Plant a Pumpkin Patch…Why Not?
I love pumpkins. Period. I can’t think of many other things that make such a statement in the fall as a beautiful group of different colored pumpkins and gourds at the front door. Just think of it- the fresh chill in the air, crisp golden leaves swirling around, and those bright accents of orange, harvest red, and green. Ever since I saw a grouping like this at my Mother-in-Law’s house a few years ago (she always finds the best pumpkins), I was in love.
Last year as I scoured through the rows and bins of pumpkins at one of our local farms, as I always do, I looked at Adam and said, “Boy, I wish we could just grow a little field of these. Wouldn’t that be fun?!?”
To which he replied, “Well, why don’t you?”
Good question, I thought…why not? There is a hillside at the very back of the yard with nothing but overgrown weeds on it that we use as a sledding hill in the winter. Wait, can you plant pumpkins on a hillside? I suppose as long as it drains well, and it’s not so steep that pumpkins go rolling down the hill. Although that might be a funny sight to see. So here’s a little checklist I jotted down to start:
- Access to a pull-behind tiller? Check. Lord knows I don’t have time to do the whole hillside with the little motorized one I use.
- Soil test. I should probably do one to see if I need to add anything in particular to adjust the pH of the soil to grow some big beauties. Yes, I can do this. I’m pretty sure I can either get one at the local garden store or do one of those mail-in types.
- Top soil, compost and organic fertilizer. Depending on what the dirt back there looks like I may need this in bulk. This is where owning a couple cows would come in handy!
- Plants. Although pumpkins typically do best with direct sowing (planting seeds right in the ground outside), I started some fun varieties from seed indoors early last week (mid-April) because they take longer to mature and our season isn’t incredibly long. I’ll direct sow the rest after the last frost date.
Oh, I’m so excited! A hillside of gourds. I’m picturing giant pumpkins, smaller pie pumpkins, white ghost ones, green warty ones, deep red cinderellas, and everything in between. And let’s not forget the butternut and acorn squash!
Clearly I have high hopes this year. Keep checking back to see how we’re actually doing and I’ll let keep tabs on what works and what doesn’t. Wish us luck!