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Cliff's Grower Log -- August 2005

August 1

I think I'm going to loose the Big Kahuna. That area of sunburn on the fruit now has mildew settling in. I've been trying to clean it with a bleach and water solution. Also, this morning I tried score-ing the area in an attempt to get it to scar. The squash on the 874 also had this sunburn, but it scar'ed over, and it's doing much better.

The good news is that I'm in much better shape at the beginning of August than I've even been in before. Two fruits, the Tanner and 681 Beauchemin are coming on strong. Each has a chance to reach 100 inches around by day 30.

August 2

So far I haven't done a single OTT measurement yet this year. Maybe I should. But I'm enjoying the Ailts-LandryBenchmarks spreadsheet, which requires only that I do a circumference measurement. The 681 Beauchemin is a greenish-white blob, and feels very dense. It has an outside chance to get to 100 on day 30, which is in 3 days. The 891 Tanner has a perfect shape, and a color tone that makes me think it will go a nice orange. It's a little "short" as are all of my fruits this year. This one will hit 100 by day 30, barring some sort of disaster. It hasn't ribbed out at all, and looks very young.

The unfortunate thing is that the Big Kahuna and the true squash each have a battle with mildew going on. I'm leaving these uncovered in the hopes that the sun will help combat the fungus. The Big Kahuna is almost certainly gone and the squash is questionable. It's too bad, but these two have also slowed down in the growth department.

This leaves me with a dilema about which of the two remaining will go to the fair, and which to leave on until the end. Our fair has two categories for such types: "Mammoth Pumpkin", and "Mammoth Squash". I should take the big white one and just let them try to decide which category it goes into.

August 4

Here is a run-down of what I have in the patch. I found a model, much more interesting than a soda can.

James, with the 891 Tanner on August 3rd.

874 Dieffenbauger: Has a little of the "sun-burn"...

681 Beauchemin, big dense blob.

981 Zunino: Big problem!!!

OK, they were all a little slow this morning. I've got to "pump them up"! Well,... the new headliner is the 891 Tanner. It might hit 100 on day 30, and it will be orange. The 681 Beauchemin is also doing well. Tommorrow is day 30 for it, and it's currently sitting at 96 inches.

I have a big problem on the 981. The "sun-burn" from about two weeks ago has turned into a serious infection. The entire fruit seems to be struggling with this, and I think it will go down early. Hopefully it will survive long enough to give me mature seeds.

August 16

Certainly time for an update. I had been on a short vacation, to Illinois of all places. There I was able to experience first hand how the nighttime temperatures are so much warmer in other places. We went several days without going below 70, even at night. Here, we just had a 43 overnight, in the middle of August! We were in western Illinois, along the Mississippi River, where we could see Iowa and Missouri across the river. Unbelieveable to me, going to the hotel at 10:00pm at night, 84 degrees and 95% humidity.

I think my plants have again "hit the wall" of my poor soil. My soil is much better than it used to be, but I still have a way to go. It still turns into hardpan after it dries a bit after it gets too wet. I'm thinking I can hit 400 for the fair, and 500 for the end of season weighoff. Well, I hope!

Pictures coming soon.

Aug. 19

Guess what! I have color!

981 Zunino on August 18

This one seems to be holding together. I can only imagine what it would be if it were a little longer and didn't have the damage on top.

This next one reminds me of a big chunk of granite.

681 Beauchemin, August 18

It's big and white, and unfortunately it looks like it's getting mature. Usually I can "heft" the pumpkin and move it a centimeter or two. On this one, I can't.

I expected more color out of the 891 Tanner.

891 Tanner, August 18

Oh well, it seemed to slow down recently, but I hope it starts going again. We've had some cool weather, and this plant has always liked warmer temps. This one still has a lot of growth in it, I hope.

The squash has always been slow.

874 Dieffenbauger

This one also had the "sunburn". Looks like it need to clean it up again. Just two weeks to go until the fair! I'll probably take the squash and the nice orange one on the Zunino.

August 24

The fair is set for weighoff on September 1st, just over one week away! I finally found some captan... I guess I didn't know where to look. I found it in the "Hi-Yield" red and yellow packaging. I put some of that stuff on the Zunino and Dieff, and the wounds have hardened off quite nicely. No more mildew! Wow, I'm glad!

If the Zunino can keep up the pace, it could actually hit 500 for the fair. But that is a VERY BIG "IF". It's very hard to keep the growth coming once we get this late in the season, and the fruit is looking quite mature.

The Beauchemin is turning yellow. I suppose that is a little better than white. The Tanner has slowed down, and the Dieffenbaugher has stopped.

The real bottom line is, my soil is only supporting 15 pounds a day in August, and that, only under ideal conditions and with a great plant. I've got to add more organic matter, (literally, tons more) to try to keep this soil from becoming so compacted. I'm already thinking of amending the entire patch with peat moss, next year.

August 26

Well, a note to anyone out there desperately waiting for information on the giants, they've stopped. It's really hard to call them giants. Oh well, our days are getting much shorter, nights well into the 40's, and the fruit on the Zunino will hit 60 days in less than a week. My soil is concrete, and it's all too much to ask.

Next update, on September 2nd, a report of the fair!


Cliff Warren