This diary will update the progress weekly and hopefully include photos to show the growth. From what I have read we are on-track timewise. Unfortunately I did not begin the diary at the sametime I started the project, so the months of November/December are summerised.
Click here to see growth stats
Estimate what my pumpkin's final weight will be ...
Purchased a large black plastic grow bag, a Pb150, which holds about a cubic yard of material. Filled bag with a 50-50 mix of potting soil and garden compost.
Seed planted directly into bag November 10th
Thinned plants down to one, gave the others away and tried to encourage some friendly competition. By the 15th the plant was growing over the edge of the spa pool and the realisation hit that I would need extra bags for the vines to set roots into.
Set up a series of bags and tubs along the vine to catch emerging roots. Also needed to 'step' the bags down from the edge of the spa pool to allow the vine to grow without pinching itself off. First sign of a female flower appears.
More vines starting tp grow, female flower enlarging, and is about eight feet from plant base. Leaf growth fairly spectacular, some leaves nearly two feet in diameter. Vines continuing to elongate. More tiny female flowers starting.
1 January 1998 first male & female flower open. Hand pollinated 9:00 am. A very auspicious start to the New Year, don't you think. By the 4th it is obvious that the pollination took because the baby pumpkin has started growing and reached a circumference of 150mm / 6 inches.
It also appears that vine growth has slowed. There are now small female flowers on all the vine tips.
January 8th . . .During the past week the size of #1 has doubled to 300mm. Aphids appeared in force and have been dealt with effectively by using a home brew of garlic, hotpeppers, ginger, and for good measure pyrithrum. Also during this week #2 was pollinated on the 4th and #3 on the 7th. Today #2 was deleted. Vine growth is excellent. Now fertilising every 3rd day. Have placed three additional lond flat grow bags to accommodate mounding.
January 20th, the past two weeks have produced mixed results. Up until the 17th both #1 & #3 were increasing in size at a rate of 4cm ( about 1.5 inches ) a day. But since the 17th #1, which is now about the size of a volleyball, seems to have stopped growing. Aphids still threaten but are under control. # 3's growth rate is slightly ahead of #1 for the same number of days. Vine growth still excellent.
January 31st, eleven days of significant growth; regular pest control for aphids and powdery mildew; #3 was terminated on the 26th; vines, vines, vines. #1 is looking very promising. Now watering approx. 4 gallons/day and includes a good dose of phostrogen in each bucket.
February 6 - results of the past week are disappointing. Only 10 cm (4 inches ). I was hoping that the slow growth was due to the effects of the moon's phase but now I have fears that it is grinding to a halt. Pests are still a problem and many of the original vine leaves are severely damaged although much of the growth beyond the pumpkin is very healthy. The lack of growth is depressing.
February 13 - another very disappointing week. Growth has slowed to a measely 1 cm/day, both in lenghth and the circumference. I've pumped on the water and the fertiliser with no success. This has me stumped and I can only attribute the problem to genetics. My projected forecast will need to be radically downsized if there is not an improvement soon.
22 February - Because growth has been so slow, there is really not much to report. Still fighting a battle with the pests and diseases but managing to keep them in check. I also trimmed all non-essential vine side growths and the end of the main leader hoping to redirect energy back into the pumpkin, but without success. The pumpkin although shaded is now turning significantly oranger than any of the smaller ones growing outside unshaded in the garden.
I have to face the disappointing reality that for all practical purposes my pumpkin is almost finished. Taking a guess at the weight I would think it is in the vacinity of the 100 - 120 pound range. I will leave it on the vine as long as possible.
The sad reality of the final weigh in reveals that my pride and joy has reached a whopping great 72 pounds. Man what a bummer, but I'll be back !!!
To view the Photos click the pumpkin
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