Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surprise by the Sidewalk!

Rewind about 7 months. The sidewalk leading to our front door looked like this:


Five carved pumpkins, fall leaves, an unusual character posing for the camera...ah yes, Halloween! My favorite time of year! Anyway, you see those pumpkins? This year I took my sweet time getting them picked up after all the autumn festivities. And when I say I took my sweet time, what I mean is that I didn't pick them up until...February. They sat through a long, cold winter, buried under ice and snow. They slowly shrunk, rotted, and became nearly unrecognizable as anything we had ever decorated. When I finally decided maybe they should move away from that spot (they didn't make the most attractive landscape decor at this point), I tried picking them up and their guts spilled out. Piles of cold, half frozen seeds stuck to the ground, and I scraped them up. At least, most of them. Whatever few were left, I just stirred around in the mulch so I couldn't see them anymore.

Well. A couple of days ago I glanced down as I was walking toward the front door, and thought I saw some weeds growing. This is not unusual, and I normally have to pull a few weeds from this very spot a few times a week. I paused, and thought the leaves of this 'weed' looked oddly familiar....


Oh wow...this is no weed...we have pumpkins growing!

A few inches away...another one! And it's just starting to sprout true leaves!


I have no idea if anything will grow from these plants, because more than likely the pumpkins they came from were hybrids of some sort (they were just the run-of-the-mill carving pumpkins we bought at the grocery store). Since I've read that planting seeds from a hybrid plant will usually not produce anything, I don't have super high hopes.

BUT...I still have a little hope! You bet we are going to try to tranplant these babies!

Simon was just as excited as I was, and he has been misting them with water each day.


I have pointed the plants out to each of the kids, and the reactions they had were more than I could hope for: they were ecstatic! They remember the jack-o-lanterns (well, how could they forget them, since we had the pumpkins sitting there through 2 SEASONS)! They are thrilled that something is growing from those guts (yes, they remember the pumpkin guts Miss Andrea had to clean up).

I didn't even have to initiate this point, because 2 of the kids noticed it right away: the pumpkin plants look EXACTLY like our zucchini plants. In fact, Maggie asked me "Why did you move our plants to the sidewalk???" when I first pointed the pumpkins out to her.

What a perfect teaching moment! I was able to explain to the kids that both pumpkins and zucchini are in the squash family, and their plants do look very similar. We will be able to compare our zucchini plants and now these pumpkin plants as they grow together.

Check back here SOON, because...

This coming week we will finally have our garden beds built, ready for all our growing transplants, including these pumpkin plants. Hopefully we'll be able to pull them from their home in the sidewalk carefully enough to avoid damaging their roots.

The determination of seeds to grow anywhere they can--even after enduring the elements for half a year--amazes me! It makes me realize that this is exactly how the cycle works in nature. Looking down to see a gorgeous baby pumpkin plant, rather than a weed, growing from an old rotted pumpkin just as nature intended....well, it was enough to make my whole day. We'll see what happens as we try to keep it growing!

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