Monday, October 13, 2014

Surprise Pumpkin!

     One day, when I was out looking at this year's neglected garden, I found a vine. I hadn't planted anything that would grow a vine. I watched the vine and tried to guess what it was. A neighbor thought it might be an Acorn Squash, since it looked like the one she was growing. The vine wasn't producing any fruit. It just kept flowering. Many of the flowers would fall off, looking as though they had been cut neatly at the stem. I started looking for cutworms, but never found any.
     I then learned that some of the flowers were male, and some were female. The female flowers have a 'hip' at the base of the flower that could become a fruit if the flowers were fertilized. The male flowers would simply fall off the vine. I looked for weeks and didn't find any fruit growing.
     One day, I remembered that I had planted watermelon seeds. I was almost certain they wouldn't grow, but since our growing season here is long and has been consistently warm the past few years, I thought I'd give it a go. I was so excited that we might be getting watermelon from our own garden! Several more days passed, and no fruit.
     An hot afternoon found me outside in the shade of our trees, inspecting this vine. It was rather thorny, and had sprawled out everywhere! There was one fruit, growing under the leaves of the wisteria that climbs the fence. It was a tiny green ball with a striped pattern. I was convinced still that it was a watermelon. About a week later, the tiny green ball had grown quite a bit.
I might have still thought it was a watermelon if it weren't for the stem. Definitely a pumpkin stem. This is when I found out, via Google, that pumpkins turn orange on the vine. I've never seen pumpkins grow before! This was exciting!  As the pumpkin became larger, I could see it from the kitchen window. I started looking out every time I was at the kitchen sink. I am there quite a bit.

Soon, it looked more like this:  

The vines are beginning to die back, and we'll harvest our one pumpkin. There is a lot of speculation in the house about who will get to use the pumpkin and to what purpose. I know now that if we grow pumpkins again, I will turn them or put straw under them to keep them from getting flat on one side. I will also pinch off female flowers to give fewer buds a better chance at becoming pumpkins.
     Not bad for a volunteer plant!

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1 comment:

Inksgirl said...

ahhahaaaa! I thought you were going to say you were having a
surprise pumpkin!!! You know, another zooligan!