I posted back in November that we decided to grow a pumpkin from Dora’s Halloween pumpkin, just like the boy in Pumpkin Jack did. In February, our Pumpkin Jack was just starting to decay, but by March, he was just a shell of himself. Jack started growing a new plant recently, but in the last two weeks, our first, albeit minor, complication to the Pumpkin Jack experiment has arisen. He never stunk or attracted pests, as I had worried he might, but he did start growing a bazillion plants! This picture was taken last week. Right after taking it, I pulled up all, but two, of the seedlings. Today, there was a whole new batch of seedlings, just as many as before! To give you perspective as to how many seedlings they are, you can see the stem from the original Pumpkin Jack off in the left hand corner of this photo (I must admit that I’ve also grown a bit curious as to how long it will take for the stem to decay). So all these seedlings are growing in about a 3” x 3” space!
One really interesting footnote is how healthy the soil is where Jack decayed. Every time I pull up some seedlings, I unearth about a dozen worms! The worms and other bugs (which I try very hard to ignore) are very clearly concentrated in that specific area. I guess Jack has provided a yummy feast of decay for them!
I also recently read that if you harvest seeds from your plants to grow the next year and continue to do this year after year, the plants will start to adapt to your specific soil and climate. Though, in reality, what is actually happening is that as you will most likely keep the seeds from the healthiest plants of each crop each year, you will be using an unnatural form of natural selection to grow healthier and stronger plants in each subsequent generation (clear as mud, eh?).
How is your garden doing? Though Jack is doing well, our other crops are only doing okay. I’m not happy with the brand of seeds we bough this year. I bought heirloom seeds (specifically to avoid seeds that were genetically modified), but I don’t think that should account for the exceptionally pour turnout that I’ve had. I’d say that only 1/5 of the seeds have grown. In fact, over the weekend, I planted a second crop of some vegetables. Next year, I’m going to try a different brand of seeds, as our weather most certainly cannot be blamed this year. I also may try to start my plants a bit earlier in some sort of mini-greenhouse type of arrangement.
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Posted by Maureen Sklaroff