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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 166 Entries.
Monday, January 3 View Page
I love Sitka Spruce for being the least ckever tree... it has no strategy for dealing with snow other than brute strength. If you need a really strong softwood... especially one that has a tendency to bend when overloaded rather than snap (much safer?)... Cheers, to 2022!!! Ps- note the full size picnic table, it gives some scale.
 
Monday, January 3 View Page
This 10 x 10 greenhouse is just two pvc pipes. Another example of strength. But the area inside looks squeezed down, to about 6ftx6ft at the moment! Nothing inside it at the moment. A good $20 hut, (if you can salvage some plastic and 4 pieces of rebar.) My desire to be successful is as strong as ever, but nothing is going to magically be any easier this year, so probably another ho-hum year. My garden needs a miracle. A shout out to bnot. Lets grow some tomatoes buddy!
 
Tuesday, January 4 View Page
Borrowing this diagram from Johnny's seeds. I had great success with the carrots planted in solarized soil in mid summer. Normally soil pests would eat them. The production was impressive, every bit as good as potatoes. So now I have really high quality carrots in the ground in January which is excellent extra food security. Beets were looking ok but then rodents started gnawing on them. So if the shtf it would be carrots potatoes and kale and a few winter squshes... A bit short on oats, apples, and corn this year. Also short on processed tomatoes, but I would survive. My one complaint is the Chattenay carrots are too wide at the top, or too small, they arent good snacking. The Nantes carrots are the way to go. Just thought I'd post what a great success the carrots were... the other trick besides solarizing was I used a pick to make a narrow trench rather than tilling the entire area. I just trenched down as deep as I easily could, just a few inches wide, so overall it was "mostly no till" but there was room for the roots to develop. It worked great. The crowded carrots pushed themselves apart as they grew, the worms backfilled every gap, and really it was less work than rototilling.
 
Saturday, January 8 View Page
Nothing exciting, just using the snow to figure out that it takes about four full lawnmower bags or about 1 thirty-two gallon trash can full of lawn clippings to cover 150 square feet. I would like to prep an 800 ft area for an AG but I'd be lucky to prep half that. So it looks like it will be a tomato/field kin year, this year:). Two packs of WoW packs and one bag of potting mix: Whatever that is sufficient to get off to a good start, is what I'll be growing. I'd like to try Hollands myco products again, too. I'm know there is myco in the soil but I think my results are a little better when I add some just to give a good start? I will have to experiment with it, to know for sure.
 
Saturday, January 8 View Page
And over here, a good spot for a cantelope. Not exactly the right kind of dirt yet. My guess is cantelopes wont like this soil. Gonna need 10 lbs of fertilizer here, and to sweeten it too. Then, maybe a soil test prior to planting? As much as I'd like to get things perfect, I have my doubts. For example, they say some things like iron will test high in the soil, and in the plant too, but possibly its the wrong kind, and the plant may be a bit short on the correct kind of iron even when everything reads 'good'. Its too easy to make assumptions. I think it could cost thousands of dollars to really know everything. And even then, you may not know everything. Some things, like magnesium, might cause the fruit to ripen faster? Thats nice, but not when going for size. So where's the tradeoff between too little and too much, and can the general agronomic recommendations really he trusted? When growing for size you want a freak of nature, not normal produce you can harvest. Just the wheels in my head spinning!!!
 
Tuesday, January 11 View Page
This is another attempt to "do everything right" in one spot. These attempts really invite failure because "perfection" is setting the bar high. But I never fail to learn something. Anyhow the recipe for this cake so far: -slice all weeds off with my special hoe (I'll post about this later this week) -throw down vetch/wild pea seed -spread 8 lbs of dolomite -add a truckload of horse manure (an inch or so) -add about 10 lbs of lime and 10 lbs of balanced, but high potassium fertilizer -add cereal rye -add native soil back over the top, about 1/2 inch to keep the birds from eating all the rye (halfay done when picture taken) Next I would like to add straw like frosting and coat the straw with ammonium sulfate using a sprayer. Oh delicious! Also, I wish I had innoculated the rye with some proven biologicals. But as I said: Its not perfection, just an attempt...
 
Friday, January 14 View Page
I thought with the recent snow and 12 degree temp this would be the year I wouldnt see a January dandelion. It should be fully open tomorrow. And so it begins again...
 
Monday, January 17 View Page
Early competition tomato here? Cantelope? I pulled an entire garbage can of wire grass out of this spot.
 
Tuesday, January 18 View Page
I put a few 5.747 La Rue seeds in. Its way too early but it feels like March, so in they went! Looks like an exceptionally warm stretch coming up. I wish I had lettuce ready to transplant out. These strawberries will be ready to go out in a month. These were stragglers I salvaged when I cleaned up the berry patch. The strawberries were much more successful this year than in the past. It often pays to keep trying...
 
Saturday, January 22 View Page
Run far, far away ladies. Ps this seems like a great place to buy seeds many seeds Ive never seen before? I imagine that the unusual seeds can be harder to sprout and propogate than standard garden seeds but my soil and weather should be perfect for these "cucumbers", anyhow. Forget WR melons and butternuts, how can those be fun compared to the worlds largest squirting cucumber? Stay tuned and please be advised: This diary may contain content inappropriate for non-gardeners.
 
Sunday, January 23 View Page
Looking at the blossom symmetry on the 2702. It does have the extra bit on the far side, like an extra segment that wedged in, before I figured these rare partial segments were an indication of an underdevelopment, but since we are talking about the WR, I think its safe to call this an EXTRA blossom blip. Or, to argue the opposite, maybe this 2700 lb pumpkin is really an underdeveloped 2800 lb pumpkin...
 
Sunday, January 23 View Page
Huge collection of pepper seeds. Im debating whether to grow peppers. Theyre generally not a worthwhile crop in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, I did have better-than-usual results with the few that got planted in with the carrots. I attribute the modest success to fewer insects, due to solarizing, and not too much competition from the carrots. Unsure when to start them. They are slower than tomatoes, also I'd like to transplant them into solarized dirt, again. When the solarization will be possible is anyone's guess. I guess since I don't know what timing will be best, I can just sow multiple trays. The scattershot approach, is sometimes the solution.
 
Tuesday, January 25 View Page
Blossom symmetry on the WR Skinner squash. I really cant tell if this is normal, I suspect its rather good.
 
Tuesday, January 25 View Page
Cover crop of Kale. Carrot bed in back. This was planted in September? It was mixed with buckwheat which froze to death, which could be a convenience if I just wanted to briefly suppress early autumn-germinating weeds from getting established. Anyhow, carrots in the background also acted like a cover crop-- noticeably suppressing weeds, and protecting the soil. An idea for this year, I think oats, garlic and annual rygrass might be worth a try, mixed in a way that would allow them to all be useful.
 
Friday, January 28 View Page
Phenomenally good weather. Best stretch of January weather I can remember it has felt like March. Bees were getting pollen steadily today. Harvested the potatoes which were companion planted with corn. Definitely going to do this again. The only thing I should have done different would be to harvest the potatoes before the winter rains get them extra dirty. At the end of summer the dirt wont be as caked onto them. Plus, fewer losses to bugs and rodents. I could water and fertilize a bit heavier, but still it was productive enough to show that food security is within reach.
 
Wednesday, February 2 View Page
Happy Pumpkinhogs Day. If the pumpkin seed sees its shadow, then it will get planted in six more weeks. What an oversized hog of a seed... I've seen some big seeds but I've never seen one this big. Too bad it feels empty...!
 
Friday, February 4 View Page
Again trying to make my own potting mix. Now its in the freezer getting freeze-sterilized. This try is mostly screened aged horse manure, a cup of dolomite, and a few shovels of garden dirt. About 1/3 of a barrel worth. Maybe it will work. But maybe I ought to try other formulations, to really figure out what works?
 
Saturday, February 5 View Page
Cilantro filled in nicely. I like the idea of using my own mixes to start things. But I need to remember to sterilize all pots and trays. And I will probably have to spend money on biological products and maybe sterilize my water. I have poor results sometimes, I dont know if its fusarium or phyto or what. It doesnt help that I keep reusing the same seed trays.
 
Monday, February 7 View Page
Moss lawn basking in the sun rays. The rye I planted in January has come up nicely. The bees were working the pollen really well today. Must have been nearly 60 degrees out. Its disappointing to not have a full size patch available. The one 700 ft area I could use probably needs a break from pumpkins. The other areas are 150-250 ft. Planted some garlic and potatoes around the rye. I think galic, potatoes, and peas could all be grown together. The only challenge is to use large cloves of garlic and the smallest seed potatoes and to get the spacing correct so that each plant has its own opportunity to grow. Last year when I tried to do garlic and potatoes, the volunteer kale took over both.
 
Wednesday, February 9 View Page
Partly concave rib shape equals inverted pumpkin butt (left). Fully convex rib shape equals a round or acorn shape. Note the similarity to a pumpkin blossom... It may be possible to predict the shape of the pumpkin by careful study of the shape of the flower petals? Finally A.I. computers can earn their keep. I'm not going to devote more than 1 % of my brainpower to this, sorry... On to more important things.
 
Saturday, February 12 View Page
A warm weekend, considering its the first half of February.
 
Sunday, February 13 View Page
Such a large warm high pressure system it even developed its own mini low pressure system inside it? Or a UFO portal in Oregon... Anyhow, 65 here today in the shade. Frogs are barking. A lone odd buttercup is the second blossom of the year.
 
Monday, February 14 View Page
This area is 700 square feet. Best of all, there were no cucurbits here last year. There was a melon and a zuchinni-kin here two years ago. It gets enough summer sun despite the overgrown appearance. Pumpkin Wars: Brandon the Underdog. Let's go Brandon?!
 
Monday, February 14 View Page
750 lbs of horse manure added around the base of the future plant. About 1-3" deep. Lots of worms here, it should be halfway gone by late April, and totally gone by mid June. I hope the heavy hitters dont mind if I tag along in spirit, if not in size...
 
Tuesday, February 15 View Page
I potted the La Rue tomatoes up to the next size, out of the three-pack mini cells. The timing was perfect as far as the roots go. They were sown into the three-pack on the 18th of January. My other tomatoes got a root disease, or foliar/soil fertilized incorrectly, which has set them back a week or two. In March I can probably plant the best 5.747 La Rue into the garden, with a single or double plastic cover, and maybe a grow light? Tomato Wars!
 
Tuesday, February 15 View Page
Seed potato... Bleached and coated in bone meal. I wanted to coat them in miracle grow but I wasnt sure how concentrated I could apply it before it burned their eyes. The goal is to use a lot less fertilizer, but still get good results. Spreading the fertilizer on the ground might take 10x more fertilizer to achieve the same results...?
 
Wednesday, February 16 View Page
5.08 La Rue grown off the 5.01 Clayton.
 
Monday, February 21 View Page
A couple things I am doing wrong. First, sowing too many seeds because I think germination may be low, and then boink they all come up. Second, although I've been doing a good job of spreading mulch around and it helps keep the worms and soil alive and healthy, its also the culprit in spreading disease. I have a holly tree and a rhododendron which I suspect have phytophthora. If I mow their leaves up with the lawnmower and dump them elsewhere I can spread the disease. Im reasonably certain this is how I ended up with phytophthora affecting my 590.5's plant last year. My cherry trees probably have it also, and a couple Asian pears probably have it. So even with phyto I still got a nice pumpkin, the problem was I knew if I watered heavily (which would have helped my weight gains) then I would lose at least half the plant. So I barely watered, and the disease didnt spread too much, but the daily gains suffered. It only took me seven months to wrap my head around this problem. The smart thing here would be to do bioassays of any amendments prior to adding them to the patch (using your extra seeds). If the seedlings in the bioassay are anything but totally healthy you can rethink that amendment.
 
Wednesday, February 23 View Page
Spring blossoms... tie for 3rd place. Indian plum in front of my hand. The other is a plant I could not identify. It has green then black berries in late fall. It must be in the laurel family but it doesnt get bigger than a few feet and it doesnt branch much and has densely whorled leaves giving it a mini Joshua tree look. If you know what it is I'd appreciate an email. Arctic blast, 20 degrees, pipes frozen. I took soil out of the patches for the purpose of doing bioassays. I might plant a few different seeds in each, as some show diseases and deficiencies better than others. Corn, bean squash, and tomato. 4 plants per pot, perhaps... Should be interesting.
 
Wednesday, February 23 View Page
Found it. Daphne laureola. A rather useless plant, apparently! But I am fond of it. (Most plants have a very good use and we just arent smart enough to know what it is.)
 
Wednesday, February 23 View Page
I helped my home made potting mix to freeze by laying it out in the trays last night. This should kill some of the bugs before I bring it in the house. Temp last night fell to 16 degrees. I know thats not super cold. But thats about as cold as it can get here in western Washington at this time of year. Have a warm day!!!
 
Thursday, February 24 View Page
I said awhile back I would post about my custom garden hoe. This was a flat edge hoe for pushing concrete I believe but flat edges dont slice anywhere near as well as an angled edge when it comes to tough fibrous roots like established clumps of grass this thing is perfect. It came with the holes, these dont do much other than lighten it up a bit but so they do help it act as a weed cutting/slicing tool rather than a dirt moving tool. The 9 pots are the soil samples from different patches for the bioassay. I have nine pumpkin seeds of equal weight (and the same stock) in a paper towel. The weight of the seeds does affect the initial size of the seedling... Trying to eliminate variables to just figure out where the soil is at chemically and biologically. This will give me an idea of which patches are ready to go, and which may need work/amendments. Obviously to grow the biggest pumpkin it would make sense to use the patch that shows the most potential using this at-home soil test. Should start to see the results in 2-6 weeks.
 
Sunday, February 27 View Page
Dark color. A good amount of carbon in the soil here. About 150 sq ft. so a field kin or butternut would do well here if I can get the amendments correct.
 
Sunday, February 27 View Page
I will have to up-size these tomato pots in a week. The two on the right are enjoying some excess fertilizer. Heavy on the nitrogen it appears. The ciliantro tray is doing great overall but I think there is a small amount of phyto in it. A few leaves dying randomly after the last soaking. Its my garden soil, plus the water I used last time wasn't sterile. Not sure the exact source of the disease.
 
Saturday, March 5 View Page
I ended up getting a lot of butternut seeds. I have Davis, Swenson, Hebb, Cook, and Knox... basically every one I could get my hands on. I'm curious what the best seed will be, and if I can match any of these growers. It looks like my 150 sq ft contest entry might be a long, tan colored "Atlantic giant".
 
Tuesday, March 8 View Page
I got my tray of lettuce planted out in the garden. A cold misty rain today so perfect weather for it. I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with so I planted one out just as an experiment. I should transition this spot from lettuce to peppers. Maybe I should include the roots when I harvest the lettuce.
 
Thursday, March 10 View Page
Planted lettuce rosemary mint basil in this spot protection from snow hopefully
 
Thursday, March 10 View Page
That was my friends Elaine's post. She ought to start her own diary but she is using mine. Hard frost. My experimental tomato plant froze.
 
Friday, March 11 View Page
Planted the La Rue tomatoes and a Daho genetics plant in the middle. Nice weather. Double plastic at night, though. Probably a single layer of plastic during the day. The roots were just right, not too rootbound.
 
Monday, March 14 View Page
Apologies if this image is too small. I will be trying a new method of "shallow roots" transplanting. The idea is that for an ultra early start, most of the oxygen and the warmer temps will be closer to the soil surface. We never get drying of the soil surface until May so shallow roots isnt a problem. They have all of spring to go deeper. I have had root rot issues when I plant down deep because thats what happens when the good microbes are still dormant and the soil is too cold or damp. And there's also competition for oxygen. So I think the ideal root depth in early spring is more like 3" not 7 or 8". This new method should give a much better root zone depth and thus the plant can get an immediate good start. Basically I am using the standard seedling tray as a pot. Ive started five seeds with the best one in the middle. The tray held three gallons of soil and should last three weeks before transplanting out. So that would be a few days into April. Not my earliest start ever, but I will try to make it my best start ever.
 
Monday, March 14 View Page
Thats better. In sequential order now. The plastic is a plastic shopping bag. Happened to be an orange bag-- a good way to start, maybe. Its cut along the edges and then filleted down the middle. The handle ends remain. Later I will lift the plant out of the tray using the bag handles. The cut down the middle does two things. It allows drainage and it allows the bag to be pulled out much easier from under the plant when its transplanted. I meant to try this method with my tomatoes this year! Oh well.
 
Monday, March 14 View Page
Trying a "hydrogen peroxide bomb" into the soil around the seed. Some of these seeds are older and my homemade starting mix is everything-but-sterile. The old seeds cant handle the bad microbes. I can add good microbes later. I poured about 1/4 cup of warm hydrogen peroxide around each seed. Pure laziness, but it might work. It sure fizzed a lot...
 
Tuesday, March 15 View Page
Once again I didnt realize grocery bag handles are on the ends whereas retail bag handles are on the sides. Its probably just as good or better this way but on this one I must cut the handles and leave dog ears. I should not have cut the bottom seam. It wont hold the plant well, everything will fall through when I try to lift it... Oops. Give me a second...
 
Thursday, March 17 View Page
Starting to see the results of my soil bioassays. The healthy leaves on left is my own potting potting mix. I did ok it looks like. Bone meal and miracle grow and some dolomite lime and compost or aged horse manure... I forget. Anyhow, I am showing the most extreme plants of the nine test plants. I have a phosphorous deficiency showing up nicely below (the purplish tomato) and a ph or root disease issue possibly in the yellow plant. Very helpful so far... And didnt cost me anything. However, its difficult to sort out the deficiencies when there are multiple deficiencies and the ph issues really confuse things because the soil nutrients could be ok but if the ph is off then it distorts the nutrient ratios that enter into the plant. One thing I am seeing is that the tomato plants only turn purple if phosphorous is the limiting nutrient. If there are other even more limiting nutrients, then phosphorous can still be just as low but the plant doesn't turn purple. Like I said, it gets confusing when there are multiple deficiencies. On the whole, it appears I need to watch my ph, phosphorous, and probably micronutruents like manganese, and probably continue to try to boost my soil carbon. The best bioassay was the squash mound from last year, and thats a bit worrying, because although the soil was good there it was never going to break any records. Which basically means: none of my soil, as it currently stands, will be breaking any records... According to the bioassays. If you want to do a bioassay on your soil, just remember to plant the same seeds in good potting mix so that you have a control to compare your soil to. If your soil grows things better than the quality potting mix... you might break a record?! If the growth isn't as good as the quality potting mix, then you have work to do and you shouldnt expect to break any records until those improvements are made.
 
Thursday, March 17 View Page
Officially the best way to start an old seed? I have put this 2015 seed into warm soil that is not sterile. (Even in sterile potting mix, problems can arise if the wrong spores are on the seed.) A couple days later I can see it has sprouted a bit, but its struggling. This is the perfect stage to intervene (and a good reason to plant seeds on their side, so that you can see how well the root is developing, whereas point down dosen't allow you to see the root). With these weaker old seeds they may have the strength to halfway germinate but then they rot or they get off to a terrible start. So to get the best result, the seed coats are easy to strip off after two days (and they need to come off or the seed can before it gets out) so I peel the seed coat off then soak the seed in hydrogen peroxide (Im only using 1/4 strength because the rot wasnt too bad but I think full strenth 3% could be used if the rot was bad.) Then I plant the seed as though it was a seedling even though its just an embryo still really. Then water a bit of the H202 water onto it... Then I'll cover it with the makeshift plastic cover to keep the humidity up. Pretty sure this is the best method. The cots will green up and they wont rot, so even if most of the seeds energy was gone it can take that little bit of energy from the cots and start some roots. I'm pretty sure this is the best NICU for pumpkin seeds. This one will grow despite the soil not being far from sterile. The small bit of H202 cleans the embryo and creates a tiny clean zone around it. It will go.
 
Thursday, March 17 View Page
...(and they need to come off or the seed can *ROT* before it gets out) Omitting words doesn't help.
 
Thursday, March 17 View Page
Living up to my Gr-idiot moniker, most of my 1/2-1" seed potatoes rotted. Too much humidity and temperature fluctuations, stored in a bucket outside. For the best eye formation they should have been laid out flat, somewhere cool and dry. It depends on the spacing, but it seems like 1/2 bucket could plant 150 sq feet. I have some planting ideas. I think I will try wide spaced corn/ dense garlic. I will try a very dense potato planting in another spot, with no companion plants. Last, I think because most of my small seed potatoes rotted I will probably try corn to fill in the gaps there. Alternatively, I could try something like drying tomatoes. But you aren't supposed to mix potatoes and tomatoes. Well, I'll come up with something. The greenhouse hut (other than wind damage immediately after I planted the tomatoes) is doing great. The tomatoes are recovering. The soil was too cold. The "shallow roots method" of starting the plants would have been superior because a few inches down its 60 degrees, but deeper than that, its too cold-- about 50. It seems like a no brainer to spread the roots out wider and closer to the surface. It should make healthy growth possible without any extra effort or expense.
 
Sunday, March 20 View Page
My 7 year old seed is coming along. This is the one where I stripped the seed coat off and planted it upright as though it had emerged on its own. It greened up and is growing as expected. I did the same procedure with a 1075 Marsh 2011 but it had no life left in it. I have some Barron '08 seeds I may try out of curiosity. But realistically Ive got enough seeds started already. 2 x 430 Est Clayton 2017 1 x Surprise Seed 2015 1 x 174 Est Clayton 2018 2 x 1452 Holland 2014 These will be culled down to 2-3 plants with the goal of getting just one pumpkin to a scale. I hope to get one squash to a scale also... maybe to Baumans Farm in Oregon.
 
Monday, March 21 View Page
This one looks worth growing. I hope the kids might want to give this one a try.
 
Tuesday, March 22 View Page
Peppers planted. Garlic planted. (Way too early, and way too late, respectively.) The peppers are in the double plastic hoophouses. A nice warm first day of spring today. The soil is cool still 50 degrees a few inches down but it will be ok. They can just survive using the top three inches of soil the way the grass does. A good reason to use the square 4 cell nursery packs to start them... these are the shallowest and sized/spaced about right. I think I'm seeing some boron deficiencies here & there too in addition to phosphorus. Some of it is related to cold soil where nothing is breaking down yet, but the rest is a result of having generally poor soil. I am making progress at new ideas and learning... but I should probably rethink my goals for the year. I want to get a better cantelope result. I want to try a blossom down squash again. I want to try a butternut or field kin or marrow. I like trying companion planting. (The latest one is multiplier onions and peppers. I think it will be a good combo. Carrots and garlic has been a great combo.) It would be good to try more dryland farming techniques: Optimal spacing, keeping the soil surface lightly tilled and weed free, and timing the sowing or transplanting correctly. Most of all I wish the kids could putz around. Last year the thing they liked best was the worms though, plants... are just boring compared to worms.
 
Wednesday, March 23 View Page
The bioassay is useful. I am giving this plant some dolomite to see if it corrects the leaf issue. If it helps, then I will add it to the patch. It may need some manganese, etc. but I'll just try one thing at a time.
 
Wednesday, March 23 View Page
Not too impressive, but it isnt even April yet. I think the onions look plenty healthy but I did two bioassays here and both indicated the soil could be better. So I added dolomite and some bone meal and miracle grow. Its still a guessing game but so far doing the bioassays has been surpringly helpful. They also do a good job of indicating the weed pressure you will face because.... they measure the level of viable weed seeds in addition to nutrients and the water holding capacity and diseases. (Admittedly it may be hard to tell a root disease from a nutrient deficiency, but thats why multiple plants should be used because not all will be susceptible to the same diseases. For example spinich is susceptible to fusarium I think... I need to do more research to pick the best plants that will indicate the soil problems the best. The point is, if the spinich died, or was sickly, but something resistant to fusarium did great, you'd have a good idea of what the problem could be and that nutrients wasnt the problem even though if you had only planted spinach, you might look at it and guess there was a nitrogen deficiency or something. Hence multiple plants. In the bioassay pots, I planted beans and corn and cosmos... But the tomatoes are the biggest so that all you can see in the picture.
 
Thursday, March 24 View Page
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." "The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step." You got any Elaine...? ;) Garlic and potatoes going in, Round 2. I have 500 sq ft of wiregrass to remove first though... :(
 
Thursday, March 24 View Page
Good one about the leaves Elaine. "Knee high by the fourth of July."
 
Friday, March 25 View Page
Corn started. Good seeds in the seed exchange... ps I tried the caliente mustard from a previous seed exchange a couple weeks ago and got great germination. Still very viable! Only enough for about 150 sq ft but I spread it way too thick. I think at the optimal label rate it would cover 800 ft.
 
Sunday, March 27 View Page
I had some aphids on the peppers, part of the reason why I figured theyd do better outside. Sure enough, an aphid patrol lady has already showed up.
 
Sunday, March 27 View Page
I used dolomite to mark the rows of potatoes and garlic. Still so many weeds. I should be halfway done by the end of the day. The pepper/ tomato igloo is in the background.
 
Thursday, March 31 View Page
Some nice cotyledons. I'm behind where I want to be though, and some of the soil I used seems to be very poor, possibly even laced with herbicide, some of the first true leaves are looking sickly. So it's probably time to start Round 2. Its been a painful realization that my kids probably wont be growing any pumpkins with me this year. My hopes had been very high.
 
Saturday, April 2 View Page
Started the 284 Hochstetler at 8 pm. No clue how this year will turn out. For better or worse theres no blind hope this year. I already know, with certainty, that my soil is not even close to perfect. I also started some squirting cucumbers. The tomatoes arent looking amazing. The peppers are smaller than the tomatoes, but looking healthy. I wonder if I've got a nematode issue, perhaps. That, or herbicide, or some nutrient issues that are just over my head.
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Redneck soil heating. Barrel is 2/3 full of water.
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Because of the weight and risk of spilling or splashing, I let it get hot but not scalding. Not worth a painful injury. I added a pound of miracle grow then dumped all the hot water into the hole. By my guesstimate the pound of miracle grow would put the area saturated by the warm water at about the correct (maximum) level of fertilizer salt.
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
I dumped the dirt from the hole into the pool of hot fertilizer water. A little water splashed out.
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Mulch, helps keep the heat in the ground?
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Covered with plastic, to help keep the heat in. The heat will dissipate into the cold ground, but the laws of thermodynamics says it cant disappear completely unless it radiates out into space at night. In other words, the heat should stay in the ground the only question is what is the dissipation rate? And the dissipation is a good thing as long as it doesnt dissipate down below 55-60 degrees. The area of ground that goes up a few degrees should eventually extend outward, about 10 ft? I could take daily temperature readings and create a model that showed the exact dissipation of the heat. I dont have the time to do this. But I could take the soil temperature at various distances from the fire pit when I plant the pumpkins. Actually, this alone should give a pretty good guess about the final dissipation of the heat.
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Thats it for the hell hole method!!! It took a couple hours to heat the water. The good news is no heating cables to remove later! Not sure it will create a big healthy plant though. That remains to be seen...
 
Sunday, April 3 View Page
... By my calculations the dissipation will dissapoint. A volume 30x the original volume could be raised a few degeees. That sounds like a lot but in real terms thats only about 8 cubic yards of dirt. Oh well. The last question is, what will happen to the oxygen levels. Under the plastic, there could soon be no oxygen at all. This could kill bugs, but it could kill roots too. Like monkey with a typewriter I might incidentally write Shakespeare someday.
 
Tuesday, April 5 View Page
Soil temp in the "hell hole" 2 days later.... guess... guess... guess...
 
Tuesday, April 5 View Page
79.5 degrees. Not bad huh? The soil 10 ft away is at about 50.0 degrees. It was a frigid day with a lot of hail, so none of that heat came from anywhere else. The temp dropped only about 10 degrees in 2 days. If the temp drop is modeled by exponential decay then I think (based on my calculations) 8 days from now the soil will be down to 60 degrees. But thats if the weather is poor for 8 days. If we get some sunny days or warmer weather, maybe it will hold above 60. Im pleased enough with this result... I think it should buy a 3-4 week head start. Soil cables might be better, of course...
 
Thursday, April 7 View Page
Quite a good lineup picked out by these two and their brother. 1810 Bernstrom, 982 Gadberry, 1818.5 Bryson, 1883 Bayuk to name a few.
 
Friday, April 8 View Page
4 lb tomato from the seed exchange planted at my moms house (right) and a cherry tomato (left)... The "hell hole" measured just a bit over 70 degrees today three days since I last measured (one those three days was a nice warm spring day). Still in line with my calculations and not too shabby. I will give it one more day & probably plant out the first batch of plants tomorrow. I cant stop the soil temp from dropping further other than to use sunshine and clear plastic, but I do think I can keep the soil temp in the 60's even with the spotty spring weather we're having. We'll see. I need a good start... otherwise my kids might beat me!!!
 
Friday, April 8 View Page
Oops... reversed the tomatoes.... The plant with larger leaves on the left is the giant tomato.
 
Sunday, April 10 View Page
I can help you with some starts Elaine. I'm sure I will have extras of something. Try, try, again. Foundation for success equals determination squared... ffs = D^2 Einstein's lesser known formula ;) Ps weather outlook is grim not an easy spring here.
 
Tuesday, April 12 View Page
Inside greenhouse. Things are very yellow looking. Probably short on iron or nitrogen. The barrel of lawn compost is cranking out heat. Probably 250 watts or so. Its snowing again here. The greenhouse got too hot one day (I was away visiting family) but other than that its worked great. ...I just need to fix the ph/ nutrient issues.
 
Tuesday, April 12 View Page
A moat around the greenhouse has helped keep the plastic in place. Its hard to see in the pic but I'd guess easily 200 lbs of water holding the plastic down on this side which is the windy side. A third green"hut" will get put up tomorrow, hopefully.
 
Wednesday, April 13 View Page
3rd day of snow today... and its not even ice pellets or whatever... its real snow. I guess Easter and Christmas have equal odds of being snowy :( Anyhow, not much going on outside. The kids seeds were kinda slow, but some are popping up today, almost 6 days later. I noticed a grower diary where someone is trying using manure to warm the soil beneath the pumpkin. I tried something like this, and I I think this could work in theory, but lack of oxygen, and the carbon dioxide, could monkey with the roots. Roots actually do need oxygen, pretty much the same as any animal does, soil without oxygen isnt much of a recipe for plant life.... with the exception of a rice plant or something adapted to no oxygen. Anyhow, its a cool idea, but the plant may not too well unless it has an abundance of roots right at the soil surface...?
 
Wednesday, April 13 View Page
10 days later... Fire pit soil temp is a solid 60 degrees. In line with my estimates. Planting delayed by poor weather. Unprecedented 3 days of snow in April, not the kind of weather where I want to put up a rickety hoop house.
 
Saturday, April 16 View Page
...And its snowing again. I'm considering trying an extra low hoophouse this year. As long as its easy to slide the plastic on and off... basically I'd only have the plastic on at night. I need a way to supress weeds also. I already used a lot of straw, and some weeds are skilled at getting through the straw. But I might try even more straw. I dont see tarps or cardboard adding to the health of the soil later in the summer. I might want to irrigate with the warmest water possible, because if I put straw on thick the soil will be 50 degrees all year. It would never warm up to super-pumpkin growing temps. Too bad straw isnt as cheap as it used to be...
 
Saturday, April 16 View Page
Black locust is the densest American hardwood. Its also incredibly rot resistant. This black locust post has been in the ground four years... it helped hold up Annas 5.01 tomato. I cut just a half inch off the bottom to show that its still like brand new, despite being in the garden with water, dirt and fertilizer all summer long, which is the highly destructive triple combo for most wood. I would say its as good as the best treated wood. Not sure why this tree isnt grown commercially. It makes a nice honey and might regenerate as fast as Eucalyptus if it was coppiced. As a legume, it would probably would grow fine on nitrogen depleted soil.
 
Sunday, April 17 View Page
Some older seeds the kids/grandma tried: Bryson 2011, Shenoha 2013, Fulk 2014. Only the Shenoha has any hope, its weak/partly rotted/some green... The other two are dead. Five years old seems to be the average on-the-shelf life expectancy.
 
Sunday, April 17 View Page
2 plants in, Holland vs Clayton here. I have backups as well... might end up with 6 plants vying for this spot, Holland x 4 vs Clayton x 2... This is a good spot where the winner could run 1000+ sq ft. The kids pumpkins will be 150 sq ft patches. I think they will each get one patch and I will limit myself to 1 full size and one 150 sq ft patch. Will my 150 sq ft patch be the Marvin green squash or the Hochstetler orange kin...?
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
Cmon babies!
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
Its a bone chilling 50 degrees outside. Imside the mini hut the soil is 60 and air temp is about 65. I guess the power cord shows I'm "cheating" a bit... but the light is just a 100 watt equivalent, so basically nothing. Enough to dull only the sharpest edge off of the incredibly cruddy weather. I know they dont look amazing but lets see what they look like in 3 weeks ;)
 
Monday, April 18 View Page
I am finally above average in chess. Only 5 million people better than me. At least with pumpkins... there are only 5,000 people better than me :)
 
Saturday, April 23 View Page
Tomatoes look pretty unhealthy this year. I think they may have a fertilizer imbalace, a potato virus, or pesticide damage, or they dont like the temps/ humidity they are at. The other plants nearby are doing well. Its not like everything is sickly. Its mostly been just the tomatoes. The kids pumpkins have been very slow. That must be a temperature or lighting issue. Maybe under the double plastic is too dark, except for the lettuce which is quite happy.
 
Tuesday, April 26 View Page
Soil temp 70 despite some cold showers today. The double plastic heats the air to 80 easily when the sun comes out which then boosts the soil temp. I need to ge careful... a couple hours of full sun would put the air temps up to 100 + like last year. Haven't damaged these plants yet :) They are growing well, despite the magnesium deficiency (and maybe some other imbalances). By my low standards, both plants look great, the Holland plant is the one in the foreground.
 
Tuesday, April 26 View Page
Checking past diaries, my pumpkins are probably three weeks behind my all-time earliest start. My tomatoes are a couple weeks ahead of my earliest start. We had a couple nice days but this is still going down as one of the coldest, wettest April's. There's only been one other April this bad in the past 10 years. La Nina...? I'm improving my gardening skills... very slowly... sold the rototiller. Solarization is easier. I need to improve at the art/science of getting the correct nutrients into the plants.
 
Monday, May 2 View Page
On a 60 degree, mostly overcast day, still managed to roast them a bit. Wilting. Pumpkin plot confession: I have a bit of a kale problem. Vines should be on the ground by next week, hopefully. And coincidentally, the kale might get eaten by a dinosaur... ugh, its been a cruddy pumpkin year so far!!!
 
Thursday, May 5 View Page
I put in the 972 Marvin, the backup 430 Clayton, and the 284 Hochstetler. We have a couple more to plant. Invariably these wont get enough care, but that might be a good thing... at least I wont kill them with kindness... thats always a risk!
 
Thursday, May 5 View Page
The tarp in the background was on this spot. I can see how well the potatoes are doing and how poor the weeds are doing... maybe this is a step closer to a weed-free potato patch. It would be easy to spread mulch around these tall potatoes. The opposite of a greenhouse-- a darkhouse-- would create this affect and the potatoes wouldnt be harned, this is all good fun for them because they dont need light to get to this stage.
 
Friday, May 6 View Page
Pretty nice weather for January in Alberta...
 
Saturday, May 7 View Page
Potato/ future pumpkin plot, hay added. Elsewhere, nature seems to want to wash away all the nutrients the kids spread out. Lots of rain. Terrible weather...
 
Saturday, May 7 View Page
World Record Lunga di Napoli is up!!! This could be the coolest thing I grow this year, other than the squirting cucumbers... which also came up 3/3. A couple Black watermelons in the background. Two of the 171 Black are up and one of the 152 Black is up.
 
Sunday, May 8 View Page
It was 95 in the hoophouse after only 20 minutes of sun... 9:30 am. I think decomposing compost is helping to boost the temps. This is the first time I tried this style of hoophouse. Its great! Although I sorta planted the plants in the wrong spot where they may run out of room. But at least its warming up a large area for the roots. The light isnt functional needs a new bulb. Its the wrong type of light it would be useful for heat only, and it turns out I do not need any extra heat. Next year I think grow lights in the hoop houses. Some days, they could have used a bit more light. I think thats been the limiting factor here so far.
 
Sunday, May 8 View Page
99 degrees at noon... With one end of the hoophouse open! Its not even 70 degrees out. Reading diaries, most of my fellow growers make this pumpkin growing thing look easy. I guess the heating cables shut off at 70, whereas my compost heater shuts off at 140. Doh! Not so smart.
 
Monday, May 9 View Page
Cal Hawkley and Jack Dawson are fighting it out here... on a night that feels like the patch may hit an iceberg. Will Jack O'Lantern Dawson will get over to the Rose Bush first? Or does this fairy tale story of fake-weather-that-costs-a-fortune favor 'Cal the Ripped-Kin' Hawkley??
 
Thursday, May 12 View Page
Due to global cooling and the return of lowland glaciers to the Pacific Northwest, the 2022 season is now cancelled.
 
Thursday, May 12 View Page
I'm trying to see the good news here. Trying... trying... the good news is its not 138 degrees.
 
Thursday, May 12 View Page
I'd better get out the misters and shade cloth... wait, this isnt Celsius. Never mind.
 
Friday, May 13 View Page
Jack O'Lantern Dawson is on track to defeat Cal Rip-kin Hawkley... On account of a double/triple vine issue that I dont want to deal with, and better overall appearance. So it looks like it will be the 430 Clayton (1992.5 Vincent x 1505.5 Haist). Light-to-chart genetics. Interestingly the momma (430) plant had a vine doubling issue, and 2/3 offspring I've tried had it also, so maybe there's a genetic component to the vine doubling... presumably in addition to environmental factors.
 
Friday, May 13 View Page
Cold weather? No worries, just gotta graft these pumpkins onto these romaine lettuce plants...
 
Friday, May 13 View Page
The "tray-pot" method, while not yet perfected, seems to be the way to go, especially when the weather is far from summery. The expected benefits of a shallow root system do seem to be noticeable... namely the plants respond to fertilizer faster and better, with less watterlogging of the root zone. With the gallon pots, the roots deeper than 5 or 6 inches seem to be useless this time of year... if not for cold then for lack of oxygen. Next year I need to forget the gallon pots and do everything in the seed trays. My initial experiments this year suggest there are no issues or drawbacks, except the shallow soil/ root system can dry out too much if rainfall is blocked by the plastic covers for an extended period. So some sprinkling with a watering can or a quick flood-irrigation from a 5 gallon bucket easily fixes that. Theres plenty of time for the roots to grow downward, when my soil is only 12" deep, its not like they need some kind of head start or something... They'll get there.
 
Sunday, May 15 View Page
Its hard to believe I had a May 15th blossom a couple years ago. Thats not gonna happen this year. Havent even got Jack O'Lantern Dawson's oversized vine to lay down. He's gonna have to call doctor I guess, according to the commercials. Too much of the blue stuff is causing that, lol... At least a month away still.
 
Tuesday, May 17 View Page
Finally got potato trenches filled, with compost, rather than dirt. Might work better. A garlic/ potato combo should work, by alternating rows. The carrot/garlic in alternating rows certainly worked.
 
Wednesday, May 18 View Page
Got the stragglers planted. They may produce nothing or very sad results but they are in the ground. 1883 Bayuk 982 Gadberry Peanut pumpkin (seed exchange) 1810 Bernstrom Of these the 982 Gadberry was probably the most impressive. I dont think a large plant guarantees a bigger pumpkin, but simply for being a big plant the 982 Gadberry gets the star of the week.
 
Wednesday, May 18 View Page
Wanted to add note that I spread 100 lbs of fertilizer and about 40 lbs of dolomite. So I should have some larger weeds this year lol. (I think the goal this year is to have at least one totally weed free pumpkin plant.)
 
Thursday, May 19 View Page
Vine is still up about a foot and half. Stop eating these blue prills, Jack O'Lantern Dawson... or something bad will happen to your vine, lol. Im pulling the other plant aside rather than culling it, because in theory I may want the male blossoms. I can prune it down to where its just a skeleton of a plant, just vines and male blossoms. Having this extra plant is also an opportunity for doing early tissue testing, but I think this year I'm just going to be a "more-on". I'm sure you can see Ive already been a more-on with the miracle grow (nitrate).
 
Thursday, May 19 View Page
Quite a difference in the green at different times of day... because my phone isnt the best. I should be using the ipad, I guess.
 
Thursday, May 19 View Page
I wonder if I could eliminate the top truss and use individual posts to hold the hoops. Probably not because the rain or snow would try to slide the plastic down between the hoops. It was a good hoop house, but Ive got the reverse problem, the plant isnt even close to filling it. So slow. I should have added bone meal here, and magnesium and boron and not (unintentionally) dropped manure deep into the planting hole where it just gets acidic/anaerobic. I cut the wrong corners, year after year. I switched to a black barrel to give the vine tip something dark to "avoid". But mostly its just the weather. No hot days. We hit 70 one day. Thats it for warm weather so far.
 
Friday, May 20 View Page
Let's... bee friends.
 
Saturday, May 21 View Page
Clear plastic atop the mustard after it was mowed. ... Trying to solarize the just-mowed mustard, rather than tilling... For the soil-gassing effect. Might have missed the only sun, I got it cut late in the evening and tomorrow is supposed to be hazy. The mowing went really well it was about a foot high but my mower did a fine job. Ive never done mustard this is so cool... a spicy wet mist came out of the side of the mower, and I like how the soil looks after its cut and I hope the bugs (and nematodes?) will be harmed. Pretty satiated with pumpkins so this spot will be something else.
 
Saturday, May 21 View Page
Bummer they dont look so pretty anymore Northshore...! Odds of a good year are still in your favor, hopefully.
 
Monday, May 23 View Page
Knock on wood... good progress on vine laying down. I put an 8" thick pillow of straw under it as a precaution. The mustard solarization, 2 days later, didnt have a mustard smell anymore. I plan to mow, mulch and solarize the 700 sq ft patch into submission. The patch is a verdent mess... lots of 5 ft tall kale, etc.
 
Tuesday, May 24 View Page
Plant update. The first two secondaries are going to be huge like mains. With young kids etc finding five minutes is far from guaranteed. But if I ever have five free minutes, I'll start bending them 90 degrees back and then use them to fill the extra space.
 
Tuesday, May 24 View Page
Tomato update. Only a couple plants may produce because the others caught potato viruses. Or maybe.... if the sunlight gets intense enough, it will destroy the viruses. Idk.
 
Thursday, May 26 View Page
Me being stupid. Trying to bbq a gross gob of dying bugs that fell into a planting hole while this spot was getting solarized. The good bugs are out of their misery, the bad ones are out of my misery. Their pals will likely avenge them... Bad carma now. Got 28 cherry tomatoes planted, for drying or selling. Last time I planted just 14 plants and that resulted in a huge crop of 150 lbs or so. Doubling it this year but hopefully I'll have some help. Last thing... I seem to have obserbed that certain plants foliar feed better than others. It appears to me that tomatoes foliar feed much better than other plants. I could save a lot of the waste associated with broadcasting fertilizer and having it all leach out over the winter. ...tomatoes could be a real cash crop!!!
 
Monday, May 30 View Page
Saw only one shooting star. Deploying secret patch tricks now. My Holland seed is continuing as a doubled vine. So we'll see what my 430 Clayton produces instead. My daughter's: all 3 of her Holland plants look good, havent culled yet, but only one is pointed at the patch so picking hers will be easy. I could have run a strong secondary out from the base of my double vine Holland and that would have been fine. My hoop house was so large I could have planted four or more plants, and chosen the most promising. There was plenty of space to do so. Cold wet May but probably on track for a late June pollination. Its hard to tell with the cool temps and dampness if there are soil imbalances. Im not sure if I did a tissue test if it would mean much due to the low transpiration rate in this weather. It could be misleading. I could do a soil test on my vine burying mix. That would probably make my season go better.
 
Friday, June 3 View Page
This dud was the first seed I tried this year... Performing so poorly! My experience with AG's... Most plants are quite good, some are just average, and a couple just... duds. I think its the genetics... but it could be a virus or pesticide residue. The other plants are hitting their stride about 7.5 ft on the 430 Clayton, no females visible yet but thats ok. I want to pollinate a little farther out this year anyways.
 
Friday, June 3 View Page
Sweet corn and a Kibbie long gourd which is not visible, tucked in a nest of straw. There's a chance it might produce something. This was the "solarized mustard" experiment area and I think these plants will get a couple steps ahead of the weeds and the bugs hopefully. Tomato/long gourd/squash/AG... I guess Im short by one on the master gardener thing... I need a field kin, bushel gourd, or watermelon... or marrow. My squash isnt doing well so really I'm closer to 3 for 5 in the master gardener quest.
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
3:40 in the afternoon. I can guarantee this is my soil temp also, because it just dumped a couple inches of rain at this temperature. This is where the soil heating cables might be kick in. But growth was good for a few days, secondaries are large and fast, I'd rather a bit more energy go into the main vine. Too rainy... I think I'll start a cantelope.
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
How I prune away leaves I dont want. Works good for me and the plants seem to appreciate this too.
 
Sunday, June 5 View Page
I like the low profile (ground hugging) leaves of the 12XX Holland plant, but it never gave up on being doubled. My big obnoxious alternate contender (430 Clayton) is looking good, but I'm far from in love with it. I hope I'm wrong, but I think this will not be my lucky year. I've had more than my share of good luck. In support of Joel, I can say the other Holland plants are amongst the only good looking plants this year... The "orange genetics" plants havent measured up well this year against the regular genetics, and (except for this one), the Holland plants look the best. I've removed the Hollands leaves (5 or 6 of them) where they have conflicted with the seemingly better 430 Clayton. I remove the leaf surface only, not the stalk, to leave as much of the Holland plant's reserves in place. But it seems that a mis-Judgement Day is coming soon, to a theater near you, 12XX... Thats just how it is.
 
Wednesday, June 8 View Page
Got some seeds back from last years Gerry pumpkin. Better late than never.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
Too wet to grow lettuce, much less a pumpkin. Temps in the 60's.
 
Friday, June 10 View Page
Meme time...
 
Friday, June 10 View Page
My virus infected potatoes, left. Clean virus free (storebought) potato on the right.
 
Friday, June 10 View Page
This squash (in front) looks an awful lot like it has caught a potato virus. The pumpkin looks ok by comparison. I might give up on these. My own home test bioassay said the soil was off here and I only half believed it. Now I fully believe the bioassays... Possibly, these will become a very useful tool.
 
Saturday, June 11 View Page
Buds coming at 10 ft and 10.5 ft... if I take one of these pollinations to the SW Washington fair, then it only grows for 50 days. I think the 284 Hochstetler will be my 150 sq ft plant. I haven't been doing a good job of gardening this year. I did grow the largest romaine lettuce Ive ever grown thanks to the lettuce-esque weather. But I let the rain ruin my good tomato blossoms. And Im not keeping up with weeding, nor have I got the soil dialed in, and the moles have blitzkrieged in from three directions, and rabbits and rats think my place is Noah's ark.
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
Thought this was a good photo.
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
Triplets! The other vine has twins, so I feel doubly confident about dead ending the main vine very early, prior to pollination. I would wait for something farther out but I lack patience...
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
Skip this next post if you cant handle a gritty political cartoon...
 
Sunday, June 12 View Page
Poignant?
 
Wednesday, June 15 View Page
If you look closely you can see I dead ended the main one node past the end of the last possible pollination, and left an additional secondary to grow from that node. Im starting to like this plant (it had a leaf I was sure had gotten scorched , it changed to that pale dead color, beyond just wilting, but then unbelievably it came back to life...). And I think dead ending was the correct thing to do as looking in the tip I removed there were no more pumpkins coming farther out. Very happy about getting a June pollination, it will be very well timed to when the weather is forcast to dry out. Males are on the way too, I just hope they are fertile.
 
Friday, June 17 View Page
Caught up on reading diaries. All I can say is wow. I should have grown 700 sq ft of giant cabbages this year. I'd probably be on track for a state record. Two more days of winter, then back to spring weather, summer might arrive on September 10th at this rate!
 
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
My long gourd got eaten by a jumbo sized slug. Two things for next year, I should invest in some remay/ floating cover so I'm not relying just on overhead irrigation. Second, the problem Im having with no till is, I think some of the amendments need to be in direct contact with the roots. Worms and rain washing the nutrients down into the soil (the no-till way for nutients to get into the soil) are good for some nutrients but I have a suspicion that others need to be physically placed into the soil profile. PS I wonder if soil nitrogen is too high, if solarization gets rid of some of it? Some forms of nitrogen are volatile. If anything, it probably volatizes deeper down into soil. Hot weather coming up. Finally. It hasnt been a good year... but theres still a chance of getting something to a scale. And there's always next year...
 
Thursday, June 23 View Page
Some patch left to fill. Full steam ahead. Patch soil temps now low 60's to upper 70's depending on the depth and amount of groundcover. (Measured in the afternoon on a sunny day.)
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
I have one nice tomato set. 96 today (forecasters nailed it). First bloom tomorrow... no males in the fatherhood forcast though. Getting down to the wire for a June pollination. Some leaf burn today... But better solarization. Lots of plastic laid out. I'll see if I can I acheive my weed-free patch goal.
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
Almost lost my two most important fingers in a mole trap. Right hand index and pointer. I dont know how it matters to anyone. But what happened is it was getting too dark to see well and I reached down to grab a set trap. Omg my fingers were squarely in the part that chops... just one of those freaky missteps. What can go wrong, eventually will?
 
Monday, June 27 View Page
Attempt 1. I'd prefer the adjacent one to the left, in a day or two. But, beggars cant be choosers. Speaking of blooms, Miracle Grow changed their bloom booster formula slightly, again. The one I bought has molybdenum and two forms of nitrogen. In the past I think it was all amonnical nitrogen, and no molybdenum.
 
Tuesday, June 28 View Page
June pollination. Six sepals, seven petals. If that means anything... 430 Clayton x 12XX Holland. I had three males from the remaining skeleton of the Holland plant. Now I can finally cull it out completely. I would have had no males today if I had culled it completely. So leaving its vine in place until now (minus most of its leaves wherever they overlapped) was indeed smart.
 
Tuesday, June 28 View Page
430 Clayton. Nowhere near impressive plant dimensions, but its a healthy plant. Remains of the Holland plant is in a pile to the right. The plastic was to solarize the patch. The plant may only fill half the space but the extra denuded ground should keep vermin from having such a comfortable route into the patch.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
Plant has entered crazy beast mode. Except for the heat damage a few days ago this plant would be... I'm at a loss for words... stupendous. The thing about all the straw and other shif I added earlier... now is when it finally starts releasing nutrients. And omg it shows... My plan actually worked... Yay.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
...Will be blossom down, here's an unhelpful diagram! Its looking good to become blossom down... Its tied a couple feet up in the air right now. In a few days the pumpkin will bend down (under its own weight) to be perpendicular to the vine... Then I can lower the entire vine, and at that point the pumpkin will be blossom down, probably have it resting on a large pile of dirt. Im not too worried about the contact with dirt, but I'm very worried about rats this year. I dont know how to deal with them. Maybe some merciless trapping.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Garden stakes salvaged from an old growth cedar fence. Many of these small stakes contain 80+ years of growth. This one was about 125 years old. The 4" fence board I cut it from is as old as the USA. Probably the tree it was cut from was 1000-2000 years old?
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Try a pic... The 4" fence board I cut it from is as old as the USA. Probably the tree it was cut from was 1000-2000 years old?
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
Decades. My whole life in just 1 centimeter.
 
Sunday, July 3 View Page
This one... 270 years to grow a 4" fence board. Humans are fools who cant outlive just a single stick of wood.
 
Thursday, July 7 View Page
I dont know why this plant got so rootbound. One root broke because it was wound around too tight. This stump will probably give me trouble before the end of the year!
 
Thursday, July 7 View Page
DAP 9 1/2 Nothing spectacular growth-wise yet. Its bent down approximately enough now to lower it to its final blossom down position. The vine will remain above the pumpkin, hopefully with enough space below to accomodate an 800 lb pumpkin... If I am so fortunate. The plant seems happy... I might push the potassium up a bit though.
 
Friday, July 8 View Page
Tomatoes as far as the eye can see. About 30 plants for dried tomatoes or canning.
 
Friday, July 8 View Page
430 Clayton 17 x 1292 Holland 14 430 Clayton is: 1992.5 Vincent 15 x 1505.5 Haist 12 1292 Holland 14 is: 1495 Stelts 10 x 2032 Mathison 13
 
Friday, July 8 View Page
151 Diary Entries... so it needs to weigh at least 151 lbs. Meanwhile, much better without the other 151 lbs in the picture, ha ha.
 
Friday, July 8 View Page
This was a lot of work. I should have lowered the vine rather than creating the temporary platform of straw and dirt? Someone needs to do a more intelligent job of growing blossom down!
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Dead ended this vine very early about two weeks before the flower opened. The tendril grew abnormally large. There is a tiny scar where the vine was pinched, bent over 90 degrees to the side now. Hard to believe the main vine can remain so insignificant. (Arrow points to.)
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
I just noticed the under-development of the main vine looks like it caused an assymetry in growth between the two sides of the vine, which caused the vine the break. Well, I guess this is one of Edisons 999 ways to NOT make a light bulb...
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Its putting on some weight. I think Ive got some stump rot and the vine management has gotten a bit beyond my control. The color might be nice enough, despite the blanched appearance at night. The camera isnt being honest. Same DAP as Captain 97 I think.
 
Monday, July 18 View Page
DAP 20. Not sure the measurenents I am not taking the year off but I am taking it easy (as if it could be.) Well, not measuring is one corner I can cut... I am setting my hopes low... I kinda have to. Because I think half the roots have rotted. Not much I can do about it either, except bury a few vines every day.
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
She is gonna be about 400-450 square feet. Removed some leaves that looked like downey mildew.
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
I like having the greenhouse structure in place. Iys flimsy but its just enough to keep me from losing my (poor) balance. It was useful for holding the shade material too, but lately Ive been overhead irrigating instead. Plenty of fried leaves this year but I got behind on pruning so theres plenty of new leaves filling in. Quaternary even.
 
Thursday, July 21 View Page
About a days worth of culls in the 1-3 DAP range. Good in soup or fried, they do lose a bit the firm texture when frozen, still healthy though.
 
Saturday, July 23 View Page
A pollination technique.
 
Saturday, July 23 View Page
Clockwise from upper left, -A half anther fits better in the flower... -The anther can be split into even small pieces (this is all from one male blossom). -Splitting, starting at the base -Split complete It seems like a good technique! I'm learning new stuff still. Give this a try & thanks for the advice and comments this year. I think my season is over now, but no complaints. It was a good year.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
Lamentations. It reached about 40 lbs then didn't grow anymore. I think it was a water/fertilizer shock combined with weather fluctuations that caused it to abort, plus the genetics. I think the plant sucked all the calcium or sugars back into the plant. I didnt see and damage, no splits or bug tunnels, just possibly a spot of anthracnose but I think its a secondary rot issue because its been sitting there dead for at least 5 days. Basically I did something major wrong with the fertilizing or watering and the inconsistent weather didnt help??? I'm considering pulling the plant, but its quite large and healthy with tons of females.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
And they lived happily ever after. The end.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
1 kg of tomatoes (600 grams and 400 grams, respectively) for Team Hopeful. I dont expect any bigger ones, its been a poor year for me for gardening, as you can clearly see!
 
Friday, August 12 View Page
Done with pumpkins. ...but I want to document my long gourd. This is by far the biggest leaf I've ever had on a long gourd, and its just a few nodes from where I have a decent little gourd... a sprinkle of corn tassle droppings on the leaf. This isnt even on the main, the main got chewed away by a slug early on.
 
Friday, August 12 View Page
4 DAP? Not sure. I did hand pollinate this one. It looks like a keeper to me. I tried to compare sizes very early at pollination to cull the shorter ones.
 

 

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