Category: Growing Season 2012

Growing Season 2012

Jared’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off

It’s been a busy and fun week!  On Tuesday,  Wednesday, and Thursday the weather outside was rainy and dreary.  I was a little concerned that the voles would return, but I figured I had caught them all and that I was safe.  The previous damage to the pumpkin had dried out with the sulfur dust and I was feeling confident about the scarring.  The newspaper and television station were going to be at my house Friday afternoon to film me loading the pumpkin.  Friday morning when we removed the covers to the pumpkin, another vole had decided to eat on the pumpkin in the same spot.  It was a baby vole that was caught in a trap on the other side, but the damage had already been done.  I figured the sulfur dust would keep everything away, but it must have been hanging out next to my pumpkin to get out of the rain.

Anyway, I had visions of an entire vole family falling out of my pumpkin as I lifted it with my homemade tripod system and it would all be caught on tape.  Luckily, the bottom was solid so I felt I had a chance to take this pumpkin to a weigh off.  I figured the cats had ruined my chances for the Howard Dill Award–prettiest pumpkin so I was now hoping the pumpkin would go a little heavy and it would be my first 1000 pound pumpkin that I’ve grown.

The weigh off is always a fun event and it’s fun talking to the other growers.  To my dismay, when they weighed the pumpkin, it went 15% light!  I have to say I was a little bummed.  Then the “Wiz” stated I had won the Howard Dill Award!  I was thrilled and that helped with the sting of my pumpkin weighing so light.  It was a good day and I always enjoy the drive home.  It’s amazing how many drivers slowdown to take a picture and how a giant pumpkin can put a smile on anyone’s face.

Jared's Nursery Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off

Jared’s Nursery Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off

Pumpkin Weigh Off is Close

1244-Rea-Day-83

I sure am hoping to get my pumpkin to Jared’s weigh off this year.  My patch has been cursed this year, but I hope to persevere and get at least one pumpkin to a weigh off.  I wanted to provide a status of my nicest pumpkin as it has been awhile since I have posted anything.

The voles really have taken their toll on my 1244 REA.  They have taken their turns eating on it at different times.  I have found new damage three days in a row from these critters.  I ordered some sulfur dust that was FedEx to my house.  I dumped the dust over all the chew marks and where the skin was missing on the pumpkin.  Hopefully, the sides will not get too soft and last for one more week.  Today, I noticed the nub on the blossom end is black/green and possibly rotting.  I put sulfur dust on it and will check again each day to determine if I should try and surgically remove it and then dust it.  The bigger the pumpkin, the more likely you are going to have problems with it.  I definitely have learned that lesson this year.  Just FYI, my trap caught one vole and Tux the cat caught the other vole.  My other cat is the one who likes to jump on the pumpkins and slide down leaving claw marks.  Almost all of the scratches you see in the photo are from that cat.

I have been applying a ton of fertilizer to the patch the past four days.  The first day, I applied fish emulsion to the patch.  The second day, I applied some micro-nutrients, the third day, I applied 0-10-10 or Morbloom, and today I applied some calcium.  I figure at this point in time, I can push the plant as much as possible.

Good Luck Everyone!!!!! I am really looking forward seeing your giants at the weigh offs.

1306 Mohr is “No More”

1306 Mohr Pumpkin Blossom End Split

1306 Mohr Pumpkin Blossom End Split

If you look at the photo closely, the 1306 Mohr went down today.  I noticed yesterday it seemed a little soft, but was not sure why.  After further investigation, I was able to put a needle easily all the way through the crack.  It’s too bad, this one was a steady grower.  Initially, it was my fastest grower for about the first 25 days, then it was slow and steady.

I have no one to blame but myself.  I was not doing the appropriate maintenance on the plant and ended up with several pumpkins and many vines that needed to be trimmed.  I trimmed everything on Thursday night versus taking a few pumpkins off at a time.  It clearly had a growth spurt and split.  Amy really liked the color and shape of this one.

The whitest Pumpkin I have ever grown

The whitest Pumpkin I have ever grown

This one is really big and continues to put on 12+ pounds a day.  Even with the 1610 Leiber genetics, it is ghost white.

2012 Pumpkin Update

Hi Everyone!

It’s been awhile since I have posted an official status of my pumpkins so here it is.  Mr. Orange is now name cat scratch fever!

1244 REA

Will this split from my cats scratching?

 

Close up of the scratch

This is only one scratch of many

This pumpkin has an OTT of 331.5

The next pumpkin in the lineup is the 1306 Mohr

OTT 288.5 Day 48

Last, but not least my 1365 Singleton.

It has also suffered numerous cat scratches and markings and is turning out to be the whitest pumpkin I have ever grown.  At day 45 it is OTT 290.5

1244 Day 53

Day 53 and officially a personal best

This pumpkin is still growing 10+ pounds a day and according to the OTT, it is definitely my personal best. I hope she holds together for the weigh off at Jared’s on the 29th. Yesterday, I sprayed more calcium on the leaves and today I gave them a shot of magnesium. Of course, each day they get a good dosing of my secret sauce. I’m always trying something different and trying to compensate for our poor weather.

The pumpkin is still growing!

1244 REA–Day 45

The 1244 REA started growing again! At an OTT of 291.5, it is getting close to being my personal best. It is still growing  close to 20 pounds a day at day 45. It is going to be a brilliant orange and now I just have to focus on keeping it warm. The temperature swings are interesting to say the least. I imagine it will be 45 degrees at our house tonight and might get as hot as 85 tomorrow. We actually even had rain most of the evening so I am a little concerned it could split. We’ll see what happens, but I’m extremely happy with this one.

1244 REA and Cats

1244 REA before cat damage

1244 REA before cat damage

It’s been an interesting critter year.  I have no idea how many rabbits, prairie dogs, and ground squirrels I have transported this year.  My kids talked me into getting two cats and told me how they will keep the wildlife population down.  I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  We adopted two kittens that folks needed to get rid of.  Well, they follow me everywhere in the patch just like a dog.  They have been good companions until tonight.  They decided it would be fun to jump on my nice shiny pumpkins.  Well, they were too big and slick for small kittens and they scratched them up all the way down.  Not only did they do this to one pumpkin, but two others as well.  I didn’t have the rabbits or other wildlife do this much damage at one time.

Oh Well

http://reporting.giantstogrow.com/

Hi Everyone,

Before I left, I applied a folilar calcium spray to my pumpkin leaves, buried vines, and applied more compost.  I am looking forward seeing my family again, but also interested how the patch will look.  I imagine I will have a lot of tertiary vines to trim and secondary’s to cut and bury.  I had narrowed down my pumpkin selection before I left and it will be fun to see how big they are when I return.

While away, I worked on the pumpkin tracking application.  The application will record your measurements in the field and instantly provide you with the estimated weight if you provide the circumference, top to bottom, and side to side, measurements.  I am hoping to get at least 100 growers using the application.  If you know of any pumpkin growers, please provide them this link http://reporting.giantstogrow.com/ and suggest that they use this application to track the growth of their pumpkins.

I’ll be posting pictures of my pumpkins this weekend so all can see.

 

1244 Rea Day 20

The last few days I have been putting the hours in the evening to prepare for when I’m going to be away.  I will be out of town all next week.

This year, I am trying plywood with sand on top to see if that prevents the pumpkin from growing over the top of the blossom.  I reburied vines with some compost I have been brewing and applied micro-nutrients.  I will be refilling my acid injectors before I leave and hope for the best.

The most recent photo:

1244 Rea Day 20

July 14th Photo of 1244 Rea

I was planning to keep the pumpkin that was further out on this plant, but it appears that the health of the plant has chosen for me. The plant might be infected with bacterial wilt. The new growth starts and looks good, then the leaves die right away. Other leaves have started dying on the plant and the disease is moving towards the main. The plant across from it is infected as well now.  I will grow what I can and hope for the best!!  It appears from the color, that it will be orange like I had hoped.

1244-Rea-July-14th

July 7th 2012 Pumpkin Update

This is the 922 Mohr plant. As you can see on all my plants, the wind shredded the back leaves and I have applied too much nitrogen and burned them. I’m always learning and adjusting as I learn. There are many good growers out there that have perfected their techniques. I also think it depends on what area you live in and adjusting for that climate and the challenges you might face growing giant pumpkins.

The 1244 REA plant will hopefully produce a beautiful orange pumpkin. I am hoping to keep the pumpkin I pollinated today versus the one on June 30th.

1244 Rea 2011

My daughter plant the 1306 Mohr pumpkin last year and it was one tough plant. It seems to be a very aggressive grower. I pollinated one about 8 feet out on July 3rd, but I should have another one ready by the 10th of July that I will probably keep.

1306 Mohr 2011

1306 Mohr 2011


This is the 1213 REA. I did not get a chance to take very good care of this plant so it’s further behind. I’m sure it will catch up and I did pollinate a pumpkin on this plant July 3rd.
1213.5 REA 2011

1213.5 REA 2011


The last pumpkin in my patch is the 1365 Singleton 2011. The area is not the best place in my garden, but it has really started to take off.
1365 Singleton 2011

1365 Singleton 2011

1244.5 REA 2011

I pollinated the 1244.5 REA on June 30th.  The plant looks healthy, but the flower look a little different as far as lobes that I’m used to seeing.  I used pollen from my 1306 Mohr 2010.  It has been hot for Cheyenne and some of the leaves have suffered wind burn.

1244 REA 2011 First Pumpkin to Pollinate 10 ft out

1244 REA 2011 Small Pumpkin
1244 REA 2011 Small Pumpkin

Adding Sand to the Garden

Adding Sand to the Garden

Adding Sand to the Garden

It has been a long spring and summer already.  I am really behind on keeping my diary going this year so I’m starting now.  In the spring, I added 16 tons of sand to the garden.  I way over estimated and my soil is probably considered sandy now.  It does make it easy to pull weeds and the soil does not compact as easily as it did previously.  So far, the pumpkin plants that have survived look healthy. 

I pollinated my first keeper this morning.  It’s about 10 feet out so I’m hoping that’s the magic number.  Last year, my pumpkins were all 6 feet out and I learned that I missed out by not having that additional 4 feet of plant behind the pumpkin to feed it.

I’ll explain more later and include pictures.

Track Your Vegetable Measurements

This winter I spent time building a new mobile friendly web application.  You can now take your phone to your vegetable patch and enter your measurements using your iPhone,  Droid, or Blackberry.  Once you enter your measurement for your giant pumpkin, you will instantly know the estimated weight.  The best part is you can go into your house and then use your notebook/desktop and export all your measurements to an Excel spreadsheet.  You can access the site to measure Giant Pumpkins, Field Pumpkins, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, long gourds, and tomatoes here:

http://reporting.giantstogrow.com/

I am looking for your feedback in regards to features you would like to see on the site.  I am hoping this will be a valuable tools for all this coming growing season.

 

 

GreenHouse

I felt I needed to practice germinating pumpkin seeds when the weather is poor outside. I have had problems in the past and often used all my pumpkin seeds to only have a few germinate.

I started two weeks ago with a heat mat under the seed tray and lamp. With one lamp, the temperature inside the greenhouse was around 75 degrees. I added another lamp and the temperature adjusted itself to 88 degrees. The first 2 weeks only 3 seeds germinated. It was very disappointing and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I was using miracle grow soil, keeping the soil moist, but not too moist.

I planted a new batch of seeds on Saturday and I already have 6 that have germinated (4 days). I changed the soil to Miracle grow seed starting mix. I am now beginning to wonder if the miracle grow potting soil is not very good to use to start seeds. I have a lot of confidence now that I will be able to grow some of the pumpkins that I’m planning on planting this coming spring. I have a feeling it will be a good season and I hope to set another personal best.

I used the advice that Biz provided me(see bigpumpkins.com) to find out who he is. I ended up using two regular desk lamps, a seed germination mat, a thermostat to control the mat, and keep the temperature at 88 degrees. You can view the photo below to see how I set it up.

What soil mixture or combinations do you use to start your pumpkin seeds?

Mini Greenhouse

Practicing Germinating Seeds

Fall Prep 2012

I have learned that to grow a big pumpkin, you should prepare your pumpkin patch in the fall. This year I made a mental note of what I planned to try next or lessons learned. I have included my list here:

Water daily 20 minutes with the sprinkler 30 minutes when it’s hot.
2. Lots of Nitrogen early and stay with the Nitrogen throughout
3. Check the PH level often
4. Don’t cut the main vine if at all possible
5. Buy KDL Agro-K’s KDL (potassium carbonate).
Agro-K has this nice 0-0-6 which is K2S04 blended with seaweed.
http://www.agro-k.com/upload/Potassium_0-0-6_1.pdf
6. Lower the PH with elemental sulfur in the fall.

I applied the elemental sulfur this fall, but learned I might have applied way too much! I was planning to just mulch with leaves, but I kept reading blogs on grower diaries where they were using manure. I was having trouble obtaining leaves, so I was able to get some manure from singletree stables. They were very generous and gave me all that I could take. The downside is I applied it too fresh. Tomorrow, I plan to use the rototiller one more time and get everything mixed together before the ground freezes.

If you have any suggestions for me, please post them here.
Best,
Andy

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