Saturday, October 24, 2009

Revenge of the Great Pumpkin

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like to decorate the house with lights, ghouls and, of course pumpkins. So this spring, I decided to plant a pumpkin patch in my back yard.

My seeds started off strong. I had almost all of my mounds sprout with multiple plants. It wasn't long before I got my first bloom too. As the weeks went by, more blooms would appear but no pumpkins. So I went on-line to find out what the secret was. Apparently, pumpkin vines have male blooms and female blooms. This information would have been useful on the seed package. Anyway, since there is a shortage of bees to transfer pollen from the male blooms to the female blooms, we sometimes have to help them along.

So in order to set the mood for my blooms to get together and make a pumpkin, I dimmed the lights, played a romantic Barry White song on my ipod and left a tray of oysters and chocolates on the ground. When that didn't work, I went back to the Internet which told me how to gently transfer pollen.
Once that was done, amazingly, I had a small pumpkin starting to grow. I knew then that I was going to earn my farmer's tan this year. In my excitement, I visited it everyday and watered it every other day to make sure it wouldn't dry out.

After about two weeks, I noticed my little pumpkin getting smaller and wrinklier and eventually it fell off the vine. I also noticed about half of my plants were getting sick and withering. I thought, maybe I was watering too much. So I let them dry out a while, which seemed to help.

It was quite a while before I got any more female blooms. I guess they are much rarer than males. So I did some more match making when I did get the right blooms, but these pumpkins did the same thing by growing for awhile before dying. This was around the end of August. My garden was looking more pathetic by the day.

So I figured there must be an anti-pumpkin hex on my garden. And the only way to get rid of an A-P hex is with a scarecrow, of course. But even that didn't seem to help.

So a friend of mine suggested that they might not be getting enough sunshine. Since I planted my garden among some shade trees, this could be true.

So I got my chain saw out and leveled all the trees in the backyard. No, I really only trimmed a couple of branches that were hanging over the garden. But by this time, it seemed too late for any pumpkins of size. So I concentrated on nurturing the few small lemon-sized orbs I had.

I watered a little, propped up a few vines a little and prayed a little. But my plants continued to look sickly and miserable.

And then....., a miracle!

On the week before Halloween, my garden exploded with orange spheres of all sizes and shapes. Some were oval. Some round. Small, medium, large and extra large. It was incredible! I could hardly believe it! It was almost as if someone had mysteriously loaded up a truck load of pumpkins from the local farmers market and dumped them into my garden before anyone had a chance to catch him in the act.

I guess my farmer's tan wasn't wasted after all. However the pumpkins got there, they will be put to good use on All Hallow's Eve, frightening and delighting trick-or-treaters of all ages.

I think I will try growing pumpkins again next year. I may also try a few new things just to see what will come out of the ground. I'll have a good eight months to think about it anyway.


AppleSauce said...

hahahaha, that is awesome!!! BIG HIGH FIVE to whoever put those random items in your garden!! :)

DJ Kirkby said...

Dan's had loads of luck with his pumpkins. I asked him how and he has done a few things that I didn't so I may try again next year. His post about it is here:

The Father of Five said...

You may have had some help from "The Great Pumpkin"!!

Anonymous said...

We tried growing pumpkins a couple of years ago too. I didn't know it was supposed to be so hard, because we just planted some seeds in a pot and actually got a pumpkin a few months later.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.