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1997 Pumpkin Diary

2-Jul :

Enthusiasm abounds!! The plants are healthy, and growing quickly.

There are small female flowers about to open.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will break the 100 pound barrier this year.

As a matter of fact, I'll shoot for 300 lbs! Why not.

3-Jul :

Windy

4-Jul:

 Windy, very cold.

5-Jul:

Hand pollinated the first blossoms.

Plants growing at a rate of 6-8 inches per day.

All four plants are 7-9 feet long.

The front plant and one of three on the sides has a really thick stem.

I'm watering about every day or two, trying to keep the soil moist, not soaked or dry.

6-Jul:

Plenty of Cucumber beetles around.

I put bug spray down. After spraying roses with combination fungicide and bug spray, I put  remainder on the plants for fungicide benefit.

I need to decide whether to keep one or two plants which were planted a couple inches apart.

If I take out one, I will keep the one with the really thick stem. The plant overall is the healthiest.

7-Jul:

Sprayed Sevin on plants. I did see some tiny bugs, but no cucumber beetles.

I watered about 8 gallons. I'm trying to water every day or two while it is dry. A small amount,

rather than over soak the ground. I read that the roots are shallow.

At about ten feet long, I can see the female blossoms and tiny pumpkin. The ideal distance

according to all the things I read.

8-Jul:

I'm wondering when the female flowers that I'm watching(ten feet out--ideal)will open.

I'm going camping with Bobby this weekend and will not be able to hand pollinate.

I need to begin to settle on how I will build shading over the plants. I think that was a limiter

to growth last year.

9-Jul :

Rained all day. An otherwise dry summer so far.

10-Jul :

Used Sevin lightly.

11-Jul :

Watered plants before the campout.

Early front pumpkin(well short of 10 ft. out) growing rapidly.

all plants are 10 -12 ft long.

13-Jul :

Sunny and warm, forecast calls for more of same.

Watered well with hose.

14-Jul:

Watered, things are getting really dry.

15-Jul :

Fertilized with Miracle Gro.

Pollinated the front plant, a female that is about 10 ft. out.

16-Jul:

Still no rain.

I have yet to put up shade.

My dilemma: The front Plant has a large pumpkin(F1) that is larger than a basketball

and growing rapidly. Everything I read says the ideal distance is 10ft out. I don't think I

have the nerve to cut it off! Maybe I will prove them wrong.

17-Jul :

Took the day off work.

Watered the whole garden.

Measured F1 for the first time. Total is 79.5. I then measured twice more during the day.

Each time F! was markedly larger! Evening measure was 89.75!

I put a small cover over F1 with four stakes and a white plastic garbage bag, about 2 ft up.

19-Jul :

Here's a new worry…Is F1 growing so fast it can burst? The skin is pale yellow with much

white spots, like the skin does not cover the whole fruit. This can't be the case because I am

working very hard to get a monster pumpkin.

At this growth rate it will surpass my largest ever in 7-8 days!

I'm concerned about the lack of females at 10ft out range. I am keeping what I already have,

at least one pumpkin per plant.

S1, C1 and T1 all have pumpkins but not like F1.

I do not have any regular pumpkins(that I know of) yet.

IMPORTANT: I pollinated P1 today. This was a leftover plant that was the least vigorous at

planting time. I stuck it in the back by my peachtree and mulch pile. It's vigorous now.

20-Jul:

I am measuring F1 every three hours….for fun! I want to see how even growth is during the

day…It proved fairly even, but slower early morning. Also, less at night…photosynthesis?!

Watering regularly and more deeply due to extremely dry conditions…The lawn's burned out.

I need to make the shade on F1 larger and darker.

I'll start to measure S1 soon, but it's growth is slow.

C1 is starting to take off. It's elongated but round so far.

OBSERVATION:At 1/2 to 1 inch total growth rate every three hours, it is important to take my

daily measurements at the same time each day.

21-Jul

Good growth overnight.

Slight rain overnight and during morning. Maybe I can take a day off from watering. But, I am

due to put miracle gro on.

A good rain this morning. No watering tonight!

I must add miracle gro tomorrow.

T1 is not growing. I'm disappointed that the stem is so thick and yet it is not producing a giant.

P1 is a really vigorous plant and the new pumpkin looks big for only a newborn.

I should be taking pictures.

22-Jul :

Measurement of F1 today was truly disappointing. I thought with all the rain yesterday, that

it would be good, only 2 inches overall.

Now comes doubt and worry.

My oldest and I are headed to a ball game. Before leaving, I put four gallons of Miracle gro

on F1. I'll do the others tomorrow.

23-Jul :

With a good measurement on F1, I'm less concerned than yesterday.

QUESTION: Did F1 respond that quick to fertilizer?

I finally took a picture. I will try to do so every couple of days.

I watered all with Miracle Gro and then lightly added dry fertilizer because we expect rain.

24-Jul:

Good growth overnight on F1. I measure 6:30am but take the official read at night.

I am finding that they grow about 1/3 of their daily total in about 10 overnight hours.

I am going to try to use liquid fertilizer three times per week instead of twice/week.

Disappointing readings, despite good morning readings.

Watered again, anticipated overnight rain did not occur.

Pollinated C2. I'm going to cut off C1--no growth.

2-Aug:

Leaving on a three day weekend in a few moments. F1 is .25 total inches from last year's

largest. When I come back, it will have way surpassed it. I am watering and it remains dry.

4-Aug:

It's been a long time since leaving notes in this log.

I spent a few days away on business and have just returned from a three day weekend.

What a disappointment. P1 has rotted….bugs.

F1 has barely grown. It is darkening as well.

F2 is growing quickly. It is probably robbing F1 and was a mistake to let grow… This is a

learning for next year.

S1 stopped growing a long time ago. I have stopped measurements.

C1 has grown slowly. Another dis-appointment.

T2 was pollinated a while ago. It is not growing quickly. I'm really surprised that this plant with

a really thick stem is not a producer. Maybe it will catch on.

I suspect that all side plants are shielded too much by the corn plants.

5-Aug:

F2 is growing like gang busters. It could be the daily measurement was imprecise. But it has

visibly grown and we will see in a day or two.

Very cool and drought like.

I'm applying snail bait and Sevin to all after through watering by hose. I put a lot around the

young, tender P2.

I'm also putting sand around the tender(new) pumpkins to discourage snails.

I need to make a shelter over F2. Can one plant produce two very large fruit? I'm committed

now. F1 is not yet done and F2 is too big to remove. Isn't learning fun?

By the way, there are now a large number of regular pumpkins on my front vines. NONE on

the side??!! And several more on the back plants.

6-Aug:

Watered with sprinkler. Water is the key, especially in a dry summer like this one.

Watering with Miracle Gro is better.

F2 is growing at a stellar speed!!

Lots of small fruits. I will clip them from now on.

Bugs are a bit of a problem.

7-Aug:

I pulled up "S" vine. The fruit on it had stopped and little growth on the vine with no fruit.

S1 had bug holes in it.

The whole garden is healthy, but needs water..I can add this. Little rain, absent humidity

spells little or no problems with fungus.

The little creek behind us is bone dry…a first in our 8 years here.

F2 continues is fast growth. I am training it to be perpendicular to the vine…might be too late.

I will clip F3 in a day or so…to be sure F2 is the good.

P2 is healthy. If only I can keep the bugs from ruining it like P1.

C2 and C3 are growing well.. they may take off.

Important: I read on the internet that some guy grew over 2700 pounds(four biggies) on the

same plant. Each of the biggies were over 600 pounds each….End of conversation whether

I can grow more than one big one on a vine.

8-Aug:

Growth on F1 has slowed to a crawl… Still not sure if F2 is the cause, oh well.

F2 is the most rapid growing pumpkin I have ever had. Right now, average circumference growth

of 3.23" per day over four days!! And, almost 8 total inches per day.

If only I can maintain this pace, it would surpass F1 in five more days and be at 150 lbs in 10 days.

Despite the growth, the skin is not as white spotted as F! was at this stage.

Started measuring TS3 today. All others on this vine previously aborted.

P2 is growing well and there is time. It is still too small to begin measuring.. a couple more days.

I like to start measuring at 50+ total inches.

12-Aug:

We had a little rain yesterday. It was disappointing and none overnight.

I'm now using the sprinkler every night or morning. I'm trying to deliver 4-6 gallons of Miracle Gro

on "F" vine each night(Yes it is getting the most attention) and sprinkler in a.m.

F@ is still growing like gang busters.

Measured P2 for the first time.

Good growth on TS3. Odd shape developing. Cross pollination with a squash? The stem and

vine are thick so maybe it can deliver enough juice even though it is now late in the season.

15-Aug :

I added dry fertilizer around the main and many of the secondary vines. It is about to rain.(timing

turned out to be perfect.

16-Aug Leaving for a long weekend in a few minutes. I did not add water. Yesterday afternoon

and evening we had rain and a thunderstorm.

I put a light shade over F2. I used a white garbage bag which is neither large enough nor dark

enough.

18-Aug:

Back from a long weekend. F2 is now at127 total inches(I'm still doing one measure at stem

to blossom, so it is really about 15" more). I was hoping for 130, I will pour on the water and

fertilizer in the next few days to hopefully spur growth back to 5+. Hopefully, the growth curve

is not yet flattening out.

F1 is growing very little and is turning orange. All hopes and dreams now lie with F2.

is the potential and time for these to beat F1.

TS vine is the disappointment. I thought the thick stem was a sure indication of potential.

It does not have a large system and number of leaves.

Peachtree vine is the underdog, being an extra plant and not the healthiest at the start.

In all fairness, I'm really paying energy to "F" vine far more than all others and it gets more sun.

Important: I'd like to find a fertilizer with more potassium to stress fruit growth.

19-Aug:

F2 is still quite yellow. I believe this is important indicator of rapid growth stage. But, it is slowing

down a little.

The nice thing about F2 is that it is growing quickly, but it is also very round at this point.

Important: I need to take more pictures.

I did not have the chance to measure all the pumpkins. Life is busy lately.

I can see why a lot of people who go after the really big ones are retired. My wife accused me

of not paying enough attention to the rest of my garden….She is right. And, this is more fun.

"S" vine is done. This one flopped. I'll pull it up when I get the chance. I will probably discard the

pumpkin on it.

20-Aug:

It is supposed to rain one to two inches in the next couple of days beginning this pm. I put an

extra dose of dry fertilizer on the plants. I did not water.

It will be interesting to see how the fruit responds to a whole lot of rain.

23-Aug:

We have had rain lately(finally), and a lot of it. I is also cool and cloudy.

C2 is done growing..

TS3 is bell shaped. Perhaps a cross-pollination with a bell squash??!!

P2 is healthy, but not growing at the stellar rate of F1or F2 were during their same point(size/stage).

F1 continues to ripen, no growth.

F2 has definitely slowed, to about 3 total inches per day. The encouraging thing is that it is

still very yellow, although the skin is harder.

F2 remains very round. My wife says at least it will not be one of those bug ugly ones.

I'm showing F2 off, and taking some teasing. Contrary to my wife's belief, I do other things than

tend to pumpkins. And, I'm not sleeping in the pumpkin patch….yet.

24-Aug:

F2 is now growing at only 2 inches per day.Can I coax it to a higher rate, how?

TS3 is definitely going to be a novelty. Hopefully, it will be large enough to really show-off.

Both TS3 and P2 have potential to reach 100lbs. in early to mid September. I will give them more attention.

25-Aug:

Now is panic time. I measured F2 this a.m and saw almost no growth! The growth has continued

to slow, but I've always seen 1+ inches of growth overnight.

30-Aug

I discovered that vine "F" has been severely damaged at the base by bugs. The entire bottom half

has been eaten away!! This is probably why F2 has slowed down so much.

I put Sevin generously around the vine and ground, and covered the vine with dirt. Maybe new

roots will develop.

IMPORTANT: Next year, pay more attention to this problem.

The good news is F2 continues to grow more than 1" per day. I believe the secondary roots are the key.

And, there is a lot of very healthy leaves.

TS3 continues to grow and still might reach 100 - 125lbs. mid to late september.

P2 continues to be the surprise. It has surpassed TS3 and is on a slightly steeper growth rate.

P2 is round, but long. It has potential to be another good looking pumpkin..round.

I'm rooting for P2 as the underdog to be the largest, but that's unlikely.

31-Aug :

Cloudy most of the day.

P2 was a disappointing measure.

I am now measuring stem to blossom ends from ground to ground. This is the correct way.

I will not mess up my graphs and will continue them as is until next year.

1-Sep:

Here is a fun problem: It is getting harder to get my arms around F2 to measure it!!

I estimate it at 115 to 120lbs.

P2 had another disappointing measure. There goes the underdog.

3-Sep:

F2 did not reach 125lbs today. It was 1/2" off this number. I was disappointed, but I did nit really expect it to happen. The growth rate really said I would have to wait on more day.

It is supposed to be quite cold tonight, lower 40's. Today was cold and cloudy.

I did quick measures today….life remains too busy.

4-Sep:

YES!!! F2 is now over 125 lbs. I can now use the table from the net that charts total inches to

weight. F2 has reached the minimum on the chart---128lbs.

Weather is downright cold, tying the record low last night at 40 degrees.

P2 has slowed and I'm concerned it will not make 100lbs. There is still hope.

8-Sep:

Despite the plants being healthy, growth is slowing to a crawl. Is it the genetics or weather or what?

F2 is at 132lbs. I'm wishing it to 175lbs, but 150 is more likely.

P2 should be over 100lbs, but 125 will be lucky.

TS3 is all but stopped. It still will be a showpiece for it's bell shape.

IMPORTANT: I need to investigate how to keep the growth rates experienced earlier from slowing

down. And, is there a way to speed it back up again.? I suspect potassium levels may be the way, if any.


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