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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkins

I love to grow Pumpkins. I have always been fascinated by them and how they grow......I know, strange huh? When I was a kid, in 2nd grade, we grew a Giant Pumpkin at school. We had an area outside our classroom that we planted that special plant that was once a seed. I will never forget watching that seed turn into a sprout, then a plant, then watching as it literally took over a large area with it's large yellow flowers and it's prickly, itchy, long vines that would grow overnight it seemed. I lived right across the street from my primary school so I would always go take one last look at that Pumpkin plant at the end of the day.I was so excited about that Pumpkin plant!
And I can still remember how it felt to touch the vines with their prickly hairs all over them. Maybe it was because I was a little kid at the time, but that plant seemed to take over the whole school yard and produced the biggest Pumpkins! And that is how I fell in love with pumpkins and growing them.
A couple of years ago, I went to a small plant sale and the Sonoma County Master Gardeners were there selling GIANT Pumpkin seeds. I could not wait to plant my GIANT Pumpkin seeds! When the plant was big enough, I picked off all the blooms except for 4 of them. One for each grandchild. They advise doing this so that all of the plant's energy can go into the remaining Pumpkin blooms. I was so excited to see how big the Pumpkins would get. I envisioned having to get a forklift to pick up the Pumpkins so that I could win the grand prize for the biggest Pumpkin ever! Well, as you can see, I did not grow the biggest Pumpkin ever but they were pretty darn big and my oldest granddaughter, Big E, was thrilled. I could not have been happier with my prized Pumpkins! Well, as a side note, at the time my 2 youngest grand kids were living half way across the world so technically, I would have been happier if they could have been there to see their Pumpkins in person......anyway......back to the pictures......
I also tried something that I discovered in one the many articles I read about growing these wonderful gourds.
When these 4 Pumpkins were just beginning to grow, I carved into each one the name of one of my grand kids with a straightened paper clip. The article cautioned that there were risks with doing this such as carving too deep into the skin of the Pumpkin, thus allowing bacteria and pests into the gourd. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Little E and M's Pumpkins. I etched their names too hard and punctured the skin. Soon, these Pumpkins died. What you see in the above pictures are the 2 survivors. I made sure to save the seeds from the biggest Pumpkin for next year.
The next year's results reminded me again why you should always try to buy non-hybridized, heritage, seeds when you can. The plant did not flourish and all the Pumpkins were small. Seeds saved from hybrid plants do not do well at all. They are altered so that they produce something special for that season. That's why they are altered or combined with other plants to produce something different or special. Heritage seeds are tried and true to the parent plant's heritage and history. Nothing altered, you get what you get. Something true and comforting about that fact. So, what to do with alot of nice, small pumpkins? Especially after all the fuss and hype I created over last year's GIANT pumpkins. In a pinch, with Big E coming to spend the day to garden with me, and harvesting the Pumpkins, we created these funny looking guys and the day was a great day even without GIANT Pumpkins.

2 comments:

Ashley Biernier said...

I love your pumpkins! Especially how you displayed them in the wheelbarrow with hay when we came over. I need to learn some gardening tips from you before I start my veggie garden again after winter.

Kara said...

I did not know that pumpkins flowered. Who knew?

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