Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I spent a fruitful morning in the vegetable garden yesterday. The garden is three quarters full but I am continually finding something more to plant and am sqeezing extra rows in between the rows I have! I decided to plant the pumpkins I bought on the weekend. I had to buy some seedlings because of the 20 or so seed I sowed from pumpkins saved from last year, not one seed germinated! How is that for an 'expert' gardener! I washed and dried the seed and laid it on sheets of paper towel where its been since autumn. They were carefully sown in punnets of potting mix and kept moist but not one emerged. The baby watermelon seed that I had saved came up but no pumpkins.
I had sown the seed from a pumpkin called Long Island Cheese and a Potimarron which I had purchased at our local Farmers Market. The Potimarron was a small round orange fruit with deep orange flesh with a faint chestnut flavour and tasted very nice. Maybe it was not quite ripe enough when I saved the seed. So I went to a couple of nurseries looking for seedlings. The nursery I work at had run out of pumpkin seedlings so I went to two others. At the first nursery I had picked up a punnet of Jap pumpkins when I suddenly spied two punnets of Potimarron seedlings grown by the Diggers Club! How fortunate was I? Each punnet had two seedlings in it (although one seedling looked very weedy) so I bought both. At the next nursery I picked up a punnet of Gold Nugget pumpkins. I like Gold Nugget because it is a bush type plant and doesn't send runners all over the place. Thats the hardest thing to cope with in a vegetable garden during summer - trying to train the pumpkin runners to where you want them to go!
I dug the area over where the pumpkins were to be planted. I struck the roots from the trees next door and had to sever these and remove them. No wonder the soil at that spot - even after all this rain - is still bone dry. We have had a total of over 100mm for November which hasn't happened in such a long time. After the initial downpour of 63mm this was followed by several days of rain in dribs and drabs so it has all soaked in.
Back to the pumpkins. I then added some compost from my compost heap and raked this in together with some potato fertiliser left over from last season (potato fertiliser says it is good for all vegetables particularly those that produce fruits or roots). The bed was now higher than the rest of the vegetable garden which is good. I planted the pumpkins (11 in all) and watered them in. Then I decided I should mulch them before some anticipated hot weather later in the week. I was going to buy some more sugarcane mulch but then decided to use what mulch I have onsite. We have a row of allocasuarinas (she-oaks) along the back fence so I raked up some of their dead needle-like leaves. It was damp beneath the leaves so obviously the rain can get through. Now the bed is thickly mulched (with drip irrigation beneath) and so is the adjacent vacant bed where I plan to direct the runners. Fingers and toes are crossed that we'll be eating Potimarron pumpkins again this autumn!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Melanie! Transplanted Aussie here, reading from area near Washington, DC. Have enjoyed your blog a lot -- I keep up with what's going on in Oz via a cousin who lives up at Cockatoo, and spends a lot of time telling me about the horrible drought and the recent cold weather. I'll be back soon, to read more!

    And, p.s., I hope the pumpkins succeed -- I just ordered some Jarrahdale seeds to plant this spring.