Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mound One Day 14
Mound Two Day 14
Great Park Day 14: Wire Enclosures Installed!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Wire enclosures have been installed around the mounds and giant pumpkin seedlings that are growing at the Orange County Great Park this season, as part of my activities as a UCCE Certified Master Gardener. The staff at the Great Park did an outstanding job fabricating and installing the wire enclosures as you can see from the images that I took yesterday afternoon. I don't anticipate any rabbit, squirrel or other terrestrial animal damage to the giant pumpkin plants because of their excellent work. Vigilance against gopher threats is still being maintained.

From the seedlings' initial transplanting of May 31st, 2010, they've put on quite a lot of leaf and plant growth. I opened up the cardboard boxes in the direction where the primary vines will grow (opposite direction of the first true leaf or in the same direction as the second true leaf) to give the plants plenty room to expand.

Because of windy afternoon conditions, I decided to wait a few (3-5) more days to allow the stems to strengthen a little/thicken up before completely removing the cardboard boxes. In other words, I just didn't want to see the stems snap from the wind and to experience the accompanying emotions of seeing the stems snap from the wind, as soon as I removed the boxes yesterday afternoon.

The next step will be installing some soaker hoses to make watering easier and more consistent.

Then, besides fertilizing, addressing potential powdery mildew, and some vine burying and guidance, it should be simply speculating about what the final weights of the pumpkins will be in the fall...

This is a good opportunity to mention the invaluable help and watchful eyes of Hank Fishman, a fellow UC Certified Master Gardener, and the Master Gardener in-charge of the Farm and Food Lab at the Great Park. Hank's stepped into the breach and has enthusiastically agreed to observe, water and keep an eye on the giant pumpkin seedlings when he's at the Great Park this season. I am very happy and extremely grateful to have Hank to look after the current giant pumpkin plants and in a few weeks, vines.

Thank you very much, Hank!