I get good, usable compost from my compost pile, but I also know my compost pile does not cook hot enough. How do I know this? Because every so often, I find a tiny pumpkin, tomato, Hibiscus or zucchini plant growing right out of the pile. This doesn’t bother me though. It actually delights me to see a plant eagerly “volunteer” to be part of my garden.
So, it was this year that I found what I thought was a pumpkin plant growing there. What could I do but take it out of the compost and transplant it into the garden. Actually the spot i picked was a nearly abandoned spot in the backfield which had given me abundant tomatoes just last season. Don’t you know, when they call a cherry tomato seed "Super sweet one hundred", you’re likely to get thousands! Just a warning in case you neither have the canning thing down nor like to freeze the tiny tomatoes. Why you wouldn’t is a whole other post, however!
So, there was the tiny plant, an eager volunteer, although I didn’t know what it was volunteering to give me. Could be anything, cantaloupe, squash—winter or summer—watermelon, cucumber or pumpkin—they all look alike to me. Pumpkin was my guess. There it grew longer and longer but it didn’t seem intent on flowering and without a flower—two actually, one male, one female—there would be no fruit. So, I ignored it.
This plant, being in a place I rarely pass while doing my normal gardening tasks, got ignored but good. I had completely forgotten about it! Well, I can only ignore a plant so long. I went back there and saw this pale oblong fruit, three actually. One had been entirely eaten and only a bit of the rind remained. The other was nibbled a bit by some unknown critter, probably the same one that devoured the first one, no doubt. And the third seemed entirely untouched.
But what was this strange fruit? So pale it was almost white, slightly oblong but looking very much like it ought to be a pumpkin. It was big enough. I don’t know why, I just had pumpkin on the brain, is all!
I remembered growing some hybrid white pumpkins one year. (I’ll have to tell you about them later in another post, though.) So, I kind of assumed that was what I had here, those ghostly hybrid pumpkins must have morphed as seeds tend to do, with another fruit and produced this….what? Mutant. Yes, mutations happen all the time so why not here in my own garden? That’s what I figured it was so I let it grow to whatever it wanted to be. Didn’t have much choice did I? It would do as it pleased.
Certainly didn’t look like a pumpkin after a bit. They grew too oblong and still hadn’t acquired any sort of color. I am still baffled.