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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 103 Entries.
Tuesday, March 3 View Page
Looking fwd to the new season - plans are afoot for another season of giant tomatoes!
Tuesday, March 3 View Page
5 gallon challenge - would an air pot be legal?!
Tuesday, March 3 View Page
5 gallon bucket challenge - would this be legal?. 5 US gallons = 18.927 litres in metric I was going to propose a 20 litre airpot, but not fill to the top (some kind of volume calculation based on diameter & height). Airpots have lots of holes in the side - itís supposed encourage rooting to make max use of the available compost If max weight per x volume of compost is an aim, airpots could be a fun avenue to go down. (I have never grown in them before). I can of course find a bucket tho for standardisation... Happy either way but flagging now before anything starts!
Saturday, March 28 View Page
It's not pretty yet, but container for giant (tall) sunflowers is made, filled, and prepped ready for sowing on the south facing part of the house. Some bright days had, but still cold (both day and night, so protection is going to be needed to keep things cozy.
Saturday, March 28 View Page
Not exactly super snug & warm out without a bit of help.
Saturday, March 28 View Page
Thanks very much to John Butler for the seed!! Just awesome, thanks again.
Wednesday, April 8 View Page
The tomato line up - some for the little greenhouse, some for 5 gallon challenge and some to play with breeding crosses.
Wednesday, April 8 View Page
Giant sunflowers (Butler) are up. Started early as an experiment. Be interested to see if they flower x days after pollination or at particular time of year (shortening days)
Friday, April 10 View Page
Amazing how fast giant sunflowers grow. 8 days difference - and these are the rejects (2 of 6) that didn't make it in what is a gradual cull!
Tuesday, April 14 View Page
Universal beer can measuring scale provided for the giant sunflower. Germinated 13 days ago...This is post the thinning to just the one plant. It was tallest, and most heliotropic. Wonder if that is related? Additionally, Iím going to need to give him a name (4 year old boy has told me itís a boy sunflower). Is Sunny McSunface too obvious?
Wednesday, April 22 View Page
17 inches of giant sunflower on day 20. No idea if thatís good, bad or indifferent - but Iím impressed. I canít seem to find any growth rates or what heights people are at on day x, y, z so noting for my future reference
Wednesday, April 22 View Page
Tomatoes are up; those successfully germinated amongst other seeds are 4/4 WR 9.65 and 3/3 Lambchop. They wonít all make in the ground due to space, but good to know there are choices to be had. Other seeds include my 6.11 Delicious, 5.57 Domingo, 8.07 Daho, 7.66 Hill.
Thursday, April 23 View Page
I really wanted airpots for the 5 gallon challenge, but I had to go over or a long way under in volume as everything sold in litres here in UK. So 20 litres (over the limit) or 15 litres (a long way under). Settled and on fabric bags that aught to also root prune but these are 5 gallons on the dot. Letís try this!
Monday, May 18 View Page
Tomatoes transplanted; those on the left suffer from a bit of shade due to a fence and some overgrown neighbor bushes so Iíve co-opted the propagation lights in the short term. 2 x 9.65 Porkchop, 1 x 5.71 Lambchop, 1 x 5.57 Smith Those in pots are for the 5 gallon challenge, but also for some breeding crosses - 6.11 Smith, 8.07 Daho, 7.66 Hill.
Monday, June 8 View Page
The 26 Butler is around 13.5 feet now. Wrapped up as we've had a sudden switch to a cold spell and cold winds, from relative warmth in recent months.
Monday, June 8 View Page
Very earliest of flower buds forming, so switch from vegetative to reproductive stage but hope there's a few feet more to come.
Sunday, June 14 View Page
Plants making headway. The black bags are 5 gallon fabric pots. Iím torn now, as ever, given they are doing so well and I can see mega blooms - between letting them go for size, vs doing the crosses Iím supposed to!!
Saturday, June 20 View Page
Sunday, June 21 View Page
Soil grown plant: Lambchop 5.71, candelabra style (grown to multiple stems). Currently a leading light.
Sunday, June 21 View Page
Smith 5.57 (grown off 5.27 Smith - a descendant off the 5.95 line) - again, candelabra style. Both this and lambchop have had some supplemental lighting due to neighbours overgrown bushes / trees to one side of me.
Sunday, June 21 View Page
A 9.65 Porkchop - a little smaller than the others, but itís not about leaves at the end of the day
Sunday, June 21 View Page
And another 9.65 Porkchop - so far the stronger of the two.
Sunday, June 21 View Page
A 8.07 Daho MegaMarv for crossing on left - itís a tank; and 5 gallon container plants that are doubling as crossing material - 7.66 Hill (BZ), 6.11 Smith (Delicious). Intention is also to cross the Porkchop Domingos onto the MegaMarv, so itíll be loaded with crosses. Sure hope I donít loose the labels....
Sunday, June 21 View Page
Mega on the 5 gallon 7.66 Hill
Sunday, June 21 View Page
Mega on the 6.11 Delicious. Neither are blooms Iíd necessarily have picked for soil grown plants, but I think speed is of the essence - I want compact plants that havenít fully extinguished all soil nutrients in a limited pot, so I donít think I have time for the Ďperfectí bloom. Iíll take what I can get and run with it
Sunday, June 21 View Page
Sunflower is doing well too
Monday, June 22 View Page
Itís going to be a hot week - Iíve removed some glass panels from the GH and will put up some shade on the hottest days.
Tuesday, June 23 View Page
Iíve decided to rebrand, whilst executing on the Ďcandelabraí style on the Lampchop 5.71. Forthwith, itís the ďx-wingĒ starfighter formation, as, well... frankly, star wars Rebel Alliance starfighters are cooler than light fittings. Targeting 4 trained & staked secondaries, one main, aiming for good air and light distribution within the available space - and multiple chances of megablooms
Thursday, June 25 View Page
Have managed a few tomato crosses in the last few days, fingers crossed they take:. 8.07 Daho (MegaMarv) x 7.66 Hill (Big Zac) 8.07 Daho (MegaMarv) x 9.65 Porkchop (Domingo) 8.07 Daho (MegaMarv) x 6.11 Smith (Delicious, 7.33 Hunt strain)
Saturday, June 27 View Page
This is a pic from last year - but this is why Iíve been crossing the Daho 8.07 with a variety of plants (including the 9.65 Porkchop Domingo) - sheer vigour, as well as potential to go large. Vines are from the 4.22 Daho, mummy to the Daho 8.07.
Sunday, June 28 View Page
Dang it. The triple megabloom on Delicious for the 5 gallon has revealed on petal drop that itís not fully fused. Picking off the single would leave a double at most. Nothing else promising on that plant
Friday, July 3 View Page
Giant sunflower about 19ft now..
Friday, July 3 View Page
Looks like we have a set for a modest double on the 7.66 Hill for the 5 gallon challenge
Monday, July 13 View Page
First signs of yellow in the sunflower. Remind me not to take pics with wet hands tho (after a foliar spray) at the top of the ladder next time..
Monday, July 13 View Page
Peekaboo!
Monday, July 13 View Page
About 20ft now, rigged some support for the head. It could be more solid, surprisingly how wobbly things being in 23 ft plus lengths! But better than unsupported. Iíd like to save the seeds off this one. :)
Wednesday, July 15 View Page
Another of the pot challenge megas pollinated. On the 7.66 Hill. The before:
Wednesday, July 15 View Page
and the after:
Saturday, July 25 View Page
5 gallon challenge: 7.66 Hill (BZ)
Saturday, July 25 View Page
5 gallon challenge: 7.66 Hill (BZ)
Saturday, July 25 View Page
5 gallon challenge: 6.11 Smith (Delicious)
Saturday, July 25 View Page
A set on soil grown 9.65 Porkchop (Domingo). Itís not one of the super large megaís Iíve been seeing on the forums, but my window of pollination is closing as Iím now looking at best blooms plants have and aiming to roll with them over next few weeks.
Saturday, July 25 View Page
I think thatís about as far as itís likely to go for the sunflower? The 4 year old said he wanted a giant one.. 21ft 3 if you measure over the curve and include longest sepal at the moment. Just shy of 20ft in absolute terms. First season trying to grow one of these.
Saturday, July 25 View Page
Sheís flowered !
Monday, July 27 View Page
So... this isnít ideal! The 6 blossom on the 5 gallon tub (7.66 Hill) has grown to the extent that itís got a thru & thru...very gangsta.. Basically, thru a split stem, I can all the way thru the growing tomato to the floor of my greenhouse. Says danger all over for an early flash, but all still green so far.
Thursday, July 30 View Page
Sunflower is making the national UK press - print & online at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12260858/stellan-dad-20ft-sunflower-taller-house/ A few minor inconsistencies (project manager?, having a pic measuring from the ground vs the actual stem!, free seeds not bought!?) - oh well, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. A few radio gigs and mooting of TV next week. I tell you, I donít get this kind of attention when I grow lettuce & tomatoes! A nice ray of #Lockdown sunshine.
Sunday, August 2 View Page
Tough cull on the 5.71 Lampchop - a triple, nice placement but close inspection one of the three not joined... argh!
Thursday, August 6 View Page
5 gallon challenge - 23.5 inches, but will be light to chart given centre hollow. Gangster tomato with a thru & thru. 7.66 Hill. BZ
Thursday, August 6 View Page
5 gallon challenge: 6.11 Smith (Delicious) .
Thursday, August 6 View Page
5 gallon challenge: 7.66 Hill (2nd)
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Porkchop 9.65 set on 1
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Porkchop 9.65 mega (last chance saloon for a set here)
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Two sets on 5.71 Lampchop. Slight temporary darkening on one where I removed sepals too see where it was joined (or not). Yet to cull to one, but would like to do so over next few days. The right slightly older of the two. Pics from a few dats ago
Thursday, August 6 View Page
Another shot of the 7.66 Hill thru & thru
Saturday, August 8 View Page
Maybe you can grow a big tomato in a small pot? More strapping added to the 5 gallon challenge tomato. 7.66 Hill, BZ
Monday, August 10 View Page
My first Ďbigí mega on the soil grown Domingos (9.65 Porkchop); a great looking bloom. It is now however that the UK chooses to have a 10 day period of 90f plus days and blistering sunshine. Iím trying to increase humidity to take the stress out of the plants. God, I really hope this pollinates successfully in this heat. Any tips - shoot an email. Itís last chance saloon time for latest weigh offs.
Monday, August 10 View Page
Being pot grown, two of my 8.07 Daho (MegaMarv) crosses ended up with BER - the 6.11 Smith (Delicious) and the 7.66 Hill (BZ) - arg! But I kept on the plant and I *think* at least I have viable seed having harvest today. That would be a bit of a lifeline on the breeding cross any, albeit reduced seed count. The 9.65 Porkchop cross and controlled self on the same plant donít have BER and are still green.
Wednesday, August 12 View Page
We are still in an unseasonably hot spell here in the UK. And today is a bit BER gate. This on the soil grown Lambchop 5.71, one of my best looking plants. Some light scabbing - but a soft spot that will be itís death knell Iím sure. Shame, as this plant is awesome, but itís too late for any more pollinations
Wednesday, August 12 View Page
Also showing BER on the pot grown 6.11 Smith Delicious. In retrospect, perhaps I should moved it to shade to get it thru unscarred, even if it stalled growth. For a man who doesnít grow many plants - my margin for error on remaining plants is evaporating to bring tomatoes to the scale for the team competition.
Wednesday, August 12 View Page
Separately, I continue to try and find a UK store with a scale calibration within the last 12 months for the GPC listings thatís less than a 3 hour round trip driving. We have a different class of trade scale here - and in the UK there is no legal requirement to recalibrate this type of scale annually (so no stickers to satisfy the GPC). Millions of £ of goods trade off these scales, but I canít get a tomato listing off them.The search continues. Fingers crossed.
Sunday, August 16 View Page
A small double (7.66 Hill, BZ) for the 5 gallon challenge hitting first blush. Iíve been hoping this would be the Ďtest caseí for GPC listing on UK, but still no joy on a local scale with calibration certificate (we have a different class trade scale here in the UK, they donít require annual testing). Hopefully 3 lb plus
Sunday, August 16 View Page
This has appeared. A period of weeks with hot weather, keeping humidity up, and now thunderstorms for a week with rain
Sunday, August 16 View Page
Iíve started removing impacted leaves, in the hope of reducing spreading in the small greenhouse - forecast is for yet more warm weather and rain however, I need humidity down not up!!
Sunday, August 16 View Page
Pic of underside of patch
Sunday, August 16 View Page
This tho looking exciting (7.66 Hill, BZ). A big cavity tho in a ring of tomato means you can take at least an inch off - maybe more, for the 5 gallon pot challenge. (From Doug ĎI hate potsí Smith). It will weigh much lighter than it tapes then..but the question is...just by how much?
Sunday, August 16 View Page
An older pic of the cavity, but you get the idea. Greenhouse floor below it
Monday, August 17 View Page
Pot challenge 6.11 Smith (Delicious). Has I surface BER I think, May scab over. Keeping running as an experiment
Monday, August 17 View Page
Soil grown 5.71 Lambchop. Best looking plant. BER, Cut rot out, applied sulfur. Again, experimental - Iíll pull this later Iím sure I canít see it going the distance. But thatís what experimenting is about
Monday, August 17 View Page
Soil grown Domingo 9.65 Porkchop
Monday, August 17 View Page
Hopefully a successful mega pollination on the 9.65 Porkchop. Plant tho, isnít as good a condition vs second Porkchop or the stonking Lampchop. Leaves curled from previous heat stress last month. A pollination on this date means itís last chance GPC listing is the Southampton weigh off on 10th Oct. It will likely still be green tho - and perhaps not full growth given longer days to harvest on shoulder seasons. Depends tho, on what the weather has in store for us over next few months
Monday, August 17 View Page
Opted to pick the double at blush stage on the 5 gallon pot - 2.81lb (1.275kg). Didnít quite hit the 3lb mark.
Monday, August 17 View Page
and the bottom
Monday, August 17 View Page
Created a new outdoor greenhouse for the 6.11 Delicious 5 gallon pot. It means the giant sunflower (saving seed) has an interloper at itís feet - but itíll keep the rain off
Friday, August 21 View Page
After spotting some soft rot on the BER of the 6.11 Smith (delicious), Iíve called time and binned. I took the opportunity tho of checking out the root structure from the fabric pot by slicing it down the middle and giving a quick blast with the hose. I have to say, itís good.
Tuesday, August 25 View Page
5 US gallon bucket slammer time..
Tuesday, August 25 View Page
and: *cue drumroll*. 3.106kg / 6.848lb. A new PB and - fantastically - a new UK record. From a 5 gallon, 18.9 litre fabric pot! What the!!! Big Zac, off the 7.66 Hill. Thanks go out to Curtis UK for hooking me up with scales at such short notice (last min delays with the planned for local scales), Seb & Cindy representing the GPC on zoom. Seb especially - you were a rock in efforts to try and organise the logistics in preceding weeks. Top man!
Wednesday, August 26 View Page
My awesome mega on the 9.65, didnít pan out - we had a bad patch weather wise when it needed pollinating
Wednesday, August 26 View Page
Iím letting it run with a double for seeds and team weights. Weighing at Southampton I think mid Oct
Wednesday, August 26 View Page
Itís was very windy here as a storm passed thru. Brackets have been ripped off the wall but itís still standing (ish?!). One to fix when the wind dies down. Tied to the ladder in the short term.
Friday, August 28 View Page
A couple more pics of the bucket record breaker...
Friday, August 28 View Page
Hold it... hold it...smile dang it!
Friday, August 28 View Page
Itís...itís...a record breaker! Haha! Really not sure whatís going on at this point
Saturday, August 29 View Page
More wind and the sunflower poles have snapped under the sheer weight before I had time to fully reattach.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Sunflower head is 14 inches across, and 18 inches if you include sepals.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
This tho, I hadnít banked on. A solid Ďconeí behind the sunflower head and itís heavy!
Saturday, August 29 View Page
For those hoping to do 20ft sunflowers in 20 gallons (mine also in a pot of about that size - 2ft x 3ft and 20 inches deep) - my advice - if you are hoping to save seed, be warned - thereís potential for a 10lb (4.7kg) plus weight at the top with a fully formed sunflower head! Stake well. Sheesh.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Got a little press love today. The journo seems to have thought I said fused plants vs fused flowers tho, and itís been replicated across multiple outlets. Doh! Maybe thatís the next step!
Saturday, August 29 View Page
And another.
Saturday, August 29 View Page
Men and their tights eh?
Wednesday, September 2 View Page
On the 9.65 Porkchop 1
Wednesday, September 2 View Page
Also on another 9.65 Porkchop, rolling with a double as out of time and the monster mega didnít pan out. Likely one for Soton weigh off.
Friday, September 4 View Page
Seeds from the UK record 6.85 lb - okay, but not a huge seed count
Friday, September 4 View Page
Seeds from the sunflower drying off as well.
Wednesday, September 9 View Page
3.22 lb off Porkchop 9.65. Was an okay bloom (from what was on offer at the time) but growth a little stalled. I wonít go as far as GPC listing for this, but hopefully for team competition itís a fraction higher than my previous listing
Wednesday, September 9 View Page
And the top. Iíve not had much luck on the soil grown Domingos - but itís a symptom of tiny plant numbers, late pollinations and limited megas. Plants looked awesome, especially Lampchop. of 4 plants, two megas had ber - had to go with a later double on one, left one ber tomato to grow (soft spot will mean dmg, but hopefully seeds), this is the 3rd. - no megas on the fourth plant in timeframe mean itís a large single that will have to be weighted green at the last GPC. So, 2 more to weigh - but likely coming in green to hit GPC dates
Wednesday, September 30 View Page
Trying to coax the last bit of growth from last tomatoes - but, not my best plant, bloom or now - weather. Tough gig
Tuesday, October 13 View Page
As folks asked on the forum in relation to last tomatoís for the team competition - sheís a blushing. Off the 9.65 Porkchop.
Tuesday, October 13 View Page
Blushing / ripening further tho - could take forever with this weather, so Iím not adverse to calling time around 17th Further gains are not going to be huge, and hanging around too long in a cold greenhouse with high humidity for too long in my view is asking for trouble.
Sunday, October 18 View Page
Blushing progress at these temps is slooowwwwww. Tues vs today (Sat) - 5 days
Friday, October 23 View Page
Another 5 day update for ya all. Looks redder in the pic than in real life. It gave me a shock yesterday, as it slipped from the hammock but all good as the stem was held. Phew! No monster, but hopefully a little extra for the team competition
Sunday, October 25 View Page
Sheís been measured.. thatís the hollow bottom...
Sunday, October 25 View Page
Tapes...just shy of 24 inches...
Sunday, October 25 View Page
And a view on the scales.. *cue drumroll* My final results just sent to Zeke. For the moment Iím leaving in Zekeís court for last suspense on results that are still creeping in...

 

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