One of the things I love about gardening is that every year is different, and every year, there’s the chance that something will astound you.
This year, it was the Provencal pumpkin.
I bought it at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center plant sale, just because it sounded unusual. It was a little late to start a pumpkin, and it started off slow but then it just grew and grew. And grew. I also bought an exotic Hopi squash, which was a total bust; all the squash rotted on the vine pretty much as soon as they got started. But the Musquée de Provence just kept going.
Here’s my prize pumpkin, growing. This was August.
I put a board under it to keep it off the ground and discourage critters, but other than that it was totally self-sufficient. Moderate water, no fertilizer, and lots of time to itself. This treatment seemed to agree with it: here’s what it looked like at harvest, right before Halloween. Allegedly the average size for these is less than 15 pounds. Mine was about 45 pounds.
In case you wondered, it does turn orange with sun exposure, even after you pick it, and this big boy’s currently making the rounds as a Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece. There were a couple of other little pumpkins coming along and the vine was healthy and huge – hundreds of feet long with multiple branches – so I just let it go.
Today, with December right around the corner and a cold, wet winter settling in, I decided it was time. I harvested three small pumpkins and found that the reason the vine was so huge and healthy was that it had rooted itself in more than a dozen places, tunneling 3-foot long roots under the wood chips into the dirt.
Confronted with that kind of determination, I couldn’t help myself. I left a sprout.
Who knows? It’s also called the Fairytale pumpkin, so – it could happen. And if it does make it – next year’s going to be a phenomenal year. And yes, pumpkin, with all due regard to the Delfonics – you did.