Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RIP HailBoy

HailBoy, the pumpkin who initially survived a horrific hail storm and tornado died today due to trauma caused by the storm. It grew for 17 days. It put up a good fight, but in the end the hail was just to much. It was an estimated 35 lbs and is now the 35 est. Johnson (1350 Starr x 1566 Rodonis). That weight is almost too embarrassing to print. Not the 1200 Johnson that I was hoping for. There were actually seeds inside and many seemed mature enough to possibly be viable. In a couple of weeks I'll plant 5 seeds and see if anything comes up.

If they are good and you would like some seeds just let me know. Thad Starr was once told not to grow the 227 Leland because the seed came from a very small pumpkin. He then went off and grew a 1,524 pounder off of it. I'm going to go under him by 192 pounds and make the hottest new seed from a 35 pounder. Lol
Thanks to Chris Strickler at CBS Excavating for letting me grow on his property this year!

Monday, July 27, 2009

This One Hurts to Look At

The first photo was taken one week before the storm. The second photo was taken one week after the storm. The 1566 Rodonis is in the foreground and 1350 Starr at the back of picture. I haven't touched anything around the 1566 plant. What you see is exactly what the storm did. The 1350 plant was slightly protected by the shed that is in the top left of the picture. The 1566 was completely in the open and got mowed.

Renewal of the Patch

If one thing is sure, life wants to go on. That is double the case for the 1350 Starr. New leaves popping up all over the battered pumpkin plant. Still no growth on the pumpkin but it is holding together so far so we will take that as a victory.

Started a new compost pile on Saturday using leaves collected from the neighborhood that were knocked off the trees during the storm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pumpkin is Oranging Up

The pumpkin is definitely turning oranger the last few days. The orange color must be coming through the 1370 Rose side of it's genetics. The pumpkin hasn't grown the last two days however. At this point it seems solid and the oozing has stopped but no new circumference growth. The pumpkin stopped at the same time that a number of new leaves started popping up all over the previously bare plant. I'm hoping that the plant switched gears into vegetative mode and will start putting on pounds again once the leaves are grown. Or, and I've seen this before, the pumpkin may just stay together and not put on any more size. That would be okay with me because at least I should be able to get some seeds out of it if that is the case. There are about 30 more days until the seeds might be mature. Some pumpkin seeds are mature at about 45 days. Some take longer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some Additional Pictures of the Pumpkin Patch After the Big Storm

The following pictures were taken about 14 hours after the hail storm. Additional details in the post below. The miracle is that the pumpkin is still growing. Don't know how much longer however. I'm hoping to get it far enough along to get seeds out of it but there are a few spots that clear, gel like liquid are oozing out of which is probably a sign that the battered spots are beginning to rot. I've been spraying diluted bleach on the pumpkin and trying to keep it dry in the hopes of saving it. None the less it has put on about 5 1/4 inches since the storm without any leaves on the plant and I would say that isn't half bad.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pumpkin Season is Done for Me :-(

Quarter sized hail and tornado winds destroyed everything in the pumpkin patch last night. In the space of 3-4 minutes everything was gone. The most wicked storm I have ever seen. At one point the hail was literally moving horizontal and I couldn't see my street it was so thick. In the end there was 2' of hail piled up in the yard, an 8" thick three trunk was sheared at the stump directly across the street, power was out, broken tree limbs everywhere, a house was crushed 6 houses down from a fallen tree and some broken windows on the street. My house for the most part appears okay. Screens are broken and some minor roof damage. The pumpkin patch is a total loss however. The pumpkin looks like the surface of the moon and there is literally not a leaf to be found. The stumps look okay so I'll see if something will grow out of them for my own interest but there won't be any pumpkins this year going to the scale.

Until next year!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pixo Web Design & Strategy to give 50% off for SEO services if Pumpkin Hits 1,000 Pounds

Pixo Web Design & Strategy will offer 50% off search engine optimization (SEO) services in October if one of the two pumpkins hits 1,000 pounds. Search engine optimization is what allows your website to get up to page one on Google and other search engines. Follow on this website or at www.twitter.com/pixoinc for regular updates on the pumpkin's growth. The official weigh-off is the last Saturday in September.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

1350 in the Lead

A bit of a role reversal from a month ago. The 1566 is the better looking plant at this point but it can't seem to get a pumpkin growing on it. Didn't have any problem with side vine pollination's growing but everything on the main has struggled. The last pollination was 4 1/2 days ago and the pumpkin doesn't seem to be growing and the pumpkin hasn't laid down yet. Not a good sign. The 1350 on the other hand has a nice little beach ball growing at 11' and over the last 4 days it has been growing in noticeable ways. I gave the plant it's first fertilizer in almost 4 weeks today in the form of a 1/4 cup of 5-1-1 fish fertilizer mixed with compost tea. Also pollinated another female at about 16' today with the 1566 Rodonis. Right now I'm looking at taking off the pollinations after 11' feet because there isn't that much plant behind it so I don't see a big advantage of losing the two weeks of growing that I have already done. I'll give it a few more days and then decide.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stupid Birds!

Some dumb bird got the 1566 pumpkin that is at 16' today. It was even under a shade structor over the pumpkin and he still pecked away at it. One spot is pretty deep so we will just have to watch and wait and see if the pumpkin is going to make it. I was waiting for the pumpkin to lie down before putting a cloth over it (which has worked for the other pumpkins) but the bird beat me to it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some Possible Great Giant Pumpkin Seed Genetics

If I can grow any kind of descent sized giant pumpkin this year (1,000 pounds+) than I will be really excited for next year. This year's crosses were 1566 Rodonis x 1385 Jutras and 1350 Starr x 1566 Rodonis. On paper these crosses look very interesting. Every one of these seeds have produced pumpkins over 1,500 pounds and the parents of each seed have all produced progeny over 1,400 pounds. In the actual 1566 blood lines is the 1068 Wallace that grew the world record 1502 Wallace. In the 1385 Jutras blood lines is the 998 Pukos that grew the world record 1689 Jutras. In the 1350 Starr blood lines is the 227 Leland that grew the 1524 Starr. In all I count 4 seeds within 3 generations that produced world record pumpkins in these pumpkin's direct bloodlines. We hope to see some big results from them in 2010!

Pollinations Done! Or Should that be Pollinations Done?

Did what I hope to be my last pollination on the 1566 Rodonis plant today with 1385 Jutras from Scherber (thanks for the pollen Joe!). 1350 Starr was done yesterday with my 1566. The 1566 was a four lober at about 16'. The 1350 was a 5 lober at about 14'. Right now the only pumpkin I have growing is on the 1350 at 11'. It is somewhere between a cantalope and a bowling ball in size. There is another female a couple of feet past the last pollinations that I can use as backups but I wanted to be done 10 days ago and can't afford to pollinate any later. I saw Scherber's pumpkin today and trying to catch up to that thing is going to be tough.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pictures from the Pumpkin Patch

1566 Rodonis. One pollinated at 13' and another will be pollinated at 16' on Wednesday.

1350 Starr plant is looking much better these days with my biggest pumpkin at 11' so far. Will have a pollination at about 14' tomorrow.

Will the 1566 Rodonis produce a 1000 pounder at 16' this year?

The kids say YES while standing next to the Scherber sunflowers at the edge of the patch.

Lost Pumpkins on 1566 Plant

The pumpkin at 10' aborted today and the pollination at 13' has grown very slow and isn't looking like a keeper. I will be pollinating at 16' on Wednesday so I sure hope this one takes otherwise I'll be pollinating really late this year if at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ouch! Bird Pecks on Every Pumpkin

Came home today to find bird pecks on every pumpkin. Not sure which bird is doing it so I've put a towel over the pumpkins to keep the bird from seeing the pumpkin. Most of the damage is light but on the kids' 793 it might be a problem.

Originally I said that the damage was from hail but upon further review it is clear that hail didn't do the damage.

Friday, July 10, 2009

1566 Pollinated at 13 Feet Today

I pollinated a 6 lober on the 1566 Rondonis at 13' today with 1385 Jutras but I'm not it is going to be a keeper. This female took 12 days to mature which is a long time. I'll watch to see how it grows and then decide if we want to keep it. There is another female at 14.5' that will be ready in 4-5 days that I'll pollinate and see how it does. In the mean time I've got the 10' pumpkin growing as a backup.

Went to the Wiz and Biz patch yesterday. They have some nice looking plants with pumpkins that were pollinated in the last week. There will be two or three big pumpkins coming out of that patch this year is my guess.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

1350 Pollinated at 11 Feet Today

I pollinated the 1350 Starr with the 1566 Rodonis today at 11' this morning. I have another female that should be opening on Sunday at 13' that I'm watching. Hot weather this next week will make pollinations a little more challenging.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Parental Advisory: Pumpkin Pollination Time

At about 13' there is a nice looking female on the 1566 plant. This is right in the middle of the sweet spot for growing and if it looks good it will be my keeper. Because of this I've put up the same shade structure that I used last year to cool the female and keep the elements off of it. Next week it is going to be mid 90s which isn't ideal for pollinating. Not like the cool rainy weather we are having today on the 4th of July. Last year's pollination was done on a 100 degree day and the shade structure I believe made the pollination possible. The female is developing a little slower than I anticipated so the Monday pollination won't be happening. I think it will be Tuesday or Wednesday now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Update from the Patch

Pollinated the 1566 at 10' with the 1385 Jutras today. I have another female that should open by Tuesday that I plan on pollinating with the 1385 as well. The main on the 1566 is growing slower now as the side vines become more numerous and longer so I gave the plant a very small amount of cotton seed meal yesterday to keep it moving along. Normally I wouldn't give nitrogen this close to pollination time but my nitrogen levels were a little low at the beginning of the season so I need to make sure they stay up.

The 1350's female at 11' will probably be pollinated tomorrow or Sunday. Another female will be appearing at 13' so I'll be pollinating that one probably Thursday of next week. I'll be pollinating the 1350 with the 1566 if I have a male available.

Lots of rain this year. I've only used the sprinklers three times to water the plant so far this year. Its like growing in Seattle. The plants seem to love it but it feels like every day there is the threat of hail. If the weather warms up a little and we don't get an early frost I suspect you will have to grow a 1,200 pounder in Colorado this year to win.

A Word to the Pumpkin Grower Wise

I'm writing this post as much for myself as for other growers. I've got myself caught in this and I know other pumpkin growers have too. Watching other growers plants/pumpkins and then deciding to change what your doing. Until about September 7th anything can happen. I know of at least two Colorado growers and more outside of the state who didn't have anything special until the last three of four weeks of the season. In early July it is easy to get caught up in who has the biggest plants, who have pumpkins set and who's main has grown the furthest or the fastest. At this point you can't change what you have done. All you can do is do the best research you can in the off season and ask the best questions to the best growers during the season and then follow your gut and your plan from there. At the end of the day nothing really matters on July 2nd as long as you did your soil prep correctly and you followed good growing practices to date. Make a plan and stay to it. Don't visit another growers patch and then go home and dump fertilizer on your plant because you are behind by a few feet. Remember the sized giant pumpkins have been grow on 400sq foot patches as well as 800sq foot patches. Salad doesn't mean anything and the size of your pumpkin on July 15th doesn't mean anything. Stick to your plan if it is a good one and grow a big one.