The Sliding Pumpkin Plant

Scratched and sore (and that was just me!), my pumpkin plant and I had had a spat. We’d both said things we didn’t mean. But calm was restored.
During the afternoon I discovered that my smooth orange-sized flecked green pumpkin was not where I had left it. The pride and joy of my “Jack O Lantern” plant had taken a distinct nose-dive. Just hours before, a canopy of large fresh green leaves had climbed hopefully up the cane, pumpkin in tow. Later, all that could be seen was a green heap slumbering on the large compost filled shopping bag that “Jack O Lantern’s” roots call home.
Naively, I thought if I tied the main prickly stem of the plant back to its cane, but in a lot of places instead of just the one, that might – might – prove supportive enough. How wrong was I?! The pumpkin, itself, has quickly grown too heavy for the plant to stay tied vertically. (Floor space at a premium notwithstanding, that is a good thing because it means I have the most success I’ve hitherto had with trying to grow not only a pumpkin plant, but an actual pumpkin. And in a container!) So one somewhat adventurous small pumpkin sat peeping cheekily out of a mass of tangled leaves and stroppy stalks, having all taken a slide down the cane like a flouncy skirt falling to the floor!
What was I to do? Well, on trying to decipher the anatomy of the plant, I attempted grumbling and sulking because my hands and wrists and arms had suffered the pumpkin plant’s needly wrath at having been handled. Then I did screw my face up because I couldn’t think of any alternative to letting the plant fester in a heap, if it were to stay in the greenhouse. That was all fun, but I thought it would be even more fun to actually come up with a solution. Funny how they can so often be staring you right in the face!
The pumpkin’s big bagged-up base stands next to one of my shelving racks. So I threaded the majority of the pumpkin plant’s limbs as carefully as I could through the side of the rack. As it happens, it is just the right height. Now stems, stalks, leaves, flowers and the pumpkin itself can sprawl out on the second from bottom wire shelf to their hearts’ content. I hope that proves to be a useful solution.
Having gotten rid of any yellowing leaves and mouldering leaves, which had previously been hidden, my main concern now is that in untangling and moving the stalks, stems and leaves, some of the stalks have gotten a bit kinked in places. (Apart from the few that I cut off accidently, that is. Oops!) How resilient are plants like these? Can they tolerate a certain amount of bending or, if they’re not used to being handled much because of spreading across the ground, is it likely that I have cut off valuable life supplies to the extremities of the plant? I hope not, not least because one of the interuptions to the main stalk is right between the pumpkin and the rest of the plant that leads down to the root. I’d hate to think that after all the time and effort I’ve put into growing this plant from seed, that large parts of it could die before it really comes to fruition. Well I will have to wait and see. It will be interesting to see what lessons I may or may not be able to take from this and apply to my “Jack Be Little” pumpkin plant.



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