Unfortunate Pumpkin Harvest

Well…our garden has certainly not been the great success that we hoped for. We discovered a beautiful pumpkin growing a few weeks ago, but as we waited for it to ripen it began to look less healthy. In an attempt to salvage it, we picked it before it turned completely orange (it practically fell off the vine anyway) but it was a lost cause and as I’m sure you can infer from the title of my post…it was an unfortunate pumpkin harvest. pumpkin growthYou can see the progression from healthy to hole-y. I was planning to puree it anyway, so I figured it would be fine inside. But the bugs beat me to it and the inside was rotting.

Overall, we grew a few bowls of greens, some herbs, a handful of tiny green peppers, a dozen cucumbers, and a large bowl of tomatoes. Not very much when you’re feeding 8 people.

I was hoping I could say that I learned something from the experience, but I’m not even sure what to do differently next year. Garden is not intuitive to me. I can figure out what’s wrong with a crying baby in a minute or two, but I haven’t got a clue when I look at a dying plant. More water? Less water? More sun? More fertilizer? Bug damage? Soil imbalance?

How do you figure it out? If we had years of experimenting and charting, we might make some progress. But moving every 2 years makes that impossible.

So what did we learn?… We should NOT be farmers. Our garden is proof that growing food is apparently not in our skill set.

I’m sure we’ll still keep trying, but with adjusted expectations next time.heirloom tomatoes on the vineAny expert gardeners with tips for next year?

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7 Responses to Unfortunate Pumpkin Harvest

  1. Jessy says:

    I will have my mom take a peek at your blog and see what she thinks garden wise. Shoot me message on FB with particular problems/questions. She has 10 green thumbs on her two hands and can grow pretty much anything anywhere. People would tell her “oh that won’t grow here…” and has proved them wrong every single time! She and dad are going to move out to CO to be closer to me and the girls and she already has her territory in my back yard picked out!

    • Sara says:

      Thanks Jessy! We have bright orange clay soil here. We have mulched the area, but it hasn’t had a chance to break down and add nutrients to the soil yet. Three or four years down the road it will be great soil…but we’ll be long gone. Your mom must have a better sense about what’s wrong with her plants. I’ll think they need more water, but the problem is really bugs and I figure out too late – or something like that. CO is nice! I’m sure they’ll love being there and closer to you.

  2. Please don’t give up! It was a bad gardening year for most of our friends who are otherwise great gardeners. I think all the rain didn’t suit the plants. We have found that some years we have a prolific crop of one item and the next year don’t get any of the same crop. I guess God decides what and when we need certain things:)
    By the way, that looked like a very healthy vine!!

    Great to hear from you

    • Sara says:

      Thanks Emilee! I think next year I may buy starters, instead of starting from seed. I didn’t have as much space as I needed to get them growing well, and wanted to use up the seeds from last year. The tomatoes were from seed and overall did pretty well, but I think people usually get much larger yields from a dozen tomato plants.

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  4. angi says:

    You might try putting styrofoam plates or thick cardboard under your pumpkins and other winter squash or melons. That’s what I do and and it keeps the bugs from getting to the fruit. And don’t give up! Each year will be better.

    • Sara says:

      That is a great idea! I will try it next time. My husband’s job has us moving every 2 years, so we rarely get one garden figured out before we have to start all over! Our next move is before pumpkin harvest, so I may have to file that idea away for later. Thanks for you encouragement!