Sunday, February 3, 2013

How to root (or not root) your pumpkin vine

What's really quite impressive about the empire of the pumpkin vine is not only that it's such a great conqueror, but how it holds the ground it's won. My vines have taken over ten metres of territory now, and many of its greatest contemporary exploits are being grown on this frontier. But try to shift its lengthy routes, and you're probably likely to find you're rooted.

Wherever one of the nodes (junctions where the vine throws up leaves) has good contact with the soil, it digs its feet in to start sucking up resources and shortening the supply lines. Pull out these guys, (here's one I rooted earlier) and you might find any pumpkins down this end of the line don't fair to well going forward. So you really do need to think carefully about where you let your empire grow, cause once its there, you might find moving it a tougher choice than you might think. Large sections of my lawn entered the formulative stages of jungle as I waited for pumpkins to reach a reasonable size before I could remove the vine and mow the lawn.

Generally, I tend to think it's not a such bad thing - this season when the original part of the vine suffered in the heat, the newer sections which grew into a shadier area picked up the workload in the recovery period. It does, however, seriously screw up your crop rotation - because now multiple beds have hosted pumpkin this season. Although, in a summer where I'm not going to end up with too much more than pumpkin, it certainly won't be a problem if I end up with a tonne of it.

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