If you were following my blog at this time last year you may be aware of my fascination with giant pumpkins. It all began at The Great Pumpkin Carnival. Actually, I think I already had a predisposition to giant pumpkin attraction, but it really kicked into gear at the carnival. The GIANT PUMPKINS sparked something within me that would not be ignored. An interest, an excitement, a need to grow giant pumpkins.
And so, I grew a giant pumpkin. I only grew one. I planted a second plant but I accidentally removed the sole young pumpkin when I was removing small fruit off my main Atlantic Giant pumpkin plant. The thing was, I didn’t have the time to look after my giant pumpkin very well. I planted it in the compost heap, which, thankfully, fed it to some extent, I watered it occasionally, but not often enough, and I removed all the other young fruit that were growing on the vine, eventually, so all the energy could go into the one pumpkin. Otherwise, despite great intentions to tend to its needs, I did nothing. There were just too many other things to do.
A month or two before The Great Pumpkin Carnival I knew that my giant pumpkin wasn’t going to be GIANT. Sure, it was by far the biggest pumpkin I’d ever grown, but I had seen the size of the pumpkins at last years’ carnival and mine wouldn’t match up. The day before the carnival I decided that I wouldn’t bother taking it. I had pulled it onto an old chicken feed sack before it got too heavy, and I slowly dragged it onto the lawn, where it was to become an object for The Little Fulla to play with.
At the carnival on Sunday, when I saw the size and small number of entries in the open class for Heaviest Pumpkin Under 200kg, I was kicking myself. Duh, it wasn’t just my lack of nerdy pumpkin coddling, the season had been bad for everyone! And almost every kind of vege in the garden. The sun did not play his part well and the bees said, “Well, if the sun’s not going to perform, we’re not going to perform either!” Upon sizing up the pumpkin entries against the memory of my own, I figured that my giant pumpkin was probably 20-30-something kg and could possibly have gotten third place. Oh well! Next time, I will take everything that has a chance.
But, never fear, for I did enter two other competitions: Best Mature Miniature Pumpkin and Lightest Mature Miniature Pumpkin. My entry for lightest was noticeably bigger than its pumpkin counterparts, but I didn’t care. Best Mature Miniature Pumpkin was my only real shot. I had wanted to enter some pumpkin baking but didn’t have time to do any.
We were going to The Parents place for lunch and by the time we left they hadn’t started judging the competitions I entered. I wasn’t feeling super confident, but they had my contact details if I did happen to place anywhere. Finally, on Sunday night, the results went up online and as I scrolled down my name popped out at me. Best Mature Miniature Pumpkin (Open Class) – 1st place. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My lovely, smooth little pumpkin that I had been eyeing up in the garden and handling very carefully and that I considered my best shot at anything had done me proud. I didn’t know what I’d won or if I would get anything but I didn’t care. This was the first time I’d ever entered any of my produce in a competition and I had done something well!
I suppose it would have been nice to be at the prizegiving, but I hadn’t planned for a big win. Then again, maybe it’s better that I wasn’t there to receive my accolades in person. I might have squealed, “Wheeeeeee!!!” and bounced around like a crazy person. I don’t know if the pumpkin people are ready to see how nutty I can be. But maybe they will next year…
After discovering my winning result I somehow found myself looking at pumpkin seeds online. I had conquered one category this year, but there were more categories and there was next year. I wanted to conquer more categories! So many pumpkin varieties, so many options. Somehow, I have ordered seeds of another two pumpkin cultivars, and have one more I am planning to get. Add those to what I’ve already got: Crown, Austrian Oil Seed (although I have yet to try one to see how useful the seeds are), Atlantic Giant and Wee Be Little, and I have a lot of pumpkins that need a lot of space. What is going on? I have been bitten by the pumpkin bug. I want to be the Pumpkin Queen. I want pretty, perfect pumpins, I want GIANT PUMPKINS, I want mini pumpkins and I want tasty pumpkins for baking.
This is what my crop rotation plan is roughly supposed to look like for next season:
And this is what it might end up looking like:
Although, I think I need more orange spaces…