Two weeks ago I wrote about “volunteer” plants. Yesterday I went to water my neglected p-patch plot for the first time in weeks, and having the weediest plot around yielded 3 big bok choy plants. Somehow I can never get bok choy to grow so large when I intentionally plant it. Nasturtiums are the same way- the ones I plant are often spindly, but the ones popping up in my p-patch are flowering and happily filling in the furrows between my rows.
My p-patch winter squash and pepper plants are also thriving, despite my lack of intervention or watering. The p-patch squash plants already have female flowers with golf ball size green fruits, but have relatively little leaf area, with each plant taking up less than a square foot. The pumpkin plants in my home garden are getting enormous, with foot wide leaves, and eight-foot vines, but they’ve just started flowering, with only male flowers so far. On many squash cultivars, the plants produce male flowers for a week or two before producing female flowers. You can spot the female flowers because they have an ovary at the base of the flower, which looks like a miniature version of the adult squash.
The healthy plants in my p-patch make me wonder if I’m being wasteful by watering the pumpkin and pepper plants in my home garden on sunny days. The proof will be in the pudding- we’ll see which plants yield lots of ripe fruit by October.