Pumpkins: Something Old, Something New

pumpkin plant leaves and tendrils

Unfurling leaves and curling tendrils

Did you know that pumpkins have been around since 7000 BCE?  Now *that* is something old.  Something new is planting out pumpkin seeds in EarthBoxes® on our front deck.  Most years, the pumpkins start out in the raised beds out back.  Unfortunately, the nasty squash bugs from last season wintered over, so I needed a ‘plan b’.  One of my readers suggested a decoy plant in the usual place so I did just that.  It’s growing so nicely though, that I fear I’ll be just as heartbroken if the nasty bugs take hold.

We’ve been growing pumpkins for a decade, mostly for carving and decorating. We’re all fans of Halloween around here, so nothing could be finer than a Jack o’lantern carved from a garden gourd.

Meanwhile, the pumpkins on deck are thriving.  We set up trellises this weekend so the pumpkins can climb up and over. I thinned the plants (always tough for me) so that the others would have room to grow.   I planted three varieties  from seed six weeks ago today, which means they’re already half way through the 90 day growing season.  Isn’t that amazing?

EarthBox Pumpkins 2014

Pumpkin progression: May, 3rd – June 16th

There are a plethora of buds, with the first few male flowers appearing this week.

pumpkin flower male

Male pumpkin flower, open for business

The females will bud next, then it’s up to the bees to cross-pollinate.

pumpkin bud female

Female pumpkin bud

To help things along, Salvia and Sunflowers are growing nearby. They’re all bee magnets, so a good time will be had by all.

pumpkins, salvia and sunflowers

Trellised pumpkins grow near sunflowers and Salvia

Please check back soon to see the pumpkins progress. Meanwhile, if you run into a squash bug, please DO NOT offer directions to our place. The pumpkins thank you.

Leaves, stems, tendrils, and flower buds

Leaves, stems, tendrils, and flower buds

19 thoughts on “Pumpkins: Something Old, Something New

  1. I just finished eating my lunch – leek and pumpkin soup 🙂 Your photos are lovely as usual – love that tendril in the last shot. They look so tender, but are as strong as steel! The growing is happening very quickly – just like my puppy [who has doubled in size already!] I am amazed that you are growing pumpkins up a trellis – how ingenious! Even though I am intending to go vertical this spring I had not thought I could do so with pumpkins. Obviously nothing is out of the question now. I am becoming quite excited! Mid-Winter is looming and a month after that I can begin to prepare ……… Such fun!!

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  2. Oh Alys, your pumpkins are beautiful! I love love love everything about them! I want to move next to you so we can garden together, or heck, I’ll just move into the guest house! We would have so much fun gardening together! I love your pumpkin trellis too! I made one for our pumpkins, but I like yours better! I love that you are also a HUGE fan of Halloween, and so are we! Yikes, another thing in common! 🙂

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  3. The photos of the progress are wonderful. I didn’t know you could trellis pumpkins. I’m going to learn a lot here. Enjoyed the sex lesson too.:) I’m on a dead run these days but had to stop by and say hi. Pictures are being taken but no time to post. 😦

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  4. They’re looking really good! Love the photos of the tendrils. I don’t know what squash bugs are, but I think if I met one he wouldn’t make it all the way to your place anyway…. Good luck!

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  5. The close up photo’s with the tendrils are so pretty. The last photo especially with all the blonde fur visible on the stem is just a joy. Reminded me of ‘Jack in the Beanstock’ story. Such delicate greenery to support those giant orange balls you end up with. And in only 90 days, gads that is really wild. I know I’ve said this before but it blows my mind what pops out of a tiny seed. If we could somehow harness that momentum and energy, I have no doubt we could someday travel to distant planets. From pumpkins to planets, the magic that is Gardening Nirvana has me waxing poetically. I hope that creepy bugs don’t find your decoy. what if you put it smack in the centre of some tac paper? Since you get very little summer rain, you wouldn’t even have to worry about it getting washed off. You’d think anything crawling toward the pumpkin would get stuck. They use it to wrap pine trees (and others) that are threatened by beetles. Your front porch is looking really plentiful and green. Beautiful Alys! xoK

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    • Thank you, Boomdee. I’ve been growing pumpkins for a decade and I’m still amazed at the growth. Those tendrils look dainty, but are amazingly strong. I’ve occasionally pried one lose to redirect the growth and they feel like a soft, flexible, yet strong wire.

      From pumpkins to planets…you’re so clever. That would make an excellent children’s storybook.

      I hope the creepy bugs are gone for good, but I havent gone looking either. They’re only interested in the fruit, not the plant, so my due diligence must kick in when the pumpkins form and ripen. Some sort of barrier is a great idea. With them growing in front of my window, I see them several times a day. Those bugs don’t stand a chance sneaking up on me this year.

      Thank you for all your kind words and support, today and always. xox

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  6. So glad that those nasty bugs are leaving you be thus far!
    Your photos are wonderful, and I, like everyone else, love that last one. So delicate, so lovely.
    I’ve got my basil in two of my earth boxes and it’s growing so rapidly!! Happy, happy me!

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    • I’m behind on blog reading again, Laurie, but look forward to reading about your basil. I know you’re in summer heaven.

      Thanks for the kind words on the photo. I love all the layers and textures of a pumpkin plant. I never tire of watching them grow and change.

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    • I hope they’ll grow to a decent size, but time will tell. Since pumpkins are annuals, they don’t set deep roots. The boxes allow for a foot of root space, about the same amount they get in my raised beds. Fingers crossed. For now, they’re pumping out beautiful flowers, both male and female, with bees and wasps nearby, I remain hopeful. Having them on my deck outside my kitchen window is really fun. I see them several times a day.

      How are your pumpkins coming along?

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      • Makes sense. And they aren’t going be neglected where you can see them. I am not growing any pumpkins. Just squash, zucchini and cantaloupe. I have never had any real luck with pumpkins for how much space they take up so I gave up on them.

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        • Pumpkins do take up a lot of room. We grew cantaloupe one year, but since it also takes up a lot of room, we didn’t plant it again. My oldest son loves cantaloupe, so I really should give it another try.

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            • Okay, so I’ll confess: we once harvested a cantaloupe thinking it was a pumpkin. I displayed them together for a photo, and it wasn’t until I cut it open that I realized it was an immature cantaloupe. I still laugh about that one.

              I planted them, but none of them seemed to take off. Clearly one did, and I showed it absolutely no respect, lumping it in with a group of gourds. Promise not to tell, okay?

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