A hairy pumpkin flower bud hiding in the morning shadows.

It's been such an exciting show at the pumpkin patch!! I planted dozens of seeds because most of them were old, and I also planted new seeds too, because I wanted to be sure of getting at least a few plants. To encourage germination, I soaked them overnight and scarified the seed coats with a file before planting them in the pumpkin patch.

It didn't take very long before sprouts began breaking the surface, each with a little pumpkin seed hat! I began to count the sprouts as the days passed...1, 2, 4, 8...14...18...28...32!!! They didn't all live. At first I had bugs killing them, but I found out how to keep the insects away from the tender seedlings. Some just didn't want to live. But I kept getting more seedlings to replace the ones that didn't make it. In the end, I don't really know how many plants are growing. I'd say there are about 25-30 plants out there from sluggish, small seedlings to monsters that are working hard to grow long vines.

Oh, the beautiful flowers!! Before I began this project, I told Steve about my first encounter with a pumpkin or squash blossom when I was out on a walk one day many years ago. In the distance I saw a huge orange-yellow flower, and approaching, found that was covered with fuzz and simply gorgeous and alien-like. I looked online to find out what it was and when I discovered it was a squash blossom, I was delighted! Ever since then, I've wanted to have some of these pretty flowers, and now I do! It was really wonderful to share the first flower with Steve and watch his reaction. They are remarkable blossoms and demand close inspection and appreciation!

Did you know that these plants have both male and female blossoms? Male blossoms are smaller and appear first on a vine; the reasoning is to bring bees and establish the area as part of their daily trip, so that when the female flowers open, they will have many bees visiting.

Squash and cucumber blossoms last just one day, so if you hope to take pictures, first thing in the morning is the best time. It doesn't hurt to have that beautiful light making the blossoms glow, either! I am happy to say that the honey bee population in this area is very healthy so there are bees flying around the blossoms and crawling in and out of them the moment they open!

Fun Fact! Squash blossoms are edible, and the freshly picked male flowers are used in salads and also deep-fried, baked, rolled into batter and turned into a kind of pancake, or used in quesadillas! They are said to have a lightly sweet and earthy flavor and are a very popular food in Mexico and Italy. Five Ways to Eat Squash Blossoms

Female blossoms are much larger than male flowers have a small bulb at the end. When polinated, the flowers immediately begin to pull in and curl up. The bulb will immediately begin to grow and swell in the following days and weeks, transforming into a pumpkin, squash, gourd or cucumber!

Look at this beauty! I now have a net bag holding this pumpkin securely to the trellis, and it's about 5" across now and getting bigger every day!

Here's a picture of half of the pumpkin patch, showing how large the plants have grown in just a few weeks! You can see where I've tied a couple of the vines to the trellis too. It's turned out to be a very good system!