Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Pumpkin Tale: Part 4 - Should I Notify My Fairy Godmother Yet?

August 12. Pumpkin patch gone wild.
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The trouble is, you cannot grow just one pumpkin. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of pumpkins will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more pumpkins erupt. ~ Dave Barry (my personal variation on his zucchini quote)
(If you've missed the first three installments, you might want to read them first, here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3.)

The lady was away for two long weeks.....
....unable to check on her cherished pumpkin patch. Would the vines be dry and brown from the heat of early August? Were there any pumpkins? Could the lawn guy still get to the back yard through the gate? All she had heard were rumors of vines growing out of control and things that could be pumpkins, but no count.

The lady finally returned to find... pumpkin vines gone wild! They had doubled in length, intertwined and put down secondary roots anchoring themselves to over half of the side yard.

Wrapping round the roses.

Two vines had remained in the flowerbed, growing towards the front of the house, under the boxwood, around the small rose bush and behind the holly and evergreen at the corner. One of these vines then turned at a ninety degree angle and started its march down the front flowerbed.

Marching round the corner and down the front of the house.

The wide pumpkin leaves formed a canopy over the ground below, hiding what might be lurking there; but the lady was determined to see if perchance the bees had been successful in their pollen transfers. So she looked and searched and looked and there they were.....

Four pumpkins!!!! One in the flowerbed under the boxwood, one in the front flowerbed next to the begonias and two in the grass of the side yard. The largest measured about six inches and she could see the deep grooves of the "fairytale" pumpkin. The skins were still fragile, green and speckled with no sign of yellow or orange. And then the lady happened to move another leaf at the edge of the patch, near the gate to find.....

...ONE MORE! This one just a baby, its flower shriveled and no more than three inches across but sturdy and growing. They were all growing but slowly as it hadn't rained. So the lady found the water hose (thank goodness she had moved the hose before she left or it would have been incorporated into the patch) and fixed a special mixture of food for the young pumpkins. She fed them and watered them until their leaves no longer drooped.

As she watered she saw more buds, both male and female, all along the vine. She wondered what would happen next. Would more pumpkins develop? Would these pumpkins live and grow? How big will they get? How long before they turn deep orange? How many pumpkins can you get from each vine? Should she try to turn them? Should she pinch off the end of the vines? How long will the vines grow? So many questions, so few answers........... at least for now....... only time will tell, won't it?

(To be continued... but not today)

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