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Hope springs eternal

Today's weather kept swinging back, forth, and over there: rain, sun, snow. There was even a stretch of road where it was snowing and sunny at the same time. Ah, yes, March. Zipping up the jacket and pulling on mittens, 'cause it really still is That Cold Out, yet seeing the promise of spring through the flakes. Country Bank has a new series of billboards up. They feature daffodils, and a spring green lawn. The hardware and grocery store both had pots of flowering tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths for sale. Cheap, too. I didn't buy any, but you can bet I stood in the mini-aisle formed by the tall carts of flowering pots at Blue (Lowe's). Surrounded by flowers, I leaned into the hyacinths and took a deep breath. Oh, yes, and then another.

After filling my cart with much-needed bags of water softener salt, I headed slowly to the check-out, walking up and down aisles daydreaming while adding to the day's step count on my pedometer. Then I stopped walking. There were seeds to stare at. Oh, yes. Seeds.

I'm not don_fitch, but I do confess to buying three different varieties of yellow summer crookneck squash. (Don planted something like 17 different varieties of zucchini one summer. LASFS may have forgiven him by now.) I decided to hold out and by grape tomato plants, but my very favorite squash? Sure, I'll try growing that from seed.

Then I did something that can only be explained by the long winter. Well, the long winter and my childhood.

I bought two packets of pumpkin seeds.

Giant pumpkin seeds. The Burpee packet promises "huge exhibition pumpkins, some over 300 lbs." Dill's Atlantic Giant says their "huge, pink-orange, smooth skinned pumpkins can reach up to 400-500 pounds each." Thank goodness there are only 7 seeds in the packet. Yes, I'd far prefer 7 wish seeds from the Bong Tree (ref: Eric Idle, "The Owl and the Pussycat." Thanks, fredcritter!) But I'm suffering under the delusion that these 7 seeds will be fun, too.

I'm betting I won't get any 300-500# pumpkins. I've read enough about the secrets and tricks of raising giant pumpkins that I'll go so far as to count on that. Because what on earth would I do with one or more pumpkins heavier than I could move? (Yes, I know the real giant pumpkins weigh 1,000 pounds and more.)

So why did I buy any pumpkin seeds at all? Impulse, mostly. That, and the memory of the summer I added pumpkin seeds to several hills of crookneck squash my dad started...without telling him. The honeybees cross-pollinated the resulting plants, and they proved surprisingly vigorous. We had odd pumpkin-squash sprouting from the compost pile for several years after that.

I may plant one combination hill, just to see what happens. But most of the giant pumpkin seeds will go into hills of their own in the hope that the resulting vines create a bunch of interesting foliage on the sunny hillsides around the Zeppelin Hangar...and that they save me some lawn mowing in the process. If I luck out and get even some average-sized pumpkins, well, that will be interesting, too.

All I have to do now is avoid going to the Johnny's website. Oops. Too late!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
when I was living at Sloan's country store outside Carlisle, Pa., the local kid who brought his huge pumpkin to show off told me he poured a bucket of water on the hill every day all summer

big, it was
Mar. 13th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC)
Why Johnny's? I haven't bought mail order seeds in years and years and years.

Mar. 13th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC)
Why Johnny's? Fond memories, my own past customer satisfaction, and the fact that I'm unlikely to find arugula seeds within 20 miles.

I think I'll stick with the squash, pumpkins, and some grape tomatoes this year. Massachusetts soil (er, rocks) really have put me off gardening, and my daydreams and fantasies need to remember that piece of the reality.

Mar. 13th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
Quality soil can take years to develop. There may be some local (or relatively local) soil experts who can give you some useful advice. I am not refering to fertilizers. I mean adding things like peat moss for organic content etc. Different soils need different additives.
Mar. 14th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
Yep, that's why I'm keeping it low key, and why I'm also not expecting any 500# pumpkins.

(I'm not going to spray them with calcium or cover them with a blankie, either. Just call me heartless.)
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Were the cross-pollinated squumpkins edible?
Mar. 14th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
I don't believe anyone in the family ever tried to cook them. Seems a shame, now. I mean, how could we not? Okay, how could the rest of the family not? I was a remarkably picky eater. (I'm glad that changed.)

"Squumpkins" -- what a great name for them!
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)
Yesterday afternoon I looked out the office window and commented on how sunny it had finally become. A couple of minutes later I looked out and it was pouring rain. Just a little later I looked out yet again and it was sunny.

This put me in mind of Heinlein's "They." "This sequence degenerated primarily through your failure to extend that rainfall all around him. ... New York City and Harvard University are now dismantled."
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
We're already at the end of the crocuses and into the daffodils now. Should have hyacinth soon. Your giant pumpkin seeds sound like something out of a folk tale. "Geri and the Pumpkin Vine."
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
By coincidence, I just ate a little bag of pumpkin seeds.
Mar. 14th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Remember the warnings from childhood about swallowing watermelon seeds? That they'll sprout in your tummy and the vines will grow out your ears? What's to stop pumpkins from doing the same?

Food for thought...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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