It’s starting to look a lot like fall here (even if it doesn’t feel like fall yet). In the spring, we started pumpkin seedlings in the basement. Almost 4 months later, we have legitimate pumpkins! We transplanted these into the hugelkultur beds and they took off. Despite some early warning signs of squash vine borer activity, it looks like they are thriving. Once I saw the telltale signs of the vine borer, I went to town slicing them out and covering the slit stems with soil in hopes that they would recover. A little internet research explained this trick and it was a really disgusting process, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

We planted about half a dozen Sugar Pies from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and about the same amount of Cargo pumpkins from Johnny’s. The sugar pies are small (about 2 lbs each) and the cargos are about 10 times that size. I researched online since this is my first time trying to grow pumpkins and learned that one can harvest the orange ones and store them until Halloween. This also encourages other flowers to set so you can get another round of growth. I put boards under the bigger ones that are still turning color to help prevent rot and bug damage on the bottoms that are in contact with the ground. The small ones have ag fabric underneath on one side and that seems to be helping limit any damage or rot, though there are a couple that some critter has taken a nibble of so I’ll use those first if they aren’t too damaged. Overall, I’m pretty excited about this. All those mornings of picking off and crushing the cucumber beetles and doing some hand pollination to help things along appear to have paid off!

Sugar Pie Pumpkins – two ready to harvest and one still ripening.
Cargo Pumpkin with a board underneath. Notice the green one at the bottom of the image.

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