Chris L
Jun 2, 2017

Chris L ... 2017 Diary


Edited: Jun 11, 2017

After a very wet and cold start it looks like there may be some hope to a good season. Just have to survive the chance of frost tonight. The biggest 2145 McMullen plant is way out of the hoop house and it looks like a June pollination will happen this season.

Chris L
Jun 11, 2017

What a difference a week makes. 30 degree heat all weekend and dry weather have got me back on track. Most of the plants are looking good with one of 2145 McMullens ahead of all others. If I had not broken the vine tip off the other one a few weeks ago I am sure it would be out about 12 feet as well now.

Lots of females showing now.

2145 McMullen. Could have a pollination by next week or I may hold off for the next one.

Chris L
Jun 18, 2017

Another week and another highly anticipated visit to the patch. Finally planted the last of the tomatoes and some giant sugar beet plants.

So far everything is doing very well and growing beyond my expectations. I unleashed a second wave of five million beneficial nematodes on my root vegetables to kill root maggots and harmful nematodes. Almost every season I have some issues with root maggots so I am hoping this will do the trick this year.

Did a weekly feeding of calcimax with boron , micro nutrients, fish ,seaweed and soil life. hoping to add Rootshield and Azos tomorrow.

96.5 Hunt rutabagas are looking real good.

GVGO veggie of the year. carrots have finally turned around and are looking good now as well.

2145 McMullen "A" looking great . I keep the main vine tips on my plants shaded after one of my plants had it's main vine fried in hot sunny weather a few years ago. I also keep newly pollinated pumpkins completely covered at all times to protect them from any type of possible damage.

2145 McMullen "A"x 1585 Werner day two at 12' Thanks Phil. This is my early pollination as the 1585 Werner and 2145 McMullen "B" won't be pollinated until late June but they will be big plants when that happens.

Chris L
Jun 26, 2017

After another soggy week it appears that the wet weather has been great for the plants. The AG vines have grown about 4 feet this past week and hopefully the vine burying will be all done soon.

The plants have been receiving a regular feeding of kelp, some fish emulsion, Essential , a new product I am using, Biosys instant microbial tea, some micro-nutrients and Calcimax with boron.

Hoping to have a pumpkin pollinated on the 1585 Werner soon at about 15 feet. At this time I have still not seen one single cucumber beetle. The only thing I can figure is that all the rain is interfering with their love life.

Another week, another 3 inches of rain. Just dodged major damage today at the patch from a powerful storm. Hopefully we won't see another one like it this season

Something new for me this year. Giant kohlrabi has doubled in size in the past week.


2145 McMullen "A" plant looks great.


Chris L
Jun 26, 2017



2145 McMullen "A" x 1585 Werner at day 10. Can't ask for anything better than that.

Chris L
Jul 3, 2017

It looks like we might be over the rain hump. After another soggy week it appears that there will finally be a run of normal weather with more than one dry day a week . The pumpkin plants look surprisingly good despite the hail damage and lack of sunlight. I took advantage of Sunday's weather and got the vine burying and feeding done .

I am hoping to turn on my automatic irrigation system and have it working next week for the first time this season. This has been a challenging start to the season but I think that the worst is behind and things will only get better now.

My giant kohlrabi took the hardest hit of last weeks storm losing several of it's leaves.

Wow, 58% soil moisture content. I have never seen soil so wet. It has been in the 40-50% range for a while now.

2145 McMullen x 1585 Werner. Day 17. A little behind where I would like it to be but it is picking up

it's growth and I am sure the sunny weather will get it back on pace.

The 2145 "A" McMullen plant. There is a 4x4 foot sheet of plywood under the 5x5 foot sheet of mill fabric. If anything, they ride well on their way to weigh-off.


Chris L
Jul 9, 2017

The patch is really looking good now. That's why I call it my happy place. Even the leaves are greener now and the newer leaves look so much better without the hail holes in them.

The soil was so wet last week that I did not water again during the past week and the soil moisture levels are still high. Hopefully there will be no soil diseases caused by the wet conditions but I may not know for a few weeks yet.

The 2145 McMullen "A" x 1585 Werner on day 23. It has really taken off this past week.

Not much in the colour department but I really like the shape

This is the 1585 Werner x 2145 McMullen on day 13. It is really doing well and it has great shape.

The cucumber beetles came for a good time but did not stay for a long time:)

Another new vegetable for me this season. These are Nieuwenhoff world class strain giant Bell Peppers. After they are weighed I get to eat them. Sounds like a win- win to me.



Chris L
Jul 16, 2017

The weather again was a big factor during the past week with another 2.5 inches of rain falling from Wednesday night into Friday. Along with the dark skies and cooler weather it just makes sense that the fruit growth will be affected by these conditions.

The soil was saturated again on Saturday but after a warm sunny day things start to look better and I am hopeful that the long range forecast will hold true for the coming week and let me get caught up in the patch.

The 2145"A" McMullen at day 30. Was hoping for slightly better numbers but considering the conditions I'll take what I get. The plant looks great and I foliar sprayed them all with Big Stem today for the first time this season.

The 1585 Werner on day 20 today. The numbers were better on this one than anything I have grown in a while. Not happy about the droopy blossom but it seems to be holding steady for now.

Hoping to have an update on my "problem" plants soon. The 2145 "B" McMullen and the 2095 Willemijins.

Something new for me. Giant sugar beets. They were so slow to start and were only as thick as a pencil and tiny when I transplanted them only four weeks ago. They seem to have taken a liking to the great outdoors. Hopefully I can get something really big by November.

This is my nutrient delivery system. For years I used a hose end sprayer but this really gets the job done quickly and efficiently. In 5 minutes all the plants got Kelp, fish, Essential, Calci-max with boron, Humic, Azos, Mycorraise and rootshield.



Jul 17, 2017

Chris, if those beet seeds were from me, they are fodder beets. They look like sugar beets, but get much larger. Compare to the picture in my diary. Problem is I have to harvest on Sept. 20 and you could leave them till the Royal Fair. It ain't over

Chris L
Jul 20, 2017

Thanks Brad, I stand corrected as they are fodder beets. Love the colour , they look like giant carrots.


Jul 20, 2017Edited: Jul 20, 2017

Here at the community garden I get several people asking what they are. Had some Syrians who couldn't speak Dutch stare at them for a while, lift up the leaves to take a better look. After a while one of them said: sugar? Good enough for me.


I have 8 of them going and there is some variety in colour. The plants with the least number of leaves have the biggest beets.

Chris L
Jul 23, 2017

Got to spend a little extra time in the patch this past week due to summer holidays. There have been some changes to the garden, both good and bad. Finally the soil is dried out enough for me to get back to irrigation water next week. Weather has not been too bad and if it keeps up maybe the growth of the giants will be maintained.

The 2145 "A" on day 38 in it's newly constructed pumpkin condo. I was hoping for better but I will take 35lbs. per day. hopefully the early pollination will allow it to gain a little extra late season weight. The structure behind it holds the vine up and will have a mini fan attached to it soon to keep the air flow moving around the stem.

The 1585 Werner at day 27 is now starting to take off. Looks like it will have great colour and so far the blossom has not folded under and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it does not.

A typical over head shot from the top of the water tank. So far the plants are looking great and I am still on my first load of 3,000 gallons water this year. By this time last year I was on the fourth tank load and was refilling every 10 days or so.

The new rising star of the patch. The 2095 Willemijns at day 13 with the best 10 day measurement in years for me. It's hard to believe that a few weeks ago I was thinking about pulling this plant because it was so far behind the others. It has a lot of catching up to do but the plant looks great and the season is still young.

So much for the 2145 "B". Removed it today as there are no pumpkins on it as they are all aborting and I can't waste any more time on it. There were lots of genetic abnormalities about it and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it except to pull the plant. Thankfully no other pumpkins in the patch were pollinated by it.


Chris L
Jul 31, 2017

The past week did not have the best weather for good growth but the results were a little mixed and it looks like the next week should provide optimum growing conditions. or at least that's what the forecast calls for. With only three AG's and all vine burying done I now have more time to take care of the plants and the pumpkins.

The 2145 McMullen x 1585 Werner on day 44. A little slower this week than I had hoped but at 30 lbs. a day and the conditions at hand, I can't expect better than that.

The 1585 Werner x 2145 McMullen on day 33. It just started to take off this weekend and it is going to be a turtle shell. Wide and flat but orange.

The 2095 Willemijns x 1585 Werner on day 20. Doing very well and the side to side growth was more than the circumference gain over the weekend so it's a cart wheel in the making.

The carrots are doing very well at this time. by far the best I have had going since I started growing them.

The rutabagas are doing OK but I lost one already due to splitting and rotting and would not be surprised if I lose another to the same problem. Just too much water for them.




Chris L
Aug 7, 2017

After a week of fluctuating weather which featured 2.75" of rain of which most fell at the end of the week. Along with thunderstorms and a touch of hail I arrived at the patch to find that other than the soil super saturated again that everything was just fine.

The 2145 McMullen on day 51. It's starting to show it's age now and slowing down as well . growing at 26 lbs. per day and estimating a little over 900 lbs. now.

The 1585 Werner fruit at day 40. Averaged 33lbs. a day during the past week and the colour makes it really stand out as it is surrounded by some really pale pumpkins.

The 2095 Willemijins on day 26. It is the complete opposite of it's male pollinator as it is glowing white and tall. I don't like the way the blossom is bent up which may cause a failure later on. It averaged 24 lbs. a day during the past week and it is in the worst spot in the garden that is in shade longer and has not produced much in the past. The plant is under 400 sq. ft. in size but is the healthiest plant I have ever had at this time of year.

The Nieuwenhoff giant bell peppers are getting big and feel very thick.

The giant kohlrabi getting bigger and just as weird looking as ever.


Chris L
Aug 15, 2017

After a week of what would be considered normal weather things are going well at the patch. The automated watering system was running all week after I received my second load of water this season. There were no major surprises after a week and everything was looking good except for my slacking tomato plants.

The 2145 McMullen on day 59. It averaged 21 lbs. per day over the past 8 days.

A small soft spot formed on the very stubby stem of the 2145 so after cleaning it there will now be a fan keeping it dry for the rest of the season.

The 1585 Werner on day 48. It averaged about 28 lbs. per day over the past 8 days. No issues with this pumpkin.

The 2095 Willemijns on day 34. It averaged over 34 lbs. per day over the past 8 days. If it does not give me a frowny face and the weather holds out in September it could be a real nice fruit. Still white as a ghost.

Chris L
Aug 22, 2017

Another somewhat quite week at the patch. The big thing was that Wednesday was moving day for the 2145 McMullen pumpkin. I winched it back about 4 inches as the main vine was getting tight and would only get worse. All of the pumpkins are growing as expected and there is some faint hope of a decent tomato this season.

The 2145 McMullen at day 66. It is becoming a mature fruit and has slowed to 17 lbs. a day over the past week. It is around 1200 lbs. now but the plant is in good shape for this time of year so it should keep poking along for a while yet.

The 1585 Werner at day 55. It is still putting on good weight gains at 28 lbs. a day for the past 7 days and over 1000 lbs. now. If the weather is nice this September it should be able to catch up to the 2145 as it is still a young looking pumpkin. I am finally keeping up with the weeding this year.

The 2095 Willemijns at day 41. It is still doing well at 32 lbs. a day for the past week and is one of my best day 40ish measurements. I would need some great September weather to get the full potential from this pumpkin. It looks exactly the same with a white sheet on it.



Chris L
Aug 28, 2017

A few days of mid September like weather put a bite on the pumpkin's growth rates during the past week. Hopefully this nice stretch will help pick things up a little for this week but it appears that there is some cold overnight temps coming up with Friday night now forecasted to be down near plus 2. I may have to do the mid night madness thing.

The 2145 McMullen x 1585 Werner at day 72. It grew at a rate of 13lbs. a day during the past week which is about normal for me at this age. Starting to get a little colour on the top.

The 1585 Werner x 2145 McMullen on day 61 and averaged about 22lbs. per day during the past week. It's starting to put on some ribs now but is still very smooth and is still growing problem free.

The 2095 Willemijns x 1585 Werner on day 47. It averaged about 24 lbs. per day last week and is still very smooth and almost colourless although it has a few streaks of orange around the stem. It appears that the cool weather has had a bigger impact on this one.

Harvested my first heavy bell pepper. It weighed 15.2 ounces or 432 grams which is .95 Lbs. There is a larger one on another plant that is still green and growing. There was a problem with water sitting on the top of the peppers all week so I am going to but a clear cover over the plants.

Chris L
Sep 4, 2017

The Labour Day weekend usually spells the beginning of the end of the growing season and this one did not let me down. The very cool fall like weather arrived early and it appears that it is here to stay. Unlike 2016, this September will not allow me to make big weight gains.

The 2145 McMullen on day 80. Still doing 10 lbs. per day for now. It feels very solid so I hope that it goes heavy. Estimating over 1300 lbs.

The 1585 Werner at day 69. Still lots of growth in this one and growing around 15 lbs. per day. It continues to close the size gap on the 2145 McMullen. Mouse traps are a common sight this time of year around my pumpkins. Have not seen any evidence of them but I don't take any chances.

The 2095 Willemijns on day 55. Over 1000 lbs. and doing about 18 lbs. per day.

I might have a decent tomato here. Estimates around 4 lbs. and is growing on the 6.88 MaCoy seed. It gained about a pound during the past week and for the most part they have been terrible this season. No mega blooms and lots of disease.

Fodder beets are steadily growing and they might be respectable by November.


Chris L
Sep 11, 2017

September 2017 has already become a challenging month with our fourth or fifth frost risk night and so far luck has been on our side but just barely. I thought that the unseasonal cool weather would be a set back but it appears that just about everything growing in the garden did about what would be expected at this time of year. Looking forward to next week's seasonal forecast.

2145 McMullen on Day 86 and still doing about 10 lbs. a day.

1585 Werner on day 75 and doing 13 lbs. per day.

The 2095 Willemijns on day 62. The baby of the patch only did 13 lbs. a day last week but is

over 1100 lbs. and if the weather co-operates will be a decent pumpkin in October.

Pumpkins are wearing their fall colours now.

Giant bell peppers continue to grow and my lifelong dream of growing one over a pound may soon come to fruition.

Found a nasty area of rot in a split on my big rutabaga. If I can keep it dry and clean for the next month or so it might make it to the scales. It is probably the largest one I have ever grown before.

Chris L
Sep 17, 2017

So much for September weather, we now have the best weather this year. Could have really used it back in July or August as the benefits now will not really make much of a difference at this time of the season. From personal experience I have found that September heat waves cause more trouble for giant vegetables than normal weather conditions. I hope that I am wrong this year.

2145 McMullen on Day 93. Doing what old pumpkins do at this age. slow and steady.

The 1585 Werner on day 83. Doing a little better but nothing really special. It's just about the same OTT as the 2145 now.

The 2095 Willemijns at day 69. Still doing Ok. but not what I had thought it might do. It's around 1200 lbs. now and the fact that the blossom has held together is a bonus.

The 96.5 Hunt rutabaga is still holding together and is very big as well. Only about 6 weeks to go.

The giant bell peppers are still doing well. The ones on this plant want to turn a purple - brown colour. I had to dig out the soil underneath them to keep them off the ground and support the plants as the weight of the peppers was pulling the plants down.

Chris L
Sep 24, 2017

The beginning of the fall season has started out on the extreme side with hot weather and no rain for weeks now. The hot weather would have been great in July but it is of no help now and is causing some problems like causing my tomatoes to ripen too quickly. I guess that there will be no happy median with the 2017 season but I think that I did all that was possible with the conditions that were dealt to me.

The 2145 McMullen on day 100. Still growing and interestingly it was the " fastest" growing pumpkin during the past week by a fraction of a lb. per day. Time to get this thing weighed.

The 1585 Werner on Day 89. Still growing but some health issues with the plant have taken their toll on the pumpkin's growth. It's about the same size as the 2145 now. At least on the tape.


The 2095 Willemijns on day 76. It still has about 3 weeks of growing time with this one. It would have been great if it was pollinated a few weeks earlier but I'll take whatever it gives me because it's still in one piece.


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