Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pumpkin Growing NOT at its Finest

I know about as much about pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) cultivation as I do about installing toilets. I can tell if the end result worked, but not much before that. Of course, this gives me a good reason to do some internet research on this topic. My husband (resident-lawnmower-man, or RLM) knew at least that pumpkins need a longer season that we have, so I started some pumpkin seeds indoors long before the last frosts. I am not aiming for prize-winning giant pumpkins, so I planted the small sugar pumpkin type. Pumpkins do take up a lot of space, so I didn't plant them in the small raised bed we use for vegetables.

Instead, the pumpkins inhabit this fantastic plot:

No, there aren't any deceased pets or enemies hidden under this mound. Lying here is an accumulation of soil, weeds, dead trees, and discarded plywood. I figured I'd make full use of this refuse pile by digging three holes in it, filling those with composted manure, and inserting the pumpkin plants. So far, the vines appear to be doing well and are well-watered by all the rain we have been getting.

I was getting concerned that there were flowers but no pumpkins, but then I remembered my cucumber experiences and that only the female flowers produce pumpkins and the male flowers don't accomplish much (Does this sound familiar to anyone? Of course this does not apply to any male gardeners).

I think this is a baby pumpkin, looking like a gnome head under a green hat. What stage are everyone else's pumpkins at this time of year? Am I going to have pumpkins this fall? If not, I didn't lose much, and the refuse pile gained a few orange flowers.

9 comments:

Barbee' said...

Hi G., I just published a post about pumpkins, too, but I am way down here in Kentucky, USA, in zone 6, so mine are way ahead of yours. I hope you get at least a few after all your care and effort. The flowers are pretty aren't they. You know they are eatable same as squash blossoms. Some people just batter and saute them, others stuff them first. Here is the address of Suzanne McMinn's post about cooking squash blooms.
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SuzanneMcMinn/~3/14rxEAhIgFA/
She is such a good cook!

Muum said...

well, yours are ahead of mine- I didn't grow any this year!

O.I.M said...

I'm cheering on your baby pumpkin. good luck. I've always wanted to try pumpkins but the size of the vines always seems too daunting. but if they can do well in the compost pile, well then maybe next year....
irena

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

We always used to grow them on the compost pile, all that heat all day long.

They are looking great, hope that you get a long summer, and lots of sugar babies.

Jen

easygardener said...

We pick our pumpkins in late October (before any frost) and bring them indoors to ripen off. Ours are about 6 inches across at the moment and they are a smallish variety. They do take a long time to grow!

Chookie said...

Good luck with your pumpkins! I love them, but my husband isn't so keen. We've just harvested ours; they were volunteer plants, so came out a mixture of two common shop varieties.
When I grow pumpkins deliberately, I put them under my fruit trees, not in the vegie patch.

Samantha/uk/ said...

Hello pumpkin growers across the Atlantic! I am new to growing pumpkins, I usually buy them from the supermarket each year at halloween to carve for the kids. As they are not that cheap I decided to have a go at growing them. Obviously I don't get Kentucky weather but the Northwest of England has had a couple of nice weeks this summer so I think they are growing as well as they can at the moment. Or perhaps not because, this morning I woke to find two of the females had flowered but NO males!!!!! I am confused as I have read several comments that state the males flower first. They look like they are a good few days off flowering yet too. I do have more females waiting to flower, so at the end of the day if I can not pollinate them, then I might loose a few. I was hoping someone with experience might know if there is anything else I can do? Also do the females get a few days of flowering and chances to be pollinated before they die off?

Gardenista said...

Samantha- I do not know why your female flowers would have opened first. I guess all you can do about that is wait, unfortunately. At least your weather is nice and you probably have some time to grow some more flowers and pumpkins if your season is long enough.

I am worried about getting my pumpkins off the vine before first frosts, since I read that they will not keep and ripen indoors if removed AFTER the first frost. I hope we have a mild fall.

Samantha/UK/ said...

Lets hope so. The two females that flowered this morning are so pretty. I have found it difficult to stop looking at them all day. I think it's worth trying to grow a pumpkin/s even if I only get the flowers. If I do get a pumkpin, I may not want to carve it after all my efforts and excitement.