Saturday, September 19, 2009


What is it?
When I first saw this image, skimming through a camera full of photos, I couldn't remember. Driftwood? I hadn't been to the ocean. Something in an ancient forest or desert? I've only been here on the farm.
The next image put it in context: the base of my olderst giant pumpkin plant, mulched with dry leaves. The squash bugs and squash vine borers have destroyed it, but the vines have put down so many adventitious roots at the nodes that the outer ends of the vine continue to grow, bloom, and produce pumpkins. So far I think there are 7 on this plant, not counting the one the sheep ate and the one that rotted when nearly ripe.
The spray of giant foxtail grass gives a sense of scale: the pumpkin stump was nearly as big around as my wrist. The vine covers an area nearly as large as my livingroom.
These two insect pests are a key reason I rarely attempt to grow squash of any kind, because of this sort of damage. This year, the volunteers have given me an important clue: Pumpkin vines like to hide in the grass, and they seem to avoid the insects somewhat by doing so.
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1 comment:

Wandering Coyote said...

This is incredible! I've never seen anything like that before. What a shame for your squashes...