I have to say I am liking the look of my plant at the moment.

I’ll take what I can

Growing in such a small area means I have to have realistic expectations. Especially with most of the area being concrete and not dirt, how I envy anyone that has a full amount of dirt to grow in, no matter what the size.

The Tiny Patch NZ

To compensate for the lack of dirt the 3 bags (currently) of compost I’ve buried some vines in seem to be helping the plant. I could of put down more bags but then you end up with the problem of what to do with them later on. The less time trying to move vines into bags the better, especially as there is now a pumpkin growing.

Compost bag used for vine burying

Location is good

The pumpkin I picked due to it’s location seems to have reached that magical set stage of basketball size. The chance of it rotting randomly at this stage is very slim. It will probably do that just before harvest, haha.

Baby giant pumpkin with sand under it

I did have a back up pumpkin further out on the vine if needed, but it is in a terrible spot in the tiny patch.

Mill Fabric is in Place

With such a limited amount of space in the Tiny Patch I could have used a smaller piece of mill fabric, but with big dreams comes big pumpkins. It took me a little of time to get the mill fabric where I wanted it without breaking vines.

Pumpkin growing on Mill Fabric

Feeding the Pumpkin

I don’t have a comprehensive plan for fertilisers this year. I’m keeping things simple with a weekly dose of common product/s which I will change as the season moves forward.

While this is not best practice, two things come into play here. The lack of soil with the Tiny Patch, and the lack of having a soil test to tell me exactly what is missing.

Watering While Away

While this is the time of the year pumpkins are growing, it is also the time of the year when I level up and add an extra digit to my age. Which by my calculations now stands at 37 (I do not feel that old, and also WTF? Where did all the time go)

This means I am usually away for about a week during this period. And I thought I had better sort out some sort of watering solution while I was away.

Last year I used water timers.

This year I decided to set up a gadget I’ve had for many years, but have not used much at all. The Melnor WiFi Aqua Timer.

Melnor WiFi Watering System

History

I purchased this system a long time ago. If the cost of the product doesn’t make you wince, the cost of postage sure would. Sometimes living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world has it’s drawbacks.

The first time I set this system up I got an email from the company informing me I was the first person in NZ to buy and set one up.

I did use it for one season, then after a couple of moves I packed it away only to remember I had it recently.

How it works

There are two components to it, one part looks familiar and is a 4 hose adapter that goes onto your tap, in the back of it goes 4 AA batteries. The other part is a small box which connects to your home router and communicates with the box outside.

Via the app and the magic of the internet, you can control your watering by turning it off an on whenever you want.

A couple of notes

The app and system is now called RainCloud. When I tried to hook up the system this season I soon found out that the old way of using it didn’t want to work as the app has been updated.

I emailed the company and soon found out they had a new brain box for the system and because I was a valued customer they sent me a new box. Big thanks and thumbs up to them.

You can water manually or automatically after setting up when you want it to work. There is also a rain delay function to pause the system if there is going to be rain.

It uses some weather data to know when there is going to be rain and pauses the automatic plan, which is great if you live in an area that supports it. New Zealand isn’t on the list of places this works which is a bummer but not a deal breaker.

If you want to use the system manually without the app, it’s as simple as pushing the button on the outside unit to stop and start the water.

Micro Irrigation Sprinkler Head

Watering Remotely

While away I was able to water the Tiny Patch from my phone.

The only other thing I wanted to do and didn’t get around to, was setting up a camera to keep an eye on the Tiny Patch and the weather in real time.

Email Notifications are Here

If you’ve read to the bottom of this blog post well done, and thanks.

Below you’ll see I’ve added a box where you can sign up to get email notifications of when I post a new blog. It’s easy and simple and completely separate to any other mailing list, so you’ll only ever get blog update emails if you sign up.

I find this is handy for some other sites I personally follow, as I only check Facebook for notifications and never see my timeline. While Facebook can be a handy tool I also see it as a huge waste of time, which is affecting people more than they care to admit.

I’ll continue to post updates to the Facebook page as well.

What’s Next

Next up I will continue the watering and feeding of the plant, I need to put down more sand for the pumpkin to grow on top of.

I’ll also be rigging up some shade protection for the pumpkin as it grows larger than the leaves covering it at the moment. I’m thinking about getting some mouse traps just in case they were the cause of the pumpkin failing last season.

Kia Ora Garden Gnome in Pumpkin Patch

Until the next post take care and GROW THEM GIANT.