Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chinese Pumpkins Still Growing Strong

In contrast to the Winter Melon plants, my Chinese Pumpkins plants are still growing strong.  

Chinese Pumpkin vines have a tendency to take over the garden.  They grow very fast, in all directions and will swamp out the rest of the plants.  I think one reason my Winter Melon yield was low this year is because the Chinese Pumpkin vines blocked out the sun for the Winter Melon vines.

I planted two Chinese Pumpkin vines this year.   One got a lot of sun and grew to be over 60 feet long (see picture below)

The other vine grew mostly in the shade.  The one in the sun has fifteen fruits of various sizes currently growing.  This does not include the approximiately eight fruits that I have already picked from the plant. The one in the shade has only 3 fruits growing and had a several fruits abort and turn black.  Next year, I am only going to grow Chinese Pumpkins in full sun.

The fruits from my Chinese Pumpkin vines are quite large (~15 lb). The fruits start out green and if I leave them on the vine long enough they turn orange.  

One of the ripe orange Chinese Pumpkins looked like a regular Western pumpkin.  So I cut the fruit off of the vine and put it in front of my house for Halloween.

The Chinese Pumpkin vines will climb, similar to Winter Melon vines.  However, I find that the Chinese Pumpkin vines are much less flexible than Winter Melon vines.  The Winter Melon vines, I can pick up, move and train them to take advantage of supports and trellis that I have built.  If I move the Chinese Pumpkin vines, the vine will break off or get damaged.  That is why I try to keep the Chinese Pumpkins low to the ground, so that the fruit rests on the floor.

However, the Chinese Pumpkin vine that is growing in the shade has reached the limits of my property and is starting to grow up the retaining wall seperating my property from  my neighboor's property.  So now I have a fruit that is dangling about 4 feet off the ground.  Hopefully, the plant can support the weight and the fruit won't come crashing down.

As long as the Chinese Pumpkin vine looks healthy and the fruits are growing, I plan to keep it growing as long as possible.  With luck, the plants my last until Christmas.

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