Over the years my experience as a volunteer - whether it be a girl-guide leader or a weed picker - has taught me that volunteers are happy in their work in even the harshest conditions, probably because they choose to be there and are there for no other reason than they want to be. This applies to plants too!
This year, I carefully planned out my raised beds, following scale drawings of where I would plant my warm season vegetables. I planted seeds and lovingly tended to them. Some grew and others well... struggled. Meanwhile, in a far distance corner of the garden, a host of squash plants germinated. They were ignored as I poured love and care over the plants I had in my raised beds. I didn't even water the volunteers. And now they have outgrown the chosen ones and look fantastic, and I can't claim any of the credit.
So what happened? Well, some of this is elementary, my dear Watson. The volunteers popped up where I had emptied the compost bins, before I spread mulch after removing lava rock, back in the spring. No mystery there. However, I know that I only had pumpkin seeds and seeds from butternut squash. And here's what has grown.
The the real mystery is this - what happened to my carefully tended squash?
Here are the pumpkins I planted.
And the sibley I had such high hopes for.
My friend Judy gave me a pumpkin seedling which I planted in an "overflow" bed - a small bed where I had cut out a shrub and instead of digging up its roots I covered it in compost and wood chips - and it has really taken off.
One huge pumpkin and the vine is 10-15 feet long.
But another mystery alludes me - how will I know when to harvest my mystery squashes?