Last spring, I developed a new passion, a new love, for growing pumpkins. I learned a new appreciation for nature. I took nature in my own hands, and I, with the help from God, raised ten pumpkins.
I planted them, researched them, and nurtured them. When I learned I was lacking a major character in my pumpkin farming story, I had to do something; I had to find the answer and carry out a task I wasn’t too thrilled about, to get the outcome I wanted. I had to do what I had to do. I did something I thought I would never do and this resulted in my first-ever pumpkin child.
When life (and nature) leaves you without a crucial element, you must take control and make the best of the situation. Faced with stepping-up and doing what I had to do, if I wanted the result I wanted.
In this case, the result was a pumpkin. Growing pumpkins was about to get tricky.
This infatuation has been years in the making. My daughter, Cameron, and I always discarded my fall pumpkins in the pasture, in the hopes that our horses would eat or play with them. Year after year, the day after Thanksgiving, while decorating for Christmas, we threw the pumpkins in the pasture. The horses never messed with them but this always resulted in a vine or two, and bright yellow flowers. But because we never watered the pasture, the vines would wither away.
I then placed them in an empty flower bed. Year after year, I would water and baby the vines that grew. I would get a few small vines and a few bright, yellow flowers. But nothing more. In December of 2015, we decided to move the cast-off fall pumpkins to the backyard, to a flowerbed. This apparently agreed with the pumpkins because in early spring of 2016, the vines started sprouting; I again watered and babied them. And, then boom, we were growing pumpkin vines!
One day, I noticed massive vines spanning the entire flowerbed. After a few days, they soon began overtaking the rosebush, spilling out into the grass and eventually over the deck and spreading lovely green vines all over the deck. It was like Jack and the Beanstalk! It was crazy. This had never happened before so I began to be excited and hopeful. I turned to Google. Research began; I learned all I could about pumpkin patches, growing pumpkins and pollinating. Oh, and bees.
The vine began sprouting beautiful yellow blooms. I learned the difference in the male and female flowers. (Yes, there is a huge difference just like all the other creatures God created.) Nature is impressive. I began to realize the male flowers were more abundant than the female version. Males have long green stems and inside the flower they have a fuzzy, long piece called a stamen. The fuzzy part is the pollen. Females have a tiny green pumpkin under them. Tiny.
I also soon learned that the flowers, both male and female, closed and withered after a few hours. It quickly became clear we didn’t have any bees. This was a major problem. No bees equal no growing pumpkins.
I had to take nature in my own hands.
I had to put on my virtual overalls and go to farmin’. (read that with a thick, country accent) My pumpkin research led me to a term I then used over and over; at least ten times over. Self-pollination.
If you have no bees, you have no pumpkins. I couldn’t let all these beautiful vines go to waste. I had come so much farther this year than ever before. The thought of producing my own pumpkins, not buying them from the grocery store, became a passion, a dream and I wanted this to become a reality. I had the fever.
So, I learned. There is an art to self-pollination. At least I choose to believe that because this was vital to me receiving the prize—the pumpkin prize.
To self-pollinate, you must cut a male flower off the vine, with good pollen (the yellow fuzz falls on your finger when touched). You then cut all the petals off, deep into the flower so you expose only the stamen. And then, the weird, disturbing, look-around-to-see-if-anyone-is-looking part—you insert the male stamen into the female flower. Yep.
Now do you see why I love Prudence so much? (Yes! I named my first pumpkin!) I made her. Me. Me and the male and female flower were in this together. And God.
When I saw Prudence was beginning to grow, literally almost immediately within what seemed like hours, I had so much pride, joy, and love for that little green orb. I was growing pumpkins! I’ve always had plants and flowers, inside and out, but this is so different. So much better. I had pride. I took care of Prudence and checked on her throughout the day, everyday. (I mean I named her so you know I nurtured her!) Before long, Prudence had vine-mates. And the pride flourished, just like Prudence.
The day finally came to harvest Prudence. This was a family event. My dachshunds, Charli and Martha helped, also. Cutting my first pumpkin from the vine was exciting. (And, of course, documented this on Instagram and Facebook!) She was Musque de Provence or a Fairytale pumpkin. I was in awe. I brought her in—she was far too pretty for the front porch!
Pumpkin fever has a new meaning for me. Not your white-girl-I-love-everything-pumpkin-flavored fever, this is the love of a pumpkin patch. The love of growing something from the dirt. The love of nature and knowing God had His hand in all this or it would have never, ever happened.
Dear Prudence, thank you for showing me I can grow something beautiful with my own hands.
Henry Davis Thoreau once said, “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
Mr. Thoreau, I share your passion.
When fall came to an end and Christmastime was upon us, I let her spoil and I harvested her seeds, along with my other nine pumpkins. My plan was to plant the seeds and fall in love with another crop, this year. However, we bought a new house, planted the seeds too late in the spring and apparently in the wrong place with too much shade. I won’t give up. I still have the fever—pumpkin fever lives within me still. Growing pumpkins turn to my life.
I learned so much from Prudence. I learned how much fun it is to watch something grow that I had a hand in. I learned patience. I learned determination; when you don’t have a perfect situation, when you are missing a piece of the puzzle, you don’t give up if the outcome is important to you. You find the answer and you make it happen.
Pumpkin farming, growing pumpkins, like most things in life, offers life lessons. I am thankful I cared enough to learn.
I hope for you the discovery of something new, something you learn to love, perhaps, maybe even growing pumpkins!Pumpkin farming, growing pumpkins, like most things in life, offers life lessons. I am thankful I cared enough to learn. #write31days Click To Tweet
Return tomorrow for more fall feels! My Write 31 Day Challenge is titled Thirty-One Days of Fall Feels!
love and blessings~dd
This was originally published in The Every Girl Journal and I hope you will read the October issue. Read about growing pumpkins. There are great articles, including one about the benefits of about kombucha. Thank you Mirley, for asking me to be part of your publication!
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