Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Patch Prep in Patch #1 is Done

Scrambled over the last couple of days to get the fall patch prep done.  After a descent stretch of warm weather I got the greenhouse up, but didn't have time to work the soil.   Weather is going to start turning tomorrow and I needed to get the soil worked and more importantly get the cover crop in.

To get the cover crop seed going I used a trick that I've used for years.  Winter rye can germinate in almost any temps above freezing, albeit slowly.   Temps will be hovering around freezing the rest of this week, so I put the rye seed in a bucket of sand 24 hours before planting, added warm water and some humic acid and then put the bucket in a warm place.  I then sowed the seed today.  I learned from experience that you don't want to go more than 24 hours because those seeds germinate quickly and you can end up with clumps of sand bound together with roots.

This fall I'm putting in about 50% more compost then I did last year.  I'd like to get my organic matter higher.  I feel like my soil loses moisture and nutrients too quickly and the organic matter will help with both.   Along with the compost I added soil sulfur to help drop the pH, humic acid to help make the nutrients in the soil more available and nitrogen tohelp break down the organic matter in the compost over the winter.

A few things I noticed when working the soil.  A descent amount of worms.  Exactly years ago there were zero, so the soil food web has been building nicely in the soil.  Also the tilth and looseness of the soil has improved.  Two years ago it was rock hard and now it is looking more like nice garden soil.

The greenhouse soil will get worked over the next couple of weeks.  No mud or snow worries in the greenhouse and it will stay much warmer in there all winter long.  If you have any experience with cover crops in greenhouses over winter please share any advice you have.  Not sure how to water it and keeping it under control where it doesn't grow too much over the winter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nearly 10,000 Views on the Giant Pumpkin Growing 101 Video

Was pleasantly surprised today to see that nearly 10,000 of you have wanted my training video on how to grow a giant pumpkin.  If you are a first time grower or a grower looking to break the 1,000 pound mark for the first time, watch this video and hopefully you will learn some great tips:

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Yea! Hoping this Greenhouse will be a Game Changer

A greenhouse is no substitute for good growing practices, but I'm hoping for me that it can even out the playing fields some when it comes to the growing environment.  I know in the past I've complained a lot about cool nights, hot days and strong winds.  A greenhouse isn't going to fix all of that, but at least it can help me moderate it some.

Yesterday we finally got the covering on the greenhouse. Still more work to do, but it finally looks like a greenhouse.  Like I've said in the past, I'll put together a video that explains some of the technology I've put into the greenhouse that will help me control the environment and help me save time.  

Ideally I wouldn't have put the cover on the greenhouse now as we head into the snowy season, but I didn't have much of a choice.  In order for the NRCS to fund the greenhouse, they have to see it 100% completed and my deadline is March so if I didn't do it now, before the snow flies, I was going to have trouble trying to do it after the end of this month.  Fortunately I finally got a beautiful, mostly windless Saturday and good friends and family to help.  Thanks to them for that!

Here is one piece I was very excited to see this morning.  Temps got below freezing last night and at 7:30am it hit the low.  It was still 10 degrees warmer in the greenhouse.   That isn't typical, but the more interesting thing (although not surprising), is that not long after sunrise, when the greenhouse got out of the shadow of the house the greenhouse temps inside were 30 degrees warmer than outside.  That is a game changer.  I'm going to have other issues to deal with (keeping it cool enough during the heat of the day, disease pressure from higher humidity, etc.), which I have plans for, but if I can get the temps in the happy zone 2-3 hours earlier each day that should add up to a couple to a few hundred more pounds more on the pumpkin by the end of the season.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Final Day & Party Time

Even though my pumpkin is relatively small, this is still one of my favorite days of the year.  Tonight is the giant pumpkin party and the cutting of the pumpkin from the vine and then the weigh-off tomorrow.  Pictures to be posted later.  I just measured the pumpkin and even after nightly frosts and lots of cool/cold rainy weather, the pumpkin managed to eek out a few more pounds.  That is 111 days of growing.  Not bad.  The scale will tell the truth tomorrow.  I hope it will go heavy.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weigh-off Time!

This coming Saturday is the weigh-off at Hee Haw farms in Pleasant Grove.  Start time is at noon.  I'll be taking my pumpkin there.  Certainly not my biggest pumpkin, but I really like the shape and genetics for this pumpkin.  Neglect didn't give it the best chance to grow this year, but I'm hoping the improvements made this year will allow for a big one next season. May grow a seed from this pumpkin.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Pumpkin is Still Growing

My pumpkin plant has pretty much not had any leaves on it for the last two weeks.   Pumpkin is still growing however.  Main vine was buried so the 4 frosts haven't totally killed the plant yet.  Its put on about 35 pounds since that first frost.  I think it will be done tomorrow however.  Supposed to get down to something like 26 degrees tonight.  Pumpkin is pretty small, but would still love to get every pound that I can on the pumpkin before the weigh-off.