably not be posting anything interesting or controversial for the rest of the year... I have made enough pumpkin patch mistakes that the trajectory for this year is pretty well set, and I don't expect anything exciting. I will continue to make notes here of info that could be important that I may otherwise lose track of. So yeah... I need to do some serious reflection about the ways I need to change, its frustrating to slide back and be where I was last year. I think I can do some things different and better... And then all I achieve is the exact same results. Notes: Pollinated 6/13: 186 Radach (3 females), 658 Garofano. 6/14: 274 Clayton 'Lady Gaga', 658 Garofano side vine. Faint glimmer of success: 274 was such a runt... looks good now, genetics is there, just slow to start. Huge blossom, if I could stick that blossom on one of Daleta's plants... 2k for sure maybe 2400 again. I would have thought nothing of culling this plant earlier. I know my blossom assessment may not mean much, but I have seen a lot of female buds and most are rather ordinary. This one looks to me to have more potential than any other I've seen. I have seen a lot! I guess I should post a picture.
Saturday, June 15 View Page
This is the big blossom at a little over 1 dap... My 274 Est. 1774.5 Carter x 1992.5 Vincent. Runty to start. Now... awesome. Plant is still small and will not get great care maybe a pb though?
Saturday, June 15 View Page
Bale kins. Update. Good week but getting locked out on one or more nutrients really bad. What do I expect when I dont prep. the ground very well, right. Anyhow its gonna take a whole new level of foliar feeding to keep up with this lockout. Huge plants expected... huge pumpkins probably not so much.
Saturday, June 15 View Page
The mess of strings/cords-- yes not elegant--trying to get a couple vines blossom down. Very little luck so far. Dividing a few hours of time between all my garden stuff so maybe next year I will focus on just one plant. Well at least I dont overwater or overfertilize... If I had only one plant I would almost certainly make "overcare" type mistakes.
Monday, June 17 View Page
Blossom-down getting started... 3/4 down. Its a lot of tinkering nothing really difficult... helps that this one was growing over a trash can. This is my most sure bet so far... I dont remember if I said I would enter the blossom-down competition or stay out... but I'll stick with whatever I said. This plant is kinda average at the moment but maybe it could make an ok pumpkin... 500+ would be great. I could try for 1000... Its my 430 Clayton 2017 (1992.5 Vincent x 1505.5 Haist).
Tuesday, June 18 View Page
I just have this watering twenty tomato plants but its a real game changer for me. Takes two batteries. Programmed it without having to read a manual or anything. Even moved the clock at a nice speed. With the way my pipes look, it looks like I could use all the help I can get. This thing is a big help. I have used manual timers or just turned the water on and off. That works fine and doesnt take much time but when I went out today and saw my tomatoes had been watered without me even thinking about it... wow. I really was like, "Who watered my tomatoes?"
Tuesday, June 18 View Page
2005 Haist on left... love the shape... same shape as his 2400 lber I think. Interesting plant to grow. I can tell its related to the 1415 Haist I grew two years ago. My 'big blossom' on right 3 1/2 dap had seeds coming out at the stigma so I dont think twice about keeping these... I'd guess 9 of 10 dont make it to the end of the season. Some of these slow-to-start plants end up being real monsters? I am blown away by what I'm seeing. It would be nice if I could keep up. I will try to keep up.
Wednesday, June 19 View Page
I've got warts! Looks to me like if these had grown they might have had a wart or two. Bad news is these plants are aborting left and right. I think it is a pollen issue. The pollen is no good because my nutrients are too far off. Too many nutrient issues. Zinc etc. I will try balanced fertilizers. My "guessing" what they need is not working.
Friday, June 21 View Page
Well, spring is over. Mixed results, nothing amazing, some good stuff happened though. I got a good start on some of the early tomato plants. The plants are bigger yet blooming later relative to the size of the plant. Beginning to bloom now. So if any first truss megas do set there will be plenty of plant to achieve the tomato growth. The later starts will be blooming soon yet not nearly as much plant to push any sets. Cherries and raspberries ripe today. Lots of pumpkins set around the 13th of June plus or minus a week. As usual I grew too many plants and dont care anymore who-sets-what-where. Later I will regret this. Well that's it. Achieved my goal of an early start. Next year, better patch prep (and maybe keep vines and kins warmer somehow?) so that the pumpkins hit the ground running. Getting the plants big is easier than getting a good fast growing pumpkin to set. Maybe I should try for a bit later pollination date... on a nice big plant. If I dont get a patch prepped the way I want I may take next year off... August this year is when my 2020 season will either get off to a good serious start, or not.
Saturday, June 22 View Page
Tomato patch tour. Bushy plants in a tilled area. They dont really need cages even??!
Saturday, June 22 View Page
Bigger bushy plant, starting to flower. 5.04. Flower bud is average 4-5 lb maybe.
Saturday, June 22 View Page
Biggest plant. 4.05 Peine. This one is aborting I guess I shorted it on balanced fertilizer its showing multiple deficiencies. But one thing its not short on is size. I tried to keep up with this plant but I guess I didnt. I think its bigger and less yellow than the camera says but to some extent the camera doesnt lie. Especially about weeds.
Saturday, June 22 View Page
This is what I mean by a more spindly plant. Probably many factors but bugs-eating-roots may be an issue here. This was no-till... & slightly less sunlight. Maybe its mostly about sunlight. And there is probably not much correlation between a big plant and a big tomato. Its probably mostly about root health and having other optimal conditions for growth.
Sunday, June 23 View Page
When rocks speak. I guess I offended this one....? My bad.
Sunday, June 23 View Page
How rude... Lucky for you if your pumpkin patch doesnt feel that way about you!
Sunday, June 23 View Page
Bale kins. Those who guessed zero pounds... could still win but I am at one pound yay not zero anymore:) Hangin' down. Mess of twine, and even a ladder. All I know is I am staying out of the patch today. Thats all for this week...
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
Was not expecting color on this one. It could go yellow, light orange or pink. Hard to tell but its looking yellow enough to make me wonder if I correctly remember which seed I planted here. Lady Gaga the 274 or 174 Clayton??? The 174 would have more color. I hope I find the marker tag out there. I should also date the plant tags with planting date, including year.
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
Summer always seems to begrudge the pacific northwest. It comes for a week then says it doesnt want to stay... and then we get a totally unwanted preview of fall.. Usually around July 4th. Early this year... Well thats fine with me. Good riddence summer.
Tuesday, June 25 View Page
High Five Bigboy! Got one set in the 150 patch. Its at the edge though of my boundary, which was the log. I still dont have the final boundary marked. Plant is about 100 ft square. 1963.5 Stevens. Nice plant. Unknown cross and pollination date. Can I move the planned boundary and keep going? Breaking the rules. I will call mine an unofficial entry.
Wednesday, June 26 View Page
895 Nesbitt 2002 / old seed competition. Kinda small vines still. Unless this plant has another gear I can see how it would be hard to get much above 1100-1200 with a plant like this... I will be lucky to get half that. Surrounded by potatoes because I am mixing my priorities.
Thursday, June 27 View Page
My May 15th pollination stopped growing a few weeks ago...
Thursday, June 27 View Page
Plants are large. About 500 sq ft total. I think they ran out of minerals/nutrients. Fail. Only 100 ft of prepped ground here and I didn't follow through with my "secret plan" for getting good growth.
Thursday, June 27 View Page
150 sq ft plant. Its in 100 sq ft right now. I can try to implement my secret plan here. Hopefully. Always short on time...
Thursday, June 27 View Page
Pallet to grow on for getting bottom flat. I might put sand and/or a mill fabric mat on top. Note the hole for the blossom button, which I will not remove. Its DAP 14 on the pumpkin going on here and I'm not sure its a good idea to break it off.
Thursday, June 27 View Page
1/4 " mesh to keep tye mice out. Although cedar is a wood that dries rapidly, the extra airflow directly under the pumpkin wont hurt. This one will get hit by some irrigation possibly. When the bottom becomes concave the screened hole will give some air circulation under the pumpkin, which will help if the boards are getting wet every few days... or every other day. (Or every day... Whatever.) The only thing I dont like is this pallet will only hold an 800 lb pumpkin or so. 39" square. Probably sufficient in terms of where they are at this season, but usually its best not to set yourself up for future trouble...
Thursday, June 27 View Page
Already having to lift a pumpkin with a hoist. Probably weighs 20 lbs its bigger than it looks. Not going to trust the vine to hold it. Not sure the DAP here but its a smaller plant so the small pallet will go under this one instead. Hopefully I do not regret this later, I expect a halfway decent pumpkin here but not expecting 1000.
Friday, June 28 View Page
Yet another day where I should have stayed out of the garden... I went with the smaller side vine pumpkin here because it was a more interesting cross (x 2005 Haist). Just as soon as I culled the larger main vine set, I realized there is a massive split under the stem of the remaining pumpkin, (which cant be seen.) Great. The one I culled was flawless and bigger... Ugh, Ugh, Ugh.
Friday, June 28 View Page
Thislooks good to me. Hardware store closed so using sifted dirt, not sand. I've grown them directly on dirt successfully.
Friday, June 28 View Page
Note: No overhead irrigation here however and getting into a dry weather pattern. Otherwise sand would really be superior...
Saturday, June 29 View Page
Guess which cull is off the 186 Radach? The yellow one! 5.5 lbs... Biggest yellow tomato ever, ha ha? Anyhow the only issue I've had with this excellent seed is distorted kins sometimes like this one in the pic. The keeper is not distorted.
Saturday, June 29 View Page
Bale kins update. Est. 6 lbs. 186 Radach. Amen!
Monday, July 1 View Page
Tree lands on the Treece. Not my best tree cutting! Phone lense dented. Wish I could drop it in the trash can and do without, but I kinda want the weather forcast. And keep up with Henry ha ha. Unknown rule: # of posts shall not exceed your personal best lbs. Who wouldnt mind 2,000 posts from Steve Daletas lol.
Monday, July 1 View Page
Momma Cat. My 150 sq ft plant. Just noticed the vine kinked twice. I dont give these plants enough attention I think this dooms my chance of a good result. Well then there's the leaf issues. Which-- its a great plant and nice color (1963.5 Stevens!) and growing -- but obviously something is off. Most of my plants are off, and it sure is hard to figure out. My read the leaves strategy is very difficult. Acidity is my first suspicion, everywhere. If I get my watering up to 7.0 maybe then I can sort out the other issues. I suspect my soil is getting below 6.0 with very little buffer to stop it, so I need to make some changes.
Wednesday, July 3 View Page
Good to see everyone's posts. Fair pumpkin update. Sorry no pic, I am exhausted. Just a note: I think (cross my fingers) I am at least on track with where I was last year. But last year was a very slow start and this year is shamefully slow too. 20 DAP. A bit under 3 ft circ. Crazy small. I could improve the growth rate a lot with better roots/nutrition. Probably I should have a goal of a plant twice as big, which should be possible because they've grown at half the speed I think I can achieve. 250 sq ft or so at the moment... Another idea is that cool nights might set them back a week. I might want to consider using the greenhouse in the future. I so am happy with where things are at on this one. The only thing that could be better is if I wasnt dealing with chronic exhaustion/low energy. Retirement age should be 40.
Thursday, July 4 View Page
Pollinations have been from June 13th onward and we have had relatively cool weather that entire time. I'm guessing thats half the issue. Because of the early start they're the biggest I've ever had for this time of year but growth rates are off the charts beneath where everyone else's are... I think when nights are in the low 50's, highs in the 70's they just languish and wait for real summer weather. I've been avoiding cold irrigation but ground temps may still be in the upper 50s. I should check...
Thursday, July 4 View Page
Happy 4th! Here's one to put some TNT into. This was my May 15th pollination. I thought the weather or nutrition stopped it. Looks like there was a split below the stem all along. Precisely where I couldnt see it. Well, bye "Beavis and Butthead"... you two sure lived up to your names.
Saturday, July 6 View Page
Bale kins. What a step forward today. I overhead irrigated with 70 degree water. In the past my watering has been at odds with soil temperature... the more I watered the closer I'd get to 55 degrees.
Saturday, July 6 View Page
Majesty not so majestic... definitely hit a wall showing shrivel on the bottom. Not good. She is not reaching her 'cellular' potential some cells are not dividing. Probably needs more of whatever helps cells divide and/or whatever assists with nutrient transport. Weather has been lame. Not helping but at least its not way out on the other end at 100 degrees. Looks like it will be closervto the summers I remember as a kid. Some years, we were in 70s all summer. More recently 80s has become whats normal.
Sunday, July 7 View Page
2005 Haist (culled) had a decent amount of early color. The vertical splits which is bad enough but the horizontal split was too much to deal with. Another smaller set will be the keeper on this plant. I think this is nutritional. I would guess along the lines of slight excesses, perhaps potassium and ammonium... locking other nutrients out.
Sunday, July 7 View Page
These beds were 3 ft and there were four. They looked big when I planted my plants out. Summer is just starting where are these plants going to grow??? I SHOULD PLAN ON 6 FT BEDS AND FOR VINES 6 FT LONG. At a minimum. Last year the vines got 8+ ft. Or I guess I could try for first truss megas, and thin the plants down if they fail to set a good first truss. 4.05 Peine and 5.04 Clayton. Love the domingoes!!! I think the others need more heat.
Sunday, July 7 View Page
I'm learning new things still almost every day. And I find more queations.. This was one that I very nearly culled a plant. The plants were almost identical. I thought the first plant was a slightly larger plant in stature, but just a hair slower. I was going to pull the smaller plant which did have a slightly longer vine. Now, the smaller plant has set a pumpkin very early only about 5 ft out on the main. Its actually my largest pumpkin now. The other plant has not picked up its pace even though it has no pumpkin to support. And the smaller plant is investing substantially in a pumpkin that is huge proportional to the plant. My conclusion: I think fast vine growth is a better trait than plant size. Both plants were the same seed and there was very little noticeable difference. The slightly faster vine growth of the smaller plant may have indicated it was the better plant despite smaller stature? The other plant has no pumpkin to slow it down. So, pumpkins don't really slow these plants down, lack of nutrients slows them down??
Monday, July 8 View Page
First blossom on the 895 Nesbitt 2002. Only six or seven feet out. Might wait for another. I don't really see any special genetic traits here, except that the seed lasted so long!!!
Tuesday, July 9 View Page
My 430 Clayton is a good plant. 5 gallon bucket is same distance from the the camera as the pumpkin. Hard to photo. I did no burn pit here and very little prep. It seems to like my "top secret" method. More than anything else, the burn pit idea needs modification . I think the wood ash and soil acidity etc are not meshing well. Although it does have some merit I need to be careful to make it healthier for roots. The wood ash, if I dont mix it well, the calcium is probably at to high a ph and unavailable, and the areas with added organics, the ph is probably too low. I mean, something is getting messed up. I should probably let nature do more of the work. I need to remember to keep things biologically friendly/root friendly.
Tuesday, July 9 View Page
Slugs love the wilted/ rotting cuttings. Interesting they are not a problem for the plants. They really prefer soft foods and will eat the dead flowers and tender weed sprouts. They will eat the cotyledons but other than that they're not menace. They are probably helpful in terms of recycling diseased material and reducing weeds.
Wednesday, July 10 View Page
Boo-hoo. She would really be perfect if not for the shrivel/retarded growth around the lower edge. I think this could have been partly a heat related stress (afternoon sun) its not so bad on the other sides, worst on the side that might have gotten a bit too warm. Warm is not a factor right now however. Today would be a pleasant day for late September/October.
Wednesday, July 10 View Page
150 sq ft competition. New set, which will is within the boundary I originally planned. The plant will exceed the boundary soon, so I need to get it marked now... or drop out.
Wednesday, July 10 View Page
The old set weighed 60 lbs. I was not expecting a new set in a better position, and the new set looks good. The old set might visit some cows tomorrow.
Thursday, July 11 View Page
I've done a rather poor job of getting main vine sets. I think this will be a notable factor in some poorer results than I would like. I was under perhaps a false impression that a side vine could have merits that could make it equal to a main. Although I can imagine a scenario where a side vine is equal to a main, but usually the main has more potential. Mike had a great result on a large side vine (2106 lbs) but perhaps his main vine had the potential to hit 2400+. It takes some luck to get the full potential out of a plant. I've always thought his big pumpkin proves a side vine can be equal to a main. But what if his main could have grown a 2500 lb pumpkin? Then my assumptions are all turned upside down.
Friday, July 12 View Page
Bale kin. 9.6 lb gain. Pretty good for rainy weather. Should be 3x that but oh well. Cross my fingers that she makes it seven more weeks. 30 DAP tomorrow. Today was the first day she did not feel buttery soft. Under 100 lbs still... terrible.
Saturday, July 13 View Page
Seeing a lot of this shape in my neglected early patch. Was thinking its not a good shape for blossom down. Would make a nice boat though. (If I stopped neglecting them...)
Saturday, July 13 View Page
A lot of lodging in the oats. I think a wider spacing would help and a bit more calcium maybe. They did very well on a burned area with minimal additional fertilizer. Growing them successfully is a work in progress. ...Maybe I'm halfway there.
Sunday, July 14 View Page
PERFECT weather today, finally...
Sunday, July 14 View Page
Her belly is showing-- time for an xl t-shirt-- trying for a Darwin award here. I think I dug out too much under the left side. EZ digging here only took half hour or so but still... I will be working on a different method of adjusting height in the future. More vine bends, or a more turn-key pallet adjustment method. I do like having them on pallets makes adjustments quite a bit safer for the pumpkin.
Sunday, July 14 View Page
It's my biggest by far for this time of year at around 200 lbs. I lost track of the pollination info however. 430 Clayton 2017 which is 1992.5 Vincent x 1505.5 Haist. Looks similar to her mom. Small plant, about 120 sq ft. Really phenomenal conversion of plant-to-pumpkin.
Tuesday, July 16 View Page
Cool and cloudy again. A notable lack of fully sunny days this summer. I found pumpkin roots about 12' out from the stump of the 150 sq ft plant. Worms think summer will dry things out. Some have gone into dormancy... They curl in a tight ball and wait for fall rains I guess. Even though the ground has not yet dried to wilting point. Their tunnels get filled with roots this time of year, and its probably a lot of effort and futile to try to dig new ones, although they can probably dig faster than roots can grow, if they have the energy... I think they go dormant when they run out of the food required for the energy to dig AND in anticipation of overly dry conditions?
Tuesday, July 16 View Page
Sunny again... Like a kid figurong out a light switch. More about my best grower so far... Was thinking its strange that the best grower is on a plant that was showing a magnesium deficiency... Was the deficiency because I threw down too much gypsum? All I know is, I dont need to be too concerned about the magnesium issue I was having earlier this year, since it did not affect the pumpkin. It even might have helped the pumpkin gain the necessary calcium and potassium to be a little short on magnesium? Very ordinary leaves on this plant not huge not luxurious. Not very waxy. And it wilts easily.... So maybe its transpiring faster than the other plants.... Maybe that is helping the pumpkin/ helping with the photosynthates. I am writing this down not because it makes any sense, but because hopefully some day I will figure it out.
Tuesday, July 16 View Page
Small but pushing sand.
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
Tomato friends, I have a real monster on the hook. Hope we can reel her in.
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
Put my heavy hooded jacket on today. No clue here that its July... Spring has been on the vine for 100 days. Tomato is maybe 7-12 DAP. Wish me luck! Artificial light in July. Well, that will soon change. Planning on potassium and calcium as the main feeds for this plant. It will probably get a very light dose of Biomin Manganese, and Epsom salt on the older foliage. I think it would be wise to be done with Nitrogen. Maybe I should water heavy right now, then I can refrain more later. I am not too worried about calcium right now. I am concerned healthy roots and calcium in the middle period of growth. I will probably cull the pumpkin plants out soon, but to a small extent they help me read the soil.
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
Wet t-shirt contest. This plant could fit in 100 sq ft. Doing amazing. As soon as I gave it the smaller pallet... I should have known! Of course it would grow better than the one which got the bigger pallet... thats how it works...
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
I never got my boundary set up but the 150 plant is in about 150 ft. If it does anything spectacular I can take all the measurements to see if I was on the money. Its dead ended now. Its on the left. My 430 on the right could squeeze into 100 ft Sparse vines and leaves, but what a pumpkin, wow!
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
Didnt realize that was blurry. With the leaves its probably a 200 ft plant, but as far as vines go, hopefully its 150.
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
Wet vines on my "photo" ladder. Another chance at a Darwin award. Well... you'd think this sport would be safe and tame but somehow I manage to get it up there with hang gliding, rock climbing, scuba diving, etc.
Wednesday, July 17 View Page
This is where the vines are. I wanted to be precise but just didnt happen. If I get anything good here I will do an end of season update that shows them precisely measured. Doesnt look to me like I will hit much above 600. But if it ever makes an effort proportional to the plant next to it, then I would be a contender.
Thursday, July 18 View Page
Mistake number one. . . Probably should have covered my tomato for yesterdays drizzle... Even when very small I think basically as soon as they look like they have set they should be kept dry. I lightly fertilized and thats probably it for fertilizer. Yes pork you will probably beat me in the pumpkin department:) I am not doing real great... strangely all that rot but no foamer here though yet but nevertheless she is lagging. I botched that one.
Thursday, July 18 View Page
There is little hope anymore of a big pumpkin out of the round bale plants. They have been very slow kins although the plants look healthy. I wonder if excess ammonium is an issue. Maybe I will do a tissue test. I will try to push them with Hollands blossom/fruit P&K but no question about it--- the early pumpkin growth was stunted.
Friday, July 19 View Page
One of the last AG pollinations coming up tomorrow on the 895 Nesbitt 02. I will say it has huge leaves but thats the only standout feature so far. WIll drop into 40s tonight I got used to warm summers. This is how summer was when i was a kid. Well, that was thirty years ago. Most plants are not doing well I might do tissue tests to see where i went wrong but really not in the budget. Those with plain jane leaves are doing the best oddly those with phyto disease are doing better than those without. No phyto in the bale kins but they crapped out the plants look really healthy but I think excess ammonium stopped the pumpkins. All three of the plants are similar in the inhibited pumpkin disorder so a test on any should show similar results to the others.
Monday, July 22 View Page
Picked the first summer fruits a couple blackberries and a few strawberry tomatoes and some apples none of which were fully ripe but I was too impatient. Oh well. I am not to focused on the pumpkins, because only one is doing well. I am not sure my tomato can make a personal best but oddly my focus is mostly on a tomato plant that I figured was a lost cause. The Peine and Clayton plants are the biggest healthiest plants I have grown the Peine is at 6'. No megas though a triple way at the top and plenty of large singles. I think the bees avoid the mega blooms. It was harder to get flowers to set in the wet weather now there are many sets but just singles. Not going to cut off 20 singles for one triple. I would rather keep the singles so I can eat big tomatoes every day...!
Tuesday, July 23 View Page
Everything is finally clicking with the 895 Nesbitt '02. Leaves and vines are large and healtiy. I have one set 3 DAP but there are more coming up that would seem to be good choices also. My only concern with the plant now is the shape of the pumpkin and the lack of color... I know it wont be orange. Best color this year I think will go as a tie to the 186 Radach and my own 263 Est. Clayton 2018. Best shape/ potential size award goes to the 982 Gadberry. Its a long jug shape AND has genes to go heavy. I was dissapointed with the shape at first but I can see merits to it. Looks like a glass milk jug. No color so maybe extra white? A paper white would be nice the father of it was one of the nicest white colored ones at the weigh off last year.
Wednesday, July 24 View Page
Whoa! What have I got here...
Wednesday, July 24 View Page
Shape is like a kiwi fruit.
Wednesday, July 24 View Page
Open. (This is on my 263 Est. orange cross from last year, btw.)
Wednesday, July 24 View Page
Pucker up and kiss some big orange lips! Eight stigma parts on this one. Shape is rather good for a fused blossom and I don't see a terrible issue with seeds in the blossom. Will see what it does. Plant could be healthier this would be the dream blossom for hitting 3500!!! (But... 350 would be nice.) Part of the reason this one fused two together was short stems (genetic) and a little bit of a vine double issue. And nutritionally this thing wanted to push out a lot of females for some reason. There was one on at least every other node both before and after this monster. Nearly a female at every node. Ms. Freaky Friday... Selfed her.
Saturday, July 27 View Page
Two hot days then drizzle. My pumpkins sure were poor performers this year. The plants could look a little better but the real issue has been the roots i think. Hard to grow big without sufficient healthy roots. I think my mistake was to think just reading the leaves would tell me everything. Root health probably corresponds to pumpkin size more than leaf health. Plants look ok... but its the roots that determine if the pumpkin goes. Like, its nice to have some green in your wallet... but if the store shelves are empty, you are not gonna get your shopping done.
Monday, July 29 View Page
Culled at 2 1/2 lb the set on the Nesbitt 2002. Another is at 3 dap. Getting kinda late in the year. The pumpkins have been the worst part about this plant. Either the nutrients are off or we have made some progress with shape and size over the past 17 years. I would say this plant does seem like... a step backwards. I would still like to try old seeds... if they might be orange or more unique in their lineage. The 895 Nesbitt is a pretty standard lineage... despite going back 17 years.
Tuesday, July 30 View Page
In case I forget (and make the same mistake twice) if I grow a pumpkin next year I want to stress to myself the importance of a set on the main although mobeymike made an exception to that rule, I have had mixed results and some fails on side vines. The 186 Radach... The set on the main was just slightly smaller than the set on the side vine. I went with the pumpkin on the side vine. Now, though the main has gotten huge and the side vine is very unextraordinary. I cant help but think the main (which looks like a Los Angeles freeway compared to the pumpkin's ''rural scenic route'' side vine)... I can't see it as anything but a mistake to have chosen the one on the side vine. The side vine is under an inch maybe and the main is close to two inches. Probably 6x more photosynthate going through the main. I need to pay attention to the root zone and the speed that the plant is pushing new growth. If I dont write it I will forget. Also with the variable weather the leaves have gotten some heat stress and also some wilting stress. I think overhead irrigation even with exceedingly cold water is beneficial in reducing overall stress. If its warm and sunny enough the cold water does not shut the plants down completely. I think paying attention to what temp/fertilizer will stress the plants the least and cause the least disease and the most overall benefit... This is something I could improve on also.
Tuesday, July 30 View Page
The 658 Garofano has excellent health. Its a slow and steady wins the race kind of plant. Opposite of my 430 which was a fantastic early sprinter. It wasted no time making a big pumpkin but the plant is halfway withered down. Not sure the weight I have not measured it. Probably mid 400s. I did not make many, or any? crosses this year that I feel gond about but I did want to comment that the Rodebaugh plant is nice and the Garofano plants all have good traits and in the Gadberry I see a lot of potential. Perhaps next year. More white ones than orange ones this year although it would be 50/50 if some of my other plants didnt turn to crap. I have to say the orange ones are more fun. Its really not all about size for me. I find myself neglecting the white pumpkins plants, just because of their color.
Tuesday, July 30 View Page
I thought the shape of my tomato was good but growth has been slow. Not sure if it has potential or not. Domingoes are way outperforming the others but mostly on plant size and number of tomatoes not sure if I have seen the tomato size potential of every plant and I probably wont since the non-domingoes are looking poor. I get more ribbons that amount to nothing on the non-domingoes and poorer pollination rates. Anyhow I want to grow in V shaped trellises or U shaped next year. I don't like dense caged plants. The older foliage gets blocked in and grown over and the plant gets overly dense. It doesnt seem optimal. I want to grow them at six foot spacing, and get an early start. I should plan for the vines to be pruned to four or five feet but longer too if they are still growing within the trellis.
Tuesday, July 30 View Page
Two years in a row I have tried some tomatoes without any cages or trellis. The plants grow lushly but basically fail to produce the crop. No trellis/cage/support = no crop. The pollination rates are poorer because the humidity is higher just from the plants even if the dirt is dry on the surface the plants themselves are like wet laundry they give off so much water into the air! So the plants need to be off the ground. We get a dry breeze six days out of seven so the whole plant doesnt have to be very far off the ground... One ft. would be ok. They can generally grow to one foot without tipping over. They can then sprawl out & up the trellis.
Wednesday, July 31 View Page
Checking last year's diary I see we weighed the first tomatoes August 4th. Those were first truss sets. No such luck this year. I would love to get my dirt in good shape for a good tomato garden. I can imagine having just time for one garden plot next year. I will have to choose wisely! I have many garden projects/ things I would like to grow/ ideas to try. Maybe I should do tomatoes. Ten pounds seems very unlikely. And I would be disappointed with anything less. Very hard for me to pick just a single goal.
Thursday, August 1 View Page
Well there was a nice triple atop the 4.05 Peine. But the vine broke before I got around to tying it up. That was probably my last chance at a pb tomato this year. I have a good field pumpkin set and anything on a marrow would be a personal best. But yeah not my year since all the doors that were open are closing one after another. Strawberry tomatoes have been a success and the green corn, also from the seed exchange, may produce. Oh and the fused blossom pumpkin is still going... 11 dap and getting rounder... one ridge still... I really dont enjoy being unsuccessful so I have a lot of work getting my piles of mistakes sorted out. Its mostly about good dirt but there's also so many other little details... Good luck everyone...
Friday, August 2 View Page
Really dry yesterday. Everything finally dried out. Back to drizzle today. Half inch so far. Good weather for the field kin. My last hope for a personal best. My tomato is just lethargic.
Sunday, August 4 View Page
I love growing stuff... I love other things too but it always does make me happy to be trying to grow something. I am going to be super antsy this winter maybe I should check out jobs in Australia. A new winter grow project, maybe? I might set a scale under my field kin... The 430 is getting ribs so its thickening up. Good to see but she wont be as big as last year's 'Peggy.' Same color though... Light orange. Tomatoes... I need to let the ground dry out! To get the early blossoms to not fail... (Stealing this good tip from an awesome grower.) The area where they are growing best was prepped with a broadfork I believe. Again having less luck with the rototiller. And my rototiller is so slow anyhow. Hmm...
Wednesday, August 7 View Page
Bale kins :(. Here are the stumps (all three plants... !). The Radach is the large one. It has maintained the same dominance proportionally ever since the beginning. And, being up against a couple excellent seeds, yet outperforming them. So this continues its good track record for me! The 2005 Haist and 274 Clayton are about the same in stump and plant size. 274 might be slightly smaller. Again, retaining the precise original growth proportions as when they were transplanted. Interesting.
Wednesday, August 7 View Page
...Try again on the pic.
Wednesday, August 7 View Page
Something else I think is interesting... The 186 Radach made entirely short Cinderella shaped pumpkins this year except one, which was a longer oval, and that was on a side vine that crossed (and I think rooted) into some more mineral rich soil than the rest of the plant. So I am not convinced that pumpkin shape is entirely pre-programmed genetics. I think the early development of the flower bud could be flipped to an alternate, possibly improved form! Yes, by the nutrient solution being absorbed by the plant. Generally nutrients are uniform and most growers cull everything before any natural changes in nutrient availability occurs... so we don't see all the potential variation that is based on nutrients. In my dysfunctional patches I sometimes see little windows of insight which are far from proof, yet they are a hint... Better flower development would have helped. The longer oval shape could have given more weight potential.
Thursday, August 8 View Page
Here is the 8 lobe double freak. 8-ball might be an appropriate name. She has a stem split on the other side. I expect a fatal split somewhere at some point but for now she is a happy kitty kin... purring right along. Stem is narrow if turned 90 degrees this is a view of the wide side... Hard to photo very well. She is odd but growing ok (overcoming my poor ground prep, deer damage, half severed vine) and looking like she will be just as orange as her parents. 261.5 Clayton (406.5 Clayton x 504 House).
Thursday, August 8 View Page
This is about the time of year I set my five pound tomato last year. It was on the vine for sixty days or so and did not ripen and we were getting light frosts by the time it was picked. I do have one triple I might baby along but only the earliest domingoes are pushing the fruit out like the plants were last year... 4.05 Peine is my star plant. Glad I planted it although its only loaded up with singles and doubles so its real potential will not get tested... But its pretty much at the top of my lineup for next year.
Thursday, August 8 View Page
Overcast all day. Aphids and sap bugs... Like big long aphids... Large populations. Plants are finally behaving. They have all finally realized its time to grow their fruit. Took forever this year to get to this point. Finally packing on pounds. But everything looks ready to get diseased early. Only a few plants are at peak health right now. But if the plants were at peak health right now they would give me good results, I think. Many years we could set pumpkins in early July here and do just as well?!
Friday, August 9 View Page
Strawberry tomatoes are coming in. If I was doing a farmers market it would be nice to have more first truss tomatoes then I could start selling them at the end of July maybe. I will try dehydrating them because there's an avalanche of tomatoes on its way and they are a little larger and drier with fewer seeds than the usual cherry tomato so they might turn out well...
Saturday, August 10 View Page
Near to another inch of rain last night. Unusual--we get these kinds of no dry summer years every decade or so--have not seen one in awhile. Variable weather this year. Good for some things... like weeds and bugs.
Sunday, August 11 View Page
Field kin is really hauling. Dont know if it will be done growing in time for the fair. 3.5 inches today?! She is in a compost pile thats a year old maybe older. The compost is degrading nicely the pile has been melting into the ground like a bad witch. Lol its an accurate metaphor really.
Sunday, August 11 View Page
Even more rain... Break out the mustard seed early? I was going to do some work with a tractor or small backhoe. I was counting on the soil to be bone dry to not damage the soil. More plans thrown into the trash can! A new plan is needed.
Sunday, August 11 View Page
Western washington saved $3,000.00 on sunblock today. Yay.
Sunday, August 11 View Page
Western washington saved $3,000.00 on sunblock today. Yay.
Thursday, August 15 View Page
Field kin is doing a solid 5 lb per day. Plant is not huge about 70 or 80 sq ft. The single tomatoes are looking good at 15 to 18 inches but my mega did not kick in its stayed in the slow lane. Its about the same size as the singles. I will be going to the fair with the 186 Radach I hope she holds two more weeks. So small but growing... As long as the tripod makes it out of the barn this year... Lifting them is a fun challenge... even the 'small' ones. I will just have to find some smaller kids for this years photos...!
Friday, August 16 View Page
I think I got the plant size wrong on the field kin. Its probably 120 ft. It probably did a maximum gain of six pounds per day. About five pounds again today but her numbers are dropping. If she weighs real heavy she could maybe have a go at the state record. Plant is healthy... 66.25 inches / 90 lbs. DAP... 37? 38?
Saturday, August 17 View Page
I love competitive growing... but I seem to have reached a plateau. There are a couple issues. We have great mineral soil here I think the silica helps prevent powdery mildew and might prevent splits but the aluminum is a major hindrance this time of year. I am grasping at this issue and I'm not satisfied with my understanding of it. Careful watering, ph adjusting, and supplying the competing cations... These are the only solutions I have come up with. There must be others. Maybe chelation or using more ammonium than nitrate. Or locking it in neutral forms by amending the soil with a certain sequence of additives. I am leaning towards taking next year off, maybe just a small area of tomatoes.
Saturday, August 17 View Page
Some folks are unhappy because there is not enough to learn from my diary... Ouch that hurts guys. . . Sorta. I love this field kin growing its really a lot of fun. I am seeing the very first hints of orange though. She might go to the state fair after all. Just under 4 lbs today. Weather is back to cloudy again. I should have kept the plant cooler and the pumpkin shaded better during the few 80 degree days we've had.
Saturday, August 17 View Page
Bale kin still going. I thought she was toast never had one behave like this. Not 1200 lbs but oddly I couldnt be happier. Weigh off in 13 days. Will post pics then. Meant to mention I lightly fertilized the field kin for one last push to the finish. Using the Jacks bloom booster. I wont do any more deep watering but I will try to keep the plant cool. Strange how satisfying field kins are.
Sunday, August 18 View Page
3 lb. today on the field kin. On the way to 100+ it wont be a state record but with Joel and Dan hitting the other categories out of the park... it will be the closest I have come to a state record. I need to remind myself if I do tomatoes i have got to prune a bit more aggressively as soon as I have a keeper. If I prune too aggressively... The extra energy that does not go into the tomato can go into the roots, maybe? But I like the idea of allowimg growth past the tomato so extra energy could go there, too.
Tuesday, August 20 View Page
Cool night 48 degrees. The past couple weeks many plants have done well. The cool nights should sweeten the apples and signal the plants to wrap up the season. A lovely time of year for pumpkin growing. Too bad most of my plants will be done early I will miss the final third of the growing season. It would be good to have them at DAP 45-60 or so at the start of the cooler nights which means pollinating June 20-30th. But the two that could to the fair were pollinated earlier than that. They will still be growing though so I think a late May pollination could be make a nice fair pumpkin.
Tuesday, August 20 View Page
But if there is one thing I learned this year... Its that my loose winging it style works in consistent late weather but growing them spring weather is a different ball game. And we had spring weather untill about two weeks ago. A very weak summer this year!!!
Tuesday, August 20 View Page
Ok just for my own tedious thought process... The 186 Radach (Reeb x Carter) has nice plant longevity its holding up a little better than the 2005 Haist. And a long growing period for the pumpkins which may start a little slow but they seem to contain lots of potential. The only issue I have had is inconsistent shape of the pumpkins. I need to remember what a good plant it is... Largest main I have had?? Its not the plant's fault I chose a small secondary... Anyhow I should try to remember that this is a great plant and the fact that I won't get a personal best should not detract from the fact that its the most proven seed I have. I think I will take a year off but I have Holland and Clementz seeds and the 186 Radach... And who knows what else, like a 1625 Gantner... burning a hole in my pumpkin pants. No fire under me yet though...
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
Lots of apples.
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
Pumpkin seed drying trays work for apples. The apples look like donuts at a donut shop.
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
And they work for tomatoes... Box fan helps. Takes just 24 hrs for the apples. Takes longer for the tomatoes.
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
I might save the seeds from this one. (But probably not saving many seeds this year. Lots and of aborts, so lost most of the controlled pollinations, and plants that, although some were very good, they were all a bit less-than-exceptional.) This is the double blossom still going. Funky bump huh!? Where nature stitched her together.
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
One of the least exceptional was the old Nesbitt. This plant has an issue. I might get tissue tests done on some. I must have messed up the fertilizer. I've reached 8 or 10 lbs... about 8 or 10 times lol on this plant! Not a success. But this is the first to explode. Like the cherry on top of: The worst plant & a not-so-great season overall. But...
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
... 100 lbs of field kin. Is this the right picture... I don't see anything.
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
And the last bale kin update. I don't see a pumpkin... Maybe the folks who guessed zero lbs were right :(
Wednesday, August 21 View Page
Rain yet again. But one llast howl from This Old Dog in the forecast... summer ain't over! Awesome! One last fastball. All curveballs and change ups.
Thursday, August 22 View Page
Field kin is gaining steady amounts 2-3 lb by the tape. It doesnt photo well but it looks monsterous to me... I dont want to try to lift it. I am very curious to see when the gains will stop. 8 days till the fair but it might still be good for an inch or two of additional growth if I let it grow past then.
Thursday, August 22 View Page
Todays news & thoughts:Rained 5/8 inch here. Plants are loving it. First big tomato is flashing some color. Cantelope and late marrow are looking good. I would have had a small 20 lb marrow for the fair but the tip has turned yellow. Very cool that the gpc has added categories the Atlantic giants are so big they are not for everyone. I hope carrots and cantelopes get added too and cucumbers but I think dahlias would broaden the appeal the farthest. The little veggies should not get in the way of the main pumpkin event though.

 

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