Early in the summer, I dreamed big. The weather was warming and the spring garden abundant, so when the small package of Pumpkin Pro arrived in the mail, I gave in to my inner child and sprinkled the powder into my pumpkin hills. Touted as “the secret ingredient to growing gigantic pumpkins,” I let myself believe that this year I’d finally get a gourd the size of a Buick in my backyard.
The trio of bio-products (mycorrhyzal fungi, Azos bacterium, and calcium carbonate), promised a pumpkin that needed a little elbow room, so I planted only seeds with the genetics of giants in that area, then waited. Nothing happened. After 10 days, I planted again.
Over in the regular garden, the miniature pumpkins sprang up with gusto, running over the ground and fruiting like they were trying to set a record. In the giant pumpkin patch, a small, weak vine struggled up, growing feebly throughout the summer. I nurtured it, putting up wind breaks and fertilizing it with care.
The vine set fruit and I quickly caged it to protect it from squirrels. Checking it daily, I was happy to see the swell of what would surely become a prize-winning Jack O’ Lantern. Visions of carving the expanse of squash filled my mind: do I stay traditional with a simple Jack face or sculpt it to illustrate Dante’s Inferno?
As summer rolled by it was clear no further pumpkins would be borne on the vine, so I resigned myself to one show stopping gourd. One is better than none.
It’s now matured, with orange blushing its skin, and today, I can proudly announce that I have applied the latest research and cutting edge technology to grow a pumpkin the size of my shoe. The miniature pumpkins are larger than this.
Stuck without a decent-sized Jack O’ Lantern, I’m forced to go shopping. Fortunately, the local pumpkin patches offer plenty of fun and a wide variety of designer pumpkins.
Check them out this fall, but visit the farm’s Web site for daily hours. Find a pumpkin patch near you at Pumpkin Patches and more.
This post was previously published in the Longmont Ledger.