July 13th, 2011
Cucumber Beetles are a formidable adversary! They killed one of the giant pumpkin plants. This particular plant had gotten to a length of about four feet long and had good sized leaves, but Cucumber Beetles and their larve wrecked the plant and its short life ended in the dumpster.
Looks like a mini-Giant Pumpkin!
With so many plants in bloom including the giant pumkins, I’m reluctant to do a broad pesticide spraying, so we are hand picking beetles and spot spraying the trouble makers. In spite of the bug attacks, it looks like we might have a mini giant pumpkin starting!
Everything else is looking good.
As for the rest of the garden, it’s doing just fine. We’re harvesting excellent cucumbers (apparently cucmber beetles prefer pumkin plants), we have many healthy tomato, squash, pepper, and green bean plants all with vegetables.
Pumpkin killed by Cucumber Beetles
June 22nd, 2011
Up until now, I haven’t seen the need to be concerned about fungal diseases in the company garden, but with 90% plus humidity, 80 degree temperatures during the day and expected lows at night of 60 degrees over the next several days, this forecast tells me it’s prevention time.
These are perfect conditions for powdery mildew, alternaria (early blight) and other fungal diseases. So even though the garden is looking pretty good and disease free I’ve decided tospray GreenCure preventatively.
Mixing GreenCure in a Pump Sprayer
I mixed GreenCure at 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. The 1 gallon solo pump sprayer fits perfectly under the rain barrel spout.
Powdery mildew is my biggest concern with the pumpkins, cucumbers and squash, so I sprayed both the tops and bottoms of the leaves. The long wand handle on the garden sprayer is ideal for spraying upward to get the bottom of the leaves.
At some point this season, I’m probably going to do some A / B testing, meaning I’ll leave some plants untreated while preventatively spraying the others to see if I can get some PM to develop. At this point though, I want the plants to get bigger.
Spraying GreenCure on Underside of Leaves
It is always best to spray in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun and potential for burning. As everyone knows, even water sprayed on tomatoes for example during the bright midday sun can scald leaves. This is a perfect day to spray because it is cloudy and muggy so the solution will spread fully across the leaves and stems and slowly dry. This brings the active ingredient, potassium bicarbonate directly in contact with any spores that have landed on the plants and further creates a protective barrier for the spores yet to invade.
June 20th, 2011
Giant Pumpkin Gets Blossoms
The big leaves are actually about 12 inches across, so this plant is coming along quite well. It has some blossoms, so with some luck and with some help the bees, we should be seeing some mini pumpkins soon!
In other news, the cukes, zuckes and pole beans are all looking good, but it is the Grape Tomato plant that is showing the most promise.
It is full of flowers and has many little tomatoes. I think this will be the first real produce we harvest.
Grape Tomatoes Sprout Flowers and Tomatoes
June 8th, 2011
At first I thought, “These are really colorful little bugs” frolicking and well you know what bugs do a this point in the season on my fledgling giant pumpkin plants. I did a quick Internet search and didn’t find the bug.
The Cucumber Beetle: Colorful But Very Damaging
Too busy, I moved on and then a couple days go by and “WHAM” these little pests are chewing up my plants! If it was other plants in the garden I might not have been real concerned, but these are my big pumpkins and I can’t replace them. I resorted to a bug spray and hopefully I’m not to late, because the larvae which would have resulted from the “frolicking” apparently burrow into the stems. My guess is we
Cucumber Beetle Damage
will have many trials and tribulations this season and hopefully this will just be one bump that we look back and chalk up in the experience column.
May 24th, 2011
Stuart Shim gives a presentation on growing giant pumpkins.
The most exciting part of our company garden is that this will also be our first shot at growing giant pumpkins! The enthusiasm for Giant Pumpkins has started with a good friend and advocate of GreenCure Fungicide, Stuart Shim. Stuart, known as the Giant Pumpkin Kahuna, is a “Pumkinista” and runs a Giant Pumpkin Contest in California. He also gives garden workshops on the secrets of growing giant pumpkins.
Jim Fredricks a giant pumpkin grower in California, proudly shows his 860 lbs. prize.
When I told Stuart we were starting a company garden and wanted to try our hand a growing “big ones”, he quickly offered to send us some information and volunteered some starter seeds. When the padded envelope arrived it was like getting the “Orphan Anne Decoder Ring” in the mail. Each seed was packaged in a little tiny envelope with carefully typed out code numbers! The weight of the parent pumpkin, the year and the growers last name.
We’re talking huge! Weights of 1120, 890, 789 and the like were represented in the 8 seeds. With such high quality bargining chips, I had the inducement to beg for some prime horse manure from my kid’s pediatrician and gentleman farmer, Doc Miller. Not that he wouldn’t have donated the finely aged Belgian and Percheron manure, but it seemed like a fair trade – a couple award winning pumpkin seeds and some Muck Boots in exchange for a load of crap! (Sorry, I couldn’t help the sour humor)
Doc Miller Delivers Finely Aged Belgian & Percheron Manure
Remember we had to locate the garden behind the building which makes it difficult to get to, but that didn’t stop Doc, he simply asked the manager of the building behind us if he could drive the truck around the back side of their building in order to get a little closer to the garden site. So as part of the trade, we also decided to have a contest to who could grow the biggest pumpkin – let the competition begin.
The first biggest challenge was digging the holes. Now Stuart says they need to be four feet deep and he’s serious about this. Apparently the tap roots of these monsters are very big. Mike, took on the challenge and I’m indebted to his ambition because in two days between all the regular work in the office he somehow dug two four foot holes through tons of glacial gravel and stones.
Shoveling manure and soil into 4' hole
Thomas and I mixed the soil and the manure, filled the holes and built two mounds. I planted the two pumpkin plants and I can honestly say they doubled in size after the first day.
Future Giant Pumpkin
May 24th, 2011
Where’s The Sun?: It’s been a challenge to figure out where to put the garden. We discovered that the first spot we selected wasn’t really our land. When the snow finally melted away and we found the property iron – well, there wasn’t enough space without encroaching on the neighbor’s lot. Apparently, the fence leaves about ten feet of land on this side that originally seemed to be our land. Rule number one when installing a garden – make sure it’s in your yard!
The next area we considered is between our building and the next industrial building. This seemed perfect. It is near several doors, easy to get to with the dirt and other things we need, plus it gets sun nearly all day. This is very important in Conklin, NY because as I mentioned in the first post – sun can be very rare here. The problem with this location is that if the utility company ever needs to get a truck up to the utility pole our new garden would be in the way.
Finally, we decided the only place we could put the garden was behind the building. The area gets good sun as long as we locate away from the shadows that the building casts. It is more difficult to get to, but it’s secluded, quiet and now that we’ve selected it, I think it is perfect. Ginger and Mike, however, may have a different opinion – there are thousands of rocks that they raked out. It’s a good thing we are putting in raised beds for the veggies but the pumkins will go right in the ground.
So, Ginger and Mike put in the heavy lifting of digging out the rocks and trying to soften up the soil that would be beneath the raised beds. We hired our lawn company to til the grass, so Ginger and Mike had to drag all the grass chucks and rocks out.
It’s a nice out of the way place so much so that it seems like its out in the country rather than in a corporate park. We get to watch the trains roll by in the background.
Our next step was putting up six foot high dog kennel fencing. There are a lot of deer, rabbits and other critters that would love to feast on the garden, so we’ve got to keep them out. Maybe we’ll share some leftovers. These “instant fences” are really awesome. So easy to put up and incredibly sturdy. We’ll pile some of our abundant rocks under the bottom pipe to keep the rabbits out. The beds are two by tens, not pressure treated wood. I know it will eventually rot, but if we get a few years out of them that will be good enough. As you can imagine the fences, tilling, seed lights, soil, seeds and labor has pushed the price tag of the garden into the several year payback range. But we hope it will be a source of fun, photos and good veggies.
May 20th, 2011
Starting Seeds: (Seeds were started April 6th – see “Gardening With Soule” blog) Looking back, we probably made the same mistake that so many gardeners make, we started our seeds too early. Yeah, I know the snow hadn’t fully melted away from our planned garden area, but we had seeds in our hands and a light rack built out of some old retail shelving – well you know the rest of the story.
It’s a lot easier to start seeds than it is to keep them alive indoors when they should have been in the ground already. All the seeds started strong, but it was the weekend when I was out of town and the sprouts dried out that we lost at least half of the seedlings. We’ll just start over with some and we might have to resort to a trip to the nursery for our tomato plants. The blog posts at the company’s Gardening With Soule / Garden Shoes Online blog tell the story of our seeds early start and subsequent struggle to keep them going.
May 18th, 2011
Getting Started: As a company project, we’ve decided to have a vegetable garden right here at work. The garden will serve as a place to grow a variety of plants and use and photograph GreenCure Fungicide “in action”. Our building is located at the edge of a corporate park in Conklin, NY (upstate New York).
We get a lot of rain. Rumor has it that this is one of the cloudiest places in the country. Supposedly behind Seattle and right now we’re having a torrential downpour and frequently nights can have a bit of a chill so our climate is an excellent breeding ground for powdery mildew, blights and other fungal diseases.
With this blog, we hope to document our work at putting together a company garden, discuss gardening tips and bring in expert advice about disease control. And in the process, we hope to have a bit of fun too. Thanks,