What started as just me looking into pumpkins and wanting to grow one or two unique heirloom varieties quickly turned into a full tunnel project with lots of manual labor. But our fingers are crossed that all of our hard work digging holes, creating mounds, researching fun varieties, planting from seed, and training the stems to grow where I want them will pay off.
My sister Rachel and I are both beginner garderners which has made gardening this year so much fun for the both of us because we are learning, sharing, and growing together. Even if our gardens are miles apart. When we were talking about planting pumpkins and seeing that they will literally take over and grow on anything I had the idea to grow mine on two trellis arches that I had in one of my beds. About five minutes after telling her my idea, the two arches turned into five which then turned into an entire tunnel. As someone who has never grown pumpkins before… this was quite the project. I didn’t even know if I could keep one pumpkin plant alive, let alone 50. But when I put my mind to something I usually go all out…so I was in it.
To start the pumpkin tunnel we created five mounds outside of the bed and five mounds inside of the bed. For our mounds we did a mixture of soil, compost, black cow manure, and earthworm castings. Each of the seeds had a 9-14 day germination period and we were shocked when just four days after sowing them into the mounds and bed we started seeing sprouts. They were coming up like wild fire and I was so excited! I’d walk out to the tunnel 2-3 times a day and every time I would see a new sprout. Not all of the mounds had sprouts yet and I was heading out of town for a beach vacation and was nervous about the other seeds germinating while I was gone. So I started some seeds in cell trays and my mom cared for them for me while I was gone. So if some of our mounds or spots in the bed didn’t germinate any of their seeds, I could transplant whatever my mom was able to germinate after they were mature enough. While I was out of town my next door neighbor (who is literally the best!) came by the pumpkin tunnel each night and watered the seeds for me. She would send me pictures and we would get excited every night when she would find new sprouts. This pumpkin tunnel quickly became something so many people had a part in and it has made it even more exciting and fun.
Back to the set up, once we got the seeds in the mounds and beds we watered…and watered…and watered. Every single day and we waited…and waited…and waited. After we got home from our vacation is when things started to get crazy. The sprouts were popping up everywhere and I realized my five arches were not going to be enough to hold all of these pumpkin plants we had. At this point we were at nearly 50 plants including the ones my mom germinated from the cell trays. So this brought us to stage two of the pumpkin tunnel which you can read about here.