150 Sq Feet Challenge 2016 Entry # 2

Man, has it suddenly got colder all of a sudden, silly Autumn heading into winter. Who thought trying to grow a pumpkin out of season would be a good idea.

Well, the seeds I started didn’t do anything which was a shame. I put this down to both being older seeds and me using the hot water cylinder to put the plastic bags on. No problems last year but maybe this year it wasn’t as warm or as consistent with being warm. Whatever the case, lesson learnt.

Tim to the rescue

Well luckily Tim is doing the 150 foot challenge as well, and he just happened to be test growing some seeds from his 789.5kg pumpkin.

He’s starting a little bit later and wanting to get his seedling in the ground right on the first day of winter so had no need for the seedling. I on the other hand, could use them, so I shot out and picked those up.

Seedling in pot for the 150sq foot challenge

While I was there I checked out where Tim is growing for this challenge.

His normal sized vegetable garden and not the actual pumpkin patch is where it is all happening, the normal patch is covered in grass as a cover crop.

Tim's patch for the 150 sq feet challenge

To help keep the soil warm, Tim is pumpkin hot water in irrigation pipes around the patch.

Irrigation in the soil to help warm it Tim's patch 150sf foot challenge

The water is heated in this drum with a milk warmer and an aquarium pumpkin pushes the water around constantly. It’s a great system and I’m looking forward to seeing the results, he is still to set up a greenhouse type structure over the area.

Water heating plan for 150sq foot giant pumpkin challenge

Hoop House Update

As for my plant protection, I finally put the hoop house together which worked really well except for one thing.

Hoop house construction 150sq foot challenge

I really needed to get a wider piece of Tunnet as it didn’t cover all the way over, to fix this I chopped 800mm off of the fibreglass rods which made the curves slightly smaller and allowed full coverage.

Hoop house covered 150sq Foot Challenge

Keeping Warm and Watering

While I haven’t got any system in place to keep the ground warm, being in such a small tiny space surrounded by concrete it seems to keep the temp better than I expected. It also gets hit by the sun first thing in the morning and gets a lot of sun during the day.

The lowest temps predicted this week are around the 4 degrees mark, which for Northern Hemisphere people is around the 39 degrees Farenheit temp. For night time I am covering it with a cardboard box and removing it first thing in the morning.

I buried my soaker hose in the garden with two loops covering the whole area. I am concerned the blue drum I have (more on that next update) won’t be able to push the water through and out of the hose with just gravity alone.

I don’t think my flatmates would be happy if I had a pumpkin running for that due to noise outside a bedroom window and the added cost of power. Interestingly enough 19% of all arguments amongst flatmates here in NZ is about power us and consumption I read the other day.

So I may just use that with regular water from the tap, and put in some irrigation with droppers to use with the barrel and some product I have from Agrifert.

That’s it for now. Let me know how your season is going, or new things you are trying in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

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