Growing Pumpkins

Posted on Nov 4, 2013

picked pumpkin


Every fall I vow to make things festive with only live decorations so I can compost them and don’t have to find a place to store them.  Consumables, I call them.  Rather than shelling out the big bucks for pumpkins, I have  always wanted to grow my own.   In the past I was scared off because they need so much room and our beach town doesn’t get a lot of heat, which pumpkins seem to need.  This year I finally just gave it a shot.

With our fixer-upper came a lot of space and, since The Mister is so keen on trying to grow anything lately, he was game too. So this summer we jumped in.  Up in the back of the yard in an area we wishfully call ” the orchard”, we planted pumpkin seeds under the peach and the avocado trees.  I planted Jack-Be-Littles, those cute little mini orange pumpkins that are supposed to be so easy to grow, and Mike planted white “Ghost”  pumpkins. I didn’t have great hopes because we hadn’t gotten to serious irrigation up there other than for the trees, but in less than a week seedlings emerged.  A few more weeks and we had real vines!


pumpkin patch


To protect the fruit from rotting on the ground we went to the local feed store and grabbed two bales {that would be one bale too many} of alfalfa hay and spread it on the ground.  It made a nice mulch and I’m pretty sure that’s why the pumpkins made it: the alfalfa helped keep moisture in the soil, where it was needed.

OK, so I’ve had a baby and I’m not saying it was like that, but I was pretty thrilled to see our first little green oval pumpkin baby on the vine.  I could hardly believe it flowered and fruited!  They’re so cute and tiny and covered in fuzzy stuff.  Aw.


1st pumpkin


Within a few more weeks more flowers bloomed, more pumpkins developed, and we had ourselves a real crop.  Well, if three makes a crop.  My Jack-Be-Littles got a little dry at one point, which I think pretty much sealed the deal on no more pumpkins, but at least I got three!


3 little pumpkins


I was surprised at how much fun it was to go in my own back yard on pumpkin-picking day and gather up our “babies.”


orange pumpkin on straw


The white pumpkin lasted a lot longer and we got about 8 from that.


green stem pumpkin


I’m not saying we are turning into pumpkin farmers anytime soon, but it sure was great to walk right past the pumpkin patch this year knowing I had my own!


PicMonkey Collage w text

Next year we’re trying again.  This time we’ll have more reliable irrigation and may even try growing some more traditional orange ones.

All the pumpkins are sitting on my front porch, some bigger, some smaller, some not-so-perfect-looking.  They’re all out there, though, no storage needed when they’re done decorating my front yard.  And they’ll make fine compost when the time comes, for the next batch:0).



More Inspiration:

Julian, California
Super Easy Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Brulee Topping
The Best Gingerbread Cookies
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