Category: Growing Season 2011

Growing Season 2011

Exploding Giant Pumpkin

They exploded two giant pumpkins and one green squash at Jared’s nursery this year.  Gary’s pumpkin had been eaten by some critters so he decided to drop it from 150 ft.  It was real entertaining watching a pumpkin that was almost 1000 pounds explode!

I just finished with the Jared’s weigh off and ended up with my personal best of 660 pounds! I’ll post more about it later, but here is a picture of me with my pumpkin.

Andy showing is Giant Pumpkin

2011 Giant Pumpkin Weigh off

2011 Personal Best with Giant Pumpkin

I just finished with the Jared’s weigh off and ended up with my personal best of 660 pounds!  I’ll post more about it later, but here is a picture of me with my pumpkin.

Andy showing is Giant Pumpkin

2011 Giant Pumpkin Weigh off

September 2011 Growing Update

The best looking pumpkin that I’ve ever grown:
856 Hoffman Seed!

Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin

Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin

 Has a orange hue even though it looks white

Giant White Pumpkin with a hint of orange between the ribs

Giant White Pumpkin with a hint of orange between the ribs

Alisha’s 1308 Mohr.  This is hardly a pumpkin plant and was damaged by hail numerous times.  She was so happy to grow a pumpkin over 250 pounds!

Giant pumpkin that Alisha Grew

Giant pumpkin that Alisha Grew

This will hopefully be my personal best and meet my goal of over 500 pounds.

Hoping to set my personal best with this one.

Giant Orange Pumpkin Grown in Cheyenne, WY

Son’s pumpkin that grew to over 400 pounds. (It was on my acid injection system)

Giant White Pumpkin

Giant White Pumpkin

First Frost of 2011

September 4th and Frost.

I was out first thing in the morning checking the big pumpkins since I was worried with what I saw the temperature doing the night before.  Our house hit a low of 35.1 this morning so I figured I had dodged a bullet and that there would be no frost. Upon further investigation, it appeared that my vines and leaves were okay on the big pumpkins. 

Another local grower contacted me this afternoon and asked if I had lost any leaves.  I had only checked the big pumpkins and had assumed if they were okay, the rest of my garden was too.  Boy was I wrong, I lost about 40% of the leaves on the rest of the garden.   I did have the water running on the garden as well, but since it’s by zone, maybe it had switched over too soon. 

I really don’t know why the big pumpkins survived without apparent damage, but it might be a combination of the hail netting and getting lucky with when the water starting hitting the pumpkins.  My hunch is maybe it was a combination of the two that saved the leaves of my big pumpkins.  I guess the important thing is that my big pumpkin’s leaves survived and the pumpkins still have a chance to grow a little more.

 

I also learned a lesson.  I thought frost damage would only appear if it was below 32 degrees, but that’s clearly not the case.

 

The Big 5 Pumpkins

I have to start the lineup with my daughter’s pumpkin.  This pumpkin plant looks horrible and I’m still amazed it has produced anything.  It takes up about 150 square feet and has produced an OTT 194 on day 35.

Giant Atlantic Dill Pumpkin

194 OTT and the plant takes up only 150 square feet

The next pumpkin is the best shaped pumpkin.  This is the Hoffman 856 on Day 38

Giant Atlantic Dill Pumpkin

Day 38 217 OTT

This is the biggest pumpkin and hopefully my personal best!

Giant Atlantic Dill Pumpkin

Day 50 122.75 Circumference OTT 274

This is my Son’s pumpkin.  It started off a really good shape, but has warped since then.

Giant Atlantic Dill Pumpkin

101 Circumference

Finally, I thought the 1308 Todd pumpkin was going to be my biggest, but it slowed down.  It’s just now started to grow again.

 

 

2011 RMGVG BBQ and Patch Tour

My son and I recently had an opportunity to go on the RMGVG http://www.coloradopumpkins.com giant pumpkin patch tour in Colorado.  This is a great organization and they have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to growing pumpkins.  We left Wyoming around 8:00 am and it’s a good thing, I-25 was bottle necked to a single lane.  We made it there just in time for the tour to begin.

First stop, the Wiz’s(Gary) and the Biz’s(Jim) pumpkin patch. They have a huge patch and my son and I were both impressed over how large the vines were and how many leaves the plants had.  Their pumpkins and plants dwarf mine.

Gary's Pumpkin RMGVG

Gary Discussing his pumpkin patch

Good Shape and Big Pumpkin

Another Giant pumpkin in the Wiz's and Biz's Pumpkin Patch

Another Nice Pumpkin for the Wiz and Biz

Another Nice Pumpkin for the Wiz and Biz

I wish my pumpkin leaves looked this healthy

I wish my pumpkin leaves looked this healthy

The next stop was Joe Scherber’s pumpkin patch.  The drive was around 25 minutes in Colorado traffic.Even though our weather is not as nice, having a smaller population makes up for it.  Denver gets crazy and you spend a lot of time waiting in traffic. 

Joe’s plant was incredible!  The leaves were giants and the root system was larger than tree trunks.  This was the widest pumpkin that I’ve ever seen.

Giant Pumpkin by Joe S.

Giant Pumpkin by Joe S.

 

Giant Pumpkin Leaves with A Giant Pumpkin

Giant Pumpkin Leaves with A Giant Pumpkin

The last stop on the tour was Jamie’s pumpkin patch AKA The Pumpkin Man on the Marriage Ref.  Jamie is a real nice guy and willing to volunteer information.  His pumpkin is a beautiful orange and he is hoping it will be well over a 1000 pounds when it goes to the weigh off.

Jamie's Perfect Pumpkin

Jamie's Perfect Pumpkin

The tour lasted a lot longer than I had anticipated.  I was bummed that I was not going to be able to participate in the BBQ since it was already 3:00 pm and I needed to whisk off to my daughter’s soccer game in Broomfield.  I appreciate the time that Jim Grande spent with me that afternoon providing me tips to get my seeds started.  I believe he told me his 1084 seed might go heavy and when I looked in my packet, I had one.  I might be trying that one next year.

On our return, I remember Joe S. talking about the wind in Wyoming.  Sure enough, he was correct, I took a picture of my neighbor’s flag when we got home.  I guess I’m used to the wind and anything under 20 mph is just a breeze to me.

Flag waving in the wind

Flag waving in the wind

Kill Insects That Could Harm My Pumpkins

It is getting close to that time where insects start appearing.  I found my first little cucumber beetle in the garden three days ago.  I figured it was time to purchase some organic insect destroyer material.  I found this product on the Internet and wanted to give it a try.  http://www.saferbrand.com/store/garden-care/5118 .  It stated it would be safe to eat your vegetables and appeared to be fairly harmless.  

Needless to say, my wife is also mad at me and will not use any of the kitchen measuring devices that I used again.  While I was weighing exactly 2.5 ounces of the material, I ended up getting it all over my hands and made a mess.  My wife read the label and it said do not get on your skin and if you do, wash the infected area for 15 to 20 minutes and then call poison control center.  Being that it was soap based and I thought it was all organic, I didn’t read all the warnings.

I’m still alive and washed the material off the best I could.  I sprayed my pumpkin plants tonight, but what is the best product to use to eliminate cucumber beetles?

Pumpkin Acid Injection System

A Big Orange Pumpkin

A Big OrangePumpkin

I installed my acid injection system this weekend.  I purchased an EZ-Flo Automatic Fertilizer Injector System online and am ready to test its capability.  I am initially running fertilizer and citric acid.  The ph has gone from 8.2 to 4.0.  I sure hope that it will not be too acidic.

I initially installed this on the drip system where my soaker hoses are located.  If I see improvements in the plant’s health, then I’ll include a separate system for the leaves of the plants.  I have to figure out what is going to work. 

The Shade Is On

Hi All!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to post an update for everyone.  My 1308 Todd seed named Sam, has really taken off.  It is 30 inches in circumference and pure glossy white.  Here is the big goof I did.  I was hammering in my re-bar that I was going to put my PVC piping over to make a shade house, and accidentally placed it right next to the main vine.  Low and behold, the re-bar cut into the main vine.  Then when I was placing the tarp over the pumpkin, it fell off the PVC and scratched it.  I also had to pull tap roots four feet out on each side of the pumpkin.  I really hate doing that, especially since I ended up pollinating this one 6 feet from the main vine.  I know you are ideally supposed to be around 10 to 12 feet out, but since our growing season is short, I decided to keep that one.  I’m culling all the other pumpkins off tomorrow on this plant.

I also placed a tarp over my 1167 pumpkin named Independent.  It’s 27.5 in circumference and very yellow.  I’m hoping for a pretty orange one on this plant.

The best shaped little pumpkin that I’ve ever pollinated is the 856 Hoffman.  It’s perfectly round and I crossed her with the 1167 Courson.  Ideally, many pumpkin growers like the oblong ones to go for the record.  However, I am trying to grow the biggest, roundest, orange pumpkin possible.  I noticed it went 8% heavy so I have a lot of hope for this one.

My son is growing the 1177 Conely.  He has vines going everywhere and a lot of work cut out for him. Also, my daughter is growing the 1306 Mohr seed.  Unfortunately, it was not covered under our hail netting and looks less than impressive.  I have hope that some new leaves will continue to generate, but it has numerous holes through the plant.  At least it didn’t get leveled like our zucchini did.  Alisha really wanted to bring a record breaking zucchini to the Rocky Mountain Grower’s weigh off.  That won’t be happening this year.

Survived Hail Storm July 2011

I heard Day weather http://www.dayweather.com predict the storm we experienced today.  I guess the worst of it happened around 3:00 pm today.  My kids told me it was raining and blowing so hard they couldn’t see anything and decided to go downstairs in case a tornado hit.  It was probably their excuse to go play video games.  The wind was extremely powerful again.  My entire patch is protected on every side and it still uprooted a side vine on one of my pumpkin plants.  Several of the vines that were buried completely were not buried anymore by the time I arrived at home.  The pumpkins that were outside my hail netting looked like someone had taken a shotgun to the leaves.  I’m sure they will recover in a couple of weeks.  You can view a picture of the hail here.  http://www.facebook.com/pumpkinfanatics

 

I spent the next hour repairing the pumpkins(reburying the pumpkin vines).  Since my leaves are not big and green, but smaller and light green, I dumped four pounds of ammonia sulfate on four of my plants.  I did water them down hoping I didn’t burn them, but that they will take advantage of the nitrogen.  Only time will tell over the next couple of days.

 

The night before I was doing research on how I was going to get my well water’s PH in check.  It’s currently measuring a PH of 8.0 and my soil is at 7.8.  It looks like I will need to build an acid injection system into my drip system to help lower my PH.  Hopefully, I will determine how to do this in the next couple of weeks.

 

Scary Day

Well, today was a very scary day.  My wife called me at work and told me a major thunderstorm was heading our way.  They were predicting ping pong size hail with 60 mph wind.  She told me that her and the kids would tighten down the hail netting before the storm came.  After they started adjusting the netting, a HUGE gust of wind came.  Now, it’s Cheyenne, WY and gusts of wind in this weather are probably at least 60 mph.  Somehow, it blew the hail netting so hard, it got caught on some areas of my wind fence and ripped.  They had abandoned their efforts since the rain had started coming down as well.

When I made it home, I could tell the hail netting was only a few feet off of the ground.  We immediately pulled together and started patching the hail netting between storms.  The wind had bent the steel posts a little, but it was nothing that we couldn’t throw a quick patch here and there.

I just read Jamie’s latest post on http://denverpumpkins.com/ and his pumpkins are 12 feet out and have been pollinated.  I feel fortunate to have two pumpkins that are each six feet out and might be pollinated next week.  My goal is still to reach 500lbs this year and if the weather doesn’t destroy my patch, I’m still hopeful.

Hail Netting Video

My Hail Netting Video

Pumpkin Soil Sample 2011

I’m writing about the results of my soil sample, while watching outside to see if it’s going to hail again or not.  Luckily, I do have my hail netting in place now, but I really don’t want to test it.  We’re experiencing sustained 30 mph wind with gusts up to who knows how strong.

I learned a couple of things about my soil over the past week.  First, I saw the PH of my soil was not ideal so I tested the PH of the water that soaks my pumpkins.  The PH of my water was 8.0 (BUMMER).  I have not found any good articles on how to counter PH in water or soil.  Does anyone out there have some advice that they could post and others learn from?

Soil Results

Soil Test Results for My Pumpkin Patch

Soil Test Results for My Pumpkin Patch

Soil Recommendation for 2011

Soil Nutrient Recommendation For Giant Pumpkins

Soil Nutrient Recommendation For Giant Pumpkins

First Hail Storm 2011

Why Cheyenne and where I live?

 

We have had THREE hail storms over three separate days where I live.  My pumpkins are barely holding on.  Last night, the wind blew so hard, my wind fence and my wood fence blew down.  In fact, I have heavy duty metal poles and one of them was bent when the fence blew down.

I have not had a chance to put my hail netting up.  I hope to wake the family up early tomorrow morning for some help and get it installed.  I’ll post some pictures when it’s done.  My daughter already told me we will be the only house with a circus tent.  Hopefully my covenants will allow me to keep this structure up through the summer.  I plan to protect four plants under the netting.  The netting was very expensive, but it will be well worth it if it works.

 

My plants are way behind and really haven’t grown much for over a month.

Pumpkins That Have Potential For 2011

Well, it’s been an interesting start to my growing season this year.  I did an experiment this year starting my seeds.  I placed the seeds in a wet paper towel and placed the seeds in a sandwich bag.  I also kept the temperature of the room between 85-90 degrees.  You can visit this page to get additional information.

The experiment worked very well and the seeds sprouted the tap root within 3 days.  I planted them on a Friday night and had tap roots by Monday.  However, when I took the seeds and planted them in the soil, all the plants died.

I think my fertilizer experiment this year harmed the seeds versus creating a strong root system.  I was able to only get half the pumpkin seeds I planted to germinate this year.   The photo below are from the following plants:

1308 Todd 10
1101.6 Lancaster 05
690 Grande 10
856 Hoffman 10
1167 Courson 10
1117 Conley 06

I planted some backup seeds, but they have not sprouted yet.

The other problem I experienced this year was my space heater went crazy on me.  I came home from work and the room temperature was 105 degrees.  This temperature cooked all the tender leaves that had started and the plants don’t look too healthy.

Does anyone have a good recommendation on a space heater that is temperature controlled?

Pumpkin Plants For 2011

Pumpkin Plants For 2011

Crazy Weather

The wind seems to never stop blowing in Cheyenne, WY.  This hoop house was outside the protection of my wind fence and was completely ripped in half.  I will have to put a snow fence in front of this hoop house before I try it again.

Destroyed Hoops House By the Wind

Destroyed Hoops House By the Wind

You can see my steel posts have been pushed over from the wind.  I thought this was the best wind fence I could use this year.

Damaged Wind Fence Used To Protect My Hoop Houses

Damaged Wind Fence Used To Protect My Hoop Houses

Wind Fence

I finally have my wind fence up that will be used to protect my pumpkin patch.  I hope to grow a giant pumpkin over 500 pounds this year.  I found 50 feet of material 6 feet high from a company on eBay.

Wind Fence

Wind Fence

April’s 2011 RMVGG meeting

I just made it back from the spring RMGVG meeting.  What is RMGVG? This club is the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable grower’s group.  Their web site can be found at the following url http://coloradopumpkins.com/.  They are a good group of people and I really wish I could have stayed for the whole meeting.

They provided some quick insight into what fertilizers could be used to grow giant pumpkins.  I bugged out early to go watch my son’s soccer game, but hopefully next time, I can stay for the whole meeting.

2011 Giant Pumpkin Seeds To Try

Well, I just selected the pumpkin seeds I plan to try this year and they are as follows:

690 Grande 10  I love the shape and color of this pumpkin
1308 Todd 10

1306 Mohr 2010

856 Hoffman 2010

856 Hoffman 2010

1011 Hoffman 2010

 

I will narrow this down to 3 and my son will grow the other one.  I wish everyone luck on their pumpkin growing season this year!  I hope to break 500 pounds this year.

 

Cold Frame

Well, it’s getting close and I feel I’m behind in regards to where I should be.  I’m in the process of creating a new design for my cold frame.  I like to get them outside before April 1st to start warming the soil.

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