It looks like 2021 will be an interesting season for me and I have been keeping a low profile until I was cleared to work in the garden again. My shoulder has improved significantly over the past few months and although it won't be 100% I think that it is good enough for me to grow a few pumpkins this season.
I was able to get the planting sites and hoop houses up early although my cover crop was really sparse after the chickens spent weeks eating the seeds. Only two AG's this year for me and maybe a field pumpkin tomatoes and some other vegetables
The heater cables have been tested so everything is a go. The soil PH is at 7.6 now so the patch will need a major application of sulfur to bring it down a bit. The wind fencing needs a lot of work but I am still not ready to pound in "T" posts yet and I am concerned about potentially damaging winds on Friday.
I suddenly found myself with more space at home due to a change in my life so the plants were brought into my living room from the usually hot solarium. In the past there was a problem with them becoming leggy from the heat and it looks like it is working. The 1450 Fifolt plant on the left is one of the best starts I have ever seen and the 2226.7 Boonen/Herman beside it is looking good as well. There are several mangel wurzels and a few kohlrabi plants that are ready to go in the ground now as well. I am tempted to plant the pumpkins this weekend but I need a reliable heat source in case of a deep freeze in the coming weeks.
As the 2021 growing season rapidly nears an end I can look back and look at what an unusual growing season it was. I would like to blame something other than myself for the final results with the pumpkins and I think I found it.
The weather roller coaster this past season with extreme heat, cold, dry and wet as well. I was not able to capitalize on the great September conditions due to the health of the plants but I feel fortunate to still have my two pumpkins still intact at this point in the season.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 90. Not surprising that it is barely growing now with most of the plant gone. I have not had much luck in this part of the patch and it is the largest ever grown here. It is heavily shaded now in the morning until almost 11:00 am.
The 1450 Fifolt at day 93. It's doing better, probably because it still has some of the plant still working. I really did not think it would still be in one piece at this time in the season.
This is my 103 lb. field pumpkin that won at the Bracebridge weigh-off. It was grown off the 174 Mackinnon and is one of the best looking field pumpkins that I have ever grown.
I picked four ripening tomatoes on Tuesday. They were all over four lbs. and one was over five.
This is now the 5.21 Lyons 2021 UOW grown off the 5.36 Lyons.
Bottom side of the 5.21 UOW.
This is the third and last tomato on the 5.70 MacDonald plant. It has a small pink spot on the top but is still growing. I am not sure how all this late season rain is going to affect the tomatoes but it's probably not going to be good.
So far September is not looking bad at all. The pumpkins are still alive and growing and the tomatoes are coming along well. The most important thing is the weather outlook looks good until the end of the month with no cold snaps on the horizon which is a huge bonus.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 80. Although I have lost about half of the plant's leaves to various diseases and issues with powdery mildew it continues to plod along. Certainly not very fast now but the good weather should help it gain a little more weight.
The 1450 Fifolt at day 83. The plant is also in so-so shape but most importantly it is still holding together so I'm OK with the slower September pace especially if it continues for a few more weeks. This pumpkin has been an interesting one from the beginning and it now has the largest circumference of anything that I have grown.
I was fortunate to be able to weigh a few more big tomatoes this past week. This is now the 5.97 Lyons 2021 grown off the 5.70 MacDonald plant. It was the second on the same branch as the 7.88 was on and there is now a third on the same branch that is also doing very well now.
This is now the 5.03 Lyons 2021 grown off the 8.10 MacDonald. It was a giant single blossom tomato. My tomato plants are still the healthiest I have ever had in September and I hope to carry a few more good ones into October.
The closing out of August brought with it relief from the hot and very humid conditions. Unfortunately the humidity brought a wave of powdery mildew that hit the pumpkin plants in just a few days leaving me scrambling to stop it's spread. I have never seen it so bad before so it was a surprise and although I think I have it under control the damage is done. That and some soil diseases have slowed the growth of the pumpkins significantly.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 69. It only averaged about 16 lbs. per day during the past 10 days and it now sits at 397" or about 1384 lbs.
The 1450 Fifolt at day 72. It's still on a slow and steady growth averaging 15 lbs. per day for the past 10 days. It now sits at 402" or 1431 lbs.
On the other hand my tomatoes are the best I have ever had on the go. This one on the 5.70 MacDonald plant was the branch mate of the 7.88 tomato. It isn't deep and it estimates about 5 lbs. now. I am watching a few others that could be special if I get a few more weeks of growth out of them. The cooler nights should help prolong the growth cycle now. I have never had tomato plants that were as healthy as they are this season.
big congrats Chris on the new Canadian record !
Very nice tomato Chris! Congratulations on the new Canadian record.
Congratulations Chris on setting a NEW Canadian Record!!
Congrats on your new Canadian record Chris! Nice tomato
The 5.70 MacDonald tomato started to ripen, especially on the bottom so it was time to weigh it.
It is now the 7.88 Lyons. A personal best for me and a new Canadian record. It was a lot of fun to grow and although I was hoping for 8 lbs. I am happy with what it weighs.
I'm just waiting for it to ripen now so I can get the seeds out. Hoping for a good seed count.
We are now in a prolonged heat wave which would have been fine earlier in the season but it will probably cause problems at this stage of the season. I am now experiencing some soil borne diseases in the pumpkin plants that were possibly made worse by all the saturating rain back in July. So far it's not a big issue and the effects on the growth have been minimal.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 59. Still poking along in the low 20's last week and is sitting around 380" or 1230 lbs. It has been putting on a lot of growth at the stem end giving me some issues trying to keep the vines slack.
The 1450 Fifolt at day 62. Slow and steady may not win the race but maybe it will allow it to make it to the finish line. It grew about 20 lbs. per day last week and is sitting around 387" or about 1300 lbs. I had to widen the cover structure due to it's girth oriented growth. It also has been growing forward into the vines.
The 174 Mackinnon field pumpkin is all but done growing at day 35. A real nice looking one for sure. I have pollinated a few more on the plant now.
The 5.70 MacDonald tomato or the big green jelly bean as I call it. Still green for now but I am sure it will finish sooner in this heat.
If it gets much larger I will have to alert the GPC. I am certain that it is past the 7 lb. mark now. It will be interesting to see how it ends up.
Trying to navigate the changing conditions this season has been challenging, but so far I have been able to keep up with the large weather swings. With some nights into the single digits and a stretch of hot and humid conditions, the growth of the giants has been up and down. Overall I am still happy with the way things are proceeding.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 52. It gained about 270 lbs. over the past nine days and is sitting at just under 1100 lbs. Still no issues with this pumpkin it's just weed and feed.
The 1450 Fifolt at day 55. The patch problem child but it is still holding together for now. It gained about 250 lbs. over the past nine days and is sitting around 1150 lbs. It's growth has really been up and down and that is not helping it. It also has a small stem split for the past few weeks but so far it has not been a problem
The 174 Mackinnon field pumpkin at day 28. It is starting to turn orange but is still growing. It estimates about 100 lbs. I think the stretch of hot weather may have speeded up the ripening process.
This is one of my Mangel wurzels. All of them have fallen over at least once which is not really helping them. They will not be nearly the size of last year's but still decent.
The pride of the patch. The 5.70 MacDonald tomato. If it stays green for another week it will be a PB. for me. It's almost 26" in circumference in two directions and I believe it is already over 6 lbs.
As usual the weather has been a major factor over the past week and a half and for the most past it was a little unfavorable. There was a four day stretch of unseasonable cold weather with overnight temperatures dropping to as low as 5C. I finally received my second load of water this season after more than two months since I got the first load.
The 1450 Boonen/Herman at day 43. It experienced a slowing growth rate probably due to the cold nights but it has recovered somewhat and was back to 35 lbs. per day and was sitting at about 800 lbs.
I spent two days weeding the plants and it took an entire day to weed each plant but it was necessary if I want to take advantage of the still healthy plants and try to get a prolonged growth cycle.
The 1450 Fifolt pumpkin at day 46. Most importantly it is still in one piece so I am happy about that. It had slowed as well but also somewhat recovered to 32 lbs. per day and was sitting at about 900 lbs.
The 174 MacKinnon field pumpkin at day 20. With a circumference of 62" it was better than the giants but this is where the crazy growth ends. It charts out at about 50 lbs. now.
The 5.70 MacDonald tomato has really filled out and is growing very fast. It already has a circumference of 22" and I think it has a lot of growing time ahead of it.
This is the rear view of the 5.70. It is like a giant lollypop standing straight up on it's stem. I haven't supported it yet but if it gets much larger I will consider putting it in a hammock sling.
We have been dodging the wild weather in the Kawartha Lakes region lately but it seems like there will be a day or two of sun and a day or two of rain. I am still using my first truck load of water I got in late May because I have not watered the plants in about 6 weeks and I only have been using some water to apply the fertilizers and tea.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman at day 33. It is at full speed now and despite the scarring on it, the shape has been very good. It averaged 35 lbs. per day over the past 7 days and was close to 40 lbs. per day over the past 4 days.
It was moving day for all of the pumpkins at the Hunt/Lyons patches. Better to do it before they get too big and heavy I hope.
The 1450 Fifolt pumpkin at day 36. It is still in one piece and averaged 39 lbs. per day over the past 7 days and averaged 42 lbs. per day over the past 4 days. Keeping my fingers crossed with this one.
The 174 MacKinnon field pumpkin at day 9. With a circumference of 24" it blew the AG's day 10 measurements out of the park. Generally field pumpkins out grow the giants until day 20 or so but they will quickly slow down after that. The stem on this pumpkin is amazing.
This is my most interesting tomato so far growing on a 5.70 MacDonald plant. It appears to be growing very quickly as it was a small 4 segment mega-bloom just a week ago.
This is the other side of the 5.70 tomato. It should have lots of room to hang forward which is important with tomatoes because if they don't have sufficient room they will not grow to their maximum potential.
Another week of challenging weather but with only an inch and a half of rain and warmer temperatures made it a little less of a problem. We could really use a stretch of sunny days to dry the surface of the soil. The weeds really like the wet soil and it's hard to control them now. I haven't used the irrigation system for weeks now.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman pumpkin is now in it's enclosure and thankfully the last four side vines in the patch will be terminated in a few days. I am allowing the main vine which is in the foreground to keep growing until I run out of room.
Both plants are looking very good with no real issues. The vines are being buried with a combination of compost and worm casting.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman pumpkin on day 24. It's starting to pick up speed now averaging 23 lbs. per day over the past few days. Yes I drink a lot of V-8.
The 2226.7 stem looks good and there is lots of clearance between the fruit and the vine.
The 1450 Fifolt pumpkin on day 27. It has also picked up significantly averaging about 30 lbs. per day over the past few days. I still don't like the shape of the front left corner but I think it will be Ok.
The stem issue has been completely dried out with the fan blowing on it 24/7.
I pollinated the first field pumpkin on the 174 MacKinnon plant at about 14' on the main vine.
I think that this season's weather is going to be the biggest factor in determining how things end up. The rain gauge overflowed this past week so the total for the past two weeks was over 6 inches. That combined with no sunlight and very cold day time temperatures made me wonder if the pumpkins would even survive.
The plants seem to be doing good. This is the 1450 Fifolt plant which seems to be Ok with the dark, cold and wet conditions. Almost done with the vine burying now.
Unfortunately the wet sheets on the 1450 pumpkin started a soft spot on the stem which I have been battling for a few days now. I was considering cutting it off and using a pumpkin pollinated 11 days later although it was not exactly the best specimen as well.
Eventually I went with my first choice after gaining control of the stem problem and accepting the shape problem on the left front of the pumpkin. It will be a nice colour and although it's day 20 measurement was not impressive at all, I can't even pick it up.
It's now residing in it's dry and cozy pumpkin condo now with a fan blowing on the stem 24 hrs. a day
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman pumpkin has also been a problem child for me. It was growing too slow for my liking and there was an issue with the blossom which I decided to cut off. Eventually the back-up was removed on Sunday and although it's not growing at a great speed I am Ok with it's growth now.
I am also growing a field pumpkin. This is the 174 Mackinnon plant. It looks like the first female will be ready in about 7-10 days. Looks good so far.
The past several days have been very challenging for the post pollination period of my pumpkins due to some extreme weather conditions.
It has been said to be careful what you wish for because you might get it. A month and a half of rain over a few days with one inch falling in 30 minutes with hail and high winds.
The mangel wurzels seemed to be the most affected but it really does not take much to knock them over.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman plant really did not experience any significant damage and still looks really good. The entire space should be filled out in two weeks at about 600 sq ft. Almost no hail holes in the leaves and my only explanation is that the leaves were all tilted up during the storm.
The 2226.7 Fruit at day 11. A bit of a slacker as it was only 18" on day 10 but it put on good growth going into day 11. The weather might have been a factor in the slow start with saturated soil and several overcast days.
The mark on top of it was caused by a hail stone
The 1450 Fifolt on day 14. Also off to slow start but it seems to be doing OK now. I am a little concerned about how it is growing and there is some damage around the blossom due to me trying to clean it when it was wet and dirty. Within a few days I will know if these issues will be a problem.
Both pumpkins have plywood and mill fabric under them so I am committed to them now. There is only one back-up on each plant for now.
Not sure what is going on this year but every one of my tomato plants have a double or mega-bloom on them now. The plants are not really that big and last year there were none until August.
A few weeks have gone by and everything seems to be looking good. The weather has been a roller coaster but I am happy with where I am now.
The 1450 Fifolt plant has completely overcome the frost damage and is doing well. There were a few side vines that were not growing and I terminated them to allow the good ones to take over and keep the plant's canopy open and is keeping the leaf stalks shorter and stronger, I hope.
This is the 1450 Fifolt x 2226.7 at day 3. It is at 13 ft. and was the fourth one on the main vine. The first ones had longer stems but I really liked it's position and distance on the vine. The June 20th pollination is the earliest I have ever had.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman plant is doing great as well. There was also a few side vines that were barely growing so I terminated them and will keep the canopy more open.
Finally got a fruit pollinated on the 2226.7 plant today at 13 feet. It was crossed with the 1450 and it was so cold this morning that it did not open until 10:30 after being in sunlight for about 30 minutes.
I have eight tomato plants growing this season. They were all planted on June 5th and they all look good at this time.
The mangel wurzel plants look real good now. All plants are on automatic water timers now and it makes it so much easier to control the amount of water they get during the week
The 1450 Fifolt plant has shaken off the affects of the frost damage and seems to have recovered and is growing well now. I put shade over the plants so the heat would not stress them this week and it helps reduce the wind at this important transition time. I am keeping the main tip under shade as well so it does not get fried in the heat.
I am watching a small pumpkin imbedded in the main tip that should be ready in about 10 days or so. It would be nice to get an early pollination on this plant and take advantage of the prime growing weather and sunshine.
The 2226.7 Boonen/Herman plant is also doing well with no real issues and hoping for a fruit set a little later in June.