Ode to a Quixotic Pumpkin

“Give it up, Faith. It’s inevitable. You got a late start.”

“I can’t ‘give it up’. Seriously?”

“OK, but you’re breaking my heart.” I wanted to explain that our elevation is 7500 feet/2200 meters. That the growing season is barely 8 weeks and by starting out in July? But why? Why daunt an undaunted pumpkin? Besides, who knows?

I know not everyone talks to the Australian pumpkin growing in their garden or to pumpkins of any other nationality for that matter. I loved her Quixotic determination not that she really had a choice. Given good soil, the right amount of water and sunshine and a decent seed to begin with, a plant is going to grow. It’s not exactly an act of will.

And every single day Faith grew. For a long while she was a little plant, most occupied with establishing a durable root system. Then she was four feet long, and then six and then eight and then the bachelors began to appear and the drama, “Will she put out girls?”

She did! “Hand fertilize!” said a friend in Australia, familiar with Australian pumpkins. So, each morning (September!) I was out to see if the girl’s had opened and when they were? I helped twice with successful pumpkin sex. Faith kept making hot girls and handsome bachelors up even as recently as a week ago, but my thought was that she should focus on the two pumpkins who were most likely to make it to adulthood. Kind of pumpkin birth control, but there’s a metaphor there.

So Faith’s two little daughters grew and grew. Then…

Last week, a mild frost hit the upper leaves. Undaunted, Faith sent up new leaves to take their place, but Jack Frost’s handwriting was on the wall, so to speak. Two nights ago, a real frost hit, and yet…

I might have covered her if my foot hadn’t been so incredibly painful at that juncture, but I was not about to walk in the uneven dog-hole riddled ground that is my yard, besides, Faith is more than 20 feet/6 meters long.

Still, the roots have not yet frozen and yesterday Faith sent up a couple of yearning bachelors. One of the large girls succumbed to frosts but the other, in a more sheltered spot, is persevering. I don’t think Faith will give up until the roots freeze — which will be Thursday when temps are slated to hit 17 F/-8 C.

Nature is the boss of the possible, but Faith is the boss of dreams. Faith says, “Do it anyway,” which is, if you think about it, the only possible choice.


24 thoughts on “Ode to a Quixotic Pumpkin

  1. Do let her keep going — the roots may freeze, but there is also a possibility they may thaw again. By Halloween, you may have an orange pumpkin!

    • I’m not stopping her, but one pumpkin has frozen and the other is barely hanging on. Oh and the cool thing about Australian pumpkins is they don’t turn orange — they stay a kind of greenish blue — but inside is beautiful pink/orange flesh! Next year maybe. I still have seeds.

      • Wow — what a pumpkin — no wonder you were so persistent with them! Looks like May planting may be the secret?

        • Impossible here. June 1 is when we can be (reasonably) sure the frost is done. I tried starting some inside but spring was so long in coming that they just rotted in the little pots. On June 1, I set out everything that had survived, but spring remained cool. I stuck a couple of pumpkin seeds into the ground, not expecting anything. Faith totally surprised me by germinating and then growing with so much passion. But she didn’t stick her little leaves up until after July 4. She had no chance but she didn’t care. Our first frost is usually around October 1. I’m going to try again next year and put them in a place where they get more sun and it’s a little warmer.

  2. Wonderful pumpkin story, Martha! Faith is a real role model… pumpkin power! Lovely to hear of her progress. 🙂

  3. Some of us talk to our plants, but your Faith talked back! She is lovely and determined.

    Life can sometimes be a daily death and resurrection; just when frost threathens to freeze our dreams, there is a thaw and new hope.

    I love that song. The words are so powerful.

    • ❤ Faith is here on my table, on top of one of my stereo speakers. She got to be about 18 inches in circumference before the killing frost hit. She's a very lovely little thing. She seems to say, "See? I did SOMETHING!" which is all any of us can do.

      • Faith is beautiful! She did something ask right, with a lot of love from you. I’ve never seen such a green pumpkin. My knowledge of gardening and plants is very limited to those I grow indoors.

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