Sunday, June 01, 2008

Planting Pumpkins

Pumpkin seed

I've been reading the blog Handbook of Nature Study's Green Hour Challenge post for this week and thinking about our pumpkin seeds. Barb is keeping nature journals with her children "using Anna Comstock's book Handbook of Nature Study as our textbook and the great outdoors as our classroom". She suggests planting sunflower seeds this week for the challenge, so that you and your children can study them all summer long.

We don't have sunflowers this year, but we planted pumpkin seeds. When my oldest son Buster was about four we planted pumpkin seeds and it was so exciting watching them grow over the summer. The vines expanded all across the back of the lawn and in the fall we had a couple really beautiful jack o'lantern pumpkins. I wanted to try it again with my currently young guys.

Veggie Tales Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin seeds from Ferry Morse

We planted
Veggie Tales Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin seeds from Ferry Morse about two weeks ago. Buddy and Punkin love their daily chore of watering the seedlings. They can't get over how exciting it is to see them grow bigger day by day.

may 31 019

The fabulous thing about pumpkins is that they are so big. The leaves are enormous and the growth is so rapid even a little kid can see the difference from one day to the next. I am not sure we have enough sun in our yard to get many big pumpkins, but we planted them in the sunniest spots we could find; two plants in the side yard and two in the back of the lawn near the fence. One of my friends said she planted pumpkins last year and they climbed up in her tree. They do take a lot of space!

We have a few books to read about kids growing pumpkins: Farmer Boy has Alonzo growing milk-fed pumpkins for the fair, the Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin, and a board book called The Little Pumpkin Book that I found at a second-hand sale years ago.

If you want to do more nature study and play with your children I suggest the following links: National Wildlife Federations' Green Hour, the No Child Left Inside Coalition, and the Handbook of Nature Study blog. This post is submitted to challenge #16.

Whatever is going on in your garden this week, I hope you'll put it in Mr. Linky and leave a comment so we can all come visit on my Sunday Garden Tour!


Barb said...

Your pumpkins look great! We like to grow pumpkins too for all the same reasons. They are pretty invincible as far as care and they love the heat so we almost always have success.

Thanks for joining us,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Jen Robinson said...

Just wanted to throw in a recommendation for Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy. It is wonderful, about a girl who is obsessed with trying to grow a prize-winning giant pumpkin.

Anonymous said...

I planted Jack O'Lantern pumpkins for the first time this year, so I am glad to hear they are hardy. I am hoping our adoption will be somewhat settled by fall so I will have some little people to help me carve them up! A neighbor of mine takes her largest one to school in the fall and has a guessing contest. Whoever can guess the circumference (or is it weight?) of the pumpkin gets to take it home for Halloween.

A and C from GA said...

I love it!! My dc and I need to plant some pumpkin seeds! Thanks for the inspiration!! God Bless-Angie in GA

Sea Star said...

We have planted pumpkins for a few years. This is the first year we haven't. We just don't have space for them in the yard of our new house. My kids loved watching them grow and then got so excited when we got to carve them at Halloween time. We even had one to boil up and make pumpkin muffins, pumpkin waffles and even pumpkin pie with. My husband loved the roasted seeds too. I wonder if Pumpkins would grow in a pot? Maybe I should try it out next year.

Anonymous said...

We just planted a pumpkin and my girls 2 and 5 are so excited watching them grow. Thanks for sharing on your blog. We were told at the nursery that we need to do some thing to the pumpkin stem to get them to fruit, any suggestions?
Kelly in Tucson

Andromeda Jazmon said...

In my experience you don't have to do too much. Make sure the blossoms get pollinated by insects. If you don't have enough of those you can do it yourself with a cotton swab; just dust some pollen from flower to flower. Water it every day. Our pumpkins didn't do too well because they didn't get enough sun. Our yard to too shady.

If you want to have just one really big pumpkin on each vine you pinch off all the blossoms but one. Baby that one and all the fruiting energy goes into one really big pumpkin.

I read in Wilder's Farmer Boy about feeding the pumpkin vine milk by cutting a slit in the vine stem and threading a cotton wick from the slit to a bowl of milk. They said it grew a really huge pumpkin. I've never tried that but maybe that's what you've been told too?