Friday, November 5, 2010

The Fruit of Last Year's Jack-o-Lantern

We made a jack-o-lantern last fall. The weather was nice, so we made it outside. The boys, of course, had a great time playing in the "guts," and since we were outside we didn't really bother cleaning them up very good.

The boys also have a habit of throwing seeds - apple seeds, peach pits, plum pits, watermelon seeds, you name it - off the front porch just to see if something will ever grow. We always tell them that it probably won't, since the seeds weren't actually planted, but they love to do it anyway.

Then back in June a mystery plant started growing right by the front porch. We watched it for awhile, trying to guess what it might be. At first I thought it was an okra - we had been grilling a lot of Dad's okra around that time. But as it grew we decided that it might actually be a watermelon vine.

I began watering it regularly and weeding around it, anxious to see what it might be. But then in early July, it met a terrible fate with a weed-eater. I babied what was left, but too much damage had been done.

But as I was babying the dying plant, I noticed another little sprout nearby that looked very similar. So as I gave up on the larger mystery plant I began to baby the little sprout. I watered it generously all through the 100+ degree summer, and protected it from the weed-eater.

Eventually it became apparent that what we were growing was a pumpkin plant - undoubtedly from the pumpkin "gut" fun last fall. But my dad, the gardening expert, warned me that it had gotten too late of a start for us to actually get any pumpkins from it this year. Even knowing that, I continued babying.

We enjoyed the pretty yellow flowers that began to bloom,and eventually we ended up with a vine about 10 feet long stretching along the front of the house and then wrapping around the side.In the last week or so, some baby pumpkins have finally begun to appear - just as we got our first frost this morning. And even though I know it's a literally fruitless effort, I'm covering it with sheets - I just can't completely give up on it until it gives up on me!

So this year we saved our pumpkin seeds. We'll plant them at a good time, and continue the babying process - and who knows, maybe we'll have our own pumpkin patch next year!

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