How All Vine Crops Grow
by National Gardening Association Editors
Vine crops are extremely tender. They don't tolerate frosts at all, and they need warm weather and sunshine from the day you plant until the day you harvest.
Once planted, the seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days, depending on the variety. Following germination, they send up their first leaves. The vines lengthen quickly from here on, adding new leaf growth the entire time.
While the vines spread, the roots develop an extensive but fairly shallow network in the top 12 inches of soil. One strong taproot grows as deep as two to three feet, but most of the food, moisture and air is delivered by the many branching offshoots just below the soil surface.
Tendrils, which wind tightly around fences, trellises or other vegetables, eventually form on the vines to anchor them. Flower blossoms appear after about three weeks of this initial growth. The first blossoms to open are usually pollen-producing males. About a week later, the fruit-producing female blossoms bloom.
Once both types of blossom appear on the vine, bees and insects transfer the pollen from the male to the female flowers. Each flower lives for only one day. While the odds may sound bad for pollination, there's no problem unless there's a dearth of insect activity in your garden. Even then, you can always hand pollinate your pumpkins and reap a great crop.
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