Monday, August 24, 2015

4093 Pumpkin plant

Monday, August 24, 2015

If the answer has to be now, it has to be no.


I have another volunteer pumpkin in front of my porch.  I put the old Halloween pumpkins (painted by the Nugget, not cut) near the mailbox every fall so the squirrels can eat it, and ONE seed (why only one?) sprouts.

We've had a lot of very strong sun and little actual soaking rain, and I am amused at the way the pumpkin vine has adapted.  This is the way the first leaves looked - large and flat:
Every morning by mid-morning they were wilted and folding from too much sun.  That struck me as odd at first, since they are field plants and made for sun, but I guess in the field they shade and humidify each other.

This is what the second growth of leaves look like.  The photo looks more green than they actually are.  In life, they look mostly white with scatterings of green.
Apparently the plant decided that wasn't quite working, either.

The third set of leaves look like this, more leathery with deeper cuts in the lobes.  (Notice the white one to the right.  That's a better representation of set #2.)

I guess the plant decided, "Hey, we've got an idea here!", because the fourth and final iteration of leaf style looks like this.  Lots of wrinkles, very deep cuts between the lobes, ideal for the full hot sun and scant water conditions.
Congratulations, pumpkin!  It looks like an entirely different plant.

Now, if only it could similarly adjust the blossom situation.  Pumpkins will put out separate male blossoms and female blossoms, both on the same plant.  However, to ensure healthy cross-pollination, a particular plant will put out only all male or all female flowers on any particular day, and the blossoms last only through the morning.  So it's very difficult for a plant to self pollinate.  In a field of pumpkins, this isn't a problem, since they can pollinate each other.  For one lonely plant, it's celibacy.

Last year I checked every morning, and a few times I found like one female, or one male, in the midst of a sea of the opposite sex, and I played bumblebee myself.  I think we had two pumpkins out of it.  So far this year, the segregation has been strict.  In fact, so far it's been almost entirely male.


I had mentioned Jasper hunting the cricket.  The cricket has disappeared, but Jasper is ever vigilant, in case it comes back.

1 comment:

~~Silk said...

The big leaf in the first photo has white spots on it. That's a disease and will eventually kill the leaf, but it moves so slowly I don't get excited about it. No big deal.