Pumpkins grow like weeds. That’s a good thing. Within days of planting, flat, white seeds crack under the warm soil and sprout. Cotyledons give way to true leaves and off they go. Leaves and stems shoot up so quickly that if you stood still awhile, I’m sure you could see them grow. I’m a fan of every stage.
The size of the leaf is a good indicator of the size of the fruit to come.True leaves are prickly and so are the stems, which are hollow. They remind me of large, green drinking straws. Stems and leaves lead you to think you have a small shrub on your hands, but then strong, curling tendrils appear and the plant takes off down the garden path, up the trellis and around the bend.
A decade ago, before we knew a thing about growing pumpkins, a self-seeded vine grew across the path, into a garden bench, and out the other side. It eventually set fruit, a lovely, heart-shaped pumpkin that hung from the garden bench door. We left the door open the rest of the season, delighted at the rambling pattern and the speed at which it grew. My boys were 3 and 6 that year, so you can imagine the daily joy of discovery. We headed out back in those early fall days to see what those pumpkins were up to.
It’s been such a pleasure growing this year’s crop in EarthBoxes™. They’re right outside my kitchen window, so I see them several times a day. We sit on the deck in the evenings and on weekends, and now feel like we have a ‘fourth wall’ on deck. The pumpkins and sunflowers together formed a beautiful screen.
Here’s a look at their progress since early May.
My stenciled EarthBoxes™ planted with three types of seeds: an assortment of saved seeds from last year (the mystery box) along with Botanical Interests ‘Jack-o’-lanterns’ and ‘Luminas’.
Hearty seedlings in just one week.
About thirty days in, and look at them grow. You can see the start of the sunflowers near the lawn, also started from seed. I’ll write more about them later this week.
I added trellises to allow the vines to grow up as well as out. The birds land there, before diving in to the sunflower leaves. Why won’t they eat the squash bugs instead?
Golden flowers attract bees and wasps. I love spending time out there in the morning before the heat descends. It’s a challenge photographing the bees. They move in and out of the flowers with speed and efficiency. I still try though. I have about 75 blurred photos, but I refuse to give up.
The vines got a bit of window dressing for Independence Day. They’re beautiful on their own, but a little red, white and blue called attention to their magnificence. They’re wilting in the heat in this picture, but a long drink after dusk set things right.
At the risk of stating the obvious, I love growing pumpkins. Thank you for following along with my gardening obsession.