This time last month I was really, REALLY concerned that we wouldn’t have home grown pumpkins for Halloween this year, due to the unseasonably cold temperatures which were prohibiting the growth of the squash and pumpkin plants in my garden. My vining squash plants were still huddled up, reluctant to spread their roots, never mind their vines and I was busy snipping off the female flowers, to try and prevent them developing into tiny fruit and stunting the spread of the vines. Then the sun arrived. The temperatures rose …… significantly …… and finally, the plants began to explore the world around them and soon became intent on making use of every available spare inch of ground, throwing out male flowers as they went.
Now a month on and the first of the pumpkins have set, albeit mainly the smaller Sugar Pie variety and we now have the grand total of 5 pumpkins and 1 winter squash. Four of the pumpkins are the Sugar Pie and as I type two of these are now the size of grapefruit and two are the size of large lemons – these pictures were taken a couple of days ago and the fruits have noticeably increased since then. The fifth pumpkin is a Jack O’Lantern and it is also lemon sized but I also have a small winter squash growing against the fence.
To be totally honest, one of the Invincible pumpkins has also set fruit but this plant was undersized and the pumpkin is very small and doesn’t look to be growing much at all, in spite of copious amounts of feed, so I don’t think it will come to much.
Across all the squash and pumpkin plants in the garden, female flowers are developing and so, with help from the army of pollinators in the garden, my fine paint brush and a lot of luck, we may well find a load more fruit developing over the next week or so. For now, however, I’ll content myself with nurturing those which we have, ensuring they have all the feed and water they need to swell into decent sized pumpkins and squash, ready for Halloween and winter storage.