Chris L
Apr 8

Chris L … 2019 Diary

30 comments

Edited: Apr 8

Well, here it is again. another growing season is just around the corner so I thought that I would put up a diary for 2019. This season will be different for me in a few ways with only two giant pumpkins planned at this time and some changes in what and how I will be growing as well.

I had decided to grow my last giant fodder beet seeds this year but no rutabagas or Kohlrabi this year but I am now the proud owner of a bouncing baby kohlrabi that I got from John Butler at the GVGO seminar.

I was not going to grow giant carrots this year as well, but when I saw that it was the veggie of the year for the EGVGA my competitive side kicked in and I started some as well. Like my beets they are far behind of where I was last year but they are all doing well

Checked out the garden today as it was probably the warmest day today since last October and things did not look too bad but could be better. The soil is only thawed down a few inches and there is still ice in the far corners of the garden. With the forecast not really showing a significant warm up and lots of cool wet days ahead I double covered the hoop house sites with plastic. It looks like it will be a repeat of 2018 with me only getting the hoop houses ready for planting in May.

Chris L
Apr 18

The super soggy and cool spring has been delaying any major patch preparation and this upcoming weekend appears to be a wet one as well.

Last weekend I was able to add all the amendments to both sites including bio char and nearly 4 cu ft. of perlite to each site. Today I was able to install the soil heater cables and build 6.5 x 8 ft. hoop houses over the sites. The sites are ready for pumpkins to be planted so I will be germinating them this weekend

Chris L
Apr 28Edited: Apr 29

I thought that April last year was a problem but this is the worst April ever. It does not look like the beginning of May will be much better but I think that despite that I might be able to get off to an earlier start than I ever have before.

I decided to put down plastic on the area that the root vegetables will be growing in. hopefully it will keep the rain that is forecasted this week from saturating the area.

The soil heater cables have been running since last weekend. The soil is at a very nice 25C. The hoops took a bad beating on Saturday and required some repairs today. It would have been worse if Phil and Jane had not intervened during the wind storm to keep them from being torn apart.

The pumpkins are starting to get going. Started a 2005 Haist, 1911 Urena, 1937 Urena, and a 1826 Wolf. The wolf has been very slow to get going so I started another today.

Chris L
May 7

This past Sunday was just what the garden and myself needed to get a few more things done in the garden after what was another soggy cold week. There is still lots of standing water in the fields near the patch but I have been slowly forcing the issue of getting things ready.

I managed to prepare the site and build a 30'poly tunnel for the carrots, beets and the kohlrabi. It will be interesting to see if it survives the storm due to arrive on Thursday.

The Kohlrabi is the first plant in this season. It was really root bound and needed to be set free. Next weekend it will be all in for the other vegetables except for the tomatoes. I worked in about 5 cu. ft. of perlite to a depth of two ft. in the tunnel. This should be good for the carrots.

The tomatoes were planted a little early and are growing very well. If I can get the sites ready soon they can be in the ground sooner than later. I like to grow them a little stringy so they can be planted deep for better root development.

Chris L
May 12Edited: May 12

Even though it's not even the middle of the month I am sure that this will now be the worst May ever. Each week is one step forward and two steps back. Still waiting for a string of good weather that would help dry the patch out but for now wet and muddy is the norm.

The pumpkins had to go in this past weekend and if they could talk they would not be too happy. The next few days will be very cool and dark. I just hope they stay alive until the weather improves. The plant on the left is the 2005 Haist and on the right is a 1937 Urena.

Replaced the poly on the poly tunnel for re-may and planted 6 carrots and 3 fodder beets. At least I don't have to worry about heat stress or leaves being burned by the sun.

Chris L
May 20

This weekend I caught a break as the weather warmed up and stayed dry. This gave me a window of opportunity to prepare the tomato sites and plant six competition plants. A few more will follow in the coming weeks. Like everything else I plant they are now under shade cloth until they get acclimatized to the conditions.

Still had a great 1826 Wolf plant as a back up so I quickly prepared and built a hoop house and planted it. I was thinking about doing this for a few weeks and now I have increased my work load by about 30% for this season.

Despite the less than great weather last week the plants did well and are continuing to grow. Last Monday the high temperature was 6c and there was two nights of near freezing lows. The plant on the right is the 1911 Urena and the back up on the left is a 1826 Wolf.

All the other giant vegetable plants that went in last week are looking great and seem to do even better in the cool wet conditions.

Chris L
May 29

Things haven't really changed much with the weather or the fact that the garden soil is too wet for even trying to till it up. I was able to get the water pump ready whenever it will be needed and most of my competition tomatoes are in the ground.

 

 

The 2005 Haist on the left is vining well but the 1937 Urena has larger leaves and a heavier but shorter vine. Will have to remove the back-up plants in both hoop houses by the next weekend which will for hard to decide for these two plants.

I'm a little more sure of keeping the 1911 Urena over the 1826 Wolf as the vine is down and running while the back up wolf does not want to lay down. Despite the weather I am actually a little ahead of where I was last year. Looks like vine burying starts next weekend as well.

 

 

Chris L
Jun 9

At long last we have a stretch of sunny seasonal weather that is lasting for more than a day or two. It does not look like it will last much longer and a return to cooler and probably wet conditions will be the norm for the next few weeks.

Finally the patch is tilled. Sprayed Round-up last week and tilled this weekend. This is the 2005 Haist plant which is really doing well. On the Right is the 1911 Urena which is also picking up the pace now. I extended the hoop frame and put shade cover over the 2005 to protect the new growth from the high UV levels and it helps protect the plant from the wind.

My competition tomatoes are doing good considering the weather. This is a 6.23 Konieczny which already has a mega bloom showing. A little early on such a young plant but it is a good sign.

The rest of the other veggies are also doing well. The fodder beets are a little behind from last year but they all look to be growing at a good pace now.

Chris L
Jun 17

Another wet and wild week at the patch has come and gone and despite the less than ideal weather everything is growing well. If the weather improves to seasonal conditions I'm sure that everything will pick up substantially.

The somewhat slacking 1826 Wolf has started to pick up a little after a very slow and late start. It will be out of the hoop house in a day or so but the side vines are developing very slowly but overall it looks much better now

The 2005 Haist and the 1911 Urena plants are out and doing great despite some very windy weather last week. Both plant vines are about 10' feet in length now.

this is what I was looking for. It took a while to find this one on the 2005 Haist plant main vine and it won't be ready to pollinate until the end of the month. I estimate that it will be at about 12' then.

Chris L
Jul 8

Things have really changed here over the past few weeks. My PC is in the hospital so this entry is being done on my notepad. The weather suddenly switched to summer and everything took off in overdrive in a short period of time.

 

 

The 2005 Haist by self at day 10. One of the best day 10 circumference I have had in a while. The stem is a little short but I don't have any issues with it.

 

The plants are really doing well. The side vines grew about 5 feet during the past week which kept me on my kneeknees burying the vines this weekend. The high humidity did not help me at all.

 

 

 

Chris L
Jul 21

I am glad that the high heat and humidity are going to break soon. Although it has been good for the giant vegetables it has been difficult at best to get the necessary work done in the patch with Humidity levels in the forties.

The 2005 Haist at day 24. Doing well and hopefully will really get moving now that 95% of the vine burying is done. Looks like it will be a wide fruit so I built an extra wide shelter over it.

The 1911 Urena at day 19. It's really taken off in the past few days putting on six inches a day in circumference.

I have been foliar spraying TKO every week since week one. Although it is too early to make a judgement about the results the leaves on all the plants are in amazing condition. We have been very lucky with the weather as well. No hail or strong winds.

The giant marrow plants. 165 Baggs on the right and 220 Baggs on the left. Trying not to pollinate any of them up until now but I will have to soon. Plants are growing as fast as the giant pumpkins.

One of my fodder beets tilted over a week ago and when I set it back up this is what I found. It is hollow inside and has a hideous scowling face split into it. The first veggie down for 2019.

Chris L
Jul 28

A lack of rain and again more hot weather has been putting a strain on my water supply. I have never had to use so much water to maintain a soil moisture level of about 35%.

The 2005 Haist at day 31 is looking good and is doing Good. I would like it do a little better though. Hoping it picks up the pace a little in the next week or so.

The 1911 Urena at day 26. It looks good and is starting to take off now. Looks like it will be an orange one. All vines on all plants have now been terminated with exception of the main vines on the 2005 and 1911.

The 1826 Wolf at day 18. Nothing special but it seems to be doing OK. It is growing on a small plant of about 350 sq. ft.

The marrow plants are producing lots of fruits now. The plants filled in their allotted spaces quicker than I thought they would and most of the vines are now terminated as well.

Chris L
Aug 5

Another week of hot and dry weather is putting a strain on the water supply. It's hard to believe how much things have changed here after such a wet start to the season.

The 2005 Haist at day 38 is doing well but not great. Growing at over 30 lbs per day now and looks great so far. I would think that it would end up in the 1500 lb range at this rate of growth.

The 1911 Urena at day 33. A little ahead of the 2005's pace at this time but it needs to pick up the pace in the next week if I have a chance at growing something special from it.

The 1826 Wolf at day 25. No colour at all but is now growing well so we will see what happens.

This is a 220 Baggs marrow at day 11 and 40" in circumference. The 165 Baggs was at 46" at the same time so they are off to fast start. They don't grow for a long time so I am hoping to put on a lot of growth in the next few weeks. Aiming for something over 100 lbs this year.

Chris L
Aug 12

Although the lack of rain at the patch for the past few weeks has been a challenge I believe that the soil moisture level has been adequate in the patch. A good rainfall would be great but I don't see that happening any time soon. The hardest work of the season is well behind me now and most of the time is spent doing plant maintenance (weeding) and feeding.

The 2005 Haist at day 45. It's been poking along at about 31 lbs. per day for the past few weeks and is now 329" and estimating 819 lbs.

The 1826 Wolf at day 32. It has picked up to over 33 lbs. per day and measures 268" and estimates at 444 lbs. It was pollinated late so I will need a real nice September if there is a chance of getting a good pumpkin from it.

The 1911 Urena at day 40. It's doing very well and averaged about 38 lb. per day last week. It now measures 316" and estimates 727 lbs.

The 220 Baggs marrow here and the 165 Baggs are all around 67" in circumference at day 18. They are all about 29" in length now. The 220's appear to be all green in colour.

The 165 Baggs look like they will be striped.

 

 

Chris L
Aug 18

Now that we have crossed mid- August it seems that things should be starting to slow down now and that is what is happening now. There was a small fraction of an inch of rain on Saturday that barely got the soil wet in the patch so a little more rain is on my wish list.

The 2005 Haist at Day 52. Starting to slow down at 25 lbs. per day last week. Plant is in really good shape but I wonder if the dry weather and occasional cold August nights have an influence on it's growth. It is over five feet wide now as the ground sheets are 5.5 feet wide. It now estimates at over 1000 lbs.

The 1911 Urena at day 47. It has slowed to 29 lbs. per day but is estimating over 900 lbs. now.

The 1826 Wolf at day 39. Not the best looking pumpkin. The upturned blossom seems to add a little defiance to it's appearance. Slowed to 26 lbs. per day this past week. Everything that has grown in this spot turns out to be less than ideal in the visual and weight categories.

The 220 Baggs marrow at day 25. About 87" in circumference and estimates around 70 lbs. now. All of the marrows are about 3 feet long now.

Another marrow on the 165 Baggs plant. Almost identical in size to the 220 plant. The striped colour on these fruits is becoming more apparent now.

A super single tomato on a 5.95 Konieczney, looks really good. Hoping it gets a little bigger as it appears to be very heavy for it's circumference.

Chris L
Aug 26

 

The super single on the 5.95 Konieczney continues to grow. Over 23" in circumference and could become a personal best for me if it is as heavy as I estimate it to be. there is some blight in the tomatoes but so far it has not effected the best tomatoes.

This is another 220 Baggs marrow at day 32. It is now the biggest and estimates between 90 and 100 lbs. It measures 44" in length and the spinal compression test seems to confirm this estimate. Already lost a 165 and may lose another one soon. I really pushed them too hard and I am only going to water them from this point on.

 

Chris L
Sep 2

The Labour day weekend seems to be the beginning of the end of the growing season for me. If we get enough sunlight, reasonable temperatures and no killer frost I can expect to put on some decent weight gains by the end of the month.

The 2005 Haist at day 66. Still alive and averaged about 19 lbs. per day last week. I don't like the way that the blossom folded up underneath but so far it is holding up. It is estimating over 1300 lbs

The 1900 Urena at day 61. Also still alive and averaging 19 lbs. per day last week. It is a few days behind the 2005 in weight but it does not appear that it will surpass it now. I have no idea which one is the heaviest now.

It's becoming splitsville in marrow plot. The latest one is the biggest 220 Baggs at day 39 down with a split on the top. It is almost 4 feet long and very heavy. I will try to get a dmg. weight next week. Lucky for me I have four new open pollinated marrows growing now that look good so I will hopefully have something for a weigh-off

The super single 5.95 Konieczney ripened at 23.25 inches so now it is the 5.23 Lyons 2019. I also officially weighed a 3.67 tomato grown from my 5.36 tomato.

I still have a few interesting tomatoes on the go but it depends on when they decide to ripen. This one is on another 5.95 Konieczney plant. It's my only real mega bloom this year.

Zeke
Sep 4

Nice big single tomato Chris. Can you post a pic of the 3.67. I'm updating the tomato stats right now.

 

Thanks Zeke

Chris L
Sep 4

 

This is the 3.67 tomato grown from my 5.36 seed.

Chris L
Sep 10

 

The 220 Baggs DMG. is now the 122 Lyons DMG.UOW. 2019.

One of the new marrow replacements that I have going now. Hopefully I can still get a decent one for a weigh-off. The past few nights were very cold but things are forecasted to be better for growing over the next week. There has even been a little rainfall recently.

 

Zeke
Sep 11

They almost look prehistoric.....lol

New Posts
  • langridgesfreshproduce
    Oct 6
  • Lookajook
    Sep 5
  • jeff craig
    Nov 1

    Better later then never right? I meant to start this a while ago, but just never got around to it. Here is my bushel gourd progress for 2019. May 23, they have been sitting in the front window soaking up the sun. May 27, I finally got them into the garden. Jun 7, they seem attracted to each other... Aug 8. I had seen a lot of flowers, but hardly any female flowers. After a few didn't take off I decided to manually pollinate them and this one took off! Aug 14. This is before I leave for a vacation, its growing pretty well. Aug 25. Its growing a lot faster then I imagined! I hope my trellis (read: Fence) can handing the possible size of this monster!

© 2019 Giant Vegetable Growers of Ontario