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Have you ever grown pumpkins?

The first pumpkin I ever grew

The first pumpkin I ever grew.

Right now, pumpkins are of three things growing in my summer vegetable garden alongside peppers and basil.

In June, I planted 4 different types of pumpkins – Cinderella (an old fashioned looking pumpkin), Lumina (a white pumpkin), Rouge Vif d’Etampes (a French heirloom pumpkin) and some seeds from an unknown heirloom pumpkin I bought at the store last year.

Male pumpkin flower

Male pumpkin flower

The pumpkin vines are growing nicely and the male flowers have begun to appear.

Pumpkins have both male and female flowers – the male flowers appear about 2 weeks ahead of the female flowers.

Lumina pumpkin

Lumina pumpkin

I’ve had both successes and some failures growing pumpkins.  Last year, I planted a Lumina pumpkin, which was so beautiful.

This summer, I decided to dedicate my entire potager vegetable garden to growing pumpkins.

Why an entire vegetable garden you may ask?

growing pumpkins

My first attempt at growing pumpkins began in my smaller vegetable garden, located just off of my back patio.

I remember being so excited when my pumpkin seedling grew its first pair of ‘true’ leaves.  

growing pumpkins

But, what I had not prepared for was how wide it would grow – a lesson on why reading the label on the seed packet is important.

My young pumpkin seedling soon outgrew my little vegetable garden and in fact, most of its growth extended outside of the garden.

I patiently (not)! waited for signs of a young pumpkin to form.

young pumpkin growing

You can imagine how thrilled I was at finding this young pumpkin growing a couple of weeks later.

vegetable garden

The only issue was that it was growing outside of my vegetable garden.

The Summer Vegetable Garden: Pumpkins!

To be honest, I didn’t really care – there was plenty of room for it and it seemed happy perched on top of my garden hose.

The Summer Vegetable Garden: Pumpkins!

It grew fairly rapidly and soon its green color lightened to a beautiful orange.

pumpkin

As you can see, it wasn’t a large pumpkin – smaller varieties are easier to grow in the home garden.

White 'Lumina' pumpkin hidden underneath the leafy vines

White ‘Lumina’ pumpkin hidden underneath the leafy vines.

My hope for this year’s crop is that I will soon find young pumpkins growing underneath the huge leaves of my pumpkin vines.

How about you?

Have you ever grown pumpkins?

What types?

Any helpful tips you’d like to share?

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On a personal note, I’ve been knocked flat by a virus – neverending cough, sore throat, headache, aches, fever, etc.

I’ve always found it surprising to get a flu-like illness in the middle of summer and not during the cold winter months, which actually works better for me since I my work tends to slow down in summer.

After 7 days, I am slowly getting better and am  thankful for the timing of my illness.  Next week – July 31st – August 2nd, I’ll be a presenter at the annual Hummingbird Festival and it would be almost impossible to give two separate 1-hour presentations with the current condition of my throat right now.

Sorry for complaining, I have a bad case of cabin fever, but my body isn’t up for doing much of anything except for a 10 minute walk this morning through my gardens to see how they are doing – but that felt wonderful!

I hope you are staying healthy this summer!

I must confess that the heat of July keeps me indoors most of the time.

In fact, I try to make my trips out to my garden under 15 minutes or less.  I just don’t like to sweat.

But, I do have two things that I have to share with you.

The first one is – my pumpkin seeds have all sprouted and are growing!

July Vegetable Garden

July Vegetable Garden

All four came up.

I didn’t plant them inside of my vegetable garden, because of how large they get. I learned my lesson a few years ago.  You can read my post about it if you like –  “What Is Wrong With This Picture”

July Vegetable Garden

July Vegetable Garden

I also put some chicken wire around the planting site to keep my dogs from digging up my newly planted seeds.

For water, I put a single drip emitter in the center, which is connected to the drip system of my nearby vegetable garden.

My pumpkins should be ready in October.  Right now, that seems so far away – but it will be here before we know it!

A few weeks ago, I posted about what was happening in my summer vegetable garden “Snapshot of a Summer Week in the Garden”

In it, I mentioned trying drying my herbs by spreading them out onto cookie sheets instead of hanging them up.

Well guess what?

July Vegetable Garden

It worked beautifully!

I placed my herbs onto paper towels and then covered them with additional paper towels to keep the dust off.

I stored them in our garage and when I checked on them a week later – they were nice and dry.

This was much easier then hanging them, so this will probably be my “go-to” method from now on.

*I can only speak to my experience of drying herbs this way in a desert climate.  I’m not sure how well it would work in more humid climates.

But, you never know until you try ๐Ÿ™‚

pumpkin

Can you figure out what is wrong with this picture?

I can see two things.  First of all, my son is holding a pumpkin from our vegetable garden in July.  Definitely not the normal time of year for seeing kids with pumpkins.

The second thing wrong with this photo is that my son is in a wheelchair.  He needs the wheelchair as he recovers from hip surgery.  We go back to the doctor this week and Kai will hopefully be able to stand up and start physical therapy and get out of that wheelchair.  I don’t mean to complain about the wheelchair…it has made our lives much easier and Kai can really get around very well in it, but I yearn for the day when he will be able to run around again.  You can read more about Kai’s story here if you like.

 Once Kai can stand and walk, he no longer will rely on us to carry him – I actually threw my back out last week picking him up and still cannot pick him up.  We are looking forward to his doctor saying that he can walk again ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, back to the pumpkin….a few weeks ago, I wrote about “An Escapee From The Garden” which featured our pumpkin plant that decided to grow outside of our garden.

Back in March, my daughter, Gracie planted the seeds….

plant pumpkins

 They took about 7 days to germinate and then quickly began to grow.  *Now, we realized that the time to plant pumpkins for the fall is in June, but the kids really wanted to plant pumpkins early, and so we did ๐Ÿ™‚

pumpkin plants

Being rather new to vegetable gardening, we did not realize how large the pumpkin plants would spread.  Pretty soon one of our plants decided to venture outside of the garden…

outside of the garden

Shortly afterward, we noticed a little pumpkin forming – outside of the garden, of course.

pumpkin plants

It grew quite quickly…

pumpkin plants

This morning, I stepped out into the garden and this is what I found…

pumpkin plants

And so, we are probably the only people in Arizona who have a pumpkin gracing the top of their kitchen table in the month of July.

We planted new pumpkin seeds this month in hopes of getting pumpkins in time for fall.

On my way back inside from the garden, I noticed another escapee from the garden…

watermelon plant

Our watermelon plant decided to copy the pumpkin plant.  Next month may bring watermelons forming outside of the vegetable garden as well.  Oh well, we have plans to expand our garden this fall ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July celebration!

During the summer months, I enjoy spending time in my garden in the evenings, just as dusk settles in.  I love the warm dry heat, without the bright sun beating down on me.  I like how the light from the setting sun brings a new dimension to the garden.

Garden in Evenings

Garden in Evenings

One of my ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde trees is a late bloomer and is still in full flower, which this bee is taking full advantage of.  I love how the sunlight shines through it’s delicate yellow petals.

My attention is drawn to another one of my favorite trees, my Palo Blanco (Acacia willardiana).  The common name, translated into English means ‘white stick’, which refers to the white trunk.  I have three of these trees and I walked over to see the delicate foliage and seed pods.

my Palo Blanco

While I was standing there, my attention was captured by what was going on higher up in the tree.  There were two hummingbirds enjoying the setting sun, just as I was.

Garden in Evenings

Garden in Evenings

I couldn’t believe how close I was and they were aware of my presence, but I think that they were so focused on each other, they could care less about a human standing nearby.

Because of the lighting, I could not tell what color they were to identify what species they were.  I would make a guess that they were Anna’s though.  I am sure they are a mating pair.  I wonder where they have built their nest?  I will have to keep my eyes open.

I have never photographed two hummingbirds together and was so excited – I could hardly believe my luck in getting a picture of them.  On my way back through the garden, my attention was captured by the last bloom of my English Rose, Abraham Darby.  I say that it is the last bloom, because it will not produce more roses until late September, when the summer heat begins to abate.  

Garden in Evenings

The bloom was quite small, but lovely just the same.  **The heat of summer causes the rose blooms to open too rapidly, before the petals have fully formed.  

Before, I went back inside, I went to see how much larger our pumpkin has grown.  We have had so much fun growing pumpkins, even though it will be ready far before October.  But, my kids wanted to try growing them early, and they are having so much fun seeing how quickly it has grown.  You can read more about our ‘escaped pumpkin’ here if you like.

Here is what our pumpkin looked like one week ago…

pumpkin

And here is what 7 days of growth looks like….

pumpkin

Isn’t it amazing?  We are so proud of our little ‘escaped’ pumpkin.

As I prepared to go inside, I noticed that one of our sunflowers is beginning to open.  

sunflowers

It’s face points east, ready to welcome the start of a new day.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Some of you may remember that we planted our first family vegetable garden this spring.  The kids and I have had a great time planting the seeds, seeing the grow into full grown vegetables.  We harvested corn a couple of weeks ago and are picking cherry tomatoes daily.

Now, because this is our first garden, we have encountered some surprises.  In the spring, when we first planned on what we wanted to grow, we decided to plant some pumpkin seeds and even though it was too early to plant them (they would be ripe way before the fall).  But, the kids were so excited to be able to grow them that we went ahead….we could always plant some later in time to harvest them in the fall.

Family Vegetable Garden

Family Vegetable Garden

What we did not expect is how big the pumpkin plants have become.  We only kept 3 plants, although all the seeds we planted germinated.

The problem is that one or two pumpkin plants have escaped the confines of our vegetable garden….

Family Vegetable Garden

Now, I don’t think growing on the top of gravel is ideal, but the pumpkin plant(s) seems to like it….

Actually, they seem to love it better outside of the garden.  About 1/3 is inside of the garden and the rest is growing outside. 

Family Vegetable Garden

A couple of weeks ago, they began to flower and I was thrilled to discover a baby pumpkin starting to form.  

Guess where it is growing?

vegetable garden

Yep….right outside of the vegetable garden, nestled in dropped Bougainvillea and Palo Verde petals.

pumpkin

It is growing daily and we are so excited to have a fully ripe pumpkin in July or August.

Did I mention that I always tell clients and friends to “Do as I say, not as I do in the garden?” 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!