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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 64 Entries.
Wednesday, January 1 View Page
Happy Growing to everyone in 2020. Donít you just love a bright orange pumpkin...
Wednesday, January 15 View Page
Happy New Year everyone, 2020 is going to be an adventurous year!! Vancouver Island, Vancouver and Coastal British Columbia is experiencing yet another major snowfall, Washington State getting hit hard too. Free atmospheric nitrogen, weíll take it. See you in Vegas.
Friday, March 13 View Page
Not a gas powered blower, but this battery powered sprayer will really help us save time. Iíve almost always just used a 2 gallon hand pump sprayer when foliar applying products and now that we have the bigger patch this will be great. We are also going to plumb the 1000 gallon warming tank directly to the lower 250 gallon distribution tank and to a new drip system into several spots including the pumpkin patch, vegetable garden and some fruit trees and berry bushes. Already have needed to cut the lawn twice, Spring is here flowers up and trees flowering.
Wednesday, April 1 View Page
First pass on a nice April day. We didnít get the patch tilled and cover crop down till mid-November, so itís not as thick as weíd like but it will get the soil so8ng as th8ng warm up. Weíve added a few bags of gypsum, Kmag, O-0-50 and a balanced 10-10-10 of urea, feather meal/bone meal and potash.
Wednesday, April 1 View Page
Done. Amazingly all the rocks are gone but as we know, they always seem to grow back again. Weíve mostly figured out our growing patterns and how many pumpkins will be grown. Soon the walking board will be put in and the growing spaces allotted according. We have a few options and may grow Christmas tree pattern, flag pattern, spider pattern and might even try a diamond pattern this year. Good luck to everyone this year.
Wednesday, April 1 View Page
Hopefully this photo is not flipped. Patch done, the real work begins.
Wednesday, April 1 View Page
Kinda got my before and after photos mixed up. Sure wish my cover crop was like Richmond Daveís, wow!!
Wednesday, April 8 View Page
Seed starting time and Iím inoculating the starting mix with RAW Grow Stage Microbes. A mix of beneficial bacteria and fungi that we we also use in the planting hole along with some Wallace WOW and Wallace Starter-Packs. We will use the Grow Stage Microbes and switch to Bloom Stage at the appropriate time. If you havenít used or looked at the RAW products from NPK Industries, check them out. Canadian growers that are interested please contact Mark Hooper by email at mark@npkcanada.com and request more details. Tell him you are a pumpkin grower and he will offer you the best pricing available as he is the distributor/wholesaler.
Thursday, April 9 View Page
2 out of 4 hoophouses are ready for action. Paper towel and zip lock bag seed germination went great, 3 out of 3 in 36 hours. Weíve got 1928.5 Daletas in soil and under lights along with 2363 Holland and 2416.5 Haist. Richmond Dave and I are going Heat to Head and Seed to Seed in the 150 sq ft contest with a seed from Janetís 892 Love. I see on his diary he is going Stage 3 confinement crazy with his planting sites, bring it.
Friday, April 17 View Page
Haist, Holland and Daletas under the lights for a couple more days but I will put them in the hoop shacks during the day to get them used to real sunlight and warmer temperatures. Iíve been monitoring the planting sites soil temperatures and things are warming since our overnight lows are not under 50 degrees. Iím waiting for seeds from Richmond Dave, try and beat him with one of his own seeds. Well, Janetís seed from the 897 Love which produced their 1202 Chan. Both the 897 Love and 1202 Chan were Howard Dill Winners, hoping for big, round, orange and heavy. I think a lot of local growers will be growing the 879 seed since Dave and Janetís 1202 lb grew in only 70 days. http://www.bigpumpkins.com/Diary/DiaryViewOne.asp?eid=310392
Monday, April 20 View Page
There is a discussion on the message board right now about club footed seeds so I wanted to post what Iíve just observed. I started my 4 plants for this year successfully with the paper towel, zip lock back on a heat mat method. Second round of seeds, I figured Iíd grow a bunch of our 1068 Dixon seeds. Same seed starting method, 100 % club footed roots!! Genetics or environmental? We will plant them anyways and give them away because I know they grow nice big porch pumpkins. Will do another round of the same seeds, plus a batch from another one of our seeds, and see what happens.
Sunday, April 26 View Page
In the morning, 48 degrees outside. Inside this hoop we have a 175 Watt Infared heat lamp hung above at 36Ē with a large aluminum reflector (used in photography and film) like a chick brooder. The probe on top of the soil in front of the plant is the centre of the heat area under the lamp and is nicely at 81 degrees and the ambient air temperature inside the hoop is at 62 degrees. I always turn the heat lamps off in morning and open both ends of my hoops, no matter what the weather and eliminate the chance of an oopsie while Iím out golfing. When we no longer need the heat lamps, I swap them out for small fans until the hoops come off and they are freestyleín it.
Monday, May 4 View Page
150 square foot entry will be grown in an area 15 feet by 10 feet. Exact plant pattern not yet full chosen, however I will likely grow in a a flag pattern with 15í for the main and 10í secondaries. I might however, grow 15í secondaries if we pollinate a fruit at or before 10í on the main vine. Iíve left myself room to adjust for a decision once the plant decides for us. So from the in front of the bag of calpril there is a bamboo stake, 15 feet to the bamboo stake with the orange pot on top.
Monday, May 4 View Page
150 square foot entry showing possible 10í secondary vine limit. I see Richmond Dave is gonna use some kinda special celestial constellation pattern that perhaps has something to do with power from Orionís Belt for his 150 square foot entry, heís always got something up his sleeve. Harnessing some special powers in relation to his pumpkin patch and the stars...tricky Dave. http://www.bigpumpkins.com/Diary/DiaryViewOne.asp?eid=313481
Monday, May 4 View Page
2363 Holland is sharing the hut with the give-away seedlings that weíve sprouted to encourage more growers in the area. Weíve got a very active farming community in the Cowichan Valley, and we will offer up seedlings on Facebook through a pretty neat community group page that is set up. Iíve got a second and third round of seedlings and seed starts and will giveaway plants until they are gone.
Sunday, May 17 View Page
There are many growers whoís say that pumpkin roots stay mainly in the top 6 inches of soil, and Iíve always thought that just not to be true. As this 9 inch pot shows, there are roots 3-4 inches below the bottom of the pot that escaped into the soil below. Keep your soil loose, the roots will go as deep as they can.
Sunday, May 17 View Page
The 1928.5 Daletas is off and running. You can see I needed to remove the ďkickstandĒ second true leaf, as it was stopping the vine from lowering down safely to the growing. With the kickstand cut off, the plant lower down and is a runner now.
Sunday, May 17 View Page
Same with the 2363 Holland, kickstand leaf was taken off a few days ago and this plant is showing me that it will be a monster, and wonít be inside the luxury of a hoophouse for much longer. 150 square foot challenge plant (892 Love) has been planted freestyle, no hoophouse, no heat cables, no heat lamp ..... gone commando and itís looking great!!
Wednesday, May 20 View Page
1928.5 Daletas will be busting out the front end of its hoop in a few days and the heat lamp will be unplugged. Same for the 2363 Holland, we are at about the same or a little ahead of usual years. The Haist plant is suffering transplant shock or cold soil or something else and Iíve planted a freestyle backup just in case I give it the chop. I like having so much extra room that when this happens and a plant goes south early, still have backups ready to compete. 1068 Dixon was unpotted and planted yesterday.
Saturday, May 23 View Page
So today is the day that the 2363 Holland gets the front door taken off itís hooptiehouse and in that process I uncovered another photo opportunity to show how far out the roots go in the soil and surrounding area. Please look at the next photo entry.
Saturday, May 23 View Page
So here is the growth tip, and in front and on the sides of it you can clearly see roots by the plastic of the door where itís buried that Iíve not yet taken away. I see this almost every year and try and chronicle it here with photos to demonstrate how extensive the root system is on these plants, even when they are small like this and just starting out.
Wednesday, May 27 View Page
Plants are starting the sprint for growth and today they are getting some fish, calcium nitrate and a touch of Ureamate. Vegetable gardens are in full swing and weíve just started harvesting strawberries.
Thursday, May 28 View Page
After a good watering and some nutrients, boom the main vines are growing 6-8Ē a day. We will remove the hooptie houses completely as the secondaries are forming fast and there will soon be no room. Weíve got 5 plants going right now that might get culled down to 4, but weíve got plenty of time to decide that and Michu just try and get pumpkins set on all 5 plants and let 2 of them fight it out for dominance.
Friday, June 5 View Page
1928.5 Daletas is the leader of the pack and has settled into predictable growth now and secondaries are growing as fast or faster than the main. Holland, Haist, Love and Dixon plants are also enjoying the warmer weather and will be photo worthy by mid June. Now some preventative maintenance, bug and disease control and we can coast along concentrating on vine burying, vine maintenance and fertigation program. My ppm metre and water tank systems are fully operational, I see Richmond Dave has a new water toy too and we might get one of those for our large holding tank....thanks Dave.
Tuesday, June 9 View Page
Good thing there is no real official competition going on this year, or I would have needed to fold to Richmond Dave in advance after I just saw his diary entries. This is our best plant right now, the 1928.5 Daletas. I guess Iím gonna need to build bigger hoophouses (like Richmond Dave) install soil cables (like Richmond Dave) put in some serious drip tape (like Richmond Dave). Instead we opted not to put in our heat cables (lazy NSBoyz), we used small hooptie-houses (lazy NSBoyz), and we like our current overhead water system and opted not to use drip tape (also lazy NSBoys...looks like too much work), and finally we also use a vine burying mix for initial vine maintenance, but Iíve adopted the Spambie way to bury vines and just dig a trench and then kick some soil over them when they fall into the trench....again lazy NSBoyz. Oh well, Iíll still prolly give ole Richmond Dave a bit of a run for the money at the scale anyways. We will be going ahead with an Island Weighoff, not sure whatís happening in Vancouver or Washington State this year in terms of Weigh-Offs so it might be pretty easy to lure Dave and Janet over to Vancouver Island.
Saturday, June 27 View Page
1928.5 Daletas is the leader of the pack and has a female to pollinate in a few days and another in the growth cluster that will be 10-12 days from now. The 2363 Holland got pulled due to double vine syndrome, main vine and all secondaries went double/triple/quadruple vine on us and was not fixable. The other plants will likely grow us some nice porch pumpkins but are way behind where we normally would be with plants at the end of June. I see that most growers in B.C. are at about the same stage as us, and makes me feel a little better, but I was hoping for a June pollination and that is just not happening this year.
Sunday, June 28 View Page
So much time away from the patch and on the golf course, Iíve lost my ability to judge when female flowers will be open. 1928.5 Daletas had a perfect 5 lobe female on the main vine at 13í open this morning, so at 6am it got the rub and tickle from the only available male flower from the same plant. There is another one on the main vine at about 17í that should open in about 8 days.
Wednesday, July 1 View Page
Happy Canada Day everyone!! Umbrella time means pollination time, 1928.5 Daletas is reaching out for more room. Wonít have to share soil with the Holland plant since itís removal, and has plenty of room to branch out.
Friday, July 17 View Page
After the first pollination didnít take, there is this one at 19í on the 1928.5 Daletas that looks pretty good and another pollinated 2 days ago down the main a little further.
Friday, July 17 View Page
Daletas plant is finally responding to the warmer weather (coldest and wettest May/June on record) and is growing at a typically rapid pace for this time of the year. We have started terminating vines on one side at 15í but will allow secondaries to continue on the other side that was vacated by the Holland plant. The other 3 plants are just not photo worthy yet, but look like we will set pumpkins on the, all in a few days.
Monday, July 20 View Page
Finally on the 150 square foot entry we have Janet born today at 13 feet on the main. Our flag pattern plant was set to be 15 feet long and 10 feet wide, but now with the pumpkin at 13í we can change our strategy and go with 13í main and end the secondaries at 11 feet each for a total of 143 square feet. This plant has only 8 secondaries before the pumpkin all on the same side. Game on!!
Monday, July 20 View Page
This is the biggest fruit in the patch at this time, although we did just harvest a bunch of monster zucchini recently. This plant is from a seed that we had from an old GVGO seed giveaway from 2005. No label, just a little white seed....is this a squash or a regular field pumpkin? The plant looks like field pumpkin leaves but Andrea is convinced it is a squash of some kind. Iíve posted a question about it in the message board, help me out...what am I growing?
Tuesday, July 21 View Page
150 sq ft challenge plant, Janet. First secondary terminated today at 11í and the main is terminated at 13í with an all or nothing pollination on it. Rocky party of the patch, really helps hold the vines down.
Tuesday, July 21 View Page
Daletas plant with 2 pollinations on the main. We will let the secondaries on this side grow as far as the double set of wizzer sprinklers will reach. Iím reminded now, that I need to add my fertilizer injector to that part of the watering system for the late push.
Tuesday, July 21 View Page
The two contenders, 7 days apart in pollination and time will tell. My gut tells me it will be the second pumpkin that we choose. I will do the circumference measurement comparisons for 7 days, 10 days and 14 days and make a choice. The 1068 Dixon plant has a fruit set on the main, 892 Love plant also set on the main, 2416.5 Haist is also set on the main with one also on a secondary in an area of the patch where it can just grow wild. Haist plant was a very slow starter that I gave up on due to how weak it was and how yellow it was. The plant has rebounded amazingly and will likely grow us our biggest 2 pumpkins this year.
Saturday, July 25 View Page
Iím all in with the Daletas plant, culled down to the best one, terminated the main vine after pumpkin and will let the secondaries do their thang. Pollinated on July 15th, bad thing is itís a late pollination but good thing itís in a good place well out on the main with plenty of alas behind it.
Saturday, July 25 View Page
This is still our biggest pumpkin!
Monday, July 27 View Page
In previous years Iíve made my pumpkin sun/rain protection huts a bit too small and then we would struggle to make them bigger, which was always a hassle. Iíve adapted the more-on approach and a bigger is better system and the protection huts are large enough for afternoon tea service for two, plus a giant Pumpkin.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
1068 Dixon starting to grow nicely, we need a great September.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
2416.5 Haist, looks like it will be round and orange.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Haist on the left, Dixon on the right. You can see the yellowing on the Haist plant but it has grown out of it and plant is filling in still.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
892 Love in the 150 sq ft challenge. Plant ended up being 12í on the main and 12í with the secondaries. We have 2 more secondaries to terminate and bury over the next few days and we are full. 144 square feet in total with 8 secondaries all on one side. Very nice plant...healthiest of them all.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
And Lumpy on the 1928.5 Daletas is doing 5-6Ē in circumference each day and developing a pretty wacky blocky shape. All pumpkins were pollinated on July 15th.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Haist on the left, Dixon on the right.
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Lumpyís plant still growing and vines being buried. Lots of room to go, all secondaries on the far side are terminated at 15 feet and the ones on this side are being terminated at 25í each. Last secondary after the pumpkin will have tertiary vines grown on one side to full in the space after the pumpkin. All systems appear to be set on full, albeit we are 2-3 weeks behind like everyone else in British Columbia. Now that Iíve got the 4 gallon battery powered backpack sprayer, Iím doing regular foliar sprays rotating with Ureamate, 3-12-12 Raw Bloom formula, TKO & MPK (mono potassium phosphate), and Cal/Mag. 250 gallon tank gets Kelp, Humic and Fulvic Acid along with Stollerís Fortified Yeild Stimulate also on a rotational basis.
Tuesday, August 11 View Page
Lumpy on the 1928.5 Daletas is gonna be a bum-over pumpkin, Iíve never had one with the blossom end disappearing act, but this one looks problematic. Weíve done about all the vine lowering I can do for now, so this will be fun to watch.
Tuesday, August 11 View Page
2416.5 Haist on the left and 1068 Dixon on the right. Both these are at day 22.
Tuesday, August 11 View Page
Then there is Janet on the 892 Love plant in the 150 sq ft contest. As I stood in the patch, I started to count secondaries and number of leaves on the 892 plant and ended up with 144 total number of leaves. Iím very curious to see how many pounds per leaf we can get out of a small plant like this. Iíve heard the number thrown out there that you can get up to 3-5 lbs per leaf contributing weight to the overall pumpkin. That would mean this pumpkin is likely to be anywhere from 432 lbs to 720 lbs. Sheís the fastest grower in the patch right now and is also at day 22.
Wednesday, August 19 View Page
Well, Lumpy sits rejected after being taken off due to blossom end split. We kinda knew this pumpkin was on the hairy edge of trouble while at the same time thought we might have a big fish on. Nope!! Luckily we felt it combing so I let some more flowers stay on the vines to pollinate and grow a few porch pumpkins.
Wednesday, August 19 View Page
Glad I let this side of the plant continue to grow, will pollinate in a few days and hopefully have 50 or 60 days to try and grow a decent fruit or two.
Wednesday, August 19 View Page
Janet on the 892 Love seed in the 150 sq ft contents is day 30 today and put on 20 lbs in the past 24 hours.
Wednesday, August 19 View Page
892 Love plant. No, that is not weeds beneath the canopy of pumpkin leaves. This area was going to be rested this year and the plant went in late into an area with a hairy vetch cover crop. It is doing very well and seems to also really enjoy the Ureamate and RAW Bloom formula Iíve been rotating into my program.
Thursday, August 27 View Page
Janet on the 892 Love plant at day 38. Iíll put a tape around her in 2 days and see what September will bring. Sheís so pretty that I might put a rain cover over her for the for sure rains in September and October. Hey Richmond Dave, do you think she will be orange?
Thursday, August 27 View Page
Haist on the left, Dixon on the right, also both looking like the orange gene will kick in soon. Already planning the larger heated hoophouses for spring and am looking at plans for a custom 50 x 30 mid/high tunnel for the future and longer term. To compete at a higher level and avoid stunted plants, we need a better early start and the only way is a controlled indoor environment.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Our field pumpkins are getting ready, weather is so nice right now.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Roots, roots and more roots!! I moved a bale of peat moss away from the unneeded rain protection hut leftover from Lumpyís early demise. Checkout the fresh roots here, way away from the plant!!
Saturday, August 29 View Page
See the root mass about 6í from any buried leaf. Another reason why we use walking boards in the patch.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Lumpyí plant (1928.5 Daletas) immediately shifted gears back into flower mode shortly after losing its only pumpkin. There are 3 pumpkins pollinated now on these side secondaries that Iím terminating at 25í whether or not they have a new baby pumpkin pollinated. Iíve been growing these giants for many years, and I continue to learn and be amazed at the sheer energy and growing power these plants possess. The 892 Love is in the background, today is day 40 and my 150 sq ft entry is t 100Ē in circumference. Not bad for a 12í x 12í area, I hope he makes it to the end no matter what size it ends up.
Monday, August 31 View Page
One last root photo. This area was from under the plywood that Lumpy sat on before getting his career ending blossom end split.
Thursday, September 10 View Page
Mostly porch pumpkins this year, with our 250 sq ft plant providing us with our biggest fruit...go figure.
Thursday, September 10 View Page
892 Love getting some orange now.
Thursday, September 10 View Page
The will all be nice carving pumpkins.
Thursday, September 10 View Page
Haist on the left and Dixon on the right.
Thursday, September 10 View Page
And even a few regular pumpkins, which started this whole giant pumpkin obsession over 20 years ago.

 

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