Before this week, we were rather inexperienced at growing pumpkins. Last year we planted 100 seeds of the Small World of Color Pumpkin Mix super late in the season and after weeds, disease and the local wildlife took most of the crop, we grew two beautiful blue pumpkins. We have also grown a number of rogue Jack Be Littles that were volunteers from pumpkins we had tossed out in the yard. This pumpkin patch certainly is a new adventure for us!
After talking about it for more than a year, we finally committed to planting a dedicated place exclusively for pumpkins. We measured out an area roughly 20’ x 80’ adjacent to our new strawberry patch (that’s another story) and tilled the grass under. We’re pretty happy with how straw has been keeping the weeds down in other areas of the garden this year, so we elected to continue using it for weed control in the new pumpkin patch.
We’ve never grown pumpkins on this scale before and we debated how best to go about it. Should we plant them in hills as suggested on the seed packets? That would be a lot of hills! Or, plant them in raised rows created by a plow? We don’t own a plow. John voted to just plant them in a flat pumpkin patch, since that’s how you find them when you go pumpkin picking. After consulting my friend Scott (who knows how to grow just about everything) my idea for some sort of raised bed was ruled out as impractical. He assured us that farmers just plant them in the ground. So, I think we are farmers now!
Since our space was so large and we planted so many different varieties, we didn’t really follow the rules on how far to space the plants apart. Instead, we accepted that we were likely to lose a few plants to natural causes and we spread the plants out evenly along the length of the patch. Survival of the fittest right? Just as we were getting started to plant, our neighbor Duke (who by the way grows great cut-your-own Christmas Trees at The Rosemont Tree Farm) dropped by to check out our progress and offered to help. I watched Violet snooze in the shade, and Duke and John planted two nice and even rows of pumpkins down the center of the pumpkin patch.
What kind of pumpkins did we plant? From seeds we grew Ornamental Fancy Gourd Mix, Jack Be Little Pumpkins, Small Sugar Pumpkins, Early Sweet Sugar Pie Pumpkins and Jack O Lantern Pumpkins. We picked up Wee B Little Pumpkin plants and two unlabeled surprise pumpkins from our local garden center.