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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 41 Entries.
Thursday, February 20 View Page
Last year after harvest I dug in some peat & perlite and covered the whole plot with weed control membrane over winter to keep the moisture in and weeds out. Soil analysis as of now shows a a small amount of Mo and B are required, which is easily done. Other than that the pH is looking great and the excess OM should break down over time to a reasonable level.
Wednesday, March 25 View Page
Seed selection for this year, all 4 will be sown but only 2 will be taken on, I'll grow one in the polytunnel and Oliver will grow the other outdoors. We have a 2469 Daletas, 2136 Brandt, 2027 Haist & 1984 Barron. I'm really happy with these seeds let's hope something good happens this year... sowing date is set for April 11, the next couple of weeks I'll finish things off on Oliver's plot and get things ready in the polytunnel.
Thursday, April 2 View Page
Polytunnel interior as of today with Biovin & humic added, tilled and levelled before watering in.
Saturday, April 4 View Page
Last summer it got way too hot in the tunnel even with the doors open and sides rolled up, so I've installed a couple of solar powered extraction fans, one at each end. Because they're solar powered they only function when the sun shines ie when it gets hot. Today was sunny and they worked a treat. It's possible I might need to add a couple more, we'll see how it goes in the coming months.
Friday, April 10 View Page
Here we go - our 4 seeds for this year soaking for a few hours in plain water at 28C adjusted to pH 6.2
Sunday, April 12 View Page
...then in damp tissue paper at 28-29C until germination...
Sunday, April 12 View Page
...which has happened in just over 24 hours for 3 of the 4 seeds! With just the Brandt to go, this germination method is by far the fastest I've come across.
Tuesday, April 14 View Page
The 1984 Barron 4 days since initial seed soak. This and the Daletas are on a par. No more heat now, they're under the T5 at room temp, plain water pH 6.0.
Thursday, April 16 View Page
All OK 5 days after germination but for the Brandt seed which shows no sign of life so far, but I'll keep trying for another few days. Temp goes up to 25C during the day due to the lights but the heat mat means no less than 20 even at night.
Friday, April 17 View Page
I'm trying out airpots for the first time and today, at the time of transplant from 1l to 5l pots, you can see the effect they have, with no coiling of the roots you'd normally see around the sides of a standard plastic pot. All 3 plants now under 2xT5s and the temp set to 20C with some ventilation to keep the air temp about the same as it was getting a bit high under the lights.
Friday, April 17 View Page
Less than a week after the initial seed soak, the first true leaf has made an appearance. I must be doing something right?! This is the 2469 Delatas, which is my main hope for this year.
Saturday, April 18 View Page
I spent most of the afternoon laying down a new dripline system, here it is half finished. I'll complete it when I know which side the pumpkin will form as there's no point laying pipe if the pumpkin's going to squash it. Each of the white PVC feed pipes running left to right is gravity fed by a 1000 litre water tank set up 6ft off the ground just outside. Drip line is fed out adjacent to the pipes and they run towards the edges of the plot. The idea is that the pumpkin will be planted at the far left corner, and I'll train the main vine to grow from one corner to the other, from left to right and in between the two feed pipes. There won't be much space for the first few secondaries so they will be terminated early. But there will be a lot of space for the secondaries that'll appear after about 8 feet from the stump. These are the secondaries that will host the leaves that will be most responsible for providing sugars for pumpkin growth ie diamond pattern. So the theory goes anyway, fingers crossed.
Sunday, April 19 View Page
All 3 plants doing fine under the T5s, very healthy looking. The main leaves on each are already growing about an inch a day.
Monday, April 20 View Page
Strike that - make it 2 inches a day. This is the Daletas storming ahead. I think these plants may well be planted out this weekend, ahead of schedule. The weather is forecast to be sunny all week so from tomorrow I'll start hardening them off outside.
Wednesday, April 22 View Page
This will be their second day outside hardening off, I was going to wait until the weekend before planting out but I'll probably do it tomorrow as I don't want to induce pot stress. The main concern is low nighttime temps. Indoors it's easy to control and they've been kept at a minimum 18C, but outdoors, with no electricity, it will go into the low single figures, which is bound to slow metabolism & growth.
Thursday, April 23 View Page
This is the 2469 Daletas about to be planted out in the polytunnel this morning. The airpots have done a good job, plenty of roots, with no coiling.
Thursday, April 23 View Page
Job done, planted at an angle with Azos, Holland's myco and Life-Cycle soil conditioner, watered in with rain water adjusted to pH 6.0 with nitric acid. It'll be sunny today so the doors and sides will be open all day, and the solar fans working too to try and keep a temperature somewhere in the 20s. Last night the temp went down to 5C so this evening I will have to see what I can do about keeping the plant warm.
Friday, April 24 View Page
The Daletas settling in 24 hours later, everything OK. Last night's low was 9C which isn't too bad. Soil temp is 15C. Another sunny day is due today, though the air is still cold.
Friday, April 24 View Page
And here's Oliver's 2027 Haist in a polycarbonate cloche outside. He's planted it at one end of the patch, with the 1984 Barron at the other end. He really wants to beat his PB and get over 300lb this year and I'll do what I can to help him - but he calls the shots!
Saturday, April 25 View Page
Another sunny day today although rain is forecast for the rest of the week. Light feed pH 6.0 EC 1.0.
Monday, April 27 View Page
Not a great deal of change but that's to be expected, just slow steady growth both above and below ground now, until vining starts.
Wednesday, April 29 View Page
Steady progress with the Daletas, the days are warm inside despite the bad weather.
Wednesday, April 29 View Page
Not such good news for Oliver - this is the Heist with a snapped stem - game over. My fault for not securing the cloche properly during the bad weather we've been having. Lucky for me Oliver's very forgiving, and he still has the Barron which is doing OK. I've started a 1949 Paton as back up just in case the worst happens for either of us.
Sunday, May 3 View Page
Oliver's Barron which being outside is much slower than the Daletas, we gave it a foliar shot of Mn & other metal ions to pre-empt pale leaves due to the alkaline soil we have
Sunday, May 3 View Page
Pic for previous post. If anyone knows a way of editing diary entries shoot me an email :)
Sunday, May 3 View Page
Update on the indoor Daletas which looks to be doing OK. This also got some foliar TE to prevent leaf yellowing.
Tuesday, May 5 View Page
A quick view of the interior showing the steps taken to insulate overnight. Not only is there the protection of the polytunnel itself, but the plant also has twin wall polycarbonate sheeting and a double layer of bubble wrap to guard against cold, which is forecast to go down to 3C tonight. Last night we had similar, and there was a 4 difference between inside and out. I have to get back early in the morning to unwrap so the plant doesn't bake, it heats up very quickly once the sun's out.
Wednesday, May 6 View Page
The cloche worked as expected last night and will be in place again tonight as the forecast is the same. Interior daytime temps have been in the mid to late 20s, soil temp is 15C, but the light levels inside are not as high as I'd like, just 400 lumen compared to 900 outside in bright sunshine at 5pm. I will probably have to change the polythene sheeting on the polytunnel at the end of the season. Both the Daletas and Barron got an ammonium nitrate feed EC 1.2 pH 6.0 which hopefully will give explosive results ;)
Thursday, May 7 View Page
As a comparison between this year and last year, we're way ahead, with 4 main leaves instead of 3 at the same 25 day period since germination. I'm not sure exactly why, probably a combination of technique, weather and genetics as always, all of which I think have been better than last year.
Thursday, May 7 View Page
Last night the temp was forecast to go as low as 3C - and where we are it often goes lower than forecast - so I set up a butane gas heater to prevent risk of frost damage. As it happens it went down to 7C inside the tunnel, and 11 inside the cloche where the heat was being blown in by a fan. Inside the CO2 level went up as expected but not too much, from circa 500ppm ambient to 1200ppm. I'd like to have that level of CO2 during the daytime when it's needed oh well.
Monday, May 11 View Page
The Daletas this morning after another cold night. I'm going to install a different gas heater to try and up the night temps, I really don't want them in single figures if I can help it. Higher temp at night when respiration takes place = faster & more efficient metabolism = better growth, it's as simple as that!
Wednesday, May 13 View Page
New heating setup as of last night that has worked a treat providing an overnight temp in the early 20s despite low single figures outside. Instead of a simple propane (not butane, my error) frost protector, there's now a proper propane heater installed, with a fan blowing the heat directly into the cloche where the plant is. I was concerned that it might be too warm and dry the plant out, or even cook it such was the heat it gave off, but I checked it through the evening and this morning everything was fine and looking good. I also made sure there was enough ventilation to prevent CO buildup and ensure the CO2 levels didn't get too high, this morning the CO2 was 1300ppm which is fine.
Wednesday, May 13 View Page
Quick pic as of this morning. For veg growth this year I'll be using OminA, Blackjak humic, Grow Genius silicic acid, Hortiphite phosphite, Solufeed Vigil as well as Holland's mcyo, Azos, TNC bacteria and the usual TE chelates, yucca, fulvic etc. Fruit growth will be different but more of that later when the time comes.
Wednesday, May 13 View Page
Correct pic for previous post ;) This is a great site but it really would be a good thing if we could edit diary entries...!
Thursday, May 14 View Page
A sharp frost last night has damaged Oliver's plant despite a triple layer of fleece, though we think it will be OK as time goes on. Meanwhile in the tunnel it didn't go below 17C, and the start of the main vine becomes even more prominent.
Saturday, May 16 View Page
Another cold night but I managed to maintain a minimum of 16C inside which is great. As such we have no issues and the main vine will probably touch down next week.
Sunday, May 17 View Page
Or should I say touch down today - Daletas main vine looking good but some prompting is needed to get it growing in the right direction. Things should start to take off this week, the growth rate has noticeably increased already and the weather forecast is sunny and warm.
Tuesday, May 19 View Page
Another sunny day today means problems with indoor heat. I had big problems with overheating and desiccation last year so I've made some improvements this year. So not only are the main doors fully open, sides fully vented and interior fans on, but this year the solar extraction fans are on and maxed out, I've changed direction of the floor fans so colder, outside air blows IN, but most effective of all is the large-scale overhead misting spray, which takes the air temp and leaf temp down by several degrees in the space of just a few minutes. I'm still testing it so I know how often to use it, so I can set a timer. So instead of temps of well over 30C, I've got it down to just 22-24 which is just about right.
Saturday, May 23 View Page
The Daletas this morning about 6ft in length. Side vines are making an appearance and growing fast so the node burying will start soon. It's been sunny but not too hot all week, and more of the same is forecast, ideal weather really.
Tuesday, May 26 View Page
Oliver spotted this tiny first female yesterday; a progress marker about 7 feet out
Tuesday, May 26 View Page
The Daletas making gains of 4-6" a day now. Sunny weather means I'm watering every morning by hand, and varying the EC & pH which I'm keeping below 1.7 and 6.8 respectively. Now it's warm I won't add any additional ammonium apart from what's already in the Vigil feed, and I'll introduce calcium nitrate and magnesium nitrate instead.

 

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