Home What's New Message Board
BigPumpkins.com
Select Destination Site Search
 
Iowegian - 2016 Grower Diary Point your RSS aggregator here to subscribe to this Grower Diary.

Show Entries in

Grower Diary Menu
  Back to Previous Page
List Other Grower's Diaries
Submit to Your Own Diary

 
Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 174 Entries.
Friday, January 1 View Page
Starting out the 2016 diary with our top pumpkins from last year. 2015 gave both Jacob and me new personal bests. We learned a lot, and if the weather and health cooperate we hope to beat these pumpkins by a bunch on October 1.
 
Tuesday, April 5 View Page
Hoop houses are up with new plastic. It is difficult to keep them up with all the wind. Soil in the hoops was deep tilled with a fork, with a deep hole left for fish heads. It will be filled with a mix of potting soil, compost, manure and topsoil. The rye cover crop is spotty because it was planted late after bringing in more soil. I will add oats in a day or so. The cover will be mowed, sprayed with glyphosate before the hoops come out and tilled just once. We have added 7 truck loads of compost, about double what we used last year. It will be time to go fishing once the weather straightens out. And turkey hunting; the neighborhood flock walked by about 70 yards away as I put up the hoops.
 
Sunday, April 10 View Page
Saturday morning was a chilly 18 degrees. I waited until afternoon to start patch work. I applied manganese, zinc, copper and borax along with half of my kelp meal as a carrier. Used a push-type spreader when wind was calm. I also put on 40# of 10-10-10. We had some rain today to start working it into the soil. Tomorrow I plan to throw on some oats to thicken up the cover crop. In about a week or so I will be adding composted chicken manure crumbles and 0-0-50. Maybe another load of compost too.
 
Thursday, April 14 View Page
I just got back from a friend's house with over a ton of cow manure. It is great stuff. 5 years old, the pile has been turned at least once per year. It looks just like fine black dirt. Once that is applied I just need to add the 0-0-50 and a little composted chicken manure and we will be ready to grow some big stuff this year. Now we just need the weather to cooperate.
 
Thursday, April 14 View Page
Anthesis arrived today. Big stem arrived a few days ago with a 1965 Brandt seed Weather is warming up, going right from winter to summer. I have to start watermelons tomorrow and pumpkins and long gourds in about a week. Fishing is on the schedule for this weekend.
 
Friday, April 22 View Page
I started watermelons and a couple AG seeds 3 days ago and the melons are popping up. I celebrated Earth Day today by starting the rest of the AG seeds and the long gourds. Last Monday, Jacob and I added a ridge support to our gourd trellis. Were are tired of it sagging in the summer and getting squashed by heavy wet snow. We are also adding to the sides for more growing space and better air flow to hold down fungus problems.
 
Wednesday, April 27 View Page
AG germination is 100%. They are doing great under the lights of my foil lined germination boxes. Short stocky, setting first true leaf. Watermelons germinated, but in a day they were 6" tall. They must have different light needs. I started more and plan to get them into the outdoor mini greenhouse. Problem is we are in a cool wet spell. High today was just 49. I have heat lamps to keep the mini greenhouse warmer. Long gourd germination is 50% so far, but they usually take longer.
 
Monday, May 2 View Page
Its a big work day in the garden. I picked up the last fertilizers, chicken manure compost and 0-0-50 and need to get them spread. Then it will be on to planting the pumpkins and long gourds. This year we started 2 plants for each hoop house so we can let them grow a while and pick the strongest plant to keep. We have one long gourd plant for each spot with 2 backups in the mini greenhouse. I wanted to get the pumpkins planted 2 days ago, but high temperatures in the upper 40's made me wait. Forecast for the next week looks great. I will be planting sweet corn by the end of the week and tomatoes the following week. Tomatoes are just for eating and canning, not competition. Watermelons aren't starting out to well, but they will go into a hoop house so maybe they will still do better than last year.
 
Wednesday, May 4 View Page
Hoop houses are closed up, but National Weather Service is calling for patchy frost. If anyone gest it, I will. So down to the garden with a flashlight and buckets to cover some plants and tarps to put over other hoop houses. I get this every May. Hopefully this will be the last for the year, but you never know.
 
Thursday, May 5 View Page
Heavy frost in the valley this morning. All plants should have survived. They had buckets on them in all but one of the hoop houses. That hoop had a huge tarp over it for extra insulation. Maybe tomorrow I can plant some tomatoes, high is supposed to be 80.
 
Saturday, May 14 View Page
We didn't het frost last night, but we might not be so lucky tonight. Everything is covered up the best we can, with a forecast of 34 degrees by morning. If we keep a little breeze we should be OK but if it gets calm the cold will settle in our valley and it will get 6 or 7 degrees colder than the top of the hill.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
Finally the plants are worthy of photos. This is the 1818.5 Bryson. As I was going down to the patch I jumped a groundhog by this plant. I just couldn't get close enough to get a good, safe shot at him. Its time to get the electric fence going.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
962.5 McWilliams. This one wants to be a problem. I had 2 growing in the hoop house, the other was a real wimp so I pulled it. 2 days later this one split the main half way right at the ground level. I hope the vine roots set out quickly.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
1579 Carlson-Petersen is the fastest growing plant in the patch. The hoops just came down in the past 3 days.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
1965 Brant. This one started growing the wrong direction so I have to train it to keep it out of the drainage ditch and long gourd beds. I have one or two do this every year.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
1047.5 McWilliams started growing the wrong direction too. I had another one started with this one but it wanted to grow straight up and split the main. The one remaining hoop in the background is the watermelons. They are going slow as usual for our patch.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
1444 Halverson, last year's Howard Dill winner at Anamosa. I plan to pollinate this with the 1047.5. From all of the pictures you can see that my second cover crop of the season (weeds) is doing great. Everything got tilled once to knock back the rye, smooth out the lumps from adding lots of topsoil last fall, and to incorporate the compost and fertilizers. Time to start tilling in the weeds ahead of the pumpkins. We had some needed rain this morning, soil should be fit to till by tomorrow evening.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
139.35 Ansems long gourd. The trellis has been expanded and we cut back to just 3 plants. We hope better air flow and a different fungicide will help prevent the anthracnose that wiped out the gourds last year. The gourds are on raised beds, 10' X 32' for 3 plants. They get rotated from one side to the other every year. This side was tomatoes, inoculated with WOW Pumpkin Pro last year. They were the biggest plants I have grown since I planted some climbing tomatoes when I was in high school, in the late 60's. I hope some of the micorrhizae carried over to this year with the fall rye cover crop.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
141.25 Vunak long gourd. I have high hopes for this one.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
129 McWilliams long gourd. I'm going to try training s couple secondary vines along the ground to see if I can get them to root out. The gourd bed is well mulched with grass clippings. I have to add to it through the season as it deteriorates. The bagger on my John Deere riding mower makes that chore easy.
 
Thursday, June 9 View Page
Some tomatoes, peppers and sunflowers at the edge of one of the pumpkin beds. Well mulched with grass and rye I pulled out of the electric fence. I think I have the soil fertility in good shape; a lot of the rye was well over 6' tall when it started to head out. These aren't for competition, just home use.
 
Monday, June 13 View Page
Yesterday was a day of firsts. First female AG appeared, first male AG flowers opened, first long gourd female showed um, 6" above the ground. This morning I started tilling some weeds up when the tiller gear box started clattering and the wheels quit turning. Now I have to get Jacob to help me load it into the truck so I can try to fix it. In the meanwhile, I sprayed the weeds with glyphosate. No wind to cause drift helped. And things had been tilled once so the ground isn't too hard. My 962 with the main vine split is flagging in the heat, It needs more vine roots to survive.
 
Friday, June 17 View Page
Pollination is starting early. This one is on a secondary on the 1579carlson-Petersen. One on the main will open in in a day or two.
 
Friday, June 17 View Page
15818.5 Bryson looking good. Weeds dying off after glyphosate spray. I did hit one of the field pumpkins with just a little bit of spray drift. I hope it survives. I didn't want to use herbicide, but broken tiller gearbox changed that plan.
 
Friday, June 17 View Page
2 89McWilliams field pumpkins that did not get hit with spray. We plan to let one grow to the right and one to the left. The one to the left will have to cross a drainage ditch and grow into a small sweetcorn patch.
 
Friday, June 17 View Page
139.25 Ansems long gourd climbing the trellis.
 
Monday, June 20 View Page
I applies Bug B Gon and Agri Fos to the pumpkins and long gourds, Cucumber beetles were showing updspite last week's application of Imidacloprid. The long gourds got shot of Infuse last week. The 139.25 and 141,25 are looking good, but the 129 is showing signs of the brown creeping crud. I picked affected leaves to try to stop the spread. They will get a shot of Daconil foe good measure later this week. Pollination is going earlier this year, and so is the intense heat. I need to start freezing some water bottles and lining up some shade to keep the new babies cool.
 
Wednesday, June 22 View Page
We missed the big storm for a change. When I got up, Cedar Rapids already had 4.5" and Iowa City had over 5" of rain and it was coming down hard. But after it stopped, we obviously had a lot less. Our creek was muddy but not much higher. No repeat of the flood from June 2 years ago. No hail or wind damage. Only had one pollination, on the 962.5. The flower was full of water and I had to tear it to drain it out. Not sure if this one will take, but its still early. Looks like several will be ready to pollinate tomorrow.
 
Sunday, June 26 View Page
All main vines have pollinations. It has been impossible to mahe the 1444 x 1047.5 cross I wanted to make so far. The 1047.4 never has males ready at the right time, just one this morning. Lomg gourd leaves are showing some of the brown lesions despite 2 Infuse and one Agri Fos applications. They will get more Agri Fos along with Daconil today and Infuse next week. Other than that the gourds are growing like crazy. The 129 is setting female flowers from 6" to 4; off the ground. Everything else in the garden is doing well, including the rabbits. I will have to do something to keep them out as electric fence is useless to stop them. They are just too fast and are through it before they get much of a zap. I applied my Anthesis and will start Big Stem applications too.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
Watching pelicans fly through the sunset on the Green Bay in Door County is not what most pumpkin growers would be doing during pollination season. But Jacob was home to look after the patch, so my wide and I got away for a few days.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
What I found in the patch this morning. The 1579 Carlson-Petersen was getting sick before we left for Door County. It had gotten one Agri Fos treatment before it got sick and another one just before we left. The disease hasn't progresses but it hasn't grown on the sick vines. I blame it on compaction and poor drainage. If I pull the plant I will use a brassica cover crop with Groundhog Radish. This plot will be sweet corn next season to give it a rest from pumpkins and time to resolve the compaction and start draining better.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
Good news, the 1818.5 Bryson is growing great and it looks like this pollination is going to make it. So far it looks like a big round shape may develop.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
Female on the 1047.5 this morning. Lobes and petals were messed up. I was late getting up, didn't tie it shut after self pollinating with 2 males. This plant has been a problem from the start when the main started running the wrong direction.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
Typical males on the 1047.5, split down the middle. Must be something genetic with this one, won't be saving seeds unless it produces something special.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
139.25 Amsems. A couple leaves burned by the infuse, but anthracnose is not running wild. I keep removing leaves if they get too many brown spots.
 
Thursday, June 30 View Page
141.25 Vunak and 129 McWilliams. The 129 is showing more signs of the anthracnose and fungicide burn. But it is growing like crazy. The 141.25 is looking great.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
View of the patch this morning. Except for weedy drainage ditches, it doesn't look too bad.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
Hidden from the previous view was the 1579 Carlson-Petersen. My attempt to save it failed. It pulled out easily, not rooted well at all. I blame it on poor drainage due to compaction. This spot won't see pumpkins until 2018. will grow the 1579 again, as it started out as the fastest grower in the patch.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
1818.5 Bryson looks like it wants to go round and orange. Now the best looking plant in the patch.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
962.5 McWilliams. Not sure if this one will take off and grow, but I hope it does. I like the long stem.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
Half broken stump on the 962.5. It had slower growth, nut now that the vine roots are growing it is catching up to the other plants.
 
Monday, July 4 View Page
2 pollinations on 89 McWilliams field pumpkins this morning. All will be self/sib as we just have 4 plants and they are all from my 89# personal best. We tried germinating others but these are the only ones that grew.
 
Tuesday, July 5 View Page
With rain due tonight, it was an ideal time to apply another shot of Merit. Before the insecticide application, Jacob and I got weed fabric and sand under the 1818.5. The 1965 and 1444 will get fabric and sand in a couple days. The only plant without a fruit set on the main is the 1047.5. I pollinated one on a secondary yesterday when it was still cool Today it hit 81. Time to freeze more water bottles for future pollination attempts.
 
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
We had a big storm last night. Lots of rain brought the creek up about half full. Some corn fields west of us had wind damage, Monticello 12 miles north had lots of tree damage and a power outage. The pumpkins here survived OK. Only one field pumpkin vine rolled and that will recover. A small patch of sweetcorn was standing tall.
 
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
My larger sweetcorn patch was lying down on the job. Hopefully it stands back up. It was lying in all directions so it must have been a big downdraft; something that the hills and trees couldn't stop. We have more storms coming tonight.
 
Wednesday, July 6 View Page
1047.5 in the foreground. About the wimpiest plant, an area that got a lot of added dirt and compaction. Long gourde starting to fill up the trellis.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Day 23 on the 1965 Brandt pollinated with 1047.5 McWilliams, Estimated weight 178#, gained 26# per day the past 3 days, treated with Big Stem. I'm trying to combine the great color of the 1047.5 with the heavy-to-chart trait from the 1965.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
day 23 on the 1443 Halverson, self pollinated. Estimated weight 186#, gained 27# per day the past 3 days. I originally wanted to cross this with the 1047.5 to combine 2 orange lines, but I was short on males on the day it was ready. This one looks like it will go orange, but the shape is not as nice as I would like. Since the 1047.5 was a selfed 359 Foss, I can cross it with this one next year. Also treated with Big Stem.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
Day 23 on the 1818.5 Bryson, pollinated with the 1579 Carlson-Petersen. Estimated weight 226#, gained 29# per day last 3 days. Treated with Big Stem. This one looks like it wants to go orange too, and has a good shape so far. By far the best start we have ever had in our patch, but there is a lot of time for things to go wrong.
 
Wednesday, July 13 View Page
I tried 2 shots of Anthesis: the 1579 that was lost to disease and one on the 1965 that aborted. That's the chance you take. The 962.5 McWilliams with half a stump has a pumpkin set on the main. And the main is half broken off a couple feet past the pumpkin. Luckily most of the plant is behind the fruit. The 1047.5 has one set on the main and 2 on secondaries. So far they appear to be going orange and have good shape. Jacob and I are considering to try for 2 pumpkins on this plant, hoping for a Howard Dill contender. If we do we will feed this one a little more to try to keep decent size. Weather has been fluctuating between nice, sunny, low humidity to hot and humid. We have been getting adequate rain, but it looks like we may be getting hot and dry. Storms are running through the area right now.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
We had a nice rain overnight and early morning. Some towns in eastern Iowa had wind damage but we missed that. This id the 962.5 McWilliams at 22 DAP. No measurements yet. It looks like it didn't get any of the orange color from the 359 Foss pollinator. Not expecting much with less than half of a stump.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
1818.5 Bryson, day 27. Est. 326#, gaining 25# per day last 4 days. It is a good 2 days ahead of my personal best by the tape. Hopefully it keeps on and goes a little heavy instead of way light like last year.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
1965 Brandt day 27. Est. 265# gaining 22# per day last 4 days. It has outgrown 2 flour sack towels and needs a tarp. I hope this one goes crazy heavy like its mother.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
1444 Halverson day 27. Est 289#, gained 26# per day last 4 days. It has a larger white fabric cover but will be needing a tarp too. It has the nice orange color and sunken blossom end of its mother.
 
Sunday, July 17 View Page
yhe 1047.5 has 2 pumpkins set on secondaries and one on the main. We will decide in a couple days how many to keep. we have 5 watermelons going on 3 plants so far, and several long gourds going too. The early field pumpkins aborted but we have more coming on now. Sweet corn has been pollinating and we are getting some peppers. Tomatoes will be ripening soon. It looks like we are in for a hot week. If we get a break in the rains I will brew some compost tea. It has been too wet to add extra water so far. Cucumber beetles are still present and need another shot of bifenthrin. We also need to give the pumpkins some Agri Fos and the long gourds some Infuse.
 
Tuesday, July 19 View Page
It rained on Sunday and again today. It is going to get hot, ideal conditions for disease. I sprayed Agri Fos yesterday and will spray Daconil when we get cooler weather. I hit everything with bifenthrin tonight; cucumber beetles getting real bad and I even have seen a couple squash bugs lately. The 1047.5 seems to be showing signs of magnesium deficiency. Could be as I didn't add any this spring and the rains may have leached it out. I will foliar feed some Epsom salt. Tomorrow is day 30 for 3 pumpkins, time for more measurements.
 
Wednesday, July 20 View Page
1818.5 Bryson 30 DAP est 410#, gained 28# per day last 3 days 1965 Brandt 30 DAP est 354#, gained 30# per dat last 3 days 1444 Halverson 30 DAP est 358#, gained 23# per day last 3 days 962.5 McWilliams 25 DAP est 186#, first measurements. I found some oozing on the main right above the cracked stump. Big Stem application is due in a few days, I may bump it up to see if it helps with the pressure in the vine. Will also give it some extra fungicide treatment. Continual rain is not helping it.
 
Thursday, July 21 View Page
Current temp is 93, heat index is 113. I got shade tarps and white cloth on the 3 biggest pumpkins and white cloth on the rest. No flagging of leaves, but some new leaves are sunburned. Everything got sprinkled once today, and will get sprinkled at least twice tomorrow. I hope this heat wave breaks soon.
 
Friday, July 22 View Page
It rained again last night with more in the forecast for tonight.I will put off sprinkling the pumpkins today, just rely on shade tarps and white sheets. It is supposed to be cooler today, just 81 with heat index of 107.. It was Big Stem application #2 today for the 1444, 1818.5 and 1965. I did use just a little on the 962.5. The stump quit oozing, it just looked like some old age cracks. Hopefully the Big Stem helps control the pressure. And I painted on some Daconil. I handle all of the chemical application, no sense having a young guy like Jacob get exposed to chemicals when there is an old guy like me to do it. He makes up by doing some of the heavy chores that are too much for my arthritic joints.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
1818.5 Bryson day 34, est. 538#, gained 29# per day last 4 days. The fiberglass posts hold the white sheet on in the breeze, I used a slick fabric remnant.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
962.5 McWilliams day 29. eat. 268#, gained 20.5# per day last 4 days. Not as good as the others but not bad for a small plant with half a stump. With 9 to 10 weeks to grow it could still make a decent size.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
1965 Brandt day 34, est. 486#. It gained 33# per day the last 4 days.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
1444 Halverson day 34, est. 45#. Gain slowed to 12# per day the past 4 days. It must not like the high heat and continual rain.
 
Sunday, July 24 View Page
Watermelons are doing OK, but we need a break in the rain and heat so we can weed them. We lost 1 to blossom rot. Long gourds are still aborting, not what we wanted to see. Pumpkins and melons got a light foliar shot of Epsom salt and fertilizer. Cucumber beetles are still present but not as bad. You know it is humid when the dew in the grass hasn't dried out by 1:30 PM.
 
Wednesday, July 27 View Page
Lost the stump on the 962.5 today. I saw that the leaves on the first secondary vine were dying off and there was more ooze on the stump. After some scraping I was down to less than a fourth of the stump, so I cut the main a safe distance past the dying vine. It looked like the main was OK, but as I pulled the sick vine it was full of blowouts and brown mush. I will treat the cut end of the main with Daconil and sulfur, and use systemic fungicides on the rest of the plant (Agri Fos and Infuse) On the bright side, I picked a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes and peppers and the sweetcorn will be ready by the weekend, if the coons stay out. So far the electric fence is keeping the coons and groundhogs out, but rabbits get in and eat tomatoes.
 
Thursday, July 28 View Page
1414 Halverson, gains down to just 14# in 4 days. I cut off a sick secondary vine last night and this morning the pumpkin stem was slimy. Must be disease. We will try to get another one set, still have 60+ days to get something for weighoff. At least the insecticide spray last night worked, no cucumber beetles seen today.
 
Thursday, July 28 View Page
The stump on the 962.5, just a bunch of ooze. The cut off main looks healthy, the rest of the plant didn't seem to suffer. Gained 86# last 4 days, est 354# at day 33. 65 days until Anamosa Pumpkinfest, 72 days to Pawnee City Harvest Bash so maybe it can still make a decent pumpkin.
 
Thursday, July 28 View Page
On to better results. 1965 Brandt, day 38 est 560#, gained 19# per day last 4 days. I little slower growth but that could just be in the measurements as I just go to the nearest inch. Plus Jacob packed more sand around it so that might have shortened up the side to side and end to end measurements.
 
Thursday, July 28 View Page
1818.5 Bryson, day 38 est 617#, gained 27# per day last 4 days. It is 2 days ahead of my personal best according to days after pollination, but it pollinated 13 days earlier. If the Big Stem treatment keeps it growing longer and it doesn't go way light and nothing bad happens I might get a new personal best. But there still is time for a lot to go wrong. I measured our best watermelon, 125, 60". Maybe another personal best? Still no long gourds 60#? Still no long gourds going yet but plenty of time left for that.
 
Monday, August 1 View Page
1818.5 Bryson, 42 DAP on August 1, 709# gaining 23# per day last 4 days. Last year on Aug 1 my personal best was day 30, 342#. I hope this one holds up. The 1965 Brandt showed no growth at all the last 4 days :( I guess I need to try for another one on this and a 60 day pumpkin by October. But in the past plants this big usually blow up new fruit. On the positive side the 962 grew 20# per day with no stump and a big secondary removed. If nothing else goes wrong I hope it makes 1000#. Other good news, our best watermelon is gaining 2# per day, will be a new personal best in 3 weeks at this pace. But we have a new batch of baby rabbits. They have become a plague and the electric fence won't stop them.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
Trying to set a new pumpkin on the 1444; one blew apart, one is weird shaped, partly shriveled at stem end. I have a few more options. I also have a couple trying to set on the 1965. Then I found one I missed that set on thr 1818.5, looks to be about 50# already. I'm concerned about the blossom end on the 1818, has the shape that's prone to splitting. I just might keep the new one to take pressure off the big one. As long as gains stay reasonable it has plenty of time to beat my personal best. the 862.5 id still growing great without a stump, and the 2 on the 1047.5 are going good too. Jacob and I are still hopeful that we will have decent pumpkins for both Anamosa and Pawnee City.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
The 1414 is looking good, but barely growing. I'm afraid it won't last much longer in this heat. I at least want to save seeds as it is selfed and I like the color.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
I'm trying to set another pumpkin on the 1414. I don't think this one will make it. I had another one blow apart at baseball size. There are others that have a chance. We have rain and cooler weather coming in. That should help.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
Best looking pumpkin on the 1047.5. I noticed a couple small rabbit nibbles low on one side. I have to get out the fox urine, chicken wire and pellet rifle.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
The second best pumpkin on the 1047.5. Good color, shape isn't the best. Almost as big as the other pumpkin. The next picture will explain why it probably won't do as well.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
This one set on a tertiary vine, just a couple inches from the secondary. The bees pollinated it and I didn't pay too much attention to it because I had one going on the main. It really took off during our last heat wave and grew over the tertiary. It caused split on the vine and stem. I cut off the tertiary and it kept growing. It has been painted with Daconil to prevent rot.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
The 1818.5 Bryson is still growing great. It started putting stress on the main past the pumpkin, so I cut it loose. I was expecting that to happen sooner or later, and most of the plant is behind the pumpkin. I had to do the same thing with the 962.5. It had even less vine past the pumpkin and the main was half way broken less than a foot past the stem. I will see just what this plant has with no stump and no vine past the fruit.
 
Thursday, August 4 View Page
This is the pumpkin on the main of the 1047.5. The black mold indicates its fate. Just 2 pumpkins for this plant.
 
Friday, August 5 View Page
We got over 2" of needed rain last evening. The ground had not gotten too dry and no signs of ant splits. Tonight I gave the cucumber beetles a one - two punch of insecticides. Those stubborn buggers just won't die. I have a new contender on the 1444 plant, on a vine that grew out into the drainage ditch. We will deal with loading it if it manages to survive. The 962.5 is still going strong with no stump and no vine past the fruit. It is time to start some feedings to keep them from slowing down. Just 8 weeks until our first weigh-off.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
I went to the patch and saw no signs of cucumber beetles. I had to weed and cut field pumpkin and long gourd vines off the electric fence. I got too close once and found that it is still very hot. I got lucky with the sweetcorn. It stood back up after the wind knocked it down and I got it picked and lost only 3 ears to the coons. We got enough for a few meals and froze 18 quarts. Watermelons are still doing great, will need a fungicide treatment this evening.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
My daughter Jessica came down to the garden, so I used her to have a size comparison for the pumpkins. This is the 1818.5, about 800# now with 8 weeks to grow. It only needs to average 31# per week to beat my personal best. But a lot of things can go bad in that time.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
This is one of the bad things that can happen. The 1965 Brandt is done. It stopped growing 8 days ago at 560#. We will find out what happened tomorrow when we cut it up and haul it out.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
The 962.5 growing with no stump and no vine past the pumpkin. 42 days old just over 500#. I hope that if we push some fertilizer we can still get it to 1000#.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
One of the 1047.5 pumpkins, around 300#. It isn't as old as the other pumpkins, but it is growing quickly. I like the shape and color.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
This was our biggest watermelon, but another one decided to really step up the pace. IF we can keep them healthy and keep the rabbits away they should easily give me and Jacob new personal bests. I bought some rabbit repellant today, the store was out of fox urine. I will also put chicken wire around them too.
 
Saturday, August 6 View Page
I planted a few decorative sunflowers in one corner of the garden. They were only supposed to get 5' to 7' tall. Jessica is 5'6", so you can see they grew a lot more than I expected. The soil was just fertilized like the rest of the pumpkin patch, mulched with grass clippings, and had no Pumpkin Pro added. I wonder what we could have grown if we used a really tall variety and mycorrhizae. We might have to give that a try next year.
 
Sunday, August 7 View Page
I found no good reason for the demise of the 1965. It had thick walls all around, but half of the bottom and part way up one side were rotted into slimy mush. Part of it was where it grew off the sand and weed fabric. I suspect mouse damage. It was within a few feet of where a mouse wrecked my last remaining pumpkin 2 years ago, so that is the main suspect. It hade 560# in 38 days, and I have more time than that with a much bigger plant. Maybe I can get something decent going on it yet.
 
Monday, August 8 View Page
1818.5 Bryson est 853# on day 49. Gained 19.5# per day last 4 days, 962.5 McWilliams est 549# on day 45. Gained 16# per dat with no stump and no main vine past the fruit. 1444 Halverson quit growing and the leaves are starting to look sick. I don't know if has the same problem that killed the 1579 Carlson-Petersen. It did get lots of skid loader compaction last fall, but it could be insect borne. Cucumber beetles have been bad and there have been a few squash bugs. 1047.5 McWilliams: one pumpkin is up to 379# gaining 19# per day. The one with the split vine/stem is only doing about 5# a day. We have a new contender on the 1965 Brandt. About volleyball size now, about a week old with a huge healthy plant. 54 days till Pumpkinfest, 61 days until Harvest Bash. Plenty of time to get something decent as long as nothing else goes wrong. Watermelons still plodding along and we may have a long gourd going. Its just on a bad spot on the trellis and will need extra attention to keep it straight.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
The 1818.5 Bryson won't win a HD award, It keeps on oozing and cantalouping. The shade from the blue tarp does make the color look less orange than it really is. I didn't measure but it should be over 900# now.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
This one on the 1047.5 McWilliams does have pretty pumpkin potential. Sane nice color as the mother. Over 400# now for a late starter on a secondary vine.
 
Wednesday, August 10 View Page
Look what the bees did for us on the 1965 Brandt. Judging by its size it must have pollinated around July 30, 2 months before weighoffs start. It is close to a drainage ditch and may be hard to load, but we will worry about that later. It is on the very back secondary that I ran to the edge of the plot, then turned to run parallel to the main. It is about 2 rows deep into the sweetcorn plot. It has a huge plant to feed it. We just let this plant go after the first pumpkin quit on us. I guess this is what you call a happy accident. We will take it.
 
Thursday, August 11 View Page
Looks like it will be a hot rainy day. First line of storm is moving in but breaking up. We are supposed to get heavy rain this evening. I have been watering the past 2 days, and we had heavy rain last weekend, so hopefully there won't be any bad growth spurts. We have started giving the plants a little shot of soluble fertilizer to prevent the inevitable slowdown from starting too soon.
 
Thursday, August 11 View Page
I got out to do some measurements before the heavy rain started. 1818.5 Bryson day 52 est 897#. gains slowed to 15# per day. 962.5 McWilliams day 47 est 594#, gaining 15# per day. 1047.5 McWilliams pumpkins, one est 433# gaining 18# per day, the one with the bad vine split est 338#, gaining 8# per day. The watermelon I have been tracking is now at 90#, gaining 3# per day. Just 6 days at that pace it will make a new personal best. Hopefully a good rain and an end to the 100 degree heat index will get pumpkin growth picking up again.
 
Friday, August 12 View Page
We dodged the big storm last night. We got about 1.5", but some areas to the south and west got over 5". One town got 7". I had kept the soil from drying out too much so hopefully there were no blowouts
 
Saturday, August 13 View Page
I opened up the 1444 Halverson to save some seeds. The vine is diseased and will be pulled to get ready for the fall cover crop. The seeds should be good, quite a few were already germinating inside the pumpkin. The mother pumpkin was good enough to win the Howard Dill award, and this one has much better color. I self pollinated it and plan to cross it with my 1047.5 next year. Speaking of the 1047.5, the smaller pumpkin is crawling along at 8# per day. It has stem issues and needs some scraping and sulfur. The other one gained 74# in the last 2 days, so it isn't suffering from having other one on the plant. It is at 507# now, so if it holds up it should be a decent pumpkin. The 1818.5 is est. 967#, a 70# gain in 2 days. The 962.5 gained just 11 pounds in 2 days, but I won't panic yet. It might just be errors in measurements. It still looks healthy. Best watermelons are now est. 90# and 97#.
 
Monday, August 15 View Page
81 degrees today, dew point 70 degrees, cloudy, dead calm. Prescription for powdery mildew. There was no sign of it in the patch yesterday at noon, but it was there this evening. It was on about 1o% of the field pumpkin leaves and starting to get on the 1818.5 Bryson. I sprayed everything with Daconil and Agri Fos. I will start using milk tomorrow. I need to get after the cucumber beetles again. They just won't die. I will add another insecticide, makes the 5th one this year. Something has to take them out, I hope.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
News from the patch isn't too good. The 1818.5 Bryson has slowed down a lot. My last measurements probably were off because it looked like it was really taking off, but average gains over the last 9 days have been just 13# a day. I guess I need to feed it a little more to see id I can keep it going. It has a long time to go until Anamosa Pumpkinfest.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
The 952.5 is growing slowly, at estimated 647# now. It averaged 11# a day over the past 4 days. Not bad for no stump. It will get some extra feedings too, It is growing a "nose" that is curling down over the blossom end. Not a typical pumpkin shape.
 
Wednesday, August 17 View Page
the 1047.5 averaged 19 # per day the past 4 days, good for a fruit on a secondary with another pumpkin on the plant. Bad thing is that it has developed a small split next to the stem. It isn't deep but I don't want it to get deeper. This one will not get extra feedings. Currently estimated at 582#, color is still great.
 
Friday, August 19 View Page
The pumpkins have been getting morning water/feedings with hose end sprayer and evening drench of water warmed in black garbage can with light fertilizer,1818.5 Bryson gained 41# in the past 2 days. 962.5 McWilliams gained 30#, but it has a new problem. Leaves are dying off, looks like phytophtora in the Mad Scientist's list of foliar problems. I hope it isn't that because that poor plant has already lost the stump, a big secondary and the end of the main. The 1047.5 McWilliams gained 29# in the past 2 days with no more splitting problems. We finally have 2 decent long gourds going. One is 71" and the other is 79" and still very skinny. They just didn't set until the vines were going down the far side of the trellis. We have them taped to slant boards to try to keep them straight.
 
Tuesday, August 23 View Page
We went from hot humid to 2 cool mornings near 50 degres. Pumpkin growth has slowed way down. In the past 4 days, the 1818.5 gained just 8 pounds, the 962.5 gained 26 pounds and the 1047.5 main pumpkin gained 18 pounds. The small pumpkin is right at 400# gaining just 5 pounds a day. But we have over 1000# total on that plant with a little over 5 weeks to grow. We are watering and fertilizing. They aren't due for the last sgot of Big Stem for a few days but I think I will go ahead and apply it to see if it gets things going? Can't hurt at this point. We do have rain coming in, forecast for 1 to 2 inches. That might geet therm going again. And temps are supposed to stabilize the next week with highs 77 to 82 and lows in the 60's. Our top 2 watermelons are taping 107 and 109 pounds, right at my personal best. The long gourds are disappointing. One is growing straight but slow on a slant board. The other is trying to grow like a snake. I dug a lot to get the board closer to vertical and am using strips of cloth to hold it on. I thought the tape was causing bends where the gourd couldn't slide. I still need over 40 inches of growth to make my personal best, don't know if it will make it.
 
Friday, August 26 View Page
Yesterday was spray day: Big Stem, 2 insecticides, 3 fungicides, milk for the powdery mildew and some foliar fertilizer. This morning there were still too many cucumber beetles to suit me. Over the past 3 days, the 1047.5 gained 30#, the 962.5 gained 13 pounds and the 1818.5 gained just 8 pounds. I found an open pollinated pumpkin hiding under the leaves of the 1818.5 and cut it off. Maybe that will help it along. I measured our best field pumpkin, right about 100 pounds, but it had started to split the blossom end. It doesn't look like it got to the cavity so I hope it holds up. It is starting to turn orange so maybe it is done growing and splitting. Gourds are trying to become snakes on the slant boards, but I have a couple that set higher on the trellis. Disease is getting bad. I slacked off on the fungicide when everything on the top of the trellis aborted and the vines started going down the far side. I have to cut back on the nitrogen next year.
 
Friday, August 26 View Page
Pumpkin on the 1047.5 McWilliams, same great color as the parent. Maybe I should have removed the other one on a secondary, but I was hoping for one on the main. All the main vine pumpkins aborted. I think we will grow 2 or 3 of these next year.
 
Friday, August 26 View Page
Gourd on the 139.25 Ansems. Everything high on the trellis aborted, this 0ne set only about 6' off the ground on the far side. These skinny gourds are hard to keep straight on a slant board. We have a couple more that set later about 9' off the ground. If disease doesn't stop them they might do OK. But you can see from the brown leaves that disease is bad. Way too humid this year with real light winds. I think they need better air movement.
 
Friday, August 26 View Page
Gourd on the 141.25 Vunak. The gourds with the bigger lower end straighter, but I found that if you tape the skinny end they will bend between the taped sites.
 
Monday, August 29 View Page
We have already started preparation on the parts of the patch where we lost a pumpkin plant. Hauled in compost, site hoops for the hoop house, planted cover crop. I found some good clearance sales on potting soil. I dug a big hole and added 2 co. ft. of potting soil where the seedling will go next spring and tilled the rest of the 6' x 6' spot with a fork. Cover crop consists of oats in the hoop, and a blend of oats and Big Buck Brassica mix in the rest. The mix has groundhog radish to break up compaction. The rest of the brassicas have some of the same disease fighting properties as mustard. I will use the remainder of the potting soil to add to the main vine trenches and as vine cover. Hopefully this sterile mix with perlite will help prevent disease next year. Long gourds are still doing their coiled snake impersonation. We will be lucky to get one up to 100" this year.
 
Monday, August 29 View Page
At least one or two hoops will be covered up with plastic for the winter. I want to keep the soil thawed longer in the winter and warmed up quicker in the spring. It will help us get a quicker start in our cold valley. I may even try to grow a pumpkin for the state fair for the first time next year.
 
Tuesday, August 30 View Page
I took measurements today. The 1818.5 now at 1089#, gained 58# in the past 4 days. Its not done growing yet. The 962.5 is now 729#, just 13# gain in the last 4 days. It keeps having a few leaves get all brown on the edges every few days. The rest are the healthiest in the patch so I just cut the bad ones off. The small pumpkin on yhe 1047.5 tertiary is 466#, gained 65# in the past 7 days. The larger one on a secondary is now 729#, gaining 70# in 4 days. At that rate it has a shot at making 1000#. We have a few decent field pumpkins. Best watermelons are taping 115# and 119#, gaining 2 to 3# a day. Already past personal best, if they make it to October. Our best long gourd is 96", would be over 100" if it were straight. At least its better than being shut out like last year.
 
Sunday, September 4 View Page
Growth slowed way down on the 1047.5. I was blaming it in dry cooler weather, Then I went out to give it some water and fertilizer with the hose end feeder when I found 2 small pumpkins stealing from the big one. They are removed, and we are supposed to get some warmer weather and rain. Hopefully it will pick up again. The 1818 and 962 are still creeping along, gaining just 1" OTT every 3 to 4 days. I just want them to hold on until the weighoffs. We have 2 going on the 1965 Brandt. Biggest is around 180#. It won't be anything great but we aren't giving up. The long gourds are rotting on the blossom ends. We might get 2 to the weighoff. Its time to cut them off, wipe down with bleach and store them in the garage.
 
Wednesday, September 7 View Page
Measurements today. 1818.5 Bryson day 79, est. 1107# gaining 4# per day. If it holds up and doesn't go too light it may be a personal best. 962.5 McWilliams day 74,est. 755# gaining 5# per day 1047.5 McWilliams around day 70, 796# gaining 10# per day. This one has 30 days until it is picked, so we hope it can keep up the 10# pace for a while. We have some late sets on plants that lost pumpkins earlier in the season, but they aren't growing as fast as we hoped, Our best long gourd rotted on the end, so we will be lucky to have one over 6' long. Our biggest field pumpkins are turning orange and won't grow much but at least 1 will be a personal best if it holds up. We have another green one growing but I'm sure the state record is in no danger of being broken by me or Jacob. Watermelons have slowed down but are personal bests if they survive ti the weigh off.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
Our biggest watermelon is turning yellow. Not a good sign with a lot of time until a weigh off.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
Is that an ugly stem or what?
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
The rest of the pumpkin isn't the best shape, but the color is OK. Still plodding along at 6# per day the past 2 weeks, now est. 544#. Not bad considering its on a tertiary, the crummy stem and another pumpkin on the plant.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
Here is the other pumpkin on the 1047.5. Est 831# gaining 7# per day. The cool nights and another 30# pumpkin on the plant slowed it down. This makes a total estimated 1375# between 2 pumpkins on one plant.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
Not what you want to see on your best gourd. It was only about 90"so it wouldn't have won anything.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
This gourd did the opposite, rotted at the stem end. Next year I need to cut way back on nitrogen. The early blooms all aborted and vines went wild. Once the nitrogen was used up and leached out by all the rains they set. But all the growth shut off air circulation, the August calm and humidity set in, I had slacked off on fungicides and the fungus took over. I guess you are never too old to learn.
 
Monday, September 12 View Page
The 1818.5 Bryson is stuck at 1107#. The tape says it isn't growing, but a few oozing cracks tells me it isn't completely done. Ditto for the 962.5 McWilliams, stuck at 755#. Mildew keeps advancing slowly despite Daconil and milk sprays, and cucumber beetles refuse to die. I hit them with spray yesterday. It is supposed to rain tomorrow but the next dry evening they will get hit again.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Cover crop where we lost a plant. Oats and Big Buck Brassica mix (forage brassica, dwarf Essex rape, purple top turnip and groundhog radish). After weigh offs we will open the fence to let deer in to eat it off. Last year we used rye and in the spring we had 6' tall plants in the electric wires. A mess to kill and pull out.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Field pumpkin showing up as leaves die back from PM and age. A personal best if it holds up, We nearly lost it to blossom split, but the split stopped before it got to the cavity and it healed over.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Another nice field pumpkin by the electric fence. I tried to carefully pull some weeds for the photo. I missed the 2 low wires but the one at deer nose height got my shoulder. 20 minutes later I still feel it all the way down to mu finger tips.
 
Wednesday, September 14 View Page
Put sheets on watermelons to slow the sunburn. A smaller one has dried up stem. I need to get Jacob to help pull it out and get it into cool basement storage. I removed another pumpkin from the 1047.5 plant. Maybe that will help growth. Next week forecast is highs in 70's, lows in 50's so growth will not be great.
 
Sunday, September 18 View Page
Not a good day. While checking the bottom of our yellow pumpkin, the stem snapped. So we need to bring it into cool storage in the basement and hope it holds up until weigh off. Yesterday we picked the one with the dry stem and it was rotten on the bottom. Checked on the 962.5 and the whole bottom had rotted into a pile of mush. The 1818.5 hasn't grown since September 7. It has to last another 13 days until Pumpkinfest. Our Harvest Bash pumpkins are still growing, faster than they did the first part of September. One is at 912#, gaining 13.5 per day the last 6 days. The other is 608# gaining 10 per day. Warm weather, a bunch of rain and removing a couple of "sap suckers" seems to have boosted them. I hope it stays warm for them, but I wouldn't mind seeing it cool off for the 1818.5
 
Tuesday, September 20 View Page
Upper 80's yesterday, today and in the forecast through Saturday. Good for the 1047.5's that are still growing but bad for the 1818.5 that has stopped. I put a bigger shade tarp over it to try to keep it cool and put out more mouse bait. The people who drive by slow to check it out might not like it but too bad. It has to last another11 days. The vines and mush from the 962.5 have been removed. We set hoops at the opposite end to avoid the rotten stump. I dug a big hole and added 2 cu. ft. of potting soil and tilled the rest of the hoop area with a fork. The whole plot has been covered with compost and seeded with oats and brassica mix.
 
Thursday, September 22 View Page
We missed the big rains, up to 13" north west of us. Nothing but sprinkles here. Of course they hit when I was in the patch measuring pumpkins. I found that I made a 10" booboo recording the circumference of the big 1047.5. It is just under 900# now but still gaining 12# a day. The other one is 623# gaining 4.5# a day. We still might get something decent out of them. Biggest watermelon has just about stopped growing, second biggest cooling off in the basement. Nothing to brag about but still personal bests if the hold up. One field bumpkin may make a personal best too. I put out more animal repellant after I saw a deer eating clover just outside the electric fence. I yelled and waved my arms and it just stood there. I bet it won't be that tame when the bow season opens in October.
 
Friday, September 23 View Page
We are still missing the worst of the heavy rains, but the flooding mat affect fall patch work. The map of forecast flooding shows the Cedar River will close the streets into the Cedar Rapids compost facility and will get real close to the composting operation. Might not be able to get any more compost this fall. I'm glad we got 2 loads so far. I just hope it dries up so we can get the pumpkins loaded. Will be loading in 1 week for Anamosa and 2 weeks for Pawnee City.
 
Tuesday, September 27 View Page
We are getting a break in the wet weather, so I tried to get ready for loading the 1818 on Friday. I pulled out some useless vines and mowed off the remaining few weeds. I want to get the sun and breeze to dry the soil some so we don't tear up the patch too much. Since this pumpkin quit growing, it stays under the shade tarp and gets no blanket to keep it cool. It was down near 40 this AM.
 
Tuesday, September 27 View Page
The 1047's are still growing slowly, so they get a blanket night and full sun exposure during the day to keep them warm and adding pounds. The big one needs the pounds. It thumps like it is very thin walled and hollow.
 
Tuesday, September 27 View Page
I like the color. It has a few scabs and boogers on it, but still not to bad. The smaller one has lots of scars from the dang cucumber beetles that just won't die.
 
Tuesday, September 27 View Page
You might have heard about all the flooding in this area. This is the Hwy E-34 bridge over the Wapsipinicon river at the southwest corner of Anamosa. It is forecast to get 1.7' higher by tomorrow and then drop quickly. Anamosa has good flood protection and the weigh off site is high and dry. I hope everyone has safe travels to Pumpkinfest or you own local weigh off sites.
 
Thursday, September 29 View Page
Do you think we can get this soft spot healed up by Saturday? I guess Jacob will have to pick a different one to take to Pumpkinfest.
 
Thursday, September 29 View Page
I put chicken wire around the big 1047.5. Jacob found that a rabbit had nibbled on the 1818.5 and we won't tolerate that. The 1818.5 gets picked and loaded tomorrow.
 
Thursday, September 29 View Page
I got the woven wire I used to protect last year's 962.5 from rabbits to put around the 1818.5. It was too small, so I had to add some chicken wire to close the gap. That was encouraging. A rabbit was hanging out by the garden just taunting me. Rabbit season has been open for about 4 weeks but it has been too hot to go after them. Now that it is cooling off its time to go Elmer Fudd on them.
 
Friday, September 30 View Page
Loading the 1818.5, Jacob checking the bottom. It was OK but the stem was nearly rotted off. But the rot stopped before it got into pumpkin so it is good to go.
 
Friday, September 30 View Page
Our lifting setup. 1 ton chain hoist, a heavy tractor clevis, and 9 straps. 5 - 1.5" and 4 - 1" straps, 6' long. With that many straps and the long length, it doesn't out too much pressure on the pumpkin. Just enough to keep the rope from slipping.
 
Friday, September 30 View Page
My Anamosa watermelon didn't make it. It would have been a personal best.
 
Friday, September 30 View Page
After the 962.5 rotted and the second set on the 1444 rotted, Jacob was left with the second set on the 1965 Brandt. It doesn't look very big, but it is solid. Jacob and I could barely roll it onto a tarp and slide it out of the patch. Cucumber beetles were everywhere. Once we get the vines pulled out, I will nuke the piles with several insecticides. I hope we get some real cold weather this winter. I helps knock them down the next year.
 
Friday, September 30 View Page
It was a rough growing year, but we were still blessed. We got a potential personal best AG and decent field pumpkins. We had hot humid weather with too much rain, disease and bugs, but we missed the flooding that was all around us. I wish everyone safe travels, heavy weights and personal bests this year and a better season next year. Now its time for Pumpkinfest.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
My pumpkin went lighter than I hoped, but it just barely broke the 1000 barrier. Not a personal best but my highest finish ever at Anamosa. 5th place really surprised me, but a lot of growers got totally wiped out by the weather. I just have to place one spot higher to get a ride on the parade float.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
Another surprise was taking second in the field pumpkin. I had first place until the last entrant Marlene Kuhn with one a little bigger. My neighbor Rusty Caspers got third and Jacob got 4th. Surprisingly, all field pumpkins except Marlene's came from Anamosa.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
Pumpkin Master John Dirks received a well deserved award, being inducted into the Ryan Norlin Pumpkin Weighoff Hall of Fame. John has run the forklift flawlessly forever and really gets into the spirit. I don't know if the phoyo shows it, but his costume includes flashing orange lights.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
The Pumpkin Master even tried growing field pumpkins and took 5th place. Not bad for such wet, hot, humid weather.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
Guiding John Barlow's big pumpkin to the scale. The second heaviest ever weighed at Anamosa, and his second win in a row. It was his 4th win at Anamosa overall and ties him with Bob Ruff for the most wins.
 
Saturday, October 1 View Page
Beside winning the field pumpkin competition, Msrlene Kuhn (Kolache) took 6th place overall in the giant pumpkin and won the Howard Dill award.
 
Sunday, October 2 View Page
Jacob wasn't sure he would take his puny pumpkin to the weighoff. I told him to go ahead, I would pay his entry fee just to support our local event. We had no idea that things were so bad for so many growers and it would finish in the top 10, even if it was last place.
 
Sunday, October 2 View Page
The top 4 pumpkin growers got to ride through town in the parade. I'm sure Pete and Alba Caspers got candy throwing tips from the others, who have a lot of experience with that. I missed the float by just one place, so I have to work even harder next year.
 
Tuesday, October 4 View Page
There is rain in the forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday, and possibly heavy rain for Thursday, so we decided to load the pumpkins while we could. The hill to get out of the garden is just too steep if it gets wet. The smaller 1047.5 pumpkin has great color, but the ugliest stem I have ever seen.
 
Tuesday, October 4 View Page
It just fit between the wheel wells of the ranger without having to add another pallet.
 
Tuesday, October 4 View Page
The larger 1047.5 just fit in the back of the Ram. It has a better stem and a lot fewer scabs from all the cucumber beetle bites.
 
Tuesday, October 4 View Page
Rear end view of the 1047.5, strapped down and ready for a long ride.
 
Tuesday, October 4 View Page
We had a lot of stuff to haul up from the garden, so my wife Lu Ann volunteered to hold the little field pumpkin for the ride up to the house. We didn't want to leave them where the critters could get at them.
 
Wednesday, October 5 View Page
The Pumpkinfest awards. L to P: Rick Jolivette, 209, John Barlow with the big check for first place, Mark Petersen and Dan Carlson, third plus biggest pumpkin grown in Iowa and ugliest pumpkin, Pete Caspers 4th place with his daughter showing me(5th place) her ribbon, Rusty and Cheryl Caspers (Pete's parents and my next door neighbors)7th and 8th. my son Jacob 9th, and Marlene Kuhn 6th and Howard Dill winner.
 
Wednesday, October 5 View Page
When we took my 1001 off the truck along the road, Jacob and I had a big scare. As I was letting it down, the 1 ton chain hoist slipped a couple times, letting the pumpkin drop a couple inches very quickly. When we took Jacob's pumpkin off the truck, we slid it onto a tarp and lowered it by hand. Its good to have a big, strong, young guy around to help with the tough jobs.
 
Wednesday, October 5 View Page
I didn't take any chances when we lifted the remaining pumpkins. My prize for 2nd place field pumpkin was a $50 gift card to Theisen's Farm and Home store, and they had a new 2 ton hoist for $60.00. It has a better gear ratio, so it is easier to lift the big ones.
 
Wednesday, October 5 View Page
I noticed that the chain was starting to nick the skin of the pumpkin. I had to put a blanket on the pumpkin to prevent damage.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
We had a great day at the Pawnee City Harvest Bash yesterday. Several personal bests were established as well as several state records and Harvest Bash records in all 3 categories. Kansas State records for field pumpkin and watermelon - twice. Nebraska state record for Green squash and Field pumpkin. Jacob took home first place in field pumpkin; I would have had that one if the stem splits in mine hadn't opened up between loading and judging. I got 3rd in watermelon, fifth in pumpkin and Jacob got 7th in pumpkin. Plus I won the Howard Dill award to put the icing on the cake. I will post pictures later after I get them downloaded and sorted out. It was a long drive and we got home at 1 AM so we all are a little worn out.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Harvest Bash 2016, Pawnee City NE. New Kansas state record field pumpkin.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Harvest Bash site coordinator Nanette Hatfield set the Nebraska state record for field pumpkin and took 2nd place.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
My son Jacob McWilliams took first place with his personal best field pumpkin, and set the Harvest Bash record.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
1st place ribbon and check for $300 put a smile on Jacob's face.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Nebraska State Record Green Squash.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Don Young explaining to Sheriff Dave Davis how he grew his new Harvest Bash record pumpkin. Don missed breaking his own Iowa state record by just 20 pounds.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Don Young tried to show my daughter how to use depth of field and angles make my pumpkin look bigger than it really is. She didn't quite get the angle right this time.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
5th place plus the Howard Dill Award made it worth the trip, even if it weighed a lot lighter than I thought it would. I sure am glad they added a $500 cash prize too! Thanks a lot Pawnee City!!!
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
This young man who grows with his father set the Kansas State record for watermelon, even if it only lasted just a couple minutes.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
Next on the scale, Dad broke the Kansas state watermelon record. But his growing partner got to share the limelight.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
My personal best 115# watermelon was small compared to the Kansas giants, but it was good enough for third place.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
The only downer to the day was the fact that my personal best 104# field pumpkin was ruled DMG because the stem split opened up into the cavity sometime between loading and judging. There is no way of knowing how it happened, but rules are rules. My second best field pumpkin would have finished just out of the money anyway. My loss was Jacob's gain, moving him into first.
 
Sunday, October 9 View Page
My wife and daughter had fun watching the cars on I-80 pulling up beside us to take pictures. One of Pumpkinman Dan's friends snapped this photo and sent it to him. He forwarded on to me to see if it was us. Yep. That's my truck and my pumpkin with Jacob driving. I was following behind in the Ford Ranger hauling Jacob's pumpkin. Even a state trooper had to get out his phone and snap a picture. Lots of photos and questions at the gas, food and rest stops. Some of the best fun of big pumpkins is all the smiles it puts on people's faces.
 
Sunday, October 30 View Page
My daughter Jessica loves Halloween. We turned the 748 HD winner into a cannibal.
 
Sunday, October 30 View Page
Jessica decided the 1001 was shaped best for a friendly jack-o-lantern. She named it Happy.
 
Sunday, October 30 View Page
Jessica wanted an Iowa Tiger Hawk, so we used Jacob's 77.5 field pumpkin. I guess she didn't mind wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt with her Hawkeye pumpkin.
 
Sunday, October 30 View Page
United States Concealed Carry Association is having a pro 2nd amendment pumpkin carving contest. I don't have great carving skills so I tried to make up for that with size. Jacob's 559 had a good flat side for carving.
 
Sunday, November 13 View Page
My wife and I have been taking advantage of the warm weather to continue our Northeast Iowa trout trek. We have fished 8 different stream and one lake so far this year. This is a 2 person limit we got last week near West Union. Good eating baked or smoked, and the heads and guts get buried to feed next year's long gourds. Hopefully we can hit a couple more streams this week. No crowds this time of year, and the larger streams with big deep holes still have plenty of rainbows and brookies. And some big wild browns if you can trick them into biting; they are pretty smart and shy.
 
Sunday, November 13 View Page
Even if you don't catch any fish, the fresh air and scenery are still great. We haven't been totally skunked this year, but came close the first time out fishing in the lake. Lu Ann got the only trout that day. But they were having a fishing derby and that one fish won her a nice ultra light spincast rod and reel. She has caught a lot of fish with that lucky pole this year.
 

 

Top of Page

Questions or comments? Send mail to Ken AT bigpumpkins.com.
Copyright © 1999-2020 BigPumpkins.com. All rights reserved.