September 9, 2006
First, some non-scientific journaling. I seemed to have scored some brownie points with Big Sister's second grade teacher when I mentioned, in conference, that Big Sis had wanted to grow a milk-fed pumpkin after reading about it in a book. "Now there's a terrific text-to-self connection," Ms. B commented. Too bad Big Sister stubbornly refuses to do same in daily homework...
And when we went to measure the pumpkins today, Little Sister was delighted to find that her name had magically appeared in the pumpkin's skin, along with a heart.
"A" is now at 25" L/ 50" D
"L" is now at 18" L/ 37" D
Non is now at 24" L/ 48" D
Pumpkin "A" on 9/9/2006 (note sour cream container & wick):
Pumpkin "L" on 9/9/2006:
Other observations: there are "splits" in the bottoms of both "L" and "Non", perhaps a sign that both are growing TOO quickly? I'm beginning to fear that we may not have jack o' lanterns this year.
Here are charts of the growth to date:
We notice this week that the "wicks" seem to be dry; in addition, contrary to what Farmer Boy claimed, the pumpkin is not sucking up a bowl of milk (sugar water) per day. In fact, the containers are as full as they were last week. Manley didn't have plastic sour cream containers with tight-fitting lids; I'm beginning to suspect that his milk evaporated.
Or: our method is wrong (we have, after all, introduced a number of new variables into the original schema).
Why is the non milk-fed pumpkin growing faster than the milk fed ones?
Hypothesis 1: it's on a healthier vine. (who can tell? they're all tangled up!)
Hypothesis 2: cutting slits into the vine causes stress to the developing fruit.
Hypothesis 3: "A" was already so big when we started that it wasn't going to get much bigger anyway. "L" seems to be speeding up its rate of growth, might have grown faster/bigger if it didn't have a slit in its vine.
Hypothesis 4: the wicks aren't working.
I suspect that some of my readers may wish to add or amend hypotheses--I invite input.
I choose to test the final hypothesis--went out today and bought some real candle wicks at a hobby shop. I realize that some of my more scientifically minded readers (my research physicist brother, in particular) will object to changing a parameter in mid-experiment--but we want a milk-fed (okay, sugar fed!) pumpkin, dammit!
Stay tuned to next week.