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Cliff's Grower Log -- September 2004

Remember, this is not Iowa, nor is it Ohio. It's Idaho.

September 3

I was bumped down a notch at the fair this year by Blake Christensen, son of Brian, for 4th place. It was my largest pumpkin ever, though, 361. I took the squash event with the 362 in the foreground. This is it, Harold Jorgensen, Brian and Blake Christensen, and I. We thought that we might have other growers coming along, and we wish we did. Oh well...

The picture above is taken with a VERY wide angle lense (like 15mm, if you're familiar with that) so it doesn't do justice to the pumpkins in the background. On the front on the right side is my 361, selfed on the 1005 Mombert. The squash in front is my 362, also selfed on the 576 Michalec. Immediately behind my squash is Harold's 384 punk, and Harold also has a squash behind that. In the middle is Blake Christensen's 420. The big one in the back is Brian C.'s 717 DMG (blossom end split). In our fair, DMG doesn't matter to anyone.

We could use some help. Any Idahoans or future Idahoans out there, "Get in the GAME!".

Blake and Brandi Christensen with Brian's 717.

September 7

We've been very cool lately. We came home from a trip and noticed that some of the leaves have been "touched". This is a reminder that we're nearing the end of Idaho's 8-hour growing season.

The weather is predicted to improve today and remain so for a while. The next time we get a cold front, it will very likely result in a hard freeze. Hey, if we can go a few more days, it will be the longest into September that we've gone without freezing in the last four years.

One fruit on the 1005 remains. This is currently at 387 and is putting on 6 pounds per day. There is also a "little noted" fruit on the 691 Michalec that is just a day or two behind in inches. The 1005 Mombert fruit is already very "cantalouped" and appears mature. The 691 looks like it still has some growing to do...

The 576 squash plant has been disected and the stump pulled up. It's amazing though, how the vines go on living, as they have rooted themselves throughout the patch.

September 10

Not much to report these days. Most days, it's hard to find time to actually get out in the patch, with kids back in school, scouts, piano, soccer, singing/dancing, etc. etc. etc...... Time is passing. On the one hand, you want to get your kids involved in things. On the other, you don't want so much stuff that family life is negatively impacted. OK, back to pumpkins!

Last I checked, the remaining fruit on the 1005 was still putting on about 6 pounds a day. I don't think I can reach 500, but one can always hope.

I went up to the Fair today, and collected $10 for my FIRST PLACE squash! WooHoo! Too bad it isn't like Washington's fair, where they get a buck per pound! ha ha ha

September 13

Hard to believe we haven't frozen yet. Will we make it another week? It is supposed to get down to 34 on Tuesday night.

Well, surprize! I've been told that I actually own the Idaho squash record! At least I think I do. If anyone dissents, I'll be happy to have things set straight. I brought the fruits home from the fair yesterday, including a huge blue ribbon for the squash. I've got to look at growing another squash next year.

September 14

Just when I thought everything was done, I find that the fruit on the 1005 Mombert has added 6 per day over the last three days. I have an outside chance at 500 if she goes heavy. There is also one on the 691 Michalec, which is exactly one day behind the Mombert.

Tonight's low is predicted to be 33. There could be a dispute between the tomatoes and pumpkins to see who gets covered.

September 15

Ghost Rider gives up her seeds...

In my attempt to remove my fair fruits from the pickup, I got the pumpkin off ok, but the squash broke when I dropped it off... (I knew it would), so I harvested the seeds and sent the rest back to the garden.

Here is my super-cool ribbon from the fair:

And here is the annual display. The "fair people" wrote our names on the fruits this year. Everyone in east Idaho goes to the fair, and this has done more to make me famous than anything else I can remember. ha ha ha

September 22

I've been too busy or too sick to make any updates lately. Not much is happening, certainly not in the patch. All growth stopped more than a week ago. Monday night we froze, about half of each remaining plant is black. The 1005 plant is so large that it creates it's own canopy. Much of the plant is very much alive, and still setting fruit daily.

In fact, I've started severing vines and hauling them off to compost. In past years, this would take me 5 minutes. This year it will take a few hours. That is the story this year... next year I want plant growth AND fruit growth.

Stay tuned, this Saturday is Brian C.'s weighoff in Rexburg. I'm heading up with my largest ever. It's an extreme longshot to have a "5" in that first digit. It would have to weigh more than 10% heavy.

September 23

Brian points out that these numbers have a "5" in the first digit: 51, 52, 53... ha ha ha

I purchased a mixture of hairy vetch and buckwheat to use as a cover crop. Within a week or so I'll probably have the garden cleared out and the tractor fixed (!) and get that going. It'll be interesting to see what this will do.

September 30

Just a note to wrap up September. See the writeup I give on the Rexburg 2004 weighoff. This was not a small party, and if Brian wants to keep hosting this, it'll be the premiere pumpkin event in our area. It was really well done.

I'm all done except the cleanup. This will take about two weeks with the one to two hours a day that I get to actually work on it. I have more field pumpkins than anyone can use. Need some? Just drop in and I'll give you some nice 40-pounders.

The Pumpkinzone will not go into total hiatus this winter. I plan to keep you updated on the cover crop progress and other soil amendments. Every month of the year, there is something to do in this hobby. (I know you're excited!)


Cliff Warren