Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Finally Amended & Tilled the Pumpkin Patch

Between weather, sickness and work I haven't been able to get into the patch and clean it out.  Finally got to that this week and tilled the patch this evening.  I tilled in alfalfa pellets, fallen leaves with grass clippings,  gypsum, humic acid, peat moss, calcium, iron, manganese, chunks of pumpkin along the cover crop I planted on the southern end of the patch back in August.  The best thing you can do for your pumpkin next year is to prepare the patch now in the fall.

In Colorado the winter temperatures are typically warm enough that what I have tilled into the patch will be mostly broken down come spring time.  I didn't get a cover crop in early enough so I'll put in a cover crop as soon as I can in the spring to get it going.  Night time temperatures are probably too cool now to see the patch and get much of anything going.

The clone plants are all rooted and alive.  One is starting to take off.   Got a green house for one of the plants, but if anyone knows of another green house that I can send another one of the plants to please let me know.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Clone of Plant that Grew 2008 Neptune

I transplanted the clone cuttings into pots this weekend.  All three of the cuttings rooted, but the plants don't look very healthy right now.  A little powdery mildew has shown up and the leaves don't look very happy right now.  I gave the plants some Eagle which should knock out the powdery mildew.  The next week will be important to see if the plant can root into the potting soil and survive the transplant shock.  I think by next weekend we will know if they will make it.

I gave the plants a little kelp and B-vitamins to help with the transplanting.  Also a touch of RAW Bloom that has mono potassium phosphate which will help some with the rooting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

18% Heavy on the Scale! Great End to a Tough Pumpkin Season.

Yesterday I took my pumpkin to the Old Colorado City Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off.  I've never been to this event before and had heard good things and since my pumpkin was growing slow I figured I would give it as much time as possible to grow, as this is the last weigh-off of the season in Colorado.

To my pumpkin's credit it grew long.  Was still growing when I picked it and considering I thought I lost the pumpkin 75 days before when I had irrigation problems and it never did over 11 pounds a day after that and it had the biggest Dill Ring I've ever seen, I am amazed by that.

My pumpkin was estimating in the low 600s by the measurements, but ended up at 747 pounds.  Although that is about half of what I was hoping for this year, it as a lot heavier than I expected.  A pumpkin that goes 5-7% heavier than what the charts indicate in my book is very heavy pumpkin, but for this pumpkin to go 18% heavy is crazy.  My pumpkins typically, like most Colorado growers, go a little light.  A very nice suprise on the scales.

It makes me wonder now what this plant could have done if I didn't have all of the problems that I did.  When you look at the picuture above it isn't difficult to image how the lines of the pumpkin would be different.  This pumpkin grew on a side vine because I lost the main and then it got really jacked up by the water issues.  Would love to have another shot with this seed again.  I'm considering very strongly growing the seeds from this pumpkin next year.  I liked the 282 pollinator and this plant was the best looking plant I've ever had the first part of the season.  May give it another shot.

Now it is time to start prepping for next year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Strong End to the Season

Typically a pumpkin will put on about 66% of its weight in the first half of its growing days (about 45-50 days) and then will put on the remainder of its weight in the last 45-50 days.  My 1985 Miller pumpkin put on about 12% more than the average of its weight in the 2nd half of the season.  That is partially a testament to how much it got screwed up during the irrigation issues, but I think it was also a long grower.  The pumpkin is now about 104 days old and the last I checked it was still growing.  Would really have liked to have grown this seed again to give it a fair shot at its potential.

About a month and a half ago I gave myself the goal of trying to get the pumpkin over 700lbs.  To me that is a really small pumpkin that I have in the patch, but I figured I wasn't going to have a big one so I would at least try to make it interesting.  700lbs at that time was going to be a stretch.  I thought 650 was the best chance I had, but it will be estimating just over 700lbs by this Friday.

I'm going to cut the pumpkin from the vine and take it to Colorado Springs weigh-off on Saturday.  Wish me luck!

Gave the pumpkin plant one final foliar dose of RAW Bloom on Tuesday.  Trying to squeeze out one more extra pound before the weigh-off.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Clone/Cuttings of Pumpkin Plant that Grew a 2,008 Pounder

Today I received in the mail a clone/cutting of a plant that grew a 2,008 pound pumpkin.  The plant is a 1730 Werner that Bill Neptune grew in 2014.  Former world record holder, Nick Harp got a clone of the plant that he grew this year and then I got a cutting sent in the mail today.

I've never grown a clone before.  If you have any tips, please let me know.  I went to one of the local grow stores (an advantage of growing in Denver) and got myself educated on cloning and got some rock wool and Clone X rooting agent to help get the plant rooted.  I'll then keep the plant under the lights all winter and then plant the pumpkin plant in the spring to use as a pollinator. Cloned plants I don't think can grow big pumpkins.

I wish more growers would do this.  It is a massive advantage to know what a pollinator can grow before pollination.  We would push the genetics much farther this way if more growers would grow clones and use them as pollinators.

Here is a video of the 2008 pumpkin:

Congrats to My Kids' 1st & 2nd Place Finishing in the Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

Each year we've had a pumpkin in the Arvada Festival of Scarecrows giant pumpkin weight.  My son and daughter took first and second place honors in the children's category.  I think this was the third year in a row that they pumpkins were bigger than everyone.  Great job guys!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Some Big Pumpkins in Colorado This Year

It is killing me that I missed out on some great weather this year.  Lots of big pumpkin at the weigh-offs in Colorado this fall.  Each weigh-off has had a pumpkin over 1,300 pounds with two weigh-offs having pumpkins over 1,400 pounds.  Some really good growers stepping up in Colorado this year.

Next week is my weigh-off.  I'll be lucky if I get to half of my goal for the season, but I get excited for the weigh-offs just the same. 

Tonight I gave the pumpkin plants a foliar application of TKO with a little calcium nitrate.  I'll probably give the plants one last application of fertilizer on Tuesday and then we will be done for this year and hope for the best.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nick's Garden Center Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

Nick's 6th annual great pumpkin weigh-off is this Saturday at 11:00 in Aurora.  See some pumpkins over 1,000 pounds with the potential for a new Colorado state record going to the scale.  Nick's is a great event with a lot of great activities for kids.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Foliar Application of RAW Bloom on Pumpkin Plant

Today I did a foliar application of RAW Bloom (3-12-12) on the pumpkin plant.  The phosphorus and potassium should help continue the growth of the pumpkin.  I applied a relatively small dose.  You don't want to pop the pumpkin this late in the season.  I'm actually surprised the pumkin is still growing.  With where the plant was at in August I would have never guessed the pumpkin would grow this long and not split.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Squash Squashes Colorado State Record & A Near Giant Pumpkin Record

When helping Joe get his pumpkin out of the patch, I would have guessed that he had a new Colorado state record, but the scale doesn't lie. Marc Sawtell had better luck however, breaking the 1,000 barrier for giant squash and set a new Colorado record.  The following video I shot and got on 9News.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Night Before the Weigh-off

I think late September and October are awesome for multiple reasons, but the weigh-offs can make them amazing.  Great weather, football,  and the winding down of another pumpkin season really caps off the fall.  I'm not taking my pumpkin to the Jared's Nursery weigh-off tomorrow, but I thought I would talk about what the night before a weigh-off is like and give some advice to newer growers.

First thing, make sure you load up your pumpkin tonight!  Don't wait until Saturday morning to load up the pumpkin.  Too many things can go wrong and you don't want to wait until morning to have the pumpkin loaded.  Along with that, put the pumpkin on a pallet so it can be easily unloaded at the weigh-off. Also, leave a little of the vine on the stem and attach a water bag to it.  You can gain a few extra pounds that way.

Second, make the pumpkin loading experience a party.  My first year I had a 755 pound pumpkin in the patch and I wasn't sure how I was going to load it up.  I got my self a lifting tarp and then invited a bunch of friends to a "pumpkin party" which was my rouse to get a bunch of strong guys to come over and get the pumpkin on a pallet on a trailer.  The next year, everyone was asking if they could come to the pumpkin party so it has become an annual event, even though we now use backhoes to lift the pumpkins.

There is a lot of hard work in growing a pumpkin.  Too many hours to count.  So celebrate the cutting of the vines with friends.  Honestly, they seem to love to come see the pumpkin every year.
Third, enjoy the weigh-off!  Again it is a celebration, regardless of how big your pumpkin has grown, so enjoy the time with the other growers and ask the better growers lots of questions.  You'll get advice that will probably add hundreds of pounds to your pumpkin the following year.  No pumpkin is too small for the weigh-offs if you tried as hard as you could try.

Fourth, you may find yourself strangely anxious as your pumpkin goes to the scale.  Even the years that I thought my pumpkin was small, I hoped for the best.  Nothing wrong with that.

Sixth, be prepared for your pumpkin to weigh less than you hoped.  This can be a very hard thing.  Especially if you thought you had a personal best going to the scale.   The estimation charts are just that:  "estimations."  Not only that, they are an average.  Which means 50% of the pumpkins are going to go heavy and 50% are going to go light.  Remember you've already got a 50% change of going light, so expect it and then be surprised if it goes heavy.

Two years ago, I grew what was the 2nd biggest pumpkin ever grown in Colorado in terms of the inches.  It was a fun season.  However, on the scale, the pumpkin ended up 18% light.  That is massively light.  7% below the charts would be considered a lot light and I couldn't have been prepared for 18%.  It kind of hurt at the time.  By the next day, I realized I had grow a pumpkin that was hundreds of pounds bigger than anything I had grown before that was a personal best.  That made if feel better, so keep everything on the positive side.  Some things aren't in your control.

Enjoy the weigh-offs and may all of your pumpkins go heavy!

Go see one of the RMGVG weighs this fall and see pumpkins over 1,400 pounds. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Got Fusarium in the Pumpkin Patch? Try Kelp & Silica.

Here is an interesting excerpt from some studies using kelp and silica on cucurbit plants (the same family that Atlantic Giant pumpkins are in) to help battle fusarium.  the results are interesting.
    "Crop losses due to Fusarium spp. are important to cucurbit growers along with an increasing interest in natural ways to improve disease resistance. Extracts of the brown seaweed, Ascophyllum nodosum and products containing silicon have both been shown to promote disease resistance on many crops. In a 2008 watermelon trial located in Upper Marlboro, MD, Fusarium solani symptoms were suppressed by extracts of Ascophyllum nodosum. At the final rating, 30% of the watermelon plants were dead from this pathogen in the control plots vs. 10% in Ascophyllum extract treatments. A second study was implemented in 2009 on Gladiator Pumpkins. Calcium silicate and Ascophyllum seaweed extract were applied to pumpkins grown in a field known to have Fusarium spp. infected squash three years prior. At the final rating, 24.6% of the pumpkin plants were dead in the control plots vs. 19.2% in the silicon plots, 13.6% in the Ascophyllum extract treatment, and just 6.1% in the plots with both calcium silicate and Ascophyllum extract. These field studies were further supported by two greenhouse studies where applications Ascophyllum extract to cucumber plants reduced incidence of Fusarium oxysporum and enhanced the activities of plant defense-related enzymes including chitinase, β-1,3-glucanase, peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase, phenylalanine ammonia lyase and lipoxigenase as well as elevated levels of total phenols compared to the control."

If you think you've got the soil borne disease fusarium, try RAW Kelp and Silica in your pumpkin patch.  I took some of my own advice and did a foliar and soil application of kelp, silica and humic acid this evening.  I don't believe I have fusarium, but a little prevention goes a long way and like we've talked about on this blog before, kelp, humic acid and silica have a lot of other good benefits.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some Last Azos for the Pumpkin Patch

I did a soil application of Azos this evening.  Soil temperatures have to be decently warm for Azos to grow and typically in Denver this time of year it would be a little too cool, but the forecast for the next 10 days looks to be 80 degrees and above and I had some Azos so I figured I had better use it up before it expires. 

Azos is a nitrogen fixing bacteria that can produce substances that are similar to gibberellins, which is a plant hormone, so I figured I should get something out of it this year.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Some TKO with RAW Grow as a Foliar

This evening I did a foliar application of TKO and RAW Grow on the pumpkin plants.  I measure the pumpkin this morning.  First time in almost a week and it is still growing.  Around 4 pounds a day right now.  We are a month away from when I plan on taking the pumpkin to a weigh-off.  I don't suppose that it will still be growing by then, but would be very pleased if I could get another 100 pounds in the next month.

Friday, September 18, 2015

It's Colorado Giant Pumkin Weigh-off Time (2015)

It's the best time of the whole year.  Football in the full swing.  Major league baseball play-off action and most important of all, the pumpkin weigh-off season.  Starting next week the weigh-offs begin in Denver.  Great family events and the biggest pumpkins you will see in Colorado!  Check out each of the five GPC weigh-offs.  Pumpkins weighing in at over 1,000+ pounds:

Jared's Nursery Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Festival
September 26th (2015)
10500 W. Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO 80127

Nick's Great Pumpkin Weigh Off

October 3rd (2015)
2001 South Chambers Rd, Aurora, CO 80014

Fort Collins Weigh Off

October 4th
Fort Collins
Hopefully will start in the late afternoon.

Flower Bin
October 10th
1805 Nelson Rd., Longmont, Colorado 80501

Old Colorado CityOctober 17th
Colorado Avenue and 25th Street
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904

Today I have the pumpkin plant some RAW Grow in the areas of new vine growth.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nitrogen & Humic Acid for the Pumpkin Plants

This evening I sprayed on the leaves and soil some RAW nitrogen along with some RAW humic acid.  That will probably be the last nigrogen application of the season.  Pretty much will just give the plants potassium from this point forward.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lastest Pictures from the Pumpkin Patch

This is a picture of the 1985 Miller looking from the vine tip towards the stump.  I'm guessing the vine is about 38 feet long right now. Lots of late season vine growth.   You can see a big difference in the leaves in the foreground to the leaves from the pumpkin backwards.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Pumpkin is Still Growing

I put a tape measure on the pumpkin today.  About every five days I've been doing that to make sure it is still growing.  It is still putting on the pounds, albeit slowly.  5-6 pounds a day.  At this point of the season, with descent weather we've been having I would be hoping for 10-12 pounds a day right right now.

Surprisingly good late season growth on this plant.  The main is still growing and putting on side vines.  That should help keep the growing going a longer into the season.  My goad is to keep the pumpkin growing into the first week of October.

Gave the plant some RAW Grow with seaweed today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

TKO for the Pumpkin (and not the Knock Out Kind)

I sprayed some foliar TKO on the pumpkin plants this evening.  That is a good source of potassium for the pumpkin growth.  At this point of the season I would typically be adding potassium and some phosphorous to the soil as well, but I'm not going to have a big pumpkin this year, so I'm doing what I need to do to get ready for next year. 

Traditionally my potassium and phosphorous are too high in the soil, which can cause some problems.  Right now I'm letting the plant pull all of that potassium and phosphorous out of the soil so the soil will be more balanced next season.  Last season I did the same thing.  As a result, my potassium in the spring my soil report showed me being a little closer to  where it should be.  My phosphorous was still too high, however so I'm hoping by the end of this season it will be in the ballpark as well.

Today I talked to a pathologist at Western Laboratories about what I've seen going on with my plants.  From what I described, he wasn't sure what was going on, so I sent him some video of my 282 plant from a few weeks ago along with some photos to help diagnosis what is going on.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pumpkin Growers Are Typically Good People

Had a casual get together with some different pumpkin growers yesterday evening and had a very nice time.  Conversations ran the gamete, but the conversation always came back around to pumpkins. 

There are some really big pumpkins in Colorado this year.  Other than May, the weather has been much better than average for growing this season.  I think there will be two or three pumpkins this year in state record territory.

I only fully realized how hammered my plants are with disease this season when I saw the Wiz's plants last night.  His leaves look about as good as they have been this late in the season.  My leaves look they way leaves should look at the beginning of October and not the beginning of September.   I've got some plans for next season to help keep the plants disease free.

This evening I did a foliar application of RAW Bloom, B-vitamins, Cal Mag and Silica.  Trying to squeeze as much weight into the pumpkin as I can right now because I don't think my pumpkin will still be growing at the end of the month.