Thursday, October 29, 2015

Growing A Giant Pumpkin With Minimal Work With This Exceptionally Designed Bucket

One of the great joys of gardening is growing pumpkins for Halloween.  In Indiana where we are based, our growing season happens to usually end just before October 31, making pumpkins the ideal fall treat.  We were able to grow a regular sized Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin variety last year with the Waterboxx, and we began to wonder if the Waterboxx could be used to grow a giant pumpkin here in a suburban garden.  

The pumpkin seeds at planting in the peat pot in early April 2015

We started by planting a few Big Moon pumpkin seeds in a peak pot in early April.  These were grown until they reached the recommended size (of 4-5 leaves) and were then transplanted outside.  A small mound of potting soil was made in an area of our suburban yard with sufficient sun.  The transplanted pumpkin was then surrounded with the evaporation cover seen below.

The Giant Pumpkin on day of transplanting May 9, 2015.

The Waterboxx was then placed very carefully over the transplanted seedling, with care taken not to damage the stem.  This Waterboxx has 4 wicks to delivery sufficient water to the plant.  If no rain is received (and insufficient dew), this Waterboxx would need to be refilled every 1-4 weeks manually.

The pumpkin has grown considerably by May 19, 2015, when this picture was taken.  No external water has been given to this pumpkin, as all of its water needs are being met by the Waterboxx which is refilled by dew and rain.  

We have been fortunate enough to have squash bees (bright orange bees the same size of a honeybee) in our area, so we hope that we will have many pumpkins from which to choose.  We will of course only keep one pumpkin to get the largest one possible.

The giant pumpkin on June 6, 2015.  This has exploded in its growth, even though we haven't watered or fertilized it once since planting . This Waterboxx has 4 wicks (3 extra), but still has always had water due to dew and rare rain (in this dry spring).  We haven't refilled the Waterboxx once.
The Giant Pumpkin completely covering the Waterboxx on June 12, 2015.  The  Waterboxx can just barely be seen. in the blow up below (you see the white corrugated lid).

A close up view of the above picture - the Waterboxx is still working beneath the pumpkin leaves.
So how much water did we need to give the pumpkin between transplanting outside and the above pictures?  None - not one drop.  Even though this Waterboxx has 4 wicks, there has been enough dew and rain water to keep the Waterboxx more than full.  You can see this if you look carefully (the water is clear), in the image below.

The Waterboxx lid on June 12, 2015.  The Waterboxx is so full from dew and rain water it is overflowing, and the blue circular siphon is covered.  
We are seeing our first pumpkins beginning to form at the base of the female flowers.  We will choose only one pumpkin to remain on the plant in order to get the most growth.

Our chosen giant pumpkin on June 30- we will let this one pumpkin continue to grow while keeping one back up. pumpkin  This way, all the plant's energy will go into this one pumpkin.  We put a wooden pallet beneath to support the pumpkin.

One site recommends 15 to 20 gallons of water per week should be added to the pumpkin at its base - but the Waterboxx holds only four gallons.  How is the pumpkin not dying of thirst?  Well, the Waterboxx prevents almost all evaporation of water from the soil around the pumpkin roots.  Secondly, when the pumpkin transpires water (similar in idea but not mechanism to sweating in animals) from the bottom on its leaves, much of that water is recycled onto the Waterboxx lid and collected by the Waterboxx.

We did add 4 small Jobe's organic fertilizer spikes to the soil around the Waterboxx sheltering the plant on July 1.

Same pumpkin on July 16.  We haven't added any water to the Waterboxx PlantCocoon® or to the roots of the pumpkin , but the Waterboxx remains full.  We expect the pumpkin to continue growing until at least early October.  

 We will continue to update this post with pictures of the pumpkin plant throughout the growing season. We are growing several other plants with the Waterboxx PlantCocoon®, a complete list is available here.

You can buy the Groasis Waterboxx here.

If you would like to learn how to grow plants without watering with the Waterboxx, the best resource is the book The Waterboxx Gardener: How to Mimic Nature, Stop Watering, and Start Enjoying Your Garden available here on 

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