It's finally pumpkin planting time!
Last May, I put my pumpkin seeds and starts in a raised garden bed that, as I later learned, didn't get enough sun and was stop #1 on the Slug Highway. Also, we had an even wetter than normal summer which cost me almost my whole crop. I was a sad pumpkin-gardener last October.
This year, I tilled up a south-facing, former flower bed and I'm slug baiting that sucker on a weekly basis. No slugs shall pass! Tonight, I'm getting to work with my hoe (I love my hoe) and then I'll dump some bagged compost and in my most friendly voice, ask the weeds to go away and never come back.
I started the seeds in a wet paper towel (just like in kindergarten) and after they've popped out, I'll put them in potting soil and stick them under my grow lights.
This weekend, I'm going to the Woodinville Garden Club's annual plant sale, to buy some pumpkin "starts". I like to diversify my "starts" hoping it gives me a better chance at success. Success this year means having more than five, oddly shaped, possibly pest-ridden and thus moldy pumpkins to show for all my foolish optimism and giddy, giggling garden digging. (Say that 10 times quickly.)
Do you want to plant pumpkins? PumpkinNook.com will get you going.
*** A Week Later - May 18, 2012***
Just as I was patting myself on the back for not killing the herbs I grew from seed, my pumpkin plan went belly up. What's that saying? Nature vs. nurture? Well, if it's applied to gardening, nature wins every time. For the last week, I've apparently just been watering heaps of compost while the birds ate all my pumpkin seeds!!!
I suppose I won't be able to swim in pumpkins this fall, as originally hoped, however I did put seeds in three different beds. My seed placement diversification demonstrates my complete lack of self-confidence in being able to grow this gloriously orange, round squash. I'm still optimistic that I'll have something to show for my work. Another back-up plan included planting "starts" purchased from a plant sale. These transplants seem to be doing quite well and if they don't die (there's my pessimism again) I'll be convinced that the only way to grow pumpkins successfully (if you can't stand out in the yard 24/7 to scare the birds off) is to start the seeds in a greenhouse, in March.
June 1, 2012
May was a month of ups and downs in the pumpkin garden.
Weather, crappy dirt, birds, slugs, self-sabotage you name it, it happened in the pumpkin garden.
How I didn't die of shock that some of the one million seeds I planted, actually sprouted, I'll never know. I did however, squeal with delight and drag my husband to the window to verify that not just one, but 7... then 10, seeds had sent up leaves. Immediately, I placed wine glasses over them, thinking that the birds might try to return to finish the job and leave me alone with my bitter tears.
A week later, the sprouts were busting out of their mini terrariums. I diligently showered the edges of my aspiring pumpkin patch with more slug bait. I also bought 10 pumpkin starts from the grocery store. Each container has three plants, so there's another 30 plants to give me that edge. You ask, "How many pumpkins do you want, Alyssa? Are you friggin' crazy?" My answer is "more" and "YES!"
Next up, I wait for more vines, their yellow flowers and then the little green, baby pumpkins.
Grow, baby, grow!
Mature Pumpkin Garden- September
It's September now, and I'm proud to say that my pumpkin patch turned out well. I just harvested the first eight pumpkins. One was rotton, so it went to live with the chickens. The rest are "curing" inside my house and on October 1st I'll put them out on the front porch. I've still got some green pumpkins on the vine and even more baby pumpkins popping up.
How to tell if your pumpkins are ready for harvest.
Just add lavender.
After the holidays, I stash the clutter, ahem "Christmas decorations" as soon as my family allows. I put my rubber boots on and go poke around in the garden. Of course there's not much going on. Maybe it's even covered with snow. So I wait. I occupy my head and time with indoor projects like sewing, cleaning and wrangling my children.
Today, I seized an opportunity to work out in the garden for the first time this year.
With less than two hours to work, I pulled up my frost-damaged lavender, bid it a sad good-bye and cleared the weed-ridden dirt. In a few months, I'll play my annual game of whack-a-mole with the horse tails that inevitably pop up. When I'm convinced the horse tails are gone, I'll replant lavender, cover the bed with a weed barrier and pour pea gravel on top so everything looks pretty. Theoretically, the bed will be easier to maintain.
After being overcome by slugs last year (I'm talking hundreds... no thousands of slugs sliming out of the woods) my pumpkins didn't exactly thrive. It was a sad time. This year, I have only planted garlic. My garden dreams are limited by time, but mostly by my budget. Which reminds me, I need to go sell my couch...
Quick updates charting my novice and experimental, gardening adventures at home.
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