Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pumpkins - Who Knew??

The kids asked for two items in the garden, the sunflowers and the pumpkins. Last year we tried to grow both and both failed miserably. I think a dog ate the sunflowers and the pumpkin plants ended up with some kind of disease.
This year we tried again. The sunflowers have gotten huge and are beautiful. The pumpkins have been a pain in the rump again. We would get excited to see a baby pumpkin with a flower and then the flower would die off and then the baby pumpkin would die off and fall off. I thought it was snails and slugs so for days and days we went outside with a jar full of salt water, picked up the snails and slugs and put them in the salt water. After several days there were not many snails or slugs around but the baby pumpkins with the flowers were still blooming and dieing off. I couldn't figure it out until one day I was reading another blog and in the comments about her squash plants some one mentioned that the squash weren't getting pollinated. I went to research.
Sure enough the search brought up pictures and such just like this one above that is what was happening to our pumpkins. It confirmed the comment that our pumpkins weren't getting pollinated. Who knew they would only flower for a day or less each and if they weren't pollinated then they would die off. I then started trying to figure out how to make sure our pumpkins would get pollinated. One site suggested to take a paint brush and collect the pollen from one of the flowers that didn't have a mini pumpkin on it and use it to pollinate the mini pumpkin flowers. S, the oldest boy, and I started watching every day and managed to catch a mini pumpkin flower open. We tried the paint brush trick and guess what??

We finally have a pumpkin growing. We have now managed to pollinate two flowers so with any luck we might get a pumpkin or two this year. Next time we grow pumpkins we will also know what to do instead of being sad and watching our poor mini pumpkins die off.

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