A Pumpkin We-Will-Grow

Pumpkin seedling tucked into the straw

Pumpkin seedling staying warm in the straw

That was easy!

The pumpkins are in. They’re lush, plentiful and thriving. In case you’re wondering about my mad gardening skills, you can sum them up in one word: compost.

I didn’t add compost to make them grow; instead they grew in the compost. I’m new to composting, and like any convert, I can’t say enough about the process (fun) and the end results (see photos, below).

When my nifty, thrifty, spinning composter reached capacity, I searched for alternatives. I re-purposed an old Rubbermaid bin, once used for children’s toys. I tossed in the straw left over from our Halloween party, then dry leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste. I popped on the lid, drilled holes in the bottom for air circulation and drainage, and called it a day. Turning the compost was the biggest challenge. It was hard to get leverage in a narrow, small bin but I managed. About a month ago, I removed the lid and saw this: tiny pumpkin sprouts.  Awe-some!!!

Pumpkin Seedling

Pumpkin Seedling

Figuring I would transplant the seedlings when the weather warmed up, I simply returned the lid. I left it open just a crack for more light.

Then this happened:

pumpkin plants in compost

Rich compost = happy pumpkins!

pumpkin transplants from compost

Out of the compost and into the planting bed

transplanted pumpkins

Success! Pumpkins thrive in raised bed

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with all those pumpkin seeds I saved from last year!  Any takers?

Have you found any surprises in your garden this year?

25 thoughts on “A Pumpkin We-Will-Grow

  1. I’m so glad your composting worked out. We did not have as much luck, unfortunately. We went to a information meeting put on by the city of San Jose, where they told us all about either worm bin composting, or larger, garden scrap composting. We opted for the worm bin compost. I picked up two worm bins from the city of San Jose, and bought some worms with a neighbor, and halfed them. I put the wet newspaper in with it, and put the food scraps in, and then the worms. I kept it moist, but the worms look like they escaped through the large holes that were drilled in the bins. It was a lot of work to set up a small compost pail inside, and dump it regularly into the bins, and even with picking up two bins, the worms didn’t seem like they needed as much scraps as we put in, but it could have been because they escaped!?! Don’t know. It was an experiment, and I will perhaps start again at some point, but not in the really near future. My youngest daughter was the one driving it, after having attended science camp, but she really wanted me to do all the work, and reap the benefits of the great dirt for planting.

    On another related note, do you have any time in the future to come by the house and look at some flowers that are growing around some of our birch trees that are needed to get uprooted and replanted. They are, I assume, bulbs, since they come up every year (sorry, I’m new to this gardening thing), and I would like to move them to a more suitable place. Wouldn’t mind picking your brain about some of our flower placements from the previous owners.

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    • Darlene, I’m happy to stop by and of course love that you asked. I can never get enough garden talk! I’m finishing up a large client project this week, and will finally have some breathing room. I’ll check in with you then.

      I too have a worm bin (my friend Liz brought me starter worms), but I’ve kept them separate from the other compost. One of the tips she gave me was to make the food scraps small. Mine is set up in an old trug (the handle broke). I set it up on a heavy duty bucket, drilled tiny holes in the bottom, added the worms, then food scraps and later added a layer of straw, so if it gets too wet, they can move up to dryer “ground” as needed. I dip my hand in every few weeks, and see lots of healthy red worms. I add water as needed, then empty the ‘worm tea’ that flows out of the small holes into the garden.

      I have a nice kitchen compost collector, a gift from a friend. I empty it every few days (or as needed).

      For me it isn’t work, but a pleasure. It might be that your daughter outgrew the interest and for you it just feels like a chore.

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  2. What great success with your compost and pumpkins! Would like to give your composting method a try in the coming months. We had a surprise with some tomato plants sprouting this summer in the veggie plot we had grown them in last summer – I mustn’t have cleaned the plot out too well and left a few tomatoes in the soil. Their seeds survived and gave us a small amount of lovely tomatoes again this past season. So much for crop rotation! Really enjoy your blog!

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    • Thanks so much for your kind words and comments. I’m often amazed at what re-seeds the following year. In my experience, they tend to be hearty and healthy, too. I love fresh tomatoes and we grow them every year, but I’ve never had them come back. Lucky you! I’m so glad they did.

      I think some seeds travel in the wind, or are dropped by a bird. Nature is really something.

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  3. Look at you grow! 😀 Well that was a bit of easy gardening. Too bad nature isn’t always that complicit. How far ahead do you think you are compared to when you usually plant them? GJ’s right, maybe you’ll have some monster one? Hey, how’s the gourds drying? Are you going to be a birdie landlord?

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    • No kidding! Easy peasy. Now if only my seeds out front would make a show of things.

      I usually plant them in May and they are well established now so probably six weeks ahead. I wonder if I’ll have any pumpkin flowers by the time you visit.

      The gourds are really slow to dry out. I put them up on the top of the entertainment center where it is warm and dry but they are still bright green. They didn’t rot though, so I may be a landlord next year. Thanks for remembering! ♥you♥

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  4. Hi! That is such a happy accident! Pumpkins do love you so we shouldn’t be surprised. When we used our own compost last year, it resulted in rogue violas and lovely tomatoes. What a shame we’ve no room for the compost, I won’t get any surprise plants now.🎃

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    • Rogue violas! I love that.

      Compost does require a lot of room, which was part of the appeal of the rotating bin I bought last year. It just didn’t hold very much.

      I know some gardeners simply pile debris at the end of the season in a corner of the garden and turn it now and again, then reuse the space the following season. Would something like that work for you, or is it that you’ve already filled the space.

      Thanks for your nice comment on the pumpkins…and for the cute emoticon, too. Right back atcha! 🎃

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  5. Pingback: A Pumpkin We Will Grow | gardeningnirvana

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