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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 39 Entries.
Monday, January 1 View Page
We hope that everyone has a fun and successful 2024 growing season.
Thursday, February 22 View Page
Seed selection is done and we hope to add another plaque to the wall again some day. In an effort to accommodate that dream, we are going with what should be, some awesome big and orange producers. Thanks to Glenn H and Ned S for the great seeds, I hope to do them proud.
Wednesday, March 20 View Page
Happy first day of Spring everyone. For me, by far the best seed starting medium on the market is Premier Pro Mix HP with Mycorrhizae. We also use bales and bales of it in planter boxes, hanging baskets and general use in the garden. We will also use it this year along with super compost and fish compost in our vine burying mix.
Thursday, March 21 View Page
Larger hoophouses will be used for starting the plants this year, certainly an upgrade from our home made hooptie houses that were quickly outgrown by the plants. This one is 10x7x7 and will be taken off when the plant outgrows it. Soil heating cables and overnight heater and fan to be installed next.
Thursday, March 21 View Page
This hoop will likely get the 839 Sandercock and be grown downhill towards the centre boards. We will install the bigger 20x10x7 new hoophouse in the lower half of the pumpkin patch and it will start 2 plants back to back. Each plant has its own quadrant of 875 square feet and we will grow 3 competition plants plus 2 prizewinner plants will share one growing spot.
Friday, March 22 View Page
4 out of 4 seeds have broken the ground and are reaching for the lights.
Tuesday, March 26 View Page
Iíll try and limit my posting with seedlings, the 1842 Hoornstra ripped off its second cot leaf so Iíve started another one. The other 3 seedlings look great.
Wednesday, March 27 View Page
Vineman was asking about heat mat and soil temperature so I checked it out myself on our seedlings. At 6 inches down, the moist-ish potting mix is at 90 degrees. Thatís a little warm for my comfort so Iím going to put something in between them to knock down the temperature slightly.
Wednesday, April 3 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra was planted today in the greenhouse into prewarmed and amended planting spot. The seedlings have all been under lights for 12 days and are all ready to be planted. The larger greenhouse will be installed tomorrow along with soil heating cables and heater for overnight. Back to back plants will be in the second greenhouse and Iíll have a couple backup plants just in case they are needed.
Thursday, April 4 View Page
We put the other hoophouse in place and will install the soil heating cables, heater and fan. The 2212 Chan, 1842 Hoornstra and 929 Sandercock are still doing great under lights but I have only room for 2 more plants. Dilemma.
Sunday, April 7 View Page
In front on the left is 2212 Chan and next to it is the 1842 Hoornstra, they are going head to head for that spot. By itself in the back and going the other way is the 839 Sandercock. These plants didnít get planted until today, so they were 16 days under lights. Iíve got the temperature controls figured out in the new hoophouses, nice and cozy warm in there 24/7.
Sunday, April 7 View Page
Digging in some final amendments and fluffing up the soil before I add a few walking boards in the right spots. Nice to be planted early, I hope the Saanich Fair considers adding GPC status to that longstanding giant pumpkin contest in Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Thursday, April 11 View Page
I needed to replace our old indoor/outdoor thermometers and found this little beauty on Amazon for $40 Canadian. It comes with 3 outdoor units and shows temperature and humidity numbers and is perfect for my needs, #1 is outdoor temp, #2 is greenhouse one, #3 is second greenhouse and bottom display is indoor unit. Comes with high and low temperature alarms, and also has minimum/maximum daily temperature records so you can dial in your heating and cooling.
Sunday, April 14 View Page
Itís been 1 week in the ground. 839 Sandercock in the back got a few more bamboo stakes added after this photo as it starts laying down. 2212 Chan on the left in front is also on its way to running and the 1842 Hoornstra on the right is doing better also after a slow start. Iíll have to eliminate one of them soon. Fortunately for me, the other greenhouse has the 1995.5 Hoornstra which is leader of the pack, best plant to this date.
Sunday, April 14 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra is also growing well and Iím happy the heater keeps inside above 50 degrees on the colder nights. The goal was never below 60 degrees overnight, but itís been clear and cold here and has been a chilly 35-40 in the mornings with frost delays at the golf course.
Thursday, April 18 View Page
10am here with outside (#1) getting warmer, full sun today. Inside greenhouses (#2&3) nice and toasty warm, just opened the doors and you can see by the display that the temperatures are coming down. Neat toy, I like it.
Thursday, April 25 View Page
2212 Chan in the front and 839 Sandercock in the back with the Exhale CO2 bag hanging between them. Iíve ordered a CO2 monitor but I cheaped out and didnít get the wireless model. Iíll post the numbers here for both hoophouses since they are different sizes. It will be a great experiment, since I can easily get CO2 numbers inside with and without the Exhale bags present. I love numbers, there will likely be a spreadsheet and colour bar graph of some kind for the results.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
Here is our Australian Cattle Dog (aka Blue Heeler) on duty at the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club. She is making sure the fairways, greens and ponds are clear of the pesky flocks of Canadian geese. Many areas have problem geese (golf courses, parks, lakes, farmers crops) and Tova has been specially trained to only clear the Canadian Geese and not anything else.
Sunday, April 28 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra needed the kickstand leaf (2nd true leaf) trimmed off so that the vine could lay down safely, and now I see that the first true leaf is looking old and will likely get the chop as soon as more leaves are on the scene. Some mild chlorosis from some chilly nights and cold surrounding soil outside the heated soil cable area. Things are warming up now, soil biology should be working but I still might add some Ureamate and Masterblend to a watering and a foliar feeding to give it a mild boost.
Monday, May 6 View Page
2212 Chan is stretching out, we need to cultivate the patch and toss in some amendments that the Langley estimator said we need. The usual cast of characters, we need gypsum, calcium nitrate, sulphate of potash along with some boron, manganese and magnesium. We are getting some of the magnesium and potassium by also using KMag, 0-0-22.
Monday, May 6 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra is also running and doing well. I can tell that the soil is ready, weeds are coming up like crazy, I really dislike chickweeed.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
839 Sandercock is the first to reach the end of the hoophouse. Super lucky since the weather has warmed up and we are likely past any threat of frost now but it is still chilly overnight. We have a fantastic 2 week weather forecast, Iím betting Haney Boy will be taking off his hoophouses as well pretty soon and letting things go.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
My new toy came today, and the experiments have started. 580 ppm CO2 outdoors in the middle of the patch.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
Inside the big hoophouse, under the CO2 bag between the 2 plants it reads 1003 ppm CO2. That is with the door fully open and a fan running.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
I closed up the smaller 10x7x7 hoophouse and put the CO2 sensor in there for a few hours and as you can see it settled to 607 ppm. I then installed the CO2 exhale bag and left the hoophouse closed.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
Then after 2 hours of having the Exhale CO2 bag inside the enclosed hoophouse, the ppm rose to over double and stayed at between 1100-1200ppm. So I guess in conclusion, yes the CO2 bags work and Iím glad I tried a new product.
Thursday, May 9 View Page
This morning the CO2 is at 1300-1400 ppm at ground levelÖ.
Thursday, May 9 View Page
Öbut in the peak of the roof at the 7 foot level, we have a much higher concentration and it peaked at 1950 ppm. The fan on low remedied that issue and seemed to spread it out a little better. Richmond Dave gave me another great idea to remove the C02 bag in the evening when shutting the doors and closing the ventilation. So, Iím gonna take one more reading this evening as suggested by Dave and then remove the bag for overnight and recheck the numbers along the way. I think I can predict the outcome from the numbers Iíve already reported here, but will be nice to know for sure. Special thanks to Ken for always fixing my sideways photos!!
Saturday, May 11 View Page
In the longer hoophouse is the 2212 Chan in the front and 839 Sandercock in the back. The far end was rolled up and 839 plant sneaked out first but the 2212 will be out of the door by the end of the day. I think we might use our smaller hoophouses to extend each growing tip by another 5 feet
Saturday, May 11 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra is doing well and not long until it will outgrows the hoophouse. Again, luckily our weather is above average for this time of the year and sunny skyís are in the forecast over the next couple weeks. We are growing no till this year and working the entire patch and veggie garden by hand. Second round of amendments, go on next and the soil is turned in and over with broadfork, pitchfork, shovel and rake. My golf game always improves at this time of the year because my body is so sore from the patch that I swing easy and hit the centre of the club face on a more consistent basisÖcrazy I know!!
Sunday, May 12 View Page
The 839 Sandercock with the first female at about 8 feet got pinched off shortly after this photo and there was one yesterday on the 2212 Chan also at 8 feet that got nipped off.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
Moving day, the 1995.5 Hoornstra was almost out of its hoophouse anyways. Looking good and Iíve got plenty of bamboo stakes and some silt fencing to go up to protect the young plant from our inevitable coastal winds that arrive in late May and early June. Until the plants are more securely rooted, we battle with the wind and will be ahead of the game.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
Hoophouse got moved to the prizewinnerís spot for this year. We will grow 2 plants in the upper part of the patch, veggie garden below getting planted and is prepped and ready for the season.
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
And the skin was removed from this hoophouse so that the 2212 Chan (on the right) and the 839 Sandercock (on the left) can stretch out and assume ownership of the 2 growing spots in the lower patch. We are turning over the soil in 1/8 sections at a time and ammending the soil as we go. The amendments are carefully weighed and portioned into buckets for spreading and incorporating by hand. Yeah, it takes longer but Andrea and I are team growers and 4 hands makes light work of most jobs in the pumpkin patch and gardens.
Thursday, May 16 View Page
1995.5 Hoornstra. Iíve got some silt fencing on order for delivery tomorrow for use as windbreaks, but of course our coastal winds have started now. We quickly grabbed the snow fencing we had and secured it to our deer fencing at strategic spots where the winds whip in and circle about. Suffered only 1 leaf break and a few leaf bends but Iíll get over it. Slowly pitch forking and broadforking the ammended soil in front and on the sides of each plant.
Thursday, May 16 View Page
839 Sandercock in front and 2212 Chan in the rear. Iíve got my usual stockpile of compost, potting soil, mycorrhizae, kelp meal, alfalfa meal and a dash of slow release 14-14-14 that we mix into buckets, thoroughly soak with water and use for covering/burying vines. Iím going with a ďwetter is betterĒ approach to secondary rooting along the main and all along the secondaries.
Monday, May 20 View Page
We donít usually name our pumpkins or plants (but sometimes we do) and this year Andrea kept asking which was which plant, so we came up with the easiest way possible. We also know that pumpkin fruit names are usually feminine, but for ease of our aging brains we came up with this. 839 Sandercock is Ned, 2212 Chan is Dave and 1995.5 Hoornstra is Glenn. So Ned is in the foreground with Dave in the back. We got some silt fencing and set it up, the winds will subside at about the same time that the plants are all rooted in. Pitchforking and broadforking ahead of the plants is working great however itís time for me to have my own rototiller.
Thursday, May 23 View Page
I should have left the hoophouse on for a few days longer for Glenn (1995.5 Hoornstra) because the weather changed to cold and wet for several days and the growth really slowed down. Weíd like this plant to be our last pollinated anyways because itís in the biggest spot in the patch at 30í X 40í and because itís in a spot behind the other 2 plants and not accessible until after the other 2 are out.
Thursday, May 23 View Page
Ned in the front and Dave in the back. Iím fighting my compulsion to add additional nitrogen (everything is so green) and trusting that my soilís available nutrient tank is full. I will however cave in and start on my bug and disease prevention program rotation. Vine burying is every second day but weeding, pitchforking and broadforking is happening daily ahead of the vines.


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