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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 92 Entries.
Tuesday, January 25 View Page
Very happy with the seeds in the lineup for this year: 2191 Uhlmeyer, 1760.5 Uhlmeyer, 1829 Urena, 2175 Urena, 2183 Mendi.
Sunday, February 6 View Page
The mustard on the allotment outside has been devastated by frost, inside the tunnel it's looking good. This will be chopped up and turned in soon.
Monday, February 14 View Page
Chickens enjoying the mustard
Sunday, February 27 View Page
Mustard biofumigation in 5 easy steps: 1) chop up mustard with strimmer 2) dig it in 3) water 4) cover with clear polythene 5) wait 2-3 weeks to take effect
Wednesday, March 16 View Page
We just bought 1/3 acre of land for rewilding & pumpkin growing. It's a bit of a mess at the moment but we have a year to get it ready for the 2023 season.
Thursday, March 17 View Page
Soil test for the polytunnel. Not bad, just needs some N which is simple enough. Now we have a new plot of land this will probably be the last year we grow AG in this spot. Whatever we grow here next should do OK.
Saturday, March 19 View Page
I was going to add the H2O2 today but the mustard hasn't quite rotted down enough. There's not much point in eliminating all the bacteria and fungi if they haven't done their job yet. I'll give it another week or so.
Wednesday, March 30 View Page
Upon first use the long fork I had made has got all twisted. Back to the drawing board.
Sunday, April 3 View Page
Dug deep to loosen subsoil, some perlite & BFB added.
Sunday, April 3 View Page
The end of one of the hot air pipes that I've decided to bury underground to heat the soil in the stump area. They will also provide heating in the tunnel throughout the season. Last year I found they were too hot when piped above ground and they scorched some of the vines & leaves. Hopefully this year the roots will get close, but not too close. We'll see the results come October.
Saturday, April 16 View Page
Just back from hols in Wales this afternoon and straight to work: 2175 Urena, 2077 Brandt, 2191 Uhlmeyer and 1760.5 Uhlmeyer soaked for a couple of hours in boiled water that's been cooled and maintained at 26C and then adjusted to pH 6.5 with citric acid
Saturday, April 16 View Page
I've built a posh germination chamber this year with insulation and a T5 so I'm sowing direct and maintaining 28C throughout. Compost is Biochar Gold with added vermiculite, Azos and TNC Bactorr.
Saturday, April 23 View Page
Just these two have come up so far, on the left is a slightly gnarly 2191 Uhlmeyer and on the right a better-looking 1760 Uhlmeyer. Despite its appearance the 2191 (2469 Daletas x 1911 Urena) is my first choice though both seeds are unproven. The 1760 also has great genetics (2416 Haist x 2469 Daletas) so there's not much to choose from really.
Monday, April 25 View Page
Under the T5 which comes on from 6am to 8pm. Temp fluctuates from 20-24C. The 2191 Uhlmeyer (L) is still an ugly duckling while the 1760 Uhlmeyer (R) is looking great. But it's early days. Let's see how things are in a couple of weeks. One will end up as the chosen one, but which will it be?
Sunday, May 1 View Page
After 1 week roots are showing throughout the whole potting medium. The roots are looking healthy and white and with no coiling, as expected. Time to repot both plants as they still need to stay inside for a while.
Sunday, May 1 View Page
I don't have airpots big enough, so for each plant I joined two pots together to make single large pot. Soil used was taken from the planting site in the polytunnel where they, or rather the chosen one, will be transplanted in a week or two. They are still indoors under the T5 but I will lower the nighttime temp to min 15C so they get more used to outdoor growing conditions. The 1760 looks better but the 2191 seems more vigorous, though that might be just because it's a day older. Still a bit too early to tell which is going to make it.
Tuesday, May 3 View Page
1760 Uhlmayer looking OK though a bit on the pale side, possibly due to slightly alkaline soil. Physically a bit shorter (stouter & stronger?) than the 2191 Uhlmayer but arguably looking better overall. A safer bet?
Tuesday, May 3 View Page
The 2191 Uhlmayer which looks to have given up development of the first true leaf. Taller and more advanced than the 1760 but with an extra day's growth. There's only room for one to go in the ground, probably this weekend coming.
Tuesday, May 3 View Page
Better pic for the above
Thursday, May 5 View Page
The intensive care unit for this year. The diesel heater is inside so the thermostat will work, it has 4 hot air pipes which pass underground to warm the soil before they vent into the interior. The heating is for overnight only but I need to do some tests first to make sure it doesn't overheat. Pumpkin plant will probably go in this weekend coming so I will need to test it out very soon.
Friday, May 6 View Page
Diesel heater tested out last night. I only half-filled the tank so it would run out in the middle of the night. Then I could see the difference for when it was running, and not. I thought it would get quite hot in there, like over 25 or 30C, but thankfully it doesn't, probably because there's no insulation. Outside of the tent the temp went down to 16C. So the diesel heater looks like, for last night at least, it will keep the temp 2 or 3 degrees higher. The soil is also quite warm at 18C. Is it worth it? Probably not if the night is warmish like last night, but if it's a cold night then yes it probably is. I can also increase the temp if I insulate the tent with bubble wrap. I will keep on testing, see how it goes.
Saturday, May 7 View Page
So I decided on the 2191 Uhlmayer though there wasn't much in it. Either plant would have been fine but I think this is just a bit more vigorous. In it goes today.
Saturday, May 7 View Page
Very happy with the giant airpot. It makes things simple when it comes to transplanting, with no destruction of pot nor roots.
Saturday, May 7 View Page
In the ground with water, bacteria & myco. Soil temp was an impressive 18C and air temp 25C. The weather outlook is fine, nothing extreme on the horizon.
Monday, May 9 View Page
Soil temp is now 20C, perhaps I'm overdoing it a bit? This year I intend to completely cover the ground with a straw mulch beforehand. A couple of years ago I did it as the plant grew. It'll be a nuisance when it comes to vine burying but I hope it will be worth the hassle. The advantage is it will keep the soil warm, prevent weeds from germinating and keep the moisture in. Otherwise the top layer of soil just gets wet, then dries out, then gets wet again. I can't imagine that's good for roots so I would rather the SMC was more consistent. All watering will be done using the probe as a guide to keep the SMC around 25%. Then I can calculate exactly how much water to add. I will have to make sure I keep on top of taking readings at least once a day.
Friday, May 13 View Page
The 2191 Uhlmayer at just over 3 weeks old. Looking ok, a bit pale perhaps but it's still very young. Just a small bit of chlorosis on one leaf nothing to worry about.
Tuesday, May 17 View Page
A quick peek inside the lab. The night heater maintains min temp 15C though most of the time it's late teens/early 20s. The tent comes off during the day as it heats up very quickly once the sun comes out.
Tuesday, May 17 View Page
I finally found a great place locally where I can load up woodchip, as much as I want for free.
Tuesday, May 17 View Page
Pic at 4 weeks old today, just about starting to vine. I gave a quick TE spray to pre-empt any problems with Mn and Fe take up. It does get hot during the day - we've had sunny spells all week - but this particular plant is remarkably durable, with little if any wilting at all.
Wednesday, May 18 View Page
The difference between growing indoors and outdoors in the UK. Both pics taken today, and despite decent weather there is a clear difference between the two. On the left is the 1760 Uhlmeyer that I was considering keeping, and ended up growing outside in the open. I'll hopefully use it as a pollinator, if it catches up in time. On the right is the 2191 Uhlmeyer which has been kept warm day & night inside the polytunnel.
Monday, May 23 View Page
Everything OK with the main vine now growing at about 6 inches per day. Light feed with Canna Rhizotonic & NH4NO3. I'm letting daytime temps get into the 30s while the minimum night temp so far has been 18C thanks to the enclosure & heater.
Thursday, May 26 View Page
The lab Mk II. There's a pumpkin plant somewhere inside there.
Saturday, May 28 View Page
We're off to Scotland now for a week so the plant will be untended for all that time. It might get a bit dehydrated but overall it should be ok as the soil is damp under the surface. I decided to shut the polytunnel completely so it will get hot in there but there but the 2 extraction fans should help a bit. In retrospect I should have rigged up the auto misting system oh well. I'd rather it got too hot than too cold and the temps are forecast to go down to 7C the next few days. I also made a rookie error this morning and snapped off a secondary by mistake right at the main vine. I can fill the gap with tertiary growth which should be ok but it's not ideal. Let's see how things are when I get back.
Saturday, June 4 View Page
Here we are 1 week later and despite daily highs of 41C and night temps as low as 6C the plant isn't looking too bad. No additional water during this time also but the soil still averages 20% moisture. There is no sign of scorching on the leaves which is surprisingly good news but growth hasn't been as vigorous as it could have been. It looks ok from a distance but close up it's a bit of a mess with a lot of overdue training & pruning. There's a female at the tip of the main. So all in all it's fine, nothing a session with the clippers can't sort out along with a shower & some food.
Wednesday, June 8 View Page
Daily routine now includes vine burying. The mix includes myco & bacteria with Clonex on side vines, not the main. First sign of blackfly today which was easily dealt with.
Wednesday, June 8 View Page
The routine also includes an overnight covering of bubblewrap. Using this and the heater the temp never goes below 18C.
Friday, June 10 View Page
The misting system was set up today, set for higher temp than last year as this particular plant seems quite tolerant of heat and that's not a bad thing.
Monday, June 13 View Page
This has appeared at about 15ft and will probably be pollinated next week. If there aren't any males available for a self it'll mean a 4 hour round trip to the Patons to get some. Heck I might just do that anyway.
Thursday, June 16 View Page
This year the quality of the leaves are probably the best I've ever had. No too big, not too small. Not too dark, not too light. Very little mottling or yellow spots, which has always been an issue in the past, especially along the edges. The recent good weather has probably helped, and I've tried to provide good growing conditions without too many extremes or fluctuations.
Thursday, June 16 View Page
Pic shows a couple of leaves closer up, covered in 100s of small water droplets from the nebuliser.
Thursday, June 16 View Page
Patch as of today. Good weather certainly helps grow good plants. It's been sunny but not too hot for a a few days now and more to come. Night temps could always be higher but you can't have everything.
Friday, June 17 View Page
Vine burying method for this season as follows: First of all make sure the ground is damp around the node so the new roots won't be hitting dry soil. Then identify nodes that are on vines already flat on the ground. Add some Clonex to the node both above and below (see pics). Do this in the evening and allow it to soak in overnight. If done during the day it's more liable to dry out.
Friday, June 17 View Page
Vine burying mix is standard compost with added perlite, seaweed, humic, bacteria & myco. It's mixed with water to saturation point and ends up pH 5.5 and EC 1.5. This is made in the evening and left overnight so it can brew & stew before application in the morning.
Saturday, June 18 View Page
In the morning it's lumped by hand and moulded on top of the node and all around the sides. The flower sometimes gets covered but they usually find a way of poking their way through after a few days.
Saturday, June 18 View Page
It's then covered with a few inches of straw mulch. It's important to keep the light out and the moisture in. It also helps prevent weeds. If the mulch wasn't present, the soil on the newly buried vine would quickly dry out and the emerging roots wouldn't be happy.
Saturday, June 18 View Page
Trying to wangle it so the pumpkin will grow directly on a pallet. It will be so much easier to transport it's already on a pallet.
Saturday, June 18 View Page
Not quite ready, should be open by Monday if not tomorrow.
Sunday, June 19 View Page
Selfed this morning
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
Quick pic of the plant taken last night, it seems to be doing OK. I sprayed the newly pollinated female with some cytokinin. There's another one about 2 feet further on the main in case it doesn't take but the position isn't good for what I have in mind.
Friday, June 24 View Page
DAP 5 and I don't think this looks like it will make it. It should be shiny & swollen like a balloon and it just isn't. I'll know for sure in a few days.
Friday, June 24 View Page
So I selfed this one this morning. Possibly the gnarliest pumpkin flower I've ever seen. If the first one doesn't make it then it will have to be this one. Not ideal but it is what it is.
Monday, June 27 View Page
Still not sure if it's taken or not. Yes it's getting larger but it should look shiny, bloated and swollen? Looks like I will have to wait a few more days, meanwhile the plant behind it continues to grow and I somehow need to train and prune for this one and the later pollination further out on the vine.
Friday, July 1 View Page
Here we are DAP12 and although it's getting larger by the day I'm still not convinced that it's a take. The size is ok but the shape and look of it isn't.
Saturday, July 2 View Page
Quick pic of the plant as of today. The first few rows of secondaries now terminated. Those nearest the pumpkin will have their tertiaries allowed to continue past the pumpkin. I think it'll be another week or possibly longer to know whether or not it's a keeper.
Tuesday, July 5 View Page
This is DAP 14 and I am cautiously optimistic. It's certainly growing larger by the day but I am still concerned that it doesn't have that shiny & smooth look. There is still a backup which looks promising and I am tempted to cull it but not just yet.
Tuesday, July 5 View Page
Above pic should be DAP 16
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
Looking good today at DAP 17. The backup was culled this morning so the main vine has now been terminated too; it's all or nothing now. Pumpkin is looking OK so I don't see why not. Side vines and tertiaries have been very slow now for several days, which is a good thing as the plant directs its energy into fruit production. I sprayed with triacontanol to push things further. Watering is still only with biologicals and I'm trying to keep the SMC at 25-40%. The tunnel is too large to heat properly at night so I am directing what heat I can to the younger part of the plant. Temps go down to 12-14C but would be 8 or 9 otherwise.
Tuesday, July 12 View Page
It's amazing what a period of hot & sunny weather can do. This is DAP 23 and it's already taping 181lb. That's almost DOUBLE my previous best at this stage! The skin is looking very young; pale, soft and smooth. I just hope now that it doesn't split. More warm weather on the way which is good to know. I would much rather it was too hot than too cold as it's so much easier to lower the heat than raise it.
Tuesday, July 12 View Page
Always a pleasure to meet Stu (pictured) & Ian at the Patonator Patch today. The quality of their plants has to be seen to be believed. The size of their pumpkins speaks for itself, and we're not even half way through July!
Friday, July 15 View Page
Pumpkin now taping 284 lbs at DAP 26, by far the best I've ever had and gaining 30-35 lbs per day. At present it's 86% heavier than the same stage last year. Looks like all you need is warm sunny weather and we have had plenty, with more to come.
Saturday, July 16 View Page
It's been sunny all week and the forecast is up to 40C the next few days. The plant seems fine in the heat with zero wilting even during the hottest part of the day. All the energy is going into the pumpkin, on this side of the plant the tertiary growth has stopped pretty much completely. I really need it to bulk up the size of the plant if we're to grow big.
Saturday, July 16 View Page
On this side, the sunny side, there is still vine growth and it will want to push its way out of the tunnel in the next day or two. I've still not decided whether or not to allow that to happen or to terminate everything and keep it all inside where I can control things better.
Monday, July 18 View Page
I decided to let it see the light after all.
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
I noticed some PM on one leaf, it hasn't changed much since it first appeared a few days ago. It's been so hot and dry that I presume the conditions aren't right for it to spread. When the time is right I'll spray half the plant with Nimrod and the other half with chitosan to see if there's any difference. Yesterday was the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, with 40.3C (104.5F) recorded in Lincolnshire. At RAF Benson which is very near to us, the hottest day ever in Oxfordshire was also recorded, where it reached 38.4C (101.1F). Meanwhile the pumpkin plant appears to be lapping it up.
Friday, July 22 View Page
The hot weather has to be responsible in the main for what's turning out to be a very promising season. At DAP 32 it's taping 496lb which is way, way ahead of previous years, as can be seen on the graph.
Saturday, July 23 View Page
Pic of the above, looks like it's going over on its blossom end.
Saturday, July 30 View Page
After a week away in the Lake District and with little care apart from some daily water thanks to the auto timer, the pumpkin now tapes 848lb and has gained an average of 37lb per day. So all is looking good apart from one problem!
Saturday, July 30 View Page
And the problem is that if I leave as is, then it's quite possible the pumpkin will grow over the blossom, which will then press against the board. At the moment it's about an inch away. If it pushes against the board it'll have nowhere to go apart back into the pumpkin, which may well cause a split. Moving the pumpkin at a tilt so the blossom points outwards or to the sky isn't really an option; instead I'll somehow have to remove a section of board so the blossom will be free to move downwards where there is space.
Sunday, July 31 View Page
Some brown fungus has pushed up through the straw mulch at the nodes of one of the secondaries. It could be Peziza? The plant and leaves seem to be happy enough. The internet says it's harmless to plants but even so I don't like it. Apparently it can be killed off with a high N fertiliser. Maybe I will do just that. Also the above 848lbs entry is for DAP 41.
Sunday, July 31 View Page
Close up pic
Tuesday, August 2 View Page
Now this wasn't easy, but I managed to cut away the board under the pumpkin with so the blossom can push through as the pumpkin grows. In the nick of time too, and with minimal damage.
Thursday, August 4 View Page
It's been cloudy all week and the numbers reflect it, today is DAP 46 and we have exactly 900lb. Warmer, sunnier weather is predicted for next week, let's hope so. Also this week I am introducing chemical alongside biological fungicide.
Sunday, August 14 View Page
This is DAP 54 taping 1110lb which is a gain of 183lb this week or 26lb per day. We're still on track for a PB though I'm well aware anything can happen in the next 10 weeks or so. It's been hot again this week and at times over 40C in the tunnel despite misting etc but the plant doesn't seem to be complaining.
Friday, August 19 View Page
Despite decent weather recently for some reason things have slowed right down. DAP 61 tapes 1152lb which is just 6lb per day this past week. Once things go slow it's very hard to speed them up again, so at this rate there will be no PB this year.
Sunday, August 28 View Page
And then all of a sudden it kicks back into gear! Just back from a week in Portugal so it seems a week of neglect is what it takes. Pumpkin taping 1421lb at DAP 70 which is about 30lb per day. That said the shape is lumpy and awkward to measure so we won't know the true value until we get it to the scales; about 5 weeks to go now.
Friday, September 2 View Page
Weekly measurement tapes 1458lb at DAP 75. The weather has cooled this past week and powdery mildew & blackfly are causing problems. I don't know what's going on underground so I can only hope the fungicide programme is working.
Friday, September 9 View Page
Oliver with pumpkin today at DAP 82. I need help measuring as it's so large and awkward but he's been well trained over the years. We're up 124lb this week which is 17lb per day for a total of 1582lb. I'm happy with that if things get to the scale. Surprising as the weather has been poor. I think the fungicide combinations are working, at least on top, Takumi (cyflufenamid) seems particularly good against powdery mildew.
Friday, September 16 View Page
Things have slowed down a lot this week with just a 10lb gain. I don't expect much more over the coming weeks as the plant ages and weather becomes cooler and cloudier.
Friday, September 30 View Page
One week to go before the show and pumpkin is taping 1640lb. I'll be more than happy with that if we get there. The roots of some of the older vines have started to rot but as far as I can tell the stem, stump and main vine are sound. You can never tell for sure but I think the plant looks better than it did last year at this stage.
Wednesday, October 5 View Page
Hopefully Sebastian will livestream the weigh in on Saturday again and with a bit of luck the Patons will have a new world record - let's wait and see! In the meantime I showed the local primary school kids round the pumpkin patch at the allotment and they very kindly gave me this card in return.
Friday, October 7 View Page
Pumpkin harvest day today ready for the weigh off tomorrow. This year it was grown on a pallet in the hope that it would make things easier for lifting day.
Friday, October 7 View Page
Getting the tractor ready and lined up.
Friday, October 7 View Page
Forks sliding along under the pallet
Friday, October 7 View Page
And we have lift off!
Friday, October 7 View Page
Over to the flatbed it goes
Friday, October 7 View Page
And strapped on securely. That was easy. Last year the slings and winch etc took us well over an hour. This took 5 mins. Job done! See you tomorrow
Saturday, October 8 View Page
Oliver waiting patiently by our pumpkin at the Sunnyfields weigh off today. Weather was perfect and great to see everybody there.
Saturday, October 8 View Page
And I'm absolutely super happy to get a new PB with 1769lbs! That's 8% heavy compared to the 1640 it taped yesterday, and second in the UK only to the Patons. I can't really ask much more than that! Thanks to our sponsors Canna and everyone who came along to make it such a wonderful day!
Wednesday, October 12 View Page
Post mortem in the patch and some roots had gone completely. I was concerned about this and a couple of weeks ago considered removing the plant, but advice from the Patons was to leave as is.
Wednesday, October 12 View Page
Leaving everything intact was the correct decision. It seems like the older the roots, the more they had succumbed. Newer roots were pretty much intact, and unlike last year there was no rot progressing up the vines at all, which was my main concern.
Wednesday, October 12 View Page
Even the stump was intact and although showing signs of rot was in decent enough shape considering its age. I can only guess the newly thought out fungicide programme was working a lot better than last year.
Wednesday, October 12 View Page
Plant removed, that's it for this patch - no more pumpkins. I'll dig it over and cover with polythene to heat it up and kill the pathogens. Then in a couple of years I'll grow something else here, not sure what yet. Over winter I'll get started on the new plot.

 

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