The Great Pumpkin

Every year, about the beginning of October, I place pumpkins and ornamental ghords in my gardens. I love celebrating the change of seasons and the coming of Halloween with these inexpensive vegetables that bring gold, orange, white, and green to my fading summer perennials. I buy them from the same, small nursery a bit north of me where I took my little ones to pick out their Halloween jack o’ lanterns. These sweet memories come to me each time I begin this fall ritual.

This picture shows what I came home to after being away for about 10 days. Although I don’t formally plant them, we enjoy a random seed or two making their way amongst my flowers thanks to the squirrels and deer who broadcast the seeds as they nibble, then full on destroy, my pumpkins the fall before. Here is evidence from earlier seasons. I’m sure many of you have experienced similar antics in your own gardens.

A few nibbles here and there…
…finally, he is disemboweled. This guy travelled around my front yard a few days before I tossed him in the woods.

This spring I noticed the very small bean-like stalk growing in my front garden near the house. It very quickly grew and spread as a result of our very rainy spring and summer season. All the elements for successful pumpkin growing must be at play because this little vine that could produced a single little pumpkin that could!

Here is the transformation I’ve recorded over the past weeks.

Not absolutely certain of this date, but close to mid-June.
I was impressed with the ginormous leaf!
Slightly displacing our walkway light.
Leaf beyond ginormous!

A very strong stem attached to a very robust vine.
This morning.

This entire vine runs the length of my walkway and has also stalked off toward my house in two directions. And there is only one pumpkin. I continue searching for hidden siblings but at my last check this morning, nothing else found. I read online that there are two flowers, male and female. The female bloom, which is more bulbous at it’s base, appears first. The male bloom appears afterward and is taller and thinner than the female bloom. If the female bloom is not fertilized, it simply falls to the ground. I’ve noticed this very process as my vine has grown over the weeks. I thought the deer or bunnies were nibbling the blooms but found it odd they were not consumed. My UPS guy supported me in this assumption…one day we had a long chat about pumpkins and gardening when I walked out my front door and found him pondering this massive, tangled vegetable vine. He said he sees the same fallen blooms in his vegetable garden and also thought it was due to the visiting deer. I hope he returns so I can share with him it probably is the ‘circle of life’ we’re witnessing.

So, what to do now that I have this garden art (my UPS guy’s statement) on display in my front yard? My daughter said he deserved his own instagram account and Mr. E’ville believes it is contest worthy. Both good ideas, however, I don’t know if I want to take on either ‘job’. I’ve done absolutely nothing to or for this pumpkin’s journey. I enjoy marveling at his overnight expansions. For certain I will continue my daily inspections on the vine and the pumpkin and will share photos here along the way. I believe there will be no other pumpkins because I think this rogue seedling is here to make a statement and how lucky I am he chose my garden to broadcast message.

If any of you have experience with tending pumpkins, please share your story here. I feel the need to trim a few of the branching vine offshoots that are tertiary or more to the main vine. The seedlings never seem to implant in ideal spots and in my attempts to gently guide them away from the lawn or driveway I’ve damaged them in the past. I don’t want to disrupt this guy’s growing season but I’d like to reclaim my walkway and wonder if those far away branches can be slowly trimmed. Thank you for any thoughts you can share. Happy Friday to all and yes, Virginia, The Great Pumpkin is coming!

3 comments

  1. Wow – enjoyed seeing the fast growth and this is quite an adventure – what a fun gift
    I only grew pumpkins in Denver in the late 1990s- and didn’t know what I was doing and the plants covered a lot of the backyard and then we lost all of them with a harsh frost
    I was shocked at how much space they took up

    And I am not positive but I vaguely remember my brother using a q-tip to help cross pollinate certain veggies
    I wonder if there is a cross pollination problem here?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm. I wonder? But, I did notice this morning while the blooms were open the bees were in every bloom. This I’ve not seen before. The blooms are only open for a short time in the morning then close up tight for the remainder of the day. Fingers crossed they make another pumpkin or four.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – fingers crossed for more
        And it was kind of fun thinking about October and pumpkins
        Reminds me that seasons will change before we realize it!

        Like

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