Passionate about Pumpkins

Pumpkins: A garden favorite since 2004

Our Little Harvest

Back in ’04, my then-three year old son accidentally spilled some squirrel food.  We swept up most of the seeds, scooped them into the feeder, and brushed the rest into the soil.  Somehow those scattered seeds avoided detection, and before we knew it we had two sunflowers and five pumpkins growing among the plants.

Little did we know then that those scattered seeds would lead to a pumpkin-growing tradition.  We’ve had a crop every year since.

Since we love Halloween, this is the perfect plant for us.  It serves as part of our summer’s entertainment watching them grow.  We harvest the plants, then collect and dry the seeds.  My talented husband meticulously carves and displays them for the 150 trick-or-treaters that grace our doorstep each year.   Left-over pumpkins return to the garden where a few of them rot back into the soil.  Who knows what will pop up the following season.  We hedge our bets with additional seeds from Harris Seed company selecting five or six varieties.

A sample of our pumpkins through the years:

Planting:

We usually start our seeds indoors. It slows down the squirrels

Growing:

Female Flower

The start of something big

Harvesting:

Our First Pumpkin: Pale Orange Skin, Bright Orange Flesh

One of my all time favorite photos

2005 Harvest with the Boys

One of these things is not like the other…

Carving:

Carver in Residence

Future Carving Enthusiast

Displaying:

2011 Crop

Mike’s Creations

Witch’s Cauldron

Emoticons

Beware!

45 thoughts on “Passionate about Pumpkins

  1. I love this post too! It is a real family team effort, from planting to carving. Very artistic! We’ve tried to grow various squash in tubs but I don’t think we get enough sun to get a decent crop. That’s English weather for you! Perhaps I can try in the greenhouse if I can find room…

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    • Thank you! My father was English, and gardened in many climates: England, Darjeeling, India, Ontario, Canada and the US (California). He died when I was very young (only 9). How I wished I could have gardened alongside him. I inherited his love of all things green. My youngest son seems interested as well. Best of luck with what you can grow. I look forward to updates.

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  2. I love your photos!
    Question for you: Have you ever seen tiny black bugs on your pumpkins? They look just like little fleas. I found them on my seedlings this morning and am trying to figure out what they are.

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    • Thank you!

      I do see small bugs on the inside of the flowers, but they are more like small flies then fleas. They don’t seem to bother the plant and they only land on the blooms, not the leaves or, later, the fruit.

      Are the bugs like a film of soot?

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  3. I just HAD to mosey on over to this post, partly as self-punishment because this is the first year I haven’t planted pumpkins in as long as I can remember! I just forgot :-((( ugh!!! My foray started in a similar manner – putting an old pumpkin out in the yard for the animals to eat. I love the variety of your pumpkins … And the family participation! What wonderful memories!!

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    • Thanks so much for heading over. No guilt allowed!!! From what I can see, you are plenty busy. The best part of gardening: there is always next year.

      I’m glad to hear we share a similar story growing pumpkins. We all get such pleasure from ours.

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  4. Literally, it was a smack my hand on my forehead kind of moment 2 weeks ago! But, my husband HAS weed-whacked my pumpkins before (and, not in the same weed-whacking venture, my wave roses and my beloved peonies…GRRR!!!!!), but the children haven’t brought it up….yet! Bunnies typically like to nest in ours, but don’t eat them, although I wouldn’t mind if they did as they bring so much joy to me and my little ones. I’m going to have to (cringe) buy pumpkins this year, although we have never had a single trick-or-treater. They will be a great source of seeds though 😀 Now, if only I had your husband’s mad carving skills!!!

    I love your whole blog, but this section is just so sweet!

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    • I’m fascinated that the bunnies like to nest there, given how prickly they leaves are. Perhaps it creates a deterrent for them against prey. I love that you live in a place with wild bunnies. I see them when I hike in the hills, but here in the suburbs, we only see squirrels and birds by day, racoons, opossums and rats at night.

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    • How interesting that the bunnies like nesting in the vines. The leaves are so prickly…but perhaps they keep away bunny predators. Lucky you to have them in your garden. I know they can lay waste to a vegetable garden, but they are so adorable. In the past the squirrels eat the tender shoots of the plants, but they only got to a few this year without really harming the plant. Last year several of the pumpkins had a bit taken out of them, probably rats, but this year not a one. I wonder if the resurgence of racoons is keeping them away?

      If you do buy pumpkins, be sure they’re not sterile seeds. Many of the commercially grown plants are. They’re beautiful seeds, but they won’t come up the following year.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s fun to bond over pumpkins!

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    • You won’t be disappointed! We have so much fun growing ours. Every year we get different results. I’ve been fertilizing with bat guano for the past two years and I like the results. Just one application at planting time.

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  8. Ha, kindred spirits, I have a passion for pumpkins too. I love the colors and shape and so much connected to fall, my favorite season. I love cooking and eating them as well. Hope you will give it a try. Your blog is beautiful! Johanna

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    • So happy to hear that. They are amazing, aren’t they? We’re big into the autumn weather around here. It’s such a welcome relief after a long, hot, dry summer. I love the colors, the smells and the crispness to the air. And of course pumpkins!

      I must put cooking with pumpkins on the list this season. I’ll report back.

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  10. I can see why you are passionate about pumpkins! From seedlings to carving! Wow! I’m totally impressed! Please do a post on pumpkin growing secrets! Awesome pictures! Thank you for sharing! Cheers, Koko 🙂

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