Winter is hard on me. By the time that the seed catalogs get here around Christmas time, and I take time to sort through millions of pages in hundreds of catalogs sporting the same things, I get a little lustful. Oh the things I could do. .oh the things I could grow!! Dog eared pages, circled products, lists and more lists; crossed off, added on, questioned marked. Do I have the time, do I have the space. .who cares--I have always been one to jump in with both feet and figure it out along the way. Last spring was different though, in that I KNEW that I would have some extra gardening time in lieu of the call time that I had resigned from. I found myself with a variety of new plants and veggies--but the decision that has stressed me out the most, was this. . .
The punkin' patch!!
I've never grown pumpkins before in my life. So instead of picking out one kind and starting with that like a sane gardener would do, I chose several different varieties. .swapping out some of my seeds with my friend Becky, in exchange for her seeds,and ended up with 6 different kinds. Both feet??
I started them in the greenhouse, just to make sure that they germinated. They did. 6 different varieties quickly dwindled to 5 as the cool white and orange speckled ones croaked from unknown causes. We fought squash bugs and some vine-borer-eating creatures. Finally we gave in and sprayed them one night with some insecticide that helped with the bugs until now, but hopefully we won't have to use it again. I really haven't watered them too much extra. Initially the plants would make little punkin's and then they would shrivel up and be gone. That frustration nearly caused me to pull them all up and forget about 'em. So whether the punkin' shrivelin' was bug issues, water issues, or heat--they seem to be making pumpkins now. And I was plenty excited the other night to find all of these. . .
Jarrhadale. .a super cool greenish colored pumpkin--that IS the color it will be when fully ripened, or a shade lighter. I think it looks the perfect shade of witch skin. .well doesn't it?? There's several pumpkins on the vines and still more comin'. And they are my favorites, so I hope there'll be a few more anyway.
These little guys are sure prolific. I think they were some jack be littles from Becky's stash. They will undoubtedly be used at our annual Halloween bash to be launched into the pasture--a favorite game for all!
This little guy a small sugar pumpkin. There has been NO activity on these vines until the last few weeks. I thought they were gonna be disappointments for sure.
This is variety Champion. It is supposed to weigh 30-40 pounds each. . .I DON'T think it will even come close--hmmm, maybe that's where the extra water should have come in.
The pumpkins were a fun experiment to try. I love to decorate for fall around here, so this should save me some money. .plus the guys LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds--double bonus!
But the best part of this post is yet to come. A few years ago, I found a stray vine in my garden--not planted by me, but I left it thinking it might be a watermelon or cantaloupe vine (back when I didn't know the difference between ANY kind of vine). It turned out to be a vine containing some lumpy gourds that I had bought from the grocery store the year before. It was loaded, and we had a ball decorating with them and using the leftovers for the punkin' launchin' contest. Every year since, I have been delighted to find a few stray vines appear in different places around my yard (thanks kids!). This year was no exception. . .and let me show you how God smiled on me (I think that's what happens when you pray over your produce :-) Each of these plants came up in a different spot in my flower beds--where they didn't need to be moved or mowed over, and actually had room to thrive.
A green, warty gourd (the wartier--the better in my books). I suspect that he will stay this greenish color--he's pretty big to not already have some color on him, like the guy below
A yellow striped, warty gourd.
This was the third one I found. . a two toned one--you can totally have NO idea how excited I was by this time--until I sent D to the garden to check the one that came from nowhere in the back near the watermelon. He screamed "Mom, you've gotta see these suckers. . .they are HUGE! After all, he was expecting some tiny little gourds. Nothing like this. . .
Believe it or not, the coolest pumpkins that I have never (yes, never) grown are these bad boys. ..BIG, totally warty, totally terrific, orange pumpkins!! We bought one at the pumpkin patch last year, or the year before. . and here he comes. .right in the middle of my garden--with about 10 of these beauties on the vine. God is SO good. .even in the seemingly little things of life. .and He DOES have a sense of humor--His punkin' patch was MUCH better than mine!!
As my blogging buddy Gardener on Sherlock Street would say:
GROW WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED!!
Have a great day. .and remember to look around. .you might be surprised at what you'll find!!