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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 101 Entries.
Monday, March 16 View Page
Just got my soil test back. The pH is at 5.0! Yikes! I can't believe I grew my 1,201 in that spot. It may have been a little higher last summer as I used some hydrated lime to try and get the pH up in a hurry. I suppose it could have dropped over the winter. But I doubt I was growing in soil with a pH above 6. The state lab recommends 150 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet. I will see if I can get some tomorrow. The joys of growing in New England we have a granite based soil, and get lots of rain.(50" annually) The granite brings with it lots of radon to fill our basements and imparts an acid nature to our sandy loam soil. Cross the line into New York state and the soils are shale based. The New York soil has lots more calcium and is ideally a silt loam. The New York silt holds the moisture and fertility very well, it also tends to have a more balanced pH. Much of New York was once covered with a large sea. It is not uncommon to find sea shell and trilobite fossils in the sedimentary rock there. (It is fun to crack open the rocks and see the surprises inside) That same soil type is what yields the natural gas that they are controversially fracking. The Marcellus shale belt goes down through Pennsylvania and into the south. Places like Tennessee and West Virginia. Oftentimes the land above the Marcellus shale land can be very good for farming, there are many large farms on New York's and Pennsylvania's rolling hills.
 
Monday, March 16 View Page
Ok I will stop rambling now about soils. I find it fascinating. I am still not sure what my growing plans will be for 2020. I do plan on growing the 1780 Wagner AG. That one could produce a big orange beauty. I also would like to grow some melons and BG's. I have had some trouble when test germinating my 203 seed. I am not sure why. When I save seed I only keep the ones that sink. I know the cotyledons are full. The 203 had white seeds and the melon was all black or dark green. My 187 had stripes with a dark background that one has jet black seeds. Too bad the 203 doesn't have jet black seeds. If it did, it might be a good one for a Jumbo Black Diamond contest. My 179 Melon was very long and also had stripes with a dark background. The 179 had white seeds. I am waiting to see what happens with this virus before I solidify any plans for sure. I will definitely grow some giants though.... I love it.....I don't care if they don't get weighed at a weigh off or not. I will do it because it brings me joy. A happy diversion, from the real world. A blessing.
 
Friday, March 27 View Page
Having some trouble with germination on my 2019 melon seeds. The 187 and the D1 are the only melons that are germinating at decent rates. I may go with a 2018 seed. We will see. I want to advance the CC x JBD hybrid breeding project, this will be the f3 generation. Three generations have been grown since Chris Kent made the original cross back in 2017.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
I did a little experiment with some 'Tetsukabuto' squash cuttings. In this picture the cutting was dipped in a rooting hormone called "Dip and Grow" (10X strength) The hypocotyl was not wounded before dipping. It rooted very well.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
In this photo, the cutting was also dipped in a ten Percent solution of Dip and Grow. The bases of the hypocotyl (stem) were wounded (scraped) with a sharp razor. The wounding is often something that will help absorption of the rooting compound. In this case, I see no noticeable difference between the wounded and unwounded cuttings. Both rooted very well.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
Last but not least is the Control. It was neither dipped nor wounded. The result is that the rooting is vastly inferior to the dipped cuttings. Perhaps in a couple of weeks the initial rooting will not make a difference, but it is worth noting how much better the initial rooting is when the hormone is used. In the past I have never bothered to dip my cuttings before rooting, In my opinion it certainly couldn't hurt to do so, based on the results that I have seen.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
I have my melon seeds starting underneath this screen. I have had some problems with mice digging up the melon seeds and eating them, so far the screen is working. The seeds will sprout in this bed, then be grafted and put under mist to heal.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
Caveman's Club gourd that has been a cat's bed for the past couple of years. This gourd weighed 92 pounds. I wonder if someone were to breed this line for a few generations what it would look like. Could they keep the length of the long gourd? and also some of the width of the bushel gourd? Maybe this would create a new new super sized gourd cultivar that could eventually compete with the BG's for weight.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
Giant onions from the veggie exchange. They are ready to go into the garden.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
Kedrostis africana, also know as Baboons cucumber. Can you believe this is a cucurbit? A friend of mine gave me some seeds for this many years ago. I cut it back in the winter and in the spring it grows new vines. The vines produce these small little orange fruit the size of a wild blueberry. Many years ago Steve Wright, AKA West of the Blue Ridge had an idea to use a similar tuberous cucurbit like this one as a rootstock for melons. I think the species he was going to use was native to the America's, I can't remember which species. I am not sure if he ever tried out his idea. Steve is a very smart guy.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
300.5 Young on a 'Tetsukabuto' rootstock. My grafts aren't to pretty, (with curled nasty cot leaves) but they will get where they are going... eventually. I have to give some props to Big Dogg Darryl Burnthorn, he has gorgeous looking grafts right from the get go.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
It occurred to me that a BG grower might be able to get some more vigor right out of the gate if they had a rootstock that was better in cool soil. Wallah! A BG grafted onto a 'Tetsukabuto'.
 
Sunday, March 29 View Page
Mist bed with brand new grafts. Most are single cot grafts. If there is a huge size difference between the melon and the rootstock I will go with a hole insertion graft. I have primarily used interspecific squash as the rootstock for this early batch. Normally I don't start mine until early April.
 
Sunday, May 10 View Page
Had a frost last night... hopefully that will be the last one for the year. I hope the peaches are OK... they are in bloom right now. We will see. Lots of stuff is ready to go in the garden, it looks like things should be good by later this week. We are in a full moon cycle and the first and last frosts usually occur during a full moon. I don't believe in planting by the moon or any of that... but I have paid close attention over the years and a full moon in early May can often bring a frost. Same thing in October. We usually will miss the frost if the full moon occurs at the end of May or in September. It is crazy... I am not sure why that is, but it is... People often ask me if I plant by the moon. If I did that I would not be able to get anything done. I plant when the weather is conducive. If the conditions are right the plant will thrive.
 
Sunday, May 10 View Page
I have a few extra grafted watermelons if anyone is interested. The only catch is you will have to come and pick them up. They are all hybrid CC x JBD plants. They are on squash or BG rootstock. Contact me if you are interested and we can arrange a time to pick up.
 
Thursday, May 21 View Page
It looks like we had a surprise late frost here last night. I was caught off guard and nothing got covered. We will see how things look as the day progresses. I had a nice 1780 Wagner that was off and running at about 3-4' long. Pretty sure much of those leaves are toast. Perhaps there is still life in the plant and it can recover. Gardening is not for the faint of heart. All we can do is do the work, only God can provide the actual harvest.
 
Friday, May 22 View Page
My 1780 Wagner is OK, perhaps half the leaves got hit with frost but the plant will make it. The frost was very spotty as very little else was even hit. I am thankful it could have been worse. I just found out that the Bethlehem Fair is cancelled for 2020, pretty much every country fair in the state is cancelled. I am hoping that there is at least somewhere to get weights this year. Perhaps the local clubs can figure out a way to do a weigh off. It seems like just about every fun thing has been cancelled for this year. I could have never imagined a scenario quite like this a year ago, heck even four months ago I could not have imagined this.
 
Sunday, May 24 View Page
I hope to get eating melons in the patch soon, this year I am growing 'Harvest Moon' a seedless Sun moon and stars type. Also growing 'Iopride', 'Allsweet' and my old favorite 'Jubilee'. One thing I learned about using the Carolina Strongback rootstock is that you have to be careful when pruning off any rootstock re-growth. The strongbacks leaves look very similar to watermelon leaves. By accident I pruned off a couple of the desired melon's (scion) and left the Strongback. Oops.
 
Sunday, May 31 View Page
Ten days after the frost, the 1780 Wagner is coming out of it nicely. The plant will have a well ventilated stump. Lemons turned into lemonade.
 
Sunday, May 31 View Page
40' away from the 1780.5 Wagner, my row of melon's was not hit with anything. The frost was really spotty. Interestingly enough the only thing that got hit in all my garden was the 1780.5 Wagner. Once again proving that AG's are a lightning rod for all sorts of troubles. LOL I have cut back on the giant veggies this year. I am hopeful I will have at least one weigh-off to go to. I am even willing to travel a bit this year to make it happen. I really like what the GWG is doing promising that even if there are no weigh off's to go to in your area. Your entry will still count for the club if you have video, and a certified scale to get a weight on. So far this is what I have planted for giants. 3 CC x JBD melons 1 CC 2 BG 1 AG
 
Sunday, May 31 View Page
A 'Harvest Moon' seedless melon. First year growing these.
 
Sunday, June 14 View Page
I set up overhead irrigation today, that should help once things get hot and start wilting. I noticed spider mites on a couple of my giant melons. I think they are on the plants when they come out of the greenhouse and that gives them a head start. Mites need to be controlled or you can forget about growing a nice melon. Lastly I threw in another AG in the garden last week. It is very small and hasn't even started running yet. Probably has 4 or 5 leaves. I am in no hurry, if their are any weigh offs this year in the Northeast it looks like they will all be in late September and October. I still have lots of time.. The newly transplanted Atlantic Giant is from my 1,201 seed from last year.
 
Saturday, June 20 View Page
It looks like I am still battling with mites on my giant melons. I hope I can get them under control soon, otherwise I can pretty much kiss the season good bye. We definitely could use some rain here. It's been dry. The weather is strange, I am hearing about growers in the far northern US and Canada battling with temps into the 90's. For me, it has been in the low 80's with high humidity.
 
Thursday, June 25 View Page
We are still waiting for rain here, we need it badly. I think some good hard rain would help with the spider mites on my giant melons. I am getting ready to keep a set on the 1780 Wagner plant. I am not sure how far out it is, but I am guessing maybe 15' or so. I would like the plant to be a little bigger before I choose a pumpkin to go with. The 1201 Ciesielski pumpkin which was planted in the garden on June 1st is starting to grow. The vine is about 4' long. I am really behind on this one. We will see if we can get a nice sized plant by the 15th of July. I feel as long as I get one set before the 15th, I should be able to beat my personal best of 1201.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
This shot is looking over my row of melons. There are three plants in this picture, plant's are about 27' long by 7' wide. Last year I produced a lot of seed. I harvested seeds from my four biggest melons. The germination was very poor on all but one of them. The seeds all look very viable with filled out cotyledons. I am not sure what happened. The only seed that would germinate reliably for me was from the melon I named "D1", 2 of my three JBD x CC melons are off that seed and and they are on 'Tetsukabuto' rootstocks. The other melon is on a seed that I will have to call "unknown" because I lost the label. However, I know for sure that it is off of one of my CC X JBD melon's from last year, I am just not sure which one. This last melon is on a 263 Ciesielski BG rootstock.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
This is a close up of one of my plants. Long and skinny for easy culling. It is my D1 on a 'Tetsukabuto' rootstock. I still don't have a melon set on this yet. The bees need to get cracking. No time here to pollinate. My plants get very little of my time. I have a lot on my plate but I try to manage the best plants I can with minimal effort. These plants are big and I think if I get one to set they will fly out of the gates. It has been a weird spring, It hasn't been particularily warm and at night it has been cooling off nicely. I have been able to turn off the A/C at night and just have a fan blowing in cool air into the house. The melons don't seem to mind and are growing like crazy. These plants survived a frost early in the season that hit my AG pretty hard. I have been battling spider mites on them and I hope that they are under control now that we are in a very humid and wet weather pattern with heavy thundershowers happening very frequently. June was dry and sunny.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
My only melon to date. It is on the Unknown CC x JBD on the BG rootstock. It set early, so I kept it. I didn't particularly like the set because it had an uneven blossom end. Unlike AG's the melon's seem to grow out of that ugliness to a certain point, and this melon already looks a lot better.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
A close up of the blossom end. I love the look of these hybrids. Perhaps someday they will compete with the likes of the CC. Thank you! Chris Kent for starting me with these. A brilliant cross.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
The plant with the melon is noticeably smaller than the other two. Proof that the fruit is draining the energy from it. I probably had 75-100' of vine when it was set. Pretty close to a minimum size. I don't know for sure, I just looked at the vines and guessed it was big enough. So I went with it.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
One of my melon stumps is looking a little suspect. This is a 'Tetsukabuto' squash rootstock. So far, so good.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
My early corn, The variety is called 'Temptress' Just starting to tassel on one end of the patch. Three weeks from now I will be eating corn on the cob. Less time if it is really hot. My yearly goal is to have corn by the middle of July, not going to happen this year. I am happy to have this! It had to survive a frost, heck I believe we had some snow one of the days after it was planted. Obviously 'Temptress' has good cold soil vigor and germination. Hopefully it is good to eat. It is a 75 day "sugary enhanced' variety that is new to me. I didn't bother with the 65 day corn this year as the quality can't compare to the 75 day stuff.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
'Red Express' cabbage an early red, small cabbage. Baker Creek sells it.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
'Megaton' cabbage. Hands down the best cabbage to grow for size and vigor. It is just tougher than all the rest and for some reason the flea beetles don't mess with it as much as the other types. It can get big too. Here it is pictured next to a size 11.5 nike for size reference. It can get a lot bigger than this and it will stand up to the humid summer weather very well.
 
Sunday, July 5 View Page
263 Ciesielski, Bushel Gourd. I am trying a technique with the BG's that is similar to what I use with my melons. Long, skinny plants which are easy to cull. No sets yet. Whatever pollinates them hasn't shown up here yet. I don't want any sets yet either, it is way to early. When BG's are young they weigh like rocks. Hitting that perfect harvest date when the fruit have just stopped growing and haven't lost weigh yet is key to maximize weight. For some reason this plant seems big to me for such an early date, I will have to look back at my past diaries and see if it is.
 
Thursday, July 9 View Page
It looks like I have a good pumpkin set on my 1780 Wagner. It was set in the first week of July. Both of the D1 CCx JBD melons that are on squash rootstock have tiny sets that look like they took. The D1 produces really round sets.(same as it's mother did last year) I would prefer them to be more elongated like my Unknown CC x JBD plant is throwing. Oh well I will try and grow the biggest, fattest, roundest melon ever. The plants are just about filled out, so the melons will have lots of plant behind them. Let the culling season begin. The weather has turned from sunny and dry to cloudy and wet. Good for my mite problem, bad for my melons. I also have a 300.5 Young melon growing out in the big field where I grew my melons last year. It looks good, after a slow start it has really filled out nicely. I ought to get pollen from that and make a cross with the D1. Crossing a CCxJBD wide melon back to a longer CC type could be interesting. I think Chris K did that last year, I bet that will be a heck of a seed.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
1780.5 Wagner has got it's tent up.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
Another shot of the 1780.5. Will it be orange? I hope so.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
1201 Ciesielski. Planted in the garden June first. Seed planted in the middle of May. I am really playing catch up with this one. This is my son Abel's plant. He insisted we grow out this seed, so we planted it as an afterthought.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
1201 Ciesielski about 8 days old and on the main vine. Fingers are crossed that it starts to do something soon.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
'Harvest Moon' seedless melons, they are supposed to be semi bush plants, that goes out the window when you graft them on a vigorous rootstock. I believe these are on the Strongback. I am OK with the big plants as the seed isn't cheap, about a buck a seed! My yield will be higher with the bigger plants.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
CC x JBD competition melons. Three plants are in this row. Roughly 30' by 12' plants. They are starting to outgrow there allotted spaces.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
D1 melon I guess this is my keeper. Not on a main vine but a finger, and it's way out there maybe 15'. It's the best I could do. Nothing was regular shaped on the main vines. Looks a lot like Chris' 205 which would be it's great, great grandaddy.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
I am not sure if you can see the damage but a warning for new growers. Don't always assume the worst when you see vines wilting. Follow the wilted vines back and look to see if the mice have bitten through them. It happens every year to me. This damage occurred on the Harvest moon as I can see yellow spots on the leaves.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
THis melon is on the next melon plant down the row, another one of my d1 plants, it has two melons on it. I am not really happy with the shape but it is on a nice thick finger vine. So I will watch it and see.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
Same plant as my previous entry. THis one is on the main vine and it is a THICK vine. I didn' like the shape of this at all when it started as it was sort of triangle shaped when looking at it from the blossom end. A little bit pear shaped too. I am hoping this will fill out nicely as it has already started too. I will probably cull the one in the last picture, as I have a good feeling about this one.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
Blossom end. I am telling you this thing was ugly. It looks so much better. All the natural plant hormones going up and down the main vine sometimes screw things up. I guess it is a type of Apical dominance. It is hard to get a decent looking set sometimes (my opinion)
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
This melon is called big lumpy. An early July set on a CCx JBD that I lost the label on. Probably my 187, it could be off my 179 too. I will never know for sure. Usually I would have bypassed this melon for a better shaped one. But the darn thing stood out to me with it's good growth and I am glad I kept it, because for some reason the bees didn't do their job again until about ten days later when I finally had a decent amount of sets to choose from. I had a really long one on the main vine that was about ten days younger. It was a very hard choice to make. But I wanted the older one despite it's flaws. It is fairly close to the stump. Maybe 8'. THis plant shows the characteristic striped longer melons with the dark rind. I prefer that look. My other two plants really look like Black Diamonds. I wonder what color the seeds will be.
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
This is a volunteer field pumpkin that came up in the yard. I have been mowing around it. Crazy color Huh?
 
Saturday, July 18 View Page
Muskmelons, were put in next to the dog pen. I actually thought they were going to be cucumbers, I had found some spilled seed at the bottom of my seed bin. I figured it would be nice to have some cucumbers close to the house. I can't tell the difference between melon seed or cucumber, once they started growing I knew they were melons because the plants displayed the rounder edged leaves of the melon. Cucumber leaves are pointed at the tips usually. Muskmelons AKA canteloupes are one of the toughest to grow due to wilt problems. I have found grafted rootstock really doesn't even help. The only solution is new soil. Disease free soil that hasn't had cucumbers on it. This photo is proof of that. I could show you my other melons in the real garden and they are already exhibiting wilt. Wilt usually sets in once you get a fruit load on the plants. These could be my best shot at a muskmelon harvest.
 
Monday, July 27 View Page
I had my son lift up the big lumpy melon today. I slid a couple of sheets of pulp mill fabric underneath. The melon is growing fast and I found out it had sent down a tap root about 2' from the melon. I am impressed it found a hole in the plastic. Perhaps the tap root is part of the reason it is growing so darn fast and big.
 
Wednesday, July 29 View Page
I had to rip out one of my CCxJBD's I had a couple finger vines go bad on the plant, and I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. The stump was massive and it kind of just blew itself apart at each of the finger vine joints where they connected to the stump. There were two melons on the plant that weighed about 50 pounds or so. They weren't my best melons so I am not too disappointed. Although it always does stink to rip out a plant.
 
Saturday, August 1 View Page
300.5 Young plant in big field.
 
Saturday, August 1 View Page
300.5 Young melon. Around 20 days or so.
 
Saturday, August 1 View Page
Another view of the 300.5 Young melon
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
The long row consisting of two 263 Ciesielski bushel gourd plants. One 300.5 Young melon and a bunch of eating melon varieties. (Jubilee, Iopride and Allsweet)
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
Same row from the opposite direction. Looking from South to North.
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
My biggest bushel gourd.
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
A smaller bushel gourd under cover.
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
Iopride eating melon.
 
Sunday, August 2 View Page
I finally got measurements off of my big lumpy melon that was pollinated the last week of June. SS 41, EE 53, Circ. 86 total OTT 179 I am very pleased with the growth, but also frustrated that I have not been able to control the spider mites, I even saw some damage on the fruit. (They lighten the rind a little bit in the rib valleys of the melon, it almost looks lightly sandblasted.). Anyways in life I have found that victory comes at times when you think you have lost but you don't quit and keep fighting. I will keep fighting them as best I can. I remember Joseph Young grew a 300 pounder in a year where his plants were nearly destroyed a couple of times. The first time it was spray damage and the second it was a tornado or micro burst. He never quit and wound up with a 300 pounder. Not to shabby.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
1780 Wagner post Isaias.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
1780 Wagner again. I have been through worse damage before......far worse in 2009, we will see what kind of season I can glean from these circumstances.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
1780 Wagner post Isaias.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
Sweet corn post Isaias.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
Young sweet corn, laid right over. This stuff was young enough to pop back up. Looks normal today. The tasseled stuff, not so much, it will be picked off the ground. Still a crop to harvest just a little harder to do so.
 
Wednesday, August 5 View Page
Mite damage to watermelons. This is what the damage looks like, the mite damaged leaves will usually be around the stump and it will progress outwards to the periphery of the patch. Mites are now the least of my melon problems. I lost two plants to stump collapse and a third is being nursed along with only a quarter of the plant left. My fourth somewhat healthy plant has a nice melon on it, but it has something going on with the melon stem. It is turning brown slowly rotting. I will paint it with daconil. Too bad, the weather has been perfect for melons. I would love to hear other growers thoughts on what causes the stumps to blow apart. Two of mine were on squash and the third one was on a BG. I did not have big problems last year or the year before. I am thinking that one thing that makes a difference is that when you push them with ferts, and water it can trigger maximum growth and it becomes too much for the plant to handle. When I had them in the big field I did not push them, I added my fertilizer in the preseason as a granular and pretty much rode things out. Very little pushing occured last year or the prior year. The melons were left to their own. This year I pushed them hard. Weekly fertilizer and frequent watering. It was working too. GRRRRRRRR
 
Sunday, August 9 View Page
The Tropical storm Isaias came through Tuesday. Just got internet and phone back. Many people wil stilll be with out power for quite some time. Clean up has been very, very slow. As many people are trapped and can't even get out because trees are on the road. THings just started getting removed Friday night. The storm was on Tuesday! The power company has not done it's job. In order for clean up to begin they have to come out and say that it is OK for tree crews to come and remove the downed trees. This even includes the "main" state roads that were shut down for most of the week. Our company is eversource and they are nowhere to be fouhnd. The people in the state are mad, to say the least. And rightly so. It is very, very strange what is going on, as I have never seen anything like it before. Now an update with the gardens, My two AG's got flattened and most of the leaf stalks have cracked in half. We will see what happens, I have seen worse before. The melons faired much better, but I am down to one healthy plant now, 3 of my four plants have failing stumps and vines are collapsing . I thought I had the problems with the squash rootstock worked out. But I guess I was wrong. Too bad, my big lumpy melon was special and I was hoping to do 250 Plus with it. It was already taping 180 inches in early August. I will get pictures up when I can, right now I don't really want much to do with the garden for a bit. Farmers are resilient and we always are able to look forward to next year.
 
Saturday, August 15 View Page
Ten days later. Same sweet corn. I was hoping to finish out the season with this corn planted July 4th. My July tenth last planting didn't germinate, so I will finish the season with this.
 
Saturday, August 15 View Page
One last shot of the recovered sweet corn. The stuff in the foreground was planted the last week of June. Honey and Pearl sweet corn.
 
Tuesday, August 25 View Page
The 1780 Wagner pumpkin has been battling stem rot for a couple of weeks now. My theory is that this stem rot stuff happens or is made more likely when your leaf stems get cracked up and then they hold water, Rot travels up and down the vine eventually getting at the pumpkin stem too. The pumpkin's stem is sort of like the equivalent to the watermelon growers stump. They swell up huge and sometimes can't handle all the excess water and nutrition that they are being given. From what I have seen every truly big AG does have a huge stem. So I know that I am on the right track with my growing tactics. I have been growing competition AG's for almost 15 years now. In the past two years I have seen my weights go up. I credit that to two things. More frequent watering and fertigating through my chemilizer fert injector. I used to play it safe and only water when the plant was suffering (like I treat all my other plants). Giants are mostly water and in order to grow a true giant all normal plant growing instincts need to be ignored. They have to be given excesses.
 
Monday, September 7 View Page
I often visit the Giant watermelon growers club facebook page but I am not a member of facebook, so I can't comment there. I read of one guy having his melon stolen from a community garden. Melons are like a magnet, especially if they are being grown in a spot that can be seen by the public. The Carolina Cross variety has that classic watermelon look to it and because of that it is a prime target of thieves and vandals. If my melons were under such pressure from the outside world I would consider planting a hybrid Carolina Cross x Jumbo Black Diamond or a straight up Jumbo Black Diamond. Most people (especially thieves) will not recognize them as melons. Plus they can grow huge. It is only a matter of time before we see them do 250, 275, and beyond 300 . Below is a picture from last year of my 203.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Getting ready for the Woodstock Fair, it's time to pick my "big lumpy" melon. Which turned out not to be so lumpy after all. From what I have seen melons tend to get better shapes as they grow. The opposite of pumpkins which can start out symmetrical and then turn into massive blobs. You can see that this plant is pretty well shot. The stump "blew up" in early August. Too bad this melon was on a growth track with some of the big melons grown. That being said there is a bright side....
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Fortunately, about a foot from the melon I had a massive root grow down through the plastic. This kept that thick finger vine alive and the melon slowly growing. This melon was about 7' out from the stump. Perhaps us melon growers should reconsider the though of letting roots grow off the vines, especially since it can help save the season if your stump blows to pieces.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
This is what the stump looked like the day of harvest. In early August I removed two huge finger vines then painted the wounds with Daconil. I left the finger vine that the melon was on and one other small one that seemed to be still relatively connected to the stump. This plant is on a bushel gourd root stock. It is an f3 CC X JBD hybrid from Chris Kent's cross back in 2016.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Another Picture of the melon. As usual September 11th was a gorgeous sunny day with low humidity and clear blue skies. Just like that day 19 years ago. My favorite time of year.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Another picture of my "big lumpy" melon. It's taping 202" I wonder what it will weigh? Don't get too excited, The scale can be your friend or enemy. Either way it should still be a personal best for me. The question is by how much.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Here is a picture of the root near the melon fruit.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Now onto The AG. This is the 1780.5 Wagner that was damaged by Isaias. It slowed down after the storm but it never quit growing. I though it was a goner as it had a weeping stem. Luckily the stem rot stopped progressing and it dried up, nicely. The stem rot caused me to back off on overhead watering the plant and I am sure I lost a few pounds because of it. Needless to say I am very glad that it made it!
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
I let the plant grow out some tertiaries after the storm and you can see it is still nice and green. I also let it set a few new pumpkins just for fun. You can see a small one in the foreground. That one got smushed when I harvested the pumpkin. There are still several left though.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
Another shot of the ugly shaped pumpkin. It was destined to grow over the blossom end right away. I didn't really try to fight it. One thing I do regret though is using a light blocking tarp as a cover. You see that white spot, well that is because zero filtered sun reached that location. Even a white sheet allows some sun through. The best colored pumpkins I have grown were when I used a thin burlap shelter built over the pumpkin. It allows a nice filtered light throughout the day.
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
A shelter like this, for maximum color. I am sure the 1780 Wagner would have colored up really nicely if I had grown it like that. Honestly it still did color up decently. but I think I could have maxed out the color with a better set up for it and I could have eliminated the white spot. "Tan line" LOL
 
Friday, September 11 View Page
You can see the white spot clearly in this shot. This is definitive proof to me that sunlight is necessary to bring about that full color. Sometimes you just have to see things for yourself to truly believe them. Reading and believing is great, but first hand experience is better.
 
Saturday, September 12 View Page
Here I am at the weigh off. 1172 pounds. A little light, but I am very happy with that weight. I am used to my pumpkins going a lot light. LOL I have heard it said that some growers are all about winning the prize money. This weigh off proves that to be FALSE! Not a dime of prize money will be handed out and yet I have never seen a better turn out. It was great to see so many growers from all over, and I do mean all over. WE had growers from New York, New Jersey, CT, MA, RI, PA. Every one followed the rules, no one wants to ruin it for the later weigh off's, still to come. Strange times indeed.
 
Saturday, September 12 View Page
Here I am with my melon on the scales. Final OTT 202" Final weight 206 pounds. Ten percent light, I am a little disappointed because my 203 went like 6% heavy last year. That being said, it is always good to have a fruit make it to the scales, and on another positive I still upped my PB from last year. So all in all I have lots to be thankful for. It was a very good day, in an other wise crumby year.
 
Saturday, September 12 View Page
All loaded and ready to drive the two hours back home. Much Thanks goes to Gene LaRiviere who offered up his home and set this thing up. Gene you are a top notch guy, you really stepped up big time. Also thanks to all the volunteers who were helping out. Just to name a few, Ken Desrosiers, Joe Jutras, Ryan Cleveland, Alex Noel, Matt D and the many others, whom I do not know. THank you!
 
Tuesday, September 22 View Page
It looks like my garden may have an early end to it, I woke up to frost on the grass. It is hard to tell the severity of a frost until the sun comes up and melts everything off. WE will see. I still had plenty of crops coming. Some crops handle a frost better than others. Cucurbits are probably the most sensitive. On a separate note, this just occurred to me. It has been seven years since Chris Kent broke the world record for giant watermelons. That is a very long time! The bar was set really high with that one.
 
Wednesday, September 23 View Page
The frost was not hard, everything seems to have made it. The giant pumpkin leaves got nipped a little but everything else looks OK. Hopefully we are out of this frost cycle and can add another month to the growing season now.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
It's always a race to get the sweet potatoes dug before the voles eat them right down to nothing.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
This is a 'Mississippi' purple. A monster in length but not too shabby in girth either. Mississippi purple out produced all varieties this year. They are less sweet than a typical sweet potato and a dark purple color all the way through the potato.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
The 206 right before seed removal.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
Here is why it went ten percent light. Not just that but the shape. I am convinced that percent heavy largely comes from the shape. I will go into this a little bit more in a future post.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
The 206 split in half. Final measurements are SS 46" EE 60" Circ. 96". Too bad the plant had to go down in early August. I was very fortunate to have the that root came right off the vine. That root allowed this melon to grow slowly until harvest while the rest of the plant was dead.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
I made it to the Durham weigh off. This is what I brought. A nice 250 pound bushel gourd that was grown off of my 263.5 seed from last year. It had a bigger OTT than my 263 by 4 inches or so. It didn't go as heavy as heavy for me. You can't win them all. On the bright side the 188 melon went 7% heavy! This melon was grown the exact same way and was grown right next to my 206 which went -10% to the chart. The big difference that I can see is the shape. This melon is a fatty. In fact it looks just like a JBD. We will see if it has black seeds or not. If it did I would imagine it would qualify as a Black Diamond even though it is an F3 hybrid CC x JBD. The interesting thing about these Chris Kent hybrid melons is that they seem to stay on the dark side. I haven't had one melon yet that even resembled the light green color and dark green striping of a CC. They may get stripes but the rind is always dark green. The shape can resemble a Carolina Cross though. Those are the really big ones. like my 206.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
The 188 melon
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
The 188 melon.
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
188 melon
 
Tuesday, September 29 View Page
188 melon. I will give the final dimensions when I go to retrieve the seeds.
 
Monday, October 12 View Page
A picture of my bushel gourd and melon from the Durham fair weigh off. I made a mistake earlier when disclosing the seed that the melon was grown off, it was from my D1 2019 big fat melon that I grew last year. It was grown on a Tetsukabuto rootstock. The bushel gourd pictured was grown off my 263.5 and was grafted onto a 'Tetsukabuto' rootstock. Why would anyone bother to do that? I had some leftover BG and Tetsu seedlings after finishing my melon grafts. Why not? I can tell you this, BG's don't start out slow when they are on a squash rootstock. They grow fast out of the gate.
 
Monday, October 12 View Page
I hiked up Waramaug rock in Washington CT last weekend, what a gorgeous view.
 
Monday, October 12 View Page
A view looking the other way.
 
Monday, October 26 View Page
I took the seeds out of the 188 melon yesterday. It had jet black seeds. Also I took some seeds out of some 'Carolina Strongback's'. The seed is hard to get out as the flesh is really firm. You have to let it ferment a bit then they come right out. There are so many seeds in them. They are nearly filled with just seeds. It is insane. The Strongback was not tested on giant melons as I got the seeds a little bit late to try out. but the eating melons (harvest moon) performed great on them. Send me a bubble if you want to try some strongback seeds. I have got several dozen strongbacks out in the patch right now. We will see..... If i have the time maybe I will retrieve some more. The strongback's remind me of gourds that look like little round watermelons.
 

 

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