Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Magic Pumpkin Patch

A couple weeks ago I was pulling up massive weeds from our rock beds that we'd ignored for too long. And to my surprise I discovered we had a pumpkin patch growing. The surprise was that we had not planted one, nor had we ever planted one! 

Some random pumpkin seed must have made its way to the rock bed, gotten sifted below the rocks to the soil underneath, and germinated. All on its own. It wasn't there last year or the year before. But it is there now and I am so glad it is. I had WANTED a pumpkin patch so much I kept telling people I really needed to get one planted and started or the season would be too far gone. I made plans to use the front flower beds to plant them, in fact. But since I am a huge procrastinator I never actually got around to doing it. And as if by magic, I woke up one day and my wish had come true!

Here a bee can be seen pollinating the flowers. Thank you bees!

Know-It-All Note: The female flowers of pumpkins only bloom for one day. And like many plants, in order for the female flower to produce a pumpkin, it has to be pollinated by a bee who has visited a male flower, and it has to be done in that narrow window of opportunity. After that one day the flower dries up and dies. And sometimes the female flowers bloom and there are no male flowers open yet. So timing is all important and completely random. It really makes you wonder how anything ever grows with such abundance when so much chance is involved. But that is what makes nature so amazing, to me. It's a system that works successfully over and over against all odds. Isn't that fascinating? 

I love the oversize leaves and big vines of the pumpkin patch. It is taking over my entire rock bed on one side of the backyard patio. But I love it! I hope we gets lots of pumpkins for Fall. Though even one would just tickle me to no end. I don't even know what kind they will be. I'll be happy with any size, any variety. And hopefully I'll be able to use the seeds to replant a new patch, on purpose this time, for next year.

There have been some nibblers on the leaves but since it's thriving and I didn't actually plant it, I may just leave it alone and see how it goes. A few of the vines have been broken or smushed by wind or things falling on them, but it hasn't seemed to mind it and has just kept growing bigger each day despite the minor damage here and there.

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