The Q&A Archives: Surprise Pumpkin Patch

Question: Last fall, I left my halloween pumpkin (uncarved)on the ground next to my back deck. Three weeks ago as I was cleaning up the back, I moved the now-deflated pumpkin to find some of the seeds had sprouted. I was delighted and lightly cultivated the surrounding soil, got some plant food(miracle grow) and put a short wire fence around the little plant. The area I fenced off is about 1 and 1/2 ft by 1 and 1/2 ft, but in the last 2 weeks the plant seems to have exploded! a few other seeds that were still on the perimiter of the fence have germinated and the leaves of the origional plant are already over 3" wide (a result, I suppose of the food and daily watering). My question is - I REALLY want to grow a pumpkin, what else should I be doing? Also, do I have a chance at getting a vegetable or just a leafy green plant? I've never tried growing anything other than annual flowers. Will this pumpkin patch need more space and should I remove the little sprouts from under the little wire fencing? I really appreciate a response.
Thank You

Answer: Pumpkin vines usually take up a very large space in the garden, and grow fast to cover a lot of ground. They need good fertility and ample water as well as full sun over a long season to do their best. The larger and healthier the vine, the better (and bigger) the pumpkins will grow. The foliage will also be a lot larger than it is now. You have a good chance of getting a vegetable, but whether or not it will resemble the parent is open to question depending on how the parent was pollinated. If you want to keep this vine, remove the competing sprouts and enjoy the experiment. Otherwise, you might consider selecting a good spot for a pumpkin plant and planting some purchased seed.

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