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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 149 Entries.
Saturday, January 2 View Page
Some Carolina Strongback melons still in the field. These things remind me of the Cucurbita ficifolia fruit. The plants are prolific and the fruit would probably keep forever if kept indoors. I have enough seed to last for a long, long time. The interior of the fruit are mostly seeds. The flesh is a yellow orange color and is not sweet. The seeds are reddish in color.
 
Saturday, January 2 View Page
The 'Harvest Moon' melons that were grafted onto the Strongback were very vigorous and yielded super heavily. The Strongback seems to be a slower starter than the squash rootstock and perhaps a little slower than the bushel gourd too. The leaves look very similar to a watermelon's but when grown right next to a watermelon you can tell the difference. It is not a big difference though. I am not sure if I will use this rootstock again next year or not. The grafting is a little trickier in my opinion because the seedlings are so small. It is like grafting a watermelon onto a watermelon. I am surprised that the Strongback still had stump blow ups for many growers. Perhaps it is not the dissimilarity in vigor between rootstock and scion that causes the problem but more about the way we are growing the grafted plants. If many fruit are allowed to grow on a plant I have not seen a huge issue with stumps. No matter what they are grafted too. Limit it to one massive quickly growing fruit and the stumps are very likely to blow apart, regardless of rootstock used.
 
Friday, January 29 View Page
It's been a mild winter here so far, well that ended last night and this morning. A slap in the face.... just a reminder that winter is still alive and well. High winds and very cold.
 
Saturday, March 20 View Page
I started a bunch of melons seeds and rootstocks for grafting a little over a week ago. They came up great! Unfortunately a mouse got into the greenhouse and mowed most everything down in one night. I started some more. I plan on growing three hybrid CCxJBD this year. They are a Chris Kent creation. A really pretty melon. I plan on growing one of his 52 Kent's (Black seeds) that that he pollinated with his 302 and he did the reverse of that where he put his 52 Kent pollen into a 302 Kent CC . (these have white seeds) I hope to grow one of each, thank you Chris for the seeds. I also plan to grow a melon from my f3 generation CCxJBD seeds. Either a 188 or 206. I also plan to plant a Carolina Cross. The mouse ate my 146.5 Young. So we will see what goes in the ground. I also look forward to growing my first ever giant cantaloupe. Thank you Doug English for the seed.
 
Friday, April 9 View Page
It's nice to see to log onto big pumpkins and see so many diaries being started up. It seems as if the new "acceptable" time to start becomes earlier and earlier each year. Ten-15 years ago, people would have thought you were crazy as a loon to start in early April. Now it is somewhat accepted practice as many of the top growers are starting earlier and earlier to try and get that coveted early to mid June pollination on a 12' main vine.
 
Thursday, May 6 View Page
The house I moved into a couple of years ago, has quite a few interesting plants that I discovered. My first year in the house I observed many really cool plants one of them I was not familiar with. (which is saying something, since plants are my life LOL) It was the Gas plant (Dictamnus albus) It is not commonly found in nurseries, so this spring I decided to divide up the plant, pictured here is one of the divisions I made. They bloom in late spring and have beautiful white flower spikes. The foliage is glossy and dark green and very fragrant. Here is a video of what the plant will do if you put a match under one of the blossoms. Pretty cool. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQTZyS7BKV8
 
Thursday, May 6 View Page
Some 'Harvest Moon' grafts on Strongback rootstock. I have struggled with the grafts this year. Many of them wilted and looked like crap for about a week and then have come out of it. The melons pictured are on Strongback rootstock. The Strongback takes a little longer to root for me than the squash or even the bushel gourd.(I cut the roots off the rootstock when making the graft, they then have to grow new roots off of the hypocotyl) The ones in the picture are just starting to form roots which usually means that the grafts are healed or nearly healed. Once the Strongback has a decent amount of roots I will lift the plant out of the mist bed and pot it up. The Strongback makes an ideal grafting partner to the smaller seedless melons as the seedlings are so tiny which matches up well with the smaller strongback seedlings.
 
Thursday, May 6 View Page
These are some of my Cantaloupes for this year. I have them on a Interspecific squash rootstock called RST 04 109. (Catchy name huh.) Many of these grafts almost died and have come back a little since they wilted initially. Some of the ones pictured may still croak off, we will see. I have a couple 56.2 English' and a 71.6 English that is grafted. I kept another one on it's own roots.
 
Thursday, May 6 View Page
Last but not least this is a 188 Ciesielski melon on a BG rampart hybrid rootstock. Which is a Chris Ken't invention. Thanks for the seeds Chris. I also got some rootstock from Lloyd Bright which is a giant vining Zucchini. Both of these rootstock's are new to me. Thank you Lloyd. The melon pictured will get planted outside when the weather looks like it will be good and stable. Usually mid to end of May. I haven't messed around with cold frames in several years, with my melons or my AG's. I just don't have the time. I will wait for mother nature to cooperate.
 
Thursday, May 13 View Page
I had some time this afternoon so I put my plants in the garden. I put in two AG's a 1778 '20 Skinner and a 1994 '20 Skinner. It has been very windy so i put up a windbreak around each plant. It will probably give a few degrees of increased temperature for the plant and also block those strong winds. Then I put in a 200" Ciesielski BG from 2017. That is the same seed I grew my 263.5 in 2019 off. Last but not least the melons went in. I put in three. All Black Diamond x CC crosses made by Chris Kent. I put in two 302 x 52 Kent plants and one 52 x 302 kent plant. These will be roughly 3/4 CC and 1/4 Jumbo Black Diamond if my math is correct. It will be fun to see what the fruit look like. Maybe I can grow a new personal best off of one of them. They are under row cover, I hope that will give me a nice jump start going into June. I had lots of troubles in the greenhouse this year with everything and had trouble with my grafts taking. Lots of fungus gnats which I believe in turn caused disease and graft failure. Some were able to come back and still made a decent looking plant. I still have a 225 Young CC in the greenhouse and a 188 Ciesielski watermelon. Perhaps they will see dirt somewhere too. The 188 should be a good seed to grow for black diamond type melons.
 
Friday, May 28 View Page
Watermelons have loved the weather since they were put in a couple of weeks ago. They really have grown and are vining out quick. It is cold now and will be for the next half week or so. It will warm up in the second part of the week and be back in the 80s for next weekend. This weekend looks to be really chilly and wet. We need the rain but tomorrows high is predicted to be in the upper 40's! The AG's were transplanted right before the hot weather at the same time as the melons were planted, they have really suffered. The plants wilted a lot and now one of my plant's main vines has sunscald. (I have never seen that before). I am not too worried about it. Both the 1778 and 1994 Skinner are showing the Precocious B gene, with yellow leaves and yellow vines. Maybe they will both be nice and orange. Two giant cantaloupes also went in the ground about a week ago. Both are on interspecific squash rootstock. They are off 56.2 English seed. I had major problems with graft failures this and I am not sure what to blame it on. However I did have quite a fungus gnat problem in the greenhouse and I believe this opened my roots up to fungal infection. (root rot)
 
Friday, May 28 View Page
I direct seeded some Jubilee and Allsweet melons because I only had 4 Harvest moon and 5 Orange crisp grafts survive. At almost a buck a seed for seedless melon seed, that is an expensive failure. Gardening is all about failure management and trying to turn lemons into lemonade. Never give up! As a gardener you are never 100% successful. Nature has too many variables to account for. If you want to approach being successful 100% of the time, stick to Engineering and trust in math.
 
Monday, June 7 View Page
Both my plants, the 1778 Skinner and the 1994 Skinner are exhibiting the precocious b gene. It seems to be very common now. Years ago I don't think we used to get many of them.
 
Wednesday, June 9 View Page
My giant melons look great. One of them is already showing spider mite damage. Son of a @@@###!!!. It probably picked them up from the greenhouse litlle shop of horrors. I hope to upload some pictures soon. I still use a digital camera then upload to my computer with a cord! So it is a bit of a pain to make a quality diary entry with photos.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
56.2 English Cantaloupe. I am using a hay mulch for it to grow out onto. It's my first time with the giant Cantaloupes.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
1994 Skinner at about 10' long now. The secondaries really need to get cracking before I will set one on this plant. I am using a hay mulch for it it to grow out onto.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
1778 Skinner at 12 feet long now. I am excited to see what these two Skinner plants will grow for me.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
52 Kent x 302 Kent melon. The 52 Kent is a hybrid CCxJBD and the 302 is the well known and sought after 302 Kent CC.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
302 x 52 Kent Carolina Cross. The reverse cross of the melon in the previous photo. So the genetic breakdown of this plant is 75% CC and 25% JBD. I am very excited to see what these look like.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
302 Kent x 52 Kent . I removed a lot of leaves from this one because they already were exhibiting spider mite damage. Hopefully the plant will get going and the spider mites will be a thing of the past by mid-summer.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
A new problem showed up this year on my onions. I noticed we were getting a lot of these curled leaves coming out and the plants were stunted and not growing properly. I pulled out a root and inside the onion there are these little brown bugs. eating the onion. I believe they are allium leaf miners. A new pest to show up on the scene. Last year was the first year they were documented in Connecticut. How did they find my garden so quickly? I may have to call the whole onion crop a loss, as most of them are showing some level of damage. Failures occur all the time in the garden even if you are an experienced gardener.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
Fortunately things often will balance out and one crop may fail to do well, but others will thrive. THis is the first year growing brassicas in this new garden and guess what? There are very few resident pests showing up thus far. Normally the spring brassica's are covered with flea beetles, Root maggots, European cabbage moths etc. Not these. I ordered several truck loads of leaf compost last fall and the leftover compost went on this plot. The plant's really seem to appreciate it.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
Overview of the melon patch, still lots of space to cover. Each plant gets roughly 12 x 30. I may give them a little more space depending on if I can keep the weeds out.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
I planted a strawberry pyramid. This was it's first year. I planted these berries really close together. I had lots of plants because I was taking them from an older overgrown patch of Honeoye berries that had gotten super weedy and beyond my help. My time is limited so I really juggle things the best I can, when I can. I was happy to get this bed planted before things got too busy for me. My son has kept most of the weeds out and we have had strawberry shortcake several times out of this little bed. I have been getting about two quarts per picking.
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
The melon plants in the foreground are Athena, and on grafted rootstocks, the rest are on there own roots. (not sure of the variety)
 
Monday, June 14 View Page
Growing some ornamental pumpkins this year with this set up. Hay covered rows. The plants will vine out onto the grass later this season and hopefully fill out this space nicely and load up with fruit.
 
Wednesday, June 30 View Page
I pollinated one on the 1778 yesterday, I had the irrigation running for about fifteen minutes every two hours. I would have liked it to go off more frequently but every two hours was the best I could do with my cheap little timer. The moisture seemed to really helped my leaves. Hopefully the same holds true for the little pumpkin and it doesn't abort.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
Some July fourth photos. We got some heavy rains on Friday. This patch slopes gently to the east. The giant melons are on the right, summer squash and zucchinni are on the left. Directly in between the two rows we have a nice little eroded strip where a "river" was flowing.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
Upon closer inspection I was shocked to see the insane number of summer squash and zucchinni roots. There were some also coming from the giant watermelons. I was shocked to see how far the roots travel. The melon stumps were easily 8-10' away and the squash were probably 4' from the eroded channel. Prior to the heavy rains this soil had been very dry. I had no idea that roots would venture so far especially in dry soil. I raked some soil back over the exposed roots to hopefully keep the air and sun from "root pruning" them. Still waiting for that sun, though.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
A shot of the giant watermelons looking from east to west. The biggest two plants are the ones in the back ground. My smallest plant is long and narrow. I bet the 12x30 spots are filled out by the middle of July. I am pleased with the plant size, now I just need some set melons. The salad is no good without fruit.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
The plant on the bottom was covered with silt and sand during the deluge. I am waiting for some sun before I go out to start messing with the vines. In this cool wet weather they are brittle as heck. I may decide to risk it and leave the soil on top in hopes of some extra rooting. Last year I had one melon set a tap root down which saved my 206 melon. The stump was shot early in the season, but those roots off the vine kept things going a bit, so that I could get the melon to an early weigh off.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
200" Ciesielski bushel gourd, this gourd has really short leaf petioles. I think it is because of all the reflected light coming off the hay.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
56.2 English cantaloupe. Hating this cool wet weather.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
My other 56.2 English. Slightly bigger than the other.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
1994 Skinner. I have a young pollination a few days old. I hope it sticks.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
Young fruit on the 1994 Skinner. Nice symmetrical lobes. A bonus because I am usually not fussy, I take what I get. If you want to see nice lobes on a pumpkin flower grow a Zunino seed from back in the day.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
Mace Sunflower, Starting to get going. Needs some staking. There are about 7-8 giant Mace sunflowers going. These are my daughter Emily's plants
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
1778 Skinner I have a young set on this one maybe two days older than the 1994.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
A very special seed from dale in Australia. It is called a 'Long Tom'. I hope to get some seed from these. I have a couple other 'Long Tom' plants in different locations. This one is at my home location. They can get quite big. Like a marrow.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
'Long Tom' female flower.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
A giant vining Zucchini from Lloyd Bright. The plants vine like crazy. This one is just starting out.
 
Sunday, July 4 View Page
A giant zucchini female. Dang these are going to be long!
 
Thursday, July 8 View Page
Torrential rains continue. Last night we even had some hail. Luckily it didn't last long. This wet weather will help the potatoes get big, but I am pretty sure the cucurbits are ready for some sun. I pollinated a pumpkin today at about 18-20' out on the 1778, just in case the other pumpkin doesn't take. It was pollinated back around the fourth of July and it still looks good, but it isn't moving. Nothing really is.
 
Sunday, July 11 View Page
I have a couple melons set on two of my three melon plants. I am not happy with the shape on one of them, but I may stick with it as I have seen watermelons fill out with time. Unlike pumpkins which just seem to get worse with time. The two melons were pollinated around the fourth of July. Not sure the exact date as they are Open pollinated. My condolences go out to Rodney Register, I saw his post on the GWG facebook page. What a darn shame. Disease wiped out his beautiful melon plants overnight. (There must have been a dozen gorgeous plants just wiped right out) He had some fantastic looking plants and melons. All that hard work down the tubes. I swear the disease waits for you to spend the time and set up little shelters around the melon before deciding to end your season. Stick with it Rodney, you have the makings of a great melon grower. This hobby is definitely not suited for people who are easily discouraged.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
Overview of the three melon plants. I am pleased with the plants size, just not getting many set melons. Not sure why. Too bad... I like a lot of options to choose from.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
Luckily I caught this early. Looks like anthracnose. This is what a week of crappy cloudy wet weather will bring to your patch.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
Some more anthracnose damaged leaves. I hope the weather turns around. There is only so much of this these plants can take.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
This is my chosen set on my 302 x 52 kent. It is one fourths black diamond, but I am not seeing much Jumbo Black Diamond... yet. I don't really care for the shape of this one at all.. But it is on a thick vine and growing pretty good despite the weather. It has a big fat stem too.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
One more shot of the ugly melon. It already looks ten times better than it did a couple days ago. (It is starting to fill out) It even has some hail damage to help add some more character to it. Last year my biggest melon started out on the ugly side too.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
52 x 302 Kent THis one is 3/4 CC and 1/4 JBD. It looks pretty much like a CC to me. Nice and long with good shape. THis one also has some marks from hailstones.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
A different angle of the same melon. 52 x 302 Kent.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
i am trying this new style of platform to grow on. I have a bunch of extra mill fabric from back in the days when I used to grow 7 or more Atlantic Giant Plants. I am putting it to good use by mounting it on these 2x4's. It should drain beautifully and hopefully prevent melon rot. It is an idea that I got when looking at the screen hammocks that I see many melon growers using these days.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
One of my plants is showing the beginning signs of a mite problem, maybe all this rain will wipe them out.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
1778 Skinner, finger crossed. Way out there on the main.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
1994 Skinner same deal as the 1778. Hopefully one or both will be orange. They aren't showing any dominant orange color, sometimes it shows up later.
 
Monday, July 12 View Page
1994 Skinner
 
Wednesday, July 21 View Page
Yesterday morning I noticed my 1778 Skinner was dripping from underneath the stem. I thought no big deal I will scrape out the rot and paint with Daconil. Then I noticed that a large part of the leaf node was rotten mostly on top where the root is supposed to come out. I then looked up the vine and noticed the next two or three leaf nodes were also rotten on top. About 4 nodes up there was the remnant of a rotten stem from a pumpkin that I culled. It looks to me that the rot may have started there and travelled downstream to the pumpkin. The plant's leaves have not started wilting yet. Which gives me hope. But with that being said it looks like I will be starting to allow some pumpkins on secondaries to set. It is. a darn lot of work to grow a pumpkin this far and not have anything to show for it. I would at least like to get something off this plant. THis kind of thing was bound to happen with the super wet humid weather we have had. The plants need some relief! If the weather turned around today I think the season could still be a really good one. If not. We will continue down this fungal road.
 
Wednesday, July 21 View Page
Yesterday morning I noticed my 1778 Skinner was dripping from underneath the stem. I thought no big deal I will scrape out the rot and paint with Daconil. Then I noticed that a large part of the leaf node was rotten mostly on top where the root is supposed to come out. I then looked up the vine and noticed the next two or three leaf nodes were also rotten on top. About 4 nodes up there was the remnant of a rotten stem from a pumpkin that I culled. It looks to me that the rot may have started there and travelled downstream to the pumpkin. The plant's leaves have not started wilting yet. Which gives me hope. But with that being said it looks like I will be starting to allow some pumpkins on secondaries to set. It is. a darn lot of work to grow a pumpkin this far and not have anything to show for it. I would at least like to get something off this plant. THis kind of thing was bound to happen with the super wet humid weather we have had. The plants need some relief! If the weather turned around today I think the season could still be a really good one. If not. We will continue down this fungal road.
 
Wednesday, July 21 View Page
I have been thinking.... ahhh a greenhouse would be the answer to all a growers problems especially this year. A greenhouse would help the grower limit the amount of moisture the plant receives etc. But who am I kidding. If I grew in a greenhouse it would probably be full of mites,whiteflies and thrips which I couldn't get a grip on, and the air would still be just as humid.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
56.2 English. Doh! On a interspecific squash rootstock. I am not sure why this seems to happen with the grafted cantaloupes. Nothing was set on this plant yet.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
Brown ooze coming out of the vines on the 56.2 English.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
The stump of the 56.2 English.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
My remaining healthy 56.2 English plant. I hope it makes it. I have had terrible experiences with the grafted cantaloupe over the years. I think your best bet is to go with new soil on non grafted plants. Maybe the plant pictured will prove me wrong. Perhaps it is a High risk, High reward type of deal.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
I noticed my 1778 Skinner was dripping from the stem about a week ago. Here is a shot of it a few days after I tried to remedy it by painting it with straight daconil.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
The rot was at each leaf node on the main vine going up about four nodes from the pumpkin towards the stump. This one was painted with daconil in an attempt to dry it out and perhaps salvage the situation.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
I believe this is where the problem started. In this spot you can see that I had removed a pumpkin from the vine. Obviously I left to much stem behind and it rotted in the constant rain and humidity. The rot travelled from there down 4 nodes to the location of the pumpkin.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
In a previous entry I mentioned my 1778 Skinner plant wasn't wilting. Well..... this afternoon this is what I saw. It wasn't nearly hot enough for this to be happening.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
In this picture you can see how I painted the rot in an attempt to help stop the rot and dry things out.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
A close up of the pumpkins stem. Too bad this was by far my fastest growing pumpkin. I had high hopes for a personal best.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
Here is the 1778 pumpkin. I think it would have been orange too.
 
Friday, July 23 View Page
I decided to cut off the rotten portion of the vine. Perhaps it was 15' of main vine as well as the secondaries that were removed.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Athena cantaloupes on a squash rootstock. The wilt shouldn't be from fusarium as the rootstock is resistant to it. Perhaps bacterial wilt or something else? Any one have any suggestions or idea as to what is causing this with my grafted plants. This is virgin soil, that they are planted on.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
'Solstice' melons on their own roots. Right next to the sick grafted plants.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
200" Ciesielski 2017 Bushel Gourd plant, seemingly unfazed by the wet weather we have had. It is keeping it's low profile, with really short leaf petioles. I bet it could hold up to the wind much better than a typical BG.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
A possible set Bushel Gourd on a short secondary right off the main.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Mace sunflowers, these are totally different than any other tall sunflowers I have seen. They really stretch out, with great length between leaf nodes. The sunflower on the far left is also a Mace sunflower but it is exhibiting a way more compact growth habit. A much stockier looking plant, more of what I am used to seeing.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
A close up of my melon on the 302x52 Kent. I didn't feel like removing the shelters for the photografh, maybe that will happen later in the season if one of these fruits starts to stand out. This melon is somewhere around day 20.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Correction on my last entry, this is a 52 x302 Kent. My other two plants are 302 x 52.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
This melon is on my middle plant it's a 302 x52 Kent. Unlike the melon from the previous entry this one is exhibiting a longer more typical Carolina Cross shape. I do have concerns about the plant this is on, as some of the vines are starting to fail due to stump issues. Hoping for the best, but we will see.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
A close up of the melon. Not really showing any traces of the JBD grandparent that produced Chris' record breaking JBD. I was hoping to get some of the Dark color, but I will be OK with that as long as it gives me some of that Carolina Cross size.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Here is a shot of the failing vines. I was hoping the wilting was due to mouse damage, but no such luck. As long as the vine with the fruit can keep going I am still in business.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Another shot of a wilting vine
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
From a distance, all looks well in the melon patch. Three plants here each filling out a spot that is 12x 30. They are starting to spill out of there boundaries.
 
Saturday, July 24 View Page
Last melon photo, This is a 302 x 52, on my weakest plant. Probably about day 21 or so.
 
Thursday, August 5 View Page
For a couple of weeks now I have noticed that my middle melon is not growing. (the plant with the messed up stump). The half of the plant with the melon on it went down. While the other half looks good. I noticed a nice looking cull on the healthy side of the plant, a few days ago, I decided to keep it. It is growing really fast. Maybe I can get some size into it before the end of the season. The pollination is from sometime the last week in July. A little late but I grew my super long 179 in 2019 from a late July pollination. At this point it is better than ripping the plant out. I set three pumpkins on my 1778 Skinner, each one is on a big side vine. Once again I saw no reason to give up, just because my main vine and pumpkin rotted off. The plant is otherwise healthy. If it was something terminal like YVD. I would surely rip out the plant as I wouldn't want to have to look at it flounder for the rest of the season. I personally don't think there is any benefit to ripping out a YVD infested plant to prevent the spread to other nearby plants. I can't explain why it is that way, it just is. THe likelihood of a diseased YVD plant infecting it's neighbor is not something I have witnessed. There is no rhyme or reason as to how this disease works. It is bad, and the only sure fire way to success is to keep the squash bugs off. Easier said than done.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
1778 Skinner pumpkin set in late July as a back up pumpkin. I left three on this plant, it is a huge plant that I have let grow naturally with no pruning. The vine the pumpkin is on is resembles a main vine as it has some secondaries coming off it. I have heard Pap's wallace call them a "back main".
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
Another back up pumpkin on the 1778 Skinner. On another back main vine. Watermelon growers would call it a finger vine. ( one of the first vines originating nearest the stump)
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
Last and certainly the least of the three. Is this little guy pollinated in the first week of August. Also on a big secondary. When you let the plants branch radially around the stump, and you don't prune, you tend to get these type of vines that have many main vine characteristics like apical dominance.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
Last and certainly the least of the three. Is this little guy pollinated in the first week of August. Also on a big secondary. When you let the plants branch radially around the stump, and you don't prune, you tend to get these type of vines that have many main vine characteristics like apical dominance.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
1778 Skinner Plant. THis plant has really grown big. I am happy to have a shot at growing something off of it, and that it hopefully will produce some nice looking pumpkins to sell or maybe even big enough to exhibit at a weigh off.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
1994 Skinner. A relatively small plant that hasn't grown much since setting this fruit. The main is terminated at the fruit. It will be orange for sure. I just put up my specialty shade cover the other day. It is a burlap that allows some filtered light through it. It should color up really nice with that set up. If it has the genes for it, it could even bring out a reddish orange color. We will see.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
1994 Skinner side shot.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
One more shot of the 1994 Skinner. This one was set around the fourth of July and has been an extremely slow grower. Not exactly sure why. It could be that it is because I don't bury or prune vines to awful much. I have upped my focus on watering, plant nutrition and also insect and disease control. I can't complain, my weights have gone up since focusing more on those three things.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
Some culls that I missed on my Bushel gourd. These suckers are hard to see, unless you take the time to walk through your plant and carefully search for them.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
The keeper BG.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
The BG plant
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
The melon patch. Mostly still fairly healthy and vigorous. My middle 302 Kent x 52 Kent plant has stump issues, but some of the finger vines are still doing OK. Perhaps they have rooted somewhere along the vine.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
A late July back up set that is on my middle plant. It seem to have some steam behind it. The other melon on the plant stopped growing so this guy was given a chance. I like it so far.
 
Wednesday, August 11 View Page
A butt end view of my biggest melon. On my bottom of the row 302 x 52 plant. It is long and also fat. Sorry I am too lazy to take the cover off for the photos.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
A hot week is in store with high humidity. Believe it or not we are starting to get dry here. East coast and Northern New Englanders are probably scratching their heads, by what I just said. BUt We really haven't had rain in Western CT since mid July. I know you guys east and north of us have had torrents, we just got clouds here. (A big time lack of sun this year) Normally Eastern New England and along the ocean is much drier than us in the summer. THis year I would venture to say we are drier. Lawn isn't burnt yet but it may be ,by weeks end.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
Another reason I don't feel like moving the covers is because they are starting to get hemmed in by the vines.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
This melon plant produces "wide load" fruits. 52x302 kent.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
Mace sunflowers still going up. I have not measured them or anything else in my patch. I don't really like to know, plus I probably would not change a thing culturally even if I did.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
Just started picking tomatoes last week. It's the latest I have ever started picking. Not sure why. THe plants just want to grow and grow. It's like a jungle. Rows are 5' apart with 3-4' cages, There is no where to walk. I should have spaced the rows further apart I guess. They will start coming in now that the vines have started bending over and some sunlight will get to them. A little disease never hurt either. As long as it isn't late blight. LOL Not much disease in this plot as this soil is" new" to the night shade family.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
Cull season, being a giant watermelon grower is like growing a patch of cucumbers that need to be picked from the beginning of July through September. Or maybe it's more like growing pole beans that need to be picked, either analogy works. It is crazy what these plants can produce. I used to let two or three melons grow per plant, those days are gone.
 
Thursday, August 12 View Page
A couple cool nights last week and looky here. Downy mildew on the cukes. Hopefully my late cukes can avoid it for a bit. Downy mildew will end your season in a hurry, which is too bad because there is a lot of decent weather left to come in mid August. If you see your temps will be down into the 50's on an August night, you better get something on your plants as a preventative.
 
Saturday, August 14 View Page
I had a disappointing week in the patch. My other 56.2 English cantaloupe collapsed suddenly. It had three nice long little cantaloupes on it. I will not use the interspecific squash rootstock again. I thought that maybe I could get away with it. It was a risk from the beginning and I believe it could have paid off, but unless I can figure things out I don't reccommend grafting for cantaloupes. I wish I knew why they always collapse on me. I have read of experiment where the grafted plants were superior to ungrafted. Like this one done by the all time great melon breeder Brent Loy. https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/news/release/2015/09/30/unh-melon-research-produces-higher-yields I would be really interested to hear from any growers who have any knowledge about how to graft successfully with cantaloupes. The grafts take just fine and outperform the ungrafted plants but as soon as the fruit set they start to go down for me.
 
Saturday, August 14 View Page
Here is a shot of the 56.2 English a couple of days before it went down. Thanks so much for sending me the seeds Doug, I will try again next year.
 
Saturday, August 14 View Page
The other disappointment came when I saw that the melon plant that was growing the "wide load" melon had a few sections collapse, Unfortunately the vine the fruit is on is on was one of the collapsed vines. I probably will leave the melon on the vine and bring it to our local fair in three weeks. The good news is that my best melon still has a fairly healthy plant. It was my weakest plant and always was a little behind in plant size. I wonder if that is a factor? I can see why I am having stump problems. The stumps are ridiculously huge. Perhaps I was pushing them a little too hard with water and fertilizer. I think melon stump failures are sort of analogous to foaming stumps on pumpkins. Weak crappy Atlantic Giants don't turn into foamers. It will be your healthy most vigorous plants that get them. I don't get many foamers anymore as I am not pushing my AG plants too hard. I sprayed the two sick melon stumps and my remaining fairly healthy stump with a concentrated daconil to hopefully help them dry out a bit. If any melon growers are reading this and think they can offer some insight as to how to prevent stump issues please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it. The rootstock is a Bushel gourd x rampart gourd Chris Kent hybrid creation. This looks to be a really good rootstock to go with, based on what I have seen.
 
Monday, August 16 View Page
Take it or leave it, I am not putting this up for debate, this is just for your information. A couple videos that I think are relevant today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7RIpygZdGk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09maaUaRT4M
 
Saturday, August 21 View Page
A hurricane is bearing down on CT and the Northeast. It looks like it will be a direct hit. The last time a hurricane tracked like this I was a kid and got to get out of school for Hurricane Gloria back in September of 1985. We are ripe for being without power as our power lines our overshadowed with dead ash trees, that need to be removed. It could take some time to get power restored. Seeing as how prompt and conscientious service is now a thing of the past, it could take a looong time. Hopefully the power line workers are still motivated. Most industries have used CoVid as a big excuse for crumby service.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
A photo of my tall fat melon and it's plant. The plant had stump issues so this melon isn't growing anymore. It's still probably worth getting a weight on it though.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
Another shot of that plant. Hurricane Henry is supposed to be coming through today. So far... so good. Yeah Nah. I am not going to pronounce it "ONREE", it Henry.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
One of the two back up pumpkins on my 1778 Skinner.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
A nice healthy stem, It's nice and young. Way less worries on a young actively growing pumpkin then on an old aging one.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
The other back up on the 1778 Skinner. I don't care for the shape on this one.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
The 200" '17 Ciesielski bushel gourd plant.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
The Bushel gourd. The little flecks on the skin are from Burlap that came of the covering in a heavy rain.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
This photo shows the collapsed vines. I see no reason to remove or clean the collapsed vines as I don't believe it to have any biological cause like a fungus, virus or bacteria etc.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
1994 Skinner, nice orange color. Short stem,but it's getting fatter all the time. Still pretty healthy. But slow going.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
1994 Skinner Blossom end shot. It will be a nice orange. I love it when a seed does what you want it to.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
This is the shade structure style I like to use for maximizing orange color. It is often a good one to choose for healthy stems. As it allows for nice air flow.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
My one healthy melon plant. It has a nice melon on it.
 
Sunday, August 22 View Page
Mace Sunflowers. I expected these to be toast by this point today, all weather forecast models looked so bad. This is one time I will be very happy with the wrong forecast. I am feeling super thankful that it has not been what was predicted so far. Farming is like life, there are no promises of anything. We do all this work and go through the motions, but it could all be for nothing.
 
Monday, August 23 View Page
We have had lots and lots of water. It has rained a ton in the last two days and I am amazed at the pumpkin growth. My pumpkins have been slow all year, but in the past two days I wouldn't be surprised if they gained 100 pounds! A huge jump in the growth rate. Could it be because the water is nice and warm? One of my back up pumpkins on the 1778 Skinner avtually blew up. This afternoon I noticed it had tons of splits. Then when I touched the pumpkin I heard a cracking noise and a big new crack opened up. Lots of turgor pressure. I had to pick some green beans in the rain today and they were so brittle it was hard to pick them with out splitting them in half. Maybe there is something to the idea of warm water and lots of it.
 
Friday, September 3 View Page
Getting ready to harvest the 1778 Skinner for the Goshen fair. This is a back up pumpkin that I let grow after the one on the main rotted off. A late July pollination.
 
Friday, September 3 View Page
A shot of the healthy 1778 plant and my Bushel gourd in the background. Lots of green. The 1778 recovered nicely after rot started to spread up and down the main vine in July. I cut the diseased portion of vine out and the plant recovered.
 
Monday, September 6 View Page
My 520 pound pumpkin at the Goshen Fair.
 
Monday, September 6 View Page
I brought some culled watermelons and a couple more melons off my dead plants for the lady to carve at the fair, she did such a great job! It is nice to see them get used.
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
This is a Giant italian squash (Probably in the C. moschata species by the look of the stem) I brought this one to the Bethlehem Fair as an exhibition, it weighed 75 pounds! I got the seed from Lloyd Bright. I had tried to use it for a melon rootstock. However, the grafts failed (grower error) but I had kept a few of the un-grafted plants just to grow out and see what would become of them. This fruit is what I found growing in some tall weeds at the edge of my corn patch! There should be a GPC category for these! LOL I have not grown any squash like this since I was a kid in the 80's and grew out some Jumbo Pink Banana squash from Henry Field's. They grew huge just like these. That Jumbo Pink banana strain is now lost and anything I have grown since has been very disappointing. If anyone has any, let me know. I would love to grow it again. Those Jumbo Pink banana's grew about three feet long and could get to 100 pounds or so. This giant italian squash line is also quite impressive and LLoyd has preserved it since the 1980's. He got the original seed from a neighbor who had gotten it in Italy. If anyone knows what these are used for I would be greatly interested in hearing from you.
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
Here is the 75 pound squash next to my 93 pound melon that I brought to the fair. The melon is off one of my JBDxCC crosses that I got from Chris Kent. This fruit stopped growing in early August after the swollen stumps caused "vine collapse disorder". My new name for the problem that all melon growers are quite familiar with. It is interesting I heard Andrew Vial mention that his vines no longer collapse in Late June early July. But they now happen later in the season. I have seen the same thing in my patch. Not sure why or what I am doing differently. I guess it is a step in the right direction. Just a bit more frustrating. I think this one was going to be a 200 pound beach ball!
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
1994 Skinner ready for harvesting for fair.
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
1994 Skinner
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
1994 Skinner, with shade cover removed.
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
1994 Skinner blossom end.
 
Thursday, September 9 View Page
1994 Skinner, now the 619 Ciesielski. OTT was 304, it went a tad light. My goal is to try and get a pumpkin to tape over 350 every year. No such luck this year. ...actually not even close.
 
Monday, September 20 View Page
Getting ready for the Durham Fair weigh off tomorrow. I will post some pictures later. September has been a relatively good growing month here. About half the nights have been 60 or above. Which is really pretty good for growth. I am not sure if any one has any thing going or not, but if they do I am sure they are pleased so far in September. Growth slows way down when the nights dip into the 50's or lower.. Growing degree days are a great way to be able to predict growth. You could have a high of 90 but if it dips into the 40's at night like in the desert. It will detract from the amount of growth the plant will be able to make.
 
Tuesday, October 5 View Page
This is a 'Long Tom' squash. It is an Australian squash, that is as far as I know, not grown at all in this country. My good friend Dale was able to get me a few seeds to get me started with these. Dale said that these are/were primarily grown as an animal stock feed. It resembles a blue banana squash. I grew these about 7 or 8 years ago and never got the seeds out. I remember them being quite a bit bigger for me that year, maybe in the 100 pound range. I have plenty of these squash and I need to get them out of the field before the deer get to them. I will have lots of seed if anyone is interested in growing them. Let me know. I will post some more pictures.
 
Tuesday, October 5 View Page
Long Tom squash. They are beautiful.
 
Tuesday, October 5 View Page
Another 'Long Tom' in the patch. Plants are still healthy although they never quite recovered after the 6" of rain fell and took all the nitrogen out of the soil at a crucial stage in plant growth.
 
Tuesday, October 5 View Page
Long Tom
 
Tuesday, October 5 View Page
Last one for now.
 
Thursday, October 7 View Page
This was the biggest Italian squash from the seed I got from Lloyd Bright. I never got a weight on it. The second biggest weighed 76 pounds! This one felt about ten pounds heavier.
 
Thursday, October 7 View Page
Gorgeous orange interior on the italian squash. I am not sure what it would be good for in terms of eating it. The raw flesh was only moderately sweet and it was quite moist. I would be interested in knowing the variety name if any one out there knows it, plus any culinary uses.
 
Friday, October 8 View Page
Richard Mace Sunflowers back in September. The tallest one went to the Bethlehem Fair. 17'5". Richard brought some monster sunflowers to the Durham Fair. I forgot the measurement on them but they were incredible. Truly impressive!
 
Friday, October 8 View Page
While on the subject of sunflowers. As a little tip. Sunflowers can be planted in the garden well into the summer and still get a nice crop before a deep freeze.. (Sunflowers can survive a light frost) This is an ornamental mix I got from Willhite seed. They were planted on August 1. I think the shortening days help to hasten their maturity. The seed pack said 75-80 days to maturity. We had some flowers at 45-50 days.
 
Friday, October 8 View Page
32 x 52 Kent the day of Durham Fair. The stump has gone to pot since we rolled into September. You can see it in the failing leaves and vines. Oh well can't complain.
 
Friday, October 8 View Page
Here it is in the field before harvest.
 
Sunday, October 10 View Page
Bushel Gourd plant is still growing in this mild weather we are having. It is currently at a 45' x 45' size. That is over 2,000 square feet!
 

 

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