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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 73 Entries.
Monday, April 18 View Page
This season has already been a baptism of fire. Started with a trial run to test the new grow tent with a positive 4/4 success rate then swiftly moved on to this year’s contenders. All started well with the 1905 out of the blocks in less than 3 days, followed by one of the 2195’s a day later, both are doing well. Then a dose of failure with the 2112, 2016, and remaining 2195 no show's and both 1641’s with 70% rotten cots. Thinking it couldn’t get much worse the 1477, planted as contingency germinated without its cots, therefore I planted extra contingency with the 2356 and the 2000 (update to follow). I could do with a bit of luck please and perhaps a new plan for next year.
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
The new grow tent, propagator, and the MAXSISUN MF2000 LED
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
This year's sunflower selection. I'm growing wide headed sunflowers for the first time which should be fun.
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
The sunflower patch, located somewhere in Shropshire UK.
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
First of the sunflower beds direct sown. I'm going early this year as I typically don't start until the 2nd week of May. The third bed is off-camera where I grew last years 5.8m. The 5.8m had an incredibly long growing season so I'm going to cross that with the 20" 3 Brown.
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
1905 Rose and 2195 Theil. Both 6 days old at the time this picture was taken.
 
Wednesday, April 20 View Page
I wanted to run a small trial to inform my own seed starting approach, driven by the problems that blighted the start of my season and a scientific curiosity. As depicted below, I soaked 4 seeds from last year's fruit in 5 different solutions. Each mix used a base of preboiled water (10ml) with either seaweed or Gibberellic Acid added of various strengths. Seeds were soaked for 2hrs and planted in a mix of clover peat (sieved) containing AZOS and Mycorrhizae.
 
Wednesday, April 20 View Page
Test pots were planted 4 up, at a depth of half a seed, then moved to the propagator.
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
Here are the test subjects on day 4. Perhaps not visible in the picture but there is some movement in pot 4, gibberellic acid.
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
The 1905 (left) and 2195 are up for this, I think we're on day 14 from planting and yes they should be in the ground... More on that later
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
Some good news, the 1477 Caspers has made a miraculous recovery as has the 1641, although the latter is only just alive. I like a challenge so I hope the 1641 pulls through. The 2000 Paton is looking strong and the 1800 Rose has joined the party after a late introduction.
 
Sunday, April 24 View Page
I have 3 patches here in the UK, each 6 x 8m (500 sq ft) in size. In terms of planting, I'm behind where I wanted to be, therefore, and based on a potential frost next week I'm set for May 1st. Not ideal, however, and since I don't have power I'm taking a careful approach.
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
Day 5 and 6 after the seeds were sown. 1. Control (10ml Water), 2. 2.5ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water 3. 5.0ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water 4. Gibberellic Acid 1000ppm + 10ml water 5. 2.5ml seaweed solution plus sequestered iron (Maxicrop)
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
Day 7 and 8. 5ml Seaweed solution starting to build momentum. Interestingly, the control is ahead of the weaker 2.5ml seaweed solution. 1. Control (10ml Water), 2. 2.5ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water 3. 5.0ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water 4. Gibberellic Acid 1000ppm + 10ml water 5. 2.5ml seaweed solution plus sequestered iron (Maxicrop)
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
Day 10 and 11, (no day 9). Bringing the limited scope, highly floored experiment to an end. My main observation is that there’s perhaps an optimal seaweed dilution to be had, more is not less in this case. The Gibberellic Acid solution certainly produced stronger plants although they did germinate quicker which gave them a growth advantage over the 11 days. Seed germination using Gibberellic Acid was low, only 50%. Time depending I might rerun the test in the next few weeks. 1. Control (10ml Water) – 75% Germination 2. 2.5ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water – 75% Germination 3. 5.0ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water – 75% Germination 4. Gibberellic Acid 1000ppm + 10ml water – 50% Germination 5. 2.5ml seaweed solution plus sequestered iron (Maxicrop)– 0% Germination
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
1. Control (10ml Water) – 75% Germination 2. 2.5ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water – 75% Germination
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
3. 5.0ml Seaweed Solution + 10ml water – 75% Germination 4. Gibberellic Acid 1000ppm + 10ml water – 50% Germination
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
I had this solution in my shed, and whilst I've never used it as a seed soak, I certainly won't now :) 5. 2.5ml seaweed solution plus sequestered iron (Maxicrop)– 0% Germination
 
Sunday, May 1 View Page
The Brown Sunflower seeds (D) were up within 7 days. My homegrown crosses (B +C) took twice as long. Seed D: 20ft 3" Brown Seed B: Unknown Seed C: Produced by 5.8m
 
Saturday, May 7 View Page
Houses are out and Pumpkin's are in !
 
Saturday, May 7 View Page
2195 Theil is go.
 
Sunday, May 8 View Page
and the 1905 Rose is too!
 
Sunday, May 8 View Page
Good progress in the Sunflower patch. The 20ft 3 Brown's (top left, bottom right) are on day 13 after germination and are way ahead of the pack. Which reminds me, a big thank you to Steve Maydan for arranging a replacement set of 20ft 3 Brown's after they were squashed in the post.
 
Sunday, May 8 View Page
Top left the 1477 Caspers, Bottom 2000.6 Paton, top Right 1800 Rose all doing well back home in the greenhouse. Thank you to Pete for the 1477 Caspers seed, I hope to grow all three on the third plot and run some trials over the season.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
Starting with some bad news, I pulled the 2195 Theil after only 7 days in the patch. As you will see in the next entry the stem split on both sides.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
However, the 2000.6 Paton was waiting in the wings and is now in the ground and not too far behind where the 2195 was.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
The 1905 is doing great
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
100m of dripline rolled out with another 150m to go. I couldn't get my Mazzei injector to work so I'll need to revise the design, but that can wait until next weekend.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
The sunflowers are on the move in bed 1 and bed 2 is now also planted. I will have to order some scaffold soon
 
Sunday, May 22 View Page
The Rose 1905 is heading out of the Pumpkin house and putting on some good growth. Looking back I think germination was April 13th, so we're 5 and a bit weeks down the road, and 2 weeks in the ground.
 
Sunday, May 22 View Page
Paton 2000.6. One week in the ground and hopefully getting its roots down to mitigate the temperatures under the poly.
 
Sunday, May 22 View Page
The 1477 Caspers 2021 is ready for the dirt and, virtue of last week's entry the 150 sq ft competition...
 
Sunday, May 22 View Page
Tough week for the sunflowers, mildew and leafhopper damage in bed one, followed by mice in bed two. All preventable with proper planning and preparation.
 
Sunday, May 22 View Page
Finally, the Rose 25" (Wide Headed Sunflower) is a proper sturdily plant. Looking forward to seeing where this plant goes.
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
I'm happy with the 1905, secondaries are beginning to exit the enclosure and I've started to bury the vines. Just need more sun and more heat please !
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
2000.6. Making steady progress in the patch. Note to self, it's a marathon not a sprint
 
Sunday, May 29 View Page
Top left and bottom right sunflowers (Brown 20ft) have doubled in height in the last 10 days. The plants in the middle are half the height, although, and based on last year's 5.8m they will not reach terminal height until September.
 
Saturday, June 4 View Page
The sunflowers are starting to move through the gears, although I'm behind where I was last year at 40 days post-germination. In the last week, - Brown 20ft Top left: 130cm (+30cm) - Brown 20ft Bottom Right: 133cm (+38cm) - Seed 'C' Top Right: 120cm (+32cm)
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
Another 100m of drip tape rolled out, although i've since reduced the spacing between rows. The next step is to finish mulching the patch ahead of a hot British summer (ever the optimist).
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
1905 Rose kicking on and shaping up to be a solid plant.
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
The Paton 2000.6. Week 3 in the dirt and starting to establish itself. Not shown, my 150 sqft plant (Caspers 1477) will hopefully be in the ground next week after a small mishap.
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 47 days post-germination. 6th June to 12 June... - Brown 20ft Top left: 163cm (+37cm) - Brown 20ft Bottom Right: 170cm (+37cm) - Seed 'C' Top Right: 162cm (+42cm)
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
A windswept Paton 2000.6
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
The Rose 1905... Battered by the recent windy weather and one side vine down.
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
I set up some emergency wind breaks down the plot although I wish I put them out a day earlier.
 
Sunday, June 19 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 54 days post-germination. Seed C is starting to motor after a period of warm weather, and the scaffold is now up. 12th June to 19 June... - Brown 20ft Top left: 201cm (+38cm) - Brown 20ft Bottom Right: 212cm (+42cm) - Seed 'C' Top Right: 208cm (+46cm) Highest mover of the 'B' seed (same seed as last year's 5.8m) is 40cm. Up to 152cm.
 
Sunday, June 19 View Page
Quite surprised by the First Soil Analysis of the pumpkin patch... Although my retired agronomist father pointed me to the mulder's chart to elucidate my next steps (next entry)...
 
Sunday, June 19 View Page
Mulders Chart
 
Sunday, June 19 View Page
Rose 1905... Yesterday was a cold and wet 15-degree day after a previous day's high of 28 in Shropshire. The coming week looks ok but nighttime temperatures will remain low at between 9 and 12 degrees.
 
Sunday, June 19 View Page
The 2000.6. Not as vigorous as the 1905, but i'm happy I've got two plants in the ground, with the Caspers 1477 for the 150 sqft challenge to follow.
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 61 days post-germination. Regrettably, seed 'C' has started initiating the flower primordia therefore it's between the Brown's and seed 'B'. I've also reduced the number of plants down to 4 and wrapped the scaffold in poly. 19th June to 26th June... - Brown 'A': 262cm (+50cm) - Brown 'B' 246cm (+45cm) - Seed 'C': 255cm (+45cm) - Seed 'B': 200cm (+48cm)
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
2000.6 in the foreground, 1905 in the background.
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
Two consecutive broken main vines later the Caspers 1477 is in the ground... 150 particulars to follow.
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
Selfed the 1905... We're off (hopefully)
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 68 days post-germination. I removed 'Seed C' leaving only 3 plants in the dirt. Unfortunately Brown 'B' has initiated a flower head so it's either stressed or day-neutral. Seed B keeps plodding along, although with less progress compared to last week. 26th June to 3rd July... - Brown 'A': 308cm (+46cm) - Brown 'B' 290cm (+44cm) - Seed 'C': Removed - Seed 'B': 240cm (+40cm)
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Rose 1905. DAP 7 although not entirely sure if it's taken.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
I've been away this last week leaving behind a mix of cool wet days and a spell of windy weather, although that didn't stop the plants turning the patch ever greener. Warmer weather forecast for the next two weeks.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
**Correcting image for diary entry 55** 26th June to 3rd July... - Brown 'A': 308cm (+46cm) - Brown 'B' 290cm (+44cm) - Seed 'B': 240cm (+40cm)
 
Sunday, July 10 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 75 days post-germination Not a great week for the big yellows, all three remaining plants in the main bed have started flower initiation, even seed 'C' which I was convinced would go well into September. That said, the backup plants are taking advantage of what is becoming a decent couple of weeks of weather with highs of 30 degrees, so there’s still an opportunity to grow a PB. 3rd July to July 10th... - Brown 'A': 360cm (+52cm) - Brown 'B' 335cm (+45cm) - Seed 'B': 282cm (+42cm) Backup Plants (58*, and 42** days post-germination) - Brown* 'A': 188cm - Brown* 'B' 157cm - Seed** 'B': 142cm
 
Sunday, July 10 View Page
Rose 1905. DAP 14. Frustratingly, it developed a skin split at DAP 12, therefore waiting on further pollinations as a backup.
 
Sunday, July 10 View Page
Patch now fully mulched ahead of some great summer weather. Only wish I could manage the watering with more consistency.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 82 days after germination The higher temperatures in the UK are certainly helping the yellows grow, with more hot weather between 36 and 38 degrees forecast for Monday & Tuesday, then dropping to 20'ish thereafter. After surviving an early mice attack just a few days after germination (cotyledons eaten), one of the backup plants grew a healthy 53cm taller. this week The backup plants could yet be this year's best. The wide flower head Rose 25" (bottom left) is a beast, but on the same fertilisation line as the tall varieties so I'm not expecting anything special, like the pumpkins it's an exploratory season.  July 10th to July 17th... - Brown 'A': 410cm (+50cm) - Brown 'B' 385cm (+50cm) - Seed 'B': 330cm (+48cm) Backup Plants (65*, and 49** days after germination) - Brown* 'A': 241cm (+53) - Brown* 'B' 190cm (+48) - Seed** 'B': 204cm (+47)
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
Rose 1905 at DAP 20 with an OTT of 118 inches. This is my eldest daughter's fruit which she's recently named Toffee. Although I wanted to call it scarface :)
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
The patch continues to grow although the rate of new growth has somewhat diminished in the last 2 weeks. Both plants look healthy with two fruit set on each therefore it's probably time to select our keeper.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 89 days after germination In just two days of hot weather over Monday (37 °C) and Tuesday (36 °C), the yellows produced +50% of their weekly growth total, with an increment of 30cm for each of the Brown plants over this short period, sadly the lower temps from Wednesday onwards (23 °C to 20 °C) resulted in only a modest weekly gain overall. July 17th to July 24th... - Brown 'A': 468cm (+58cm) - Brown 'B' 440cm (+55cm) - Seed 'B': 380cm (+50cm) Backup Plants (72*, and 56** days after germination) - Brown* 'A': 292cm (+51) - Brown* 'B' 254cm (+50) - Seed** 'B': 232cm (+42) After previously suggesting the Brown backup plants could be this season's best, I discovered both plants had switched from leaf primordia to flower primordial, therefore the days between germination and a visible flower primordia are: Brown A: 71 days Brown B: 64 days Seed B: 74 days Backup Brown A & B: 67 days
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
How can you not love a Sunflower!
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
Wrapping up this last week, the 1905 x Self. DAP 27
 
Sunday, July 31 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 96 days after germination Ignoring two days of record temperatures it's been a consistently cold and dry 2022 in Shropshire. For me, 2021 was a better year for sunflowers with higher average temperatures across the season. July 24th to July 31st... - Brown 'A': 515cm (+47cm) - Brown 'B' 485cm (+45cm) - Seed 'B': Removed Backup Plants (79*, and 63** days after germination) - Brown* 'A': 332cm (+40) - Brown* 'B': Removed - Seed** 'B': 267cm (+35)
 
Sunday, July 31 View Page
This last week has been an education, unchecked tertiary growth under the canopy, a probable magnesium deficiency in both plants, and improvements to the way I water and fertilise to come. Still having fun :) Plant summary. Rose 1905 x self DAP 30 - 186 OTT
 
Sunday, August 7 View Page
The Sunflower patch at 103 days after germination The hot weather is returning, although it's a little late for all but the backup plants. Brown A & B are nearing the end of their journey after both achieved head lock precisely 100 days of germination. July 31st to Aug 7th... - Brown 'A': 540cm (+27cm) - Brown 'B' 530cm (+45cm) Backup Plants (86*, and 70** days after germination) - Brown* 'A': 375cm (+43) - Brown* 'B': Removed - Seed** 'B': 300cm (+33)
 
Sunday, August 7 View Page
Leaf Analysis of what was the 'Seed B' plant. I'll do the same for Brown plants in the next few days and compare the results.
 
Sunday, August 7 View Page
Rose 1905 x Self @ DAP 40 for an OTT of 218.
 
Sunday, August 7 View Page
Paton 2000 x Rose 1905 @ DAP 30.
 

 

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