Tales From the Dragon's Keep 
Chapter One - Brain Damage

May 3 Olivia helps plant some very hot seeds.  The edges of the seed were sanded and the seeds soaked for 4 hours in diluted kelp extract prior to planting.

April 21 Children of a Lesser god - Dozens of Atlantic Giant pumpkin plants sprout like weeds in the back field.  This spot of earth is where Athena's little sister (about 300 pounds) was plowed under last fall.


April 29 Tony and Olivia help dad with the compost.  I had a dump truck load of 25 yards delivered.  My four pumpkin sites get 5 yards each to bring up the organic component of my clay hardpan posing as top soil.


May 1  The front patch.  I rototilled the field as soon as it was dry enough and then applied two to three inches of compost over the entire site.  Later I'll rototill the compost in before further prep work. 


May 8  Tony helps with site prep.  This year I'm double digging a 10' by 20' area that runs along the path of the main vine for each plant.  The center 5' by 20' area is triple dug giving me one hundred square feet where it is two feet down to the hard pan. 


The Zunino Triple Dig Method

My triple dig methodology.  First the top soil on two sides of a 10 by 20 site is removed and piled along the edges.  The center strip is left intact.  Then soil amendments are added to the two trenched areas and they are rototilled as deep as the tiller will go. 

The topsoil in the center strip is moved into the side strips that were just rototilled. 

The center area is amended, rototilled and dug out again.  It is then amended and rototilled again. 
Two feet of soil is now cultivated in the center strip.

All the dirt that was removed is returned - leaving a 10' by 20' raised mound.  Potting soil is added at ground zero.  WARNING - Please don't try this at home. It's dangerous and a lot of work. Only certified lunatics are properly qualified. 


Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done      Don't sit down it's time to start 
another one

For long you live and high you fly,
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.

May 10 My diggin' shoes... just got em broke in. 


May 3 Line-up of champions.  My seeds soak for four hours in a kelp brew prior to going underground. 
I planted three 789 Zunino's a week earlier on April 28. 

May 9 100% germination - The 1056 Dueck comes up in two days, the 801 and 983 Ciliberto's come up on day three, followed on day four by the 823 Glazier and the 846 Calai.  The 937 Mombert takes six days.   All of my 789 Zunino's sprouted within 4 days.  Filing the seed edges and the kelp brew soak helped improve my germination percentage.

Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon
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(The 846 Calai shimmers in it's pot - a plant possessed)
At four days cotyledons are over 8 inches across -  five gallon pot is one foot dia.

May 11 I pull the 846 Calai from it's one gallon pot to re-pot it in a five gallon pot.  To my absolute amazement, I find the main tap root coiled around the bottom of the pot like the curled tail of a dragon.  Unfettered, the root is over 16" long from the base of the plant.  I have never seen anything like this. Three days after breaking ground, the Calai has over twice the root system of it's older cousins. 

This is no ordinary ninja pumpkin.  A day later the cotyledons were over 8 inches across and the first true leaf was starting to pop.  This plant truly wants to rumble. It is large and it is hungry.   I got it out of the confinement of the pot and into the ground on it's fourth day with a sense of relief that I had not restrained it's appetite too much. 

The Calai now crouches imperiously on it's mound ready to pounce over the site.  It's hidden dragon root spreads its wings in its lair below. 

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