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Pumpkins in Iraq

As pumpkins extend their vines around the world, we discovered them growing in Baghdad, Iraq by American soldiers. While we have not found information about pumpkins being grown by local citizens, we are certain they are being grown there.

Below is a composition of a number of notes sent Tim Udelhofen in 2005 who is stationed in Baghdad. Tim is from Atlanta, Georgia. Tim is in the Army, and in the EOD Battalion, (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) the bomb squad for the Army.

Important Note: Pumpkin Nook tips it's lid in appreciation to Tim, and all soldiers serving our country in Iraq.!!!!

Here's Tims' story.........................

Hi, I'm currently in Baghdad, Iraq, yes I said Iraq. I am growing some pumpkins here, they are doing well, but having never grown them before I don't know what a very young pumpkin looks like. I got all the info from your web site as a guide.

My mom sent me the seeds, back home(Atlanta) my wife and I enjoy working in our yard and growing plants, but here its hard to find, so a small garden. So far their doesn't seem to be any problems with insects, just some small ants but they don't seem to be doing anything to the plant just living under it. Have had to do all the pollinating myself, haven't seen one bee in 6 months, so..... yes I take a beating with the pumpkin sex jokes. Another problem I foresee is the heat, its now 100 plus and will soon be 120-130, they are in a shaded area and get about 4 hours of full sun a day. They get plenty of water and fertilizer. Covering the vines also helped with the wind which gets pretty strong.

Pumpkin plant in Iraq

I'm in the Army, the CSM for the EOD Battalion here, (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) the bomb squad for the Army. I travel quite a bit but have a couple of Soldiers that water while I'm gone, but they don't talk to them like I do :-)

Pumpkins are doing good, my wife thought I was crazy when I told her I called in an expert. I  pollinated two more yesterday, which is good cause I don't think the first one is going to make it. Oh well, plenty more coming in.

pumpkin baby

 Well, thanks for the support and the support for all the military over here, CSM Tim Udelhofen

giant pumpkin fruit

After returning from a short R& R back home, here is what Tim found......

pumpkin yellow

With temperatures reaching 110 degrees, buddy's in Tim's unit use a bucket attached to a rope to get water from a nearby canal.

Pumpkin on vine

By late July, the plants are suffering the effects of 110 to 120 degree heat along with an occasional sandstorm.

pumpkin plants

But, there's pumpkins on the vine!

giant pumpkins

In late July, it was 120 plus for about 2 weeks. It didn't take long for everything to dry up, But, Tim harvested two pumpkins (see picture below). The one on the left weighed 16 lbs. and the other was 12 lbs., the bigger one may have gotten bigger but the vine it was on was dying. Tim and the troops are keeping them in a cool dark room. Hopefully they will last till Halloween.

Man with pumpkins


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