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Cliff's Grower Log -- June 2002

June 3

Will the real 1064 Mombert please stand up?

Ahh... about one week ago I planted a 1064 Mombert into Site 2. I carefully marked its location and placed some black plastic to warm the ground. Then with last weeks warm temperatures, I now have dozens of volunteers coming up right near it. Worst of all, I don't know which is which, or if the Mombert is even up? Argh.

I should rethink my composting strategy. I have hundreds of volunteers coming up throughout the patch. I know that these are easily tilled under, but I've also had them come up "en masse", where they lift up a whole square foot of earth, and come up dangerously close to some of my more choice plants.

On a happy note, the 831 Zunino is starting to look better. ;-)

June 4

I tilled up the general patch yesterday. I absolutely love what the addition of manure has done to this patch! Its no longer a block of concrete after it gets wet...

June 5

I doused the plants with Alaska Fish Emulsion fertilizer yesterday. I've been doing this every two weeks, and on the off weeks I usually add some amonium sulfate. The Mitchell is currently towering over the Mombert in site 3, and looks like it could pounce in any direction. I really should put some effort forth right now it get it to fall in the direction I need (anywhere but on the Mombert!). In past years my time to spend on pumpkins has usually been between 6:00 and 6:30am, but this year we have James, and "he's mine until midnight". I can't complain about this arrangement, but its been extremely hard to get out of bed early and go work in the patch.

Here's another photo, not pumpkin related, but oh well. Once the hexagons come down it'll be easier to photograph the plants... This is our wildflower garden, which has gone blue this time of year:

June 7

Not much to report, other than we're predicted to have low 30's Saturday night/Sunday morning. Nothing unusual, just our regular early June cold spell. We get one every year. Mark your calendars.

The Mitchell and Mombert were about to attack each other. I've placed large rocks in their way to steer them to the north and south. Easy boys, there's room for both of you, at least for now.

June 10

We've been cool for the past few days. This morning's low was around 35. Out came the extension cords for the cable heat that were put away after our last spell in the 90s. Out came the tarps. We'll make it through this, but the plants don't progress very fast when they get so cold at night.

Its critical that I maintain the wind protection over the next few days. The plants are big, stocky, and strong. They're leaning out, looking for the ground. I can't wait for them to start to vine. It always seems to take longer than I expect.

June 11

Our third straight morning with temperatures in the 30's... The plants are starting to think this is September. Between you and me, I'm sick of it. We're supposed to start getting warmer now. Finally.

June 12

Again, not a whole lot to say. One thing that is worth mentioning... the effort that has gone into the hexagon structures has really saved me time in the long run. Last year I was constantly trying to "prop things up", by repairing damage after strong winds, etc. This year, all I need to do is keep them moist, protect them on cold nights, and fertilize every so often. My plants might not be as large as those who use a full cloche or live in warm weather areas, but I love the good color, stout trunks, and general healthy look that the plants have. But next year, I will definitely experiment with some cloches.

June 14

The weather says peace and happiness for the foreseeable future. I took down the hexagons yesterday. Overall, they worked well. My plants are not as large as some that I've seen "around the net", but I'm ahead of last year where I was able to pollinate in the second week of July. So, if we can finally get some warm weather things should go well. Maybe? I'm also anxious to pick up the direct morning sun. In the hexagons, they didn't get direct sunlight until a few hours after sunrise.

Here are a couple shots of the 995 Carter, tricked up to make the plants look much larger than they really are: ;-)

The 995 Carter faces the morning light.

This 995 Carter is ready to rumble.

June 17

Time for an update. My 936 Mombert that was in a battle for possession of site 3 was a flat-viner. (Flat or double, I don't exactly know.) I took pictures and they should be up tomorrow. Now I see why the Mombert leaves were about half the size of the Mitchell leaves. Also, I didn't notice this flat-vining until the hexagons came down and I was able to get a good look at the base of the plant.

The Mombert is gone. I'm now a cold blooded pumpkin killer! With a knife!

Now the plants have finally picked out the directions they want to run. The 995 Carter in site 1, the south site, spun around a few times and has chosen to run to the south-east. Plenty of room for it there. The 842 Mitchell in the north site has decided to run to the north. There is a lot of room and water there, so why not? But this leaves the center of my patch essentially empty. The 831 Zunino is there, but has been a very slow developing plant. I'll keep it going, and see what comes of it.

My patch of late arrivals has not been that successful. A 502 Zunino there still shows some promise, but its too far behind. The 847 Christensen is gone. There are a lot of volunteers in the patch of late arrivals, and these just may need to take over.

Finally, there is a 723 Bhaskaran in the satellite patch. This one isn't tremendously huge, but its finally decided to march toward the north-east, and I'm glad for this assertiveness on it's part.

Its hard to believe that I wanted to be pollinating in just two weeks from now. I don't think I'm going to make it. I've got to hit them with some fish emulsion later today and hope that they continue to get some good weather. There is also this matter of a wind fence that I'd better get busy with.

June 18

My plants were battered by wind yesterday. The problem is, that I work from morning till night at one thing or another, and never really get done with things.

Here are a couple of shots of the 936 Mombert that flat-vined. Warning! Disturbing images! Avert your eyes if you have trouble viewing pictures of dismembered AG plants:

June 24

I noticed yesterday a male flower on the Mitchell, near the stump. There is still a long way to go to be ready for pollination in one week. Each plant is developing a nice "rear main", and side vines are now developing.

We noticed on Saturday, some very small fly like insects infested in all of our curcubit plants. Aside from my big two AG's, all of our curcubit plants have been slow. I don't know where these came from, and its the first I've seen of it. I sprayed them all down with some fertilome insecticide. I hope this gets us going again.

I'd never seen these before. I don't know if the manure had something to do with it, or if the fish emulsion has something to do with attracting them. I also bought some "Peter's" 20-20-20 fertilizer and plan to work this into the rotation. Perhaps I need to step up the fertilzer? Like every other day?

Still no wind fence... I'm finally at the end of a long (too long) project of finishing the last two bedrooms and a bathroom in the basement. I wanted to be done with this in March! At any rate, the carpet-layers are coming today. I've got a few things to wrap up, but I'm relieved to finally be done with the "inside" for a while.

June 27

I've noticed some bug damage to some of the leaves on the Mitchell. Aside from that, the plants continue their slow but steady pace. They look great, but they're probably not growing as fast as last year. This is a little disheartening after all the work I've done on the soil. But the plants are filling out nicely, and I'm dutifully burying the tentacles each day. I'm considering buying some hay bales to use as wind breaks. We've been extremly lucky over the last few weeks with a lack of wind.

Last evening we had a lightning strike that was easily within a quarter-mile of the house. Wow! Actually, I'd like it to strike my patch and charge up the nitrogen.


Cliff Warren