A funny thing happens when it’s that time of year to plant pumpkin seeds, I get emotional. The weather has turned from naughty to nice, the days longer, and the hummingbirds are back for another visit. Another school year is almost over, actually for me this year, it’s over for good. My last child will be graduating from high school. A new journey begins…
I don’t know about you, but whenever I plant something, I instinctively think about the harvest. As you all know, time flies…One day you’re planting a seed in the field, the next day it’s a fully grown fruit or vegetable and time to reap the rewards of your efforts…really…in the blink of an eye it seems. What happens during that growing period and how does it all happen so fast? There are many things to consider before, during and after you plant your seeds.
WHERE TO PLANT YOUR SEEDS.
The first step in growing your crop is to determine where it will grow. The best crops flourish in a safe, well drained area with healthy soil and adequate sunlight. Each seed must have enough room to spread out while growing with consideration for its neighboring varieties. Sometimes, it’s not good to let them spread out too far, it’s not productive.
ENSURE THE SEEDS ARE FIRMLY GROUNDED.
Determining the depth of the seed is important. If you plant them too shallow, they may not have enough soil to take root. Seeds that get planted an inch too deep will make their way up, reaching out of the soil looking for light, but may take longer. I do love this stage in the growing process, I have control, I can hover over the seeds to make sure they are safe.
KEEP THE SEEDS WATERED AND WEEDED.
The easy part is over…the seeds are sown. Not the more difficult journey, ensuring survival. If the seeds don’t have water, they won’t grow. Water,water, nurture and nurture… If you are lucky, nature will play a role and help water when needed, however, we have to always be on call to make sure it gets done no matter what. Weeds crop up along the way, some may even choke the growing vines.
Sometimes it takes others to get their hands dirty and help with the weeding. Weeding is very hard work, it’s back breaking labor, with little reward…except to know your little seed will have a better chance with the army of weeders.
STARTING TO SEE BUDS.
This is an exciting time. The buds start to form and you know you’re on your way. You still have some work to do, however, you have peace in knowing your seeds are firmly set and your vines are strong. This is the part that goes fast. One minute you see buds, the next flowers and then the fruit. Some vines have lots of buds, some few. Some varieties such as Big Mac’s grow better with fewer buds. It’s not the quantity of the buds, but the quality in this case.
THE FRUIT STARTS TO TAKE SHAPE.
My favorite part of growing pumpkins, is to watch how they grow. They are all green in the beginning, and over time find their true colors. Whether they turn orange, white, yellow, red, or some even remain green, they are in a league all their own and all fun to watch. We are always comparing the varieties and picking our favorites, but the truth is that each one is beautiful and unique in their own way. Funny, but the Warty Goblin, a bumpy variety, has been one of our best sellers.
At this stage the fruit will mature and wont need much help, maybe a turn here and there to help shape the pumpkin or give it guidance. I’m both proud of how they have grown and sad to know they are almost ready to harvest. Again…where did the time go.
PREPARING FOR THE HARVEST.
Much preparation goes into the harvest. One would think the work is complete, however, in reality it’s just begun. Weeks before the harvest, the barns have be cleaned and ready to greet the guests that will arrive for the big event. Windows cleaned, grass mowed, shelves stocked, signs made, benches built, customers contacted. Pumpkins are picked and told to stand up straight to cure safely in the fields to prepare for the big day. It’s a proud moment to see those pumpkins getting ready to leave the fields. I am reminiscent of all the times that little pumpkin struggled, but we all were there to coach and cheer him on. As the big day draws near, I think about how much I’ve focused on the harvest season, what I never anticipated that is that the growing season would be so much fun.
There is pumpkin for everyone, no matter how large or small. There is an emotional attachment, when people pick their pumpkins. Whether its the size, the shape, or just the feeling that it’s the right one for them. One thing is for sure, they don’t often think about the journey or the struggle that it takes to ripen. The really cool thing about pumpkins is that just when they get to that perfect age, their seeds are ready to be planted and a new journey begins.
Good luck Jordan, my little pumpkin, as you sit in the field, standing straight, ready to enter the harvest season, remember, you’re not alone, you’ll have plenty of pumpkins sitting on the bench, right by your side to guide you down the path.
(There a a few baseball references in here, read again and you’ll see what I mean!)