2021 pumpkin patch

by Kaylah Stroup

Our first summer at Stroup Mansion! What a magical summer it was. JK. I didn’t have the most fun. It was hot… and wet… and mosquito-y. I had grand plans of spending the whole season in the garden but honestly, all the beds I made in the spring were basically ignored for a few months while I hid from mosquitos in the house.

Spring was amazing and thankfully, fall is looking like it’ll be just as dreamy! I’m finally able to be back outside in my gardens, enjoying all the hard work I put in earlier in the year.

I made myself three main beds back in early spring. There is my large flower garden, a rose bed, and a fairly sizeable kidney bean-shaped bed which I really had no formal plans for. That bed kind of became a catch-all. Anytime I stumbled upon a cool plant that didn’t fit in my flower bed vision or somewhere else around the yard, it went into that bed.

I had read that the best time to plant pumpkins was early June so that they’d be ready in time for Halloween. It just happened to be around that time that I had the realization there was no way I’d be able to afford to buy plants to fill that bed. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t want to rush into filling it with perennials just to get it done. My dad had given me a bunch of miscellaneous gourd, pumpkin, and squash seeds he’d saved so that felt like a great place to throw those. They’d keep the bed intact so that it wouldn’t become overrun with weeds. (Listen, I ain’t weeding an empty bed. I needed the motivation of something actually being planted in it!)

All that to say, what was just a way to use up some seeds and fill space ended up being one of my favorite things to grow!

I get so much joy from walking around my pumpkin patch each morning, scanning for new growth. It’s wild how easy they are to miss in the mess of all the leaves. That large white pumpkin in the middle? I didn’t see that until I did one last pass of the garden before taking these photos! It’s the largest one I grew and yet somehow I never noticed it!

I’m very much looking forward to going wild with this next year! I’ve been hunting down varieties I’d like to add to my mix. (Y’all have you seen black pumpkins!?!) I’ve even been researching growing them on a trellis instead of letting them run wild in my yard. I just can’t wait to at least double what I grew this year.

I think a lot of the satisfaction in these does come from the fact that I just didn’t enjoy my gardens for a few months and yet was still rewarded with these precious little things waiting on me when I decided to emerge. Feels like such a sweet fall treat.

If I didn’t love tiny pumpkins, gourds, and squash before (I definitely did) I sure do now!

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