Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pumpkin Farming

Near the end of the school year, Liam came home one day with a pumpkin plant that he had started from a seed in his classroom. It came home in a plastic cup with some dirt and had two vines each with a single leaf on it.  He wanted to try and grow pumpkins.

This is not an easy proposition around here.  We don't have much full sun and the wildlife like to eat anything and everything they can get their greedy little hooves/paws on.  But, since he wanted to try we decided to give it a whirl.

We have a spot at the end of the sidewalk up to the porch that is about as full sun as it gets around our house.  It usually stands empty all summer or spends a good deal of time collecting weeds.  Once or twice we've had flowers but it's clear that I'm not the world's best gardner so it gets ignored a lot.  Why not grow a pumpkin plant?

So that's what we did.  I planted his little two vine plant with some miracle grow and lots of water.  We watched it sprout more leaves and then more vines, then the vines got longer and the leaves got bigger. Finally, it started producing flower buds.  All the time this was happening I was peppering the plant every time I thought of it and especially after a good rain. It kept the deer and rabbits off.

For almost 2 weeks all we had were big male flowers on the plant - gorgeous and bright orange.  I started to think it was never going to produce female flowers (and thus fruit).  But, it didn't disappoint me and I started to see signs of budding fruit and flowers.

This week, the first female flower bloomed and we got lucky that a male flower bloomed the same day.  I hope the bees did their job, too!

Our first pumpkin after the flower bloomed.

But wait! There's more coming!
Tiny one a-growin'!
You'll have to forgive the weeds in this next picture. I figure the animals might munch on THOSE instead of my pumpkin so I left them alone.  When I get a chance I've got to go in there and try to weed it out a bit.

It's gotten a lot bigger since we started!
With fruit beginning to develop I've been worried that peppering the plant just won't cut it because it'll be too irresistible to hungry deer.  In order to prevent that (we hope!), Liam and I went out this week and got some posts and some fencing to try and keep those greedy guts out.  I really hope it works!

Our attempt at deer deterrent.

When Liam came home with the plant I was less than enthusiastic but now I'm pretty excited about this.  If we can keep up the momentum and keep out the animals, we might just be able to say we grew our own jack o'lanterns this Halloween!

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