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Cliff's Grower Log -- July 2005

July 1

First female on the 981 Zunino. Six lobes?

I guess my early start is paying off after all. This is the first female to open on the 981. It's on the main. This is six lobes, isn't it? No matter how I count them, that's the conclusion that I come to.

Then, I went looking for males. Hmmm... Only one male on the 981, and one male on each plant! I must remember to not get too agressive in pruning. So it was selfed. I was careful and patient, and I think the female got covered completely. Notice however that with the way these lobes are folded on top of each other... it will be interesting to notice if this one has sections that don't get completely pollinated, as there are portions on this female that I can't reach.

There was also another female open on the 981, on a very long secondary. This one is perhaps further out than the one on the main. I won't let it go very long, unless the one on the main doesn't take.

July 5

Some random observations...

Females on the 981 are predominantly six-lobers! The ones I cull before pollination, I open them up to see how many lobes they would have had. I'm seeing more than 50% on this plant having six lobes.

I have a pollination this morning on the 681 Beauchemin squash. I had no males from either squash plant, so I crossed it with the 981! This should be a very interesting seed, squash mother crossed with a deep orange-red father.

I also have a female set on the 874 Dieffenbaugher, crossed with the 681.

The other three plants are turning out to be "whatever I get" plants. I will be more "liberal" in setting fruit on these.

Oh, today's low was below 50. Very typical for this area in July. Today's high? Near 90. Tomorrow will be 94. Don't complain to me about your temperature problems. ;-)

July 13

So OK, I've been a little lax in the photo department lately. At least the page loads quickly. ;-)

Right now I'm doing better than I ever have at this stage. I have four plants where I have a one pumpkin set on the main and no other fruit set on the plant. These are the 981 Zunino (Big Kahuna), 891 Tanner, 874 Dieffenbaugher, and 681 Beauchemin. The other two plants have multiple sets, and I will probably cull these down to two fruits per plant.

OK, here are some observations on each plant:

981 Zunino: I absolutely love this plant. Genetically, I consider it superior to anything I have grown. Big, solid leaves and vines. There is one fruit on the main at almost 10 feet out, a six-lober. Unfortunately, the next fruit on the main turned into an open pollination, so I culled it and will go with the first.

891 Tanner: Very slow getting started, but with the warmer temps lately the plant is doing well. One fruit on the main, not quite 10 feet out, but hey! Also, this fruit is crossed with the 981 Zunino so I already have high hopes for the seeds if I can grow a big one here.

874 Dieffenbaugher: The fruit on the main of this plant is absolutely perfect. Perfectly round, with a long stem that is nearly perpendicular to the vine. (These genes were taught what it means to be perpendicular, because they come from a math teacher.) I will have no trouble growing this one. My only trouble was cutting off a pumpkin on a secondary which was also perfect. (See photo.)

681 Beauchemin: Very interesting, this one... Long slender vines. The main is currently at about 17 feet, and the fruit is set at around 12 feet. But... this should be a squash, but the fruit is currently yellow! Hmmm....

753 Pappas: Another interesting plant, genetically. This one has enormous leaves on very short stems. Ever since the beginning, this plant just wants to lay on the ground. I have multiple sets on this one. Yellow vines.

500 Beauchemin: Again, this one had it's main vine snapped off by wind one month ago. It's now filling out... I should mention that snapping off the main vine was not ALL of the damage. This poor thing had all sorts of damage, it was a mess. Now it's a little bit of a "hunchback" but doing well. Multiple sets.

Looking for triple-digits today! Until next time...

July 19

Everything in the patch is going well. Here are some shots from Sunday the 17th:

Fruit on 981 Zunino. This one really looks good. Just one fruit on the plant, and the plant is really great. It's probably the best overall genetic that I've seen.

As you can see, just to the right of the blossom "ring", there is an area that is healing over. There was a very superficial gash in the fruit in this area. From what, I don't know. The fruit also has a stem that has a very acute angle to the main vine. I'm moving it a tiny amout each day in an effort to relieve future stress.

True green squash on the 874 Dieffenbaugher. This fruit looks great. I did trim these leaves after taking the photo. Great stem. The plant itself is a little small, with small leaves. But other than that there are no problems that I can see.

Fruit on the 891 Tanner. Pollinated a week later than the 981. This plant started small, but now it really looks nice. I have high hopes for this one as well.

Fruit on the 681 Beauchemin. I was hoping to get a true green squash, but the fruit is yellow! Oh well, we'll just have to wait and see. The fruit is slightly misshapen in the shoulders. It's 12 feet out.

The main vine on this plant is now out to 20 feet. This is probably the longest main vine I've had, especially at this time of the year. The vines are long and slender, and easy to train. So, it will be interesting if this plant can provide the juice (or, if any of them can!) in August.

July 21

Well, I was hoping to start today with a big "BOO-YAH!", with a nice number at my 20-day measurement on the Big Kahuna. This was my first measurement this year. I try not to measure too much as it tends to depress me. This one did.

OK, I'm at 56 inches, on day 20 with the fruit on the Big Kahuna. Not great, but I need to be realistic. Anything over 500 is what I'm shooting for. I'm also not sure how much the secondary rooting has kicked in yet. And, I've been going very light on the fertilization. I actually measured the night before. It was 53 last night, so I gained 3 inches overnight. Not bad. I also covered the fruit overnight for the first time. When I uncovered this morning, the fruit was still warm to the touch. This is important around here, where we can be above 90 during the day and below 50 at night.

I also made a 15 day measurement on the 874 Dieff squash. Only 48... But it is also now being covered every night with a blanket and tarp.

July 25

BOO-YAH! Well, a few things to report. First the good news. The 891 Tanner fruit put on 5 inches between day 15 and 16, and is currently on 1000 pound pace, according to the Ailts-Landry benchmarks. This doesn't mean that I'll grow a 1000 pounder, but it does make me feel good. The 681 Beauchemin is also doing well. This one should be a squash, and it looks like it will turn green after all. All the squash I've dealt with to this point have started out green. This one started out yellow, but is already developing a greenish hue. I like them to be all green or all orange, but if it grows big I won't care about the color.

Some bad news. Yesterday in the hot sun I had tarps laying over the pumpkins. On the 981 Zunino and 874 Dieff, there are portions of the fruit that were "burned" (?), I guess by the sun and where the tarp was touching the fruit. I don't know if it will matter much except that I'm growing them ugly.

July 28

Good morning!

Things are moving along, better than ever, but I have the feeling that I'm going to settle down into the 500 to 600 range, rather than the 700 to 800 range. The last few days has shown a slow down in growth, both fruit and plant, so I hit them hard with fish juice last night.

Here is the fruit on the 981 Zunino. It's shaping up to be a box. Notice on the top of the fruit. This is the result of leaving a tarp directly touching the fruit during a hot day. I don't think it's a problem, other than a huge mark or scar will be left. Color should be great.

Here is something that I "hope" will be a problem. The 874 (green) and 891 are growing toward each other. There is enough space, but to run out of space is a problem I'd like to have.

This one on the Beauchemin is going green. It was yellow but now it has those green overtones. I was hoping for a squash, so I actually hope it adds a lot of green. This one has been growing fast, but as you can see it wants to ride backward... hopefully it won't become a problem with the stem.


Cliff Warren