Where’s The Pumpkin Patch?

I have a big pumpkin patch next to the vegetable garden. You need to dedicate a lot of space for pumpkins – the leaves are broad and as big as dinner plates. The stems are like garden hoses. Every year in the springtime I bring wheelbarrow loads of compost from the bins in the chicken pens and spread it over the pumpkin growing ground. Then, I use a fresh bag of soil to make four mounds, plant started pumpkin plants in those hills, water and watch. Last year this is what it looked like, in all of its crazy abundance.

This year, however, was not so successful. There was that cold beginning to the growing season and then that 100º heat wave, an infestation of borer worms in the stems, some mildew, and finally Hurricane Irene. Here are the Gems exploring this year’s pumpkin patch:

You might ask What pumpkin patch? So did I. The chickens, however, are delighted with the weeds, seed heads and quantity of bugs in the patch. I harvested one lone pumpkin, which looked perfect and orange, but when touched, turned to mush. For the first time in years, I bought pumpkins at a farm stand, but those are turning to mush, too. I think that the heavy rains from Irene soaked the stems and so the pumpkins are not hardening up properly.

But, all is not lost. I do have this beautiful gourd growing.

But it’s not in the pumpkin patch. It’s in a tree!

The stem begins in that clump of flowers. The chickens must have kicked a seed out of their pen and it took root. Gardening is full of surprises.


  1. My big surprise this year was the wide variety of sunflowers planted by the birds on the bird feeders!

  2. I also had a pumpkin growing in a tree, a catalpa. But the vines were too heavy and once fruit appeared, it was on the ground.

    I started a new squashes/sprawly things garden this year. It survived Irene, but drowned in Lee, except the butternut squashes and pumpkins. They drowned in the 4″ of rain we got a few days back. I did get some big pumpkins, but nowhere near as many as in past years. I’ve gotten 14 large or good size from a single hill in the past. I think I got 6-7 this year. The tree pumpkins are much smaller and I think there’s 4-5 of them.

    I also had most of the squashes turn to mush. The poorest year in a decade or more. But I ate one of the Kabocha squashes over the weekend, and it had delightful flavor.

    I’ve read that New England will be a lot wetter from here on out, so I guess we’ll have to rethink our planting strategies.

  3. our pumpkins did horrable this year i dont even think that there haves even been an a little green pumpkin…