Early yesterday morning, I headed out to the garden to assess a week’s worth of extreme heat damage. One of my raised beds, which is protected by a 3 foot high wire cage, was overgrown with weeds and just crying out for attention. I hated removing the cage, because the tomatillos were just raising their yellow-flowered heads through the top and I didn’t want to upset them, or the bees that were busy at work. But there was no other way. The bees will come back I reasoned.
Once done weeding the edges, I reached into the middle to pull some large invaders that had grown in between the giant leaves of a compost squash plant. I was frustrated that no zucchini, just a lot of squash blossoms, had appeared on the dozen or so squash plants I had transplanted from the compost pile in early spring. What was going on? Too many visits from the woodchuck? Not enough pollinators? But I had tomatoes, peppers and eggplant growing nicely, so pollination couldn’t be the issue. “Patience” I whispered to myself.
Then I saw it. The most beautiful, perfect, petite green pumpkin resting on the garden soil. I called to my children to come and bring the camera. My youngest has been infatuated with pumpkins since he could say the word. Each year he begs me to grow them, and each time we share disappointment as the vines get downy mildew or some other squash vine ailment and the pumpkins wither and drop. This one must be special we thought. It’s was smart enough to grow inside the protected raised bed, right on the ground instead of dangling precariously outside where it was subject to the wild animals of Connecticut.
Pumpkins in September I thought. That’s okay, most farmers had to harvest them early last year because crops were 2-3 weeks ahead. We all wondered whether it was a Connecticut field pumpkin or a sugar pumpkin, as we had composted remnants of both last fall. Only time will tell, and we’ll be happy with whatever nature gives us.
What surprises have you found in your garden this year?