Fall into Summer...

Our little apartment-homestead!
It's almost June.  Jeans are giving way to shorts, temperatures are reaching the 90s, the smell of freshly cut lawns and charcoal blow in on soft, warm breezes.  Classes will be out any day, and the excitement of the schoolchildren is surpassed only by the near manic elation of the teachers.  Memorial day will mark the opening of pools and water parks, the fourth of July will bring fireworks, and parades, and the long lazy days of summer will undoubtedly mean barbeques and picnics and warm summer birthdays galore.
So what am I thinking about?  Pumpkins.

Yup, you read that right.  Though my autumn infatuation has been a long-standing one, my current gourd obsession is not as ill-timed as it might seem.  Because, although the winds aren't yet chilly, and thoughts have not yet turned to goblins, ghoulies and things that go bump-in-the-night, this, my dear friends, is the pumpkin planting season.

If I am to be completely candid with you, gardening, and all other things plant related, is not really my forte.  In fact, I'm often surprised that potted plants brought into my care don't instantly grow legs and a mouth and tear out of my house screaming.  It's not as though I don't MEAN to treat them well.  It's just that I either over water them, or underwater them, give them too much sun, or not enough, and ultimately, they wind up resembling a barbarous backdrop for a Tim Burton movie.

That said, I am determined that this year I will have some bright, cheery bulbous fruits in my front garden by the time autumn rolls around.  As gourds are supposedly some of the heartier garden dwellers, I'm hoping that my fairly advanced ability to reign instant death to all things verdant, will meet its limit.  I'm also enlisting the help of my handsome husband (whose thumb is decidedly green) in my pumpkin pursuit.

                                                The Tools:

Garden Soil
Seeds (we used a variety of pumpkins and gourds)
Plant food (Miracle Grow)
Garden Tools (hand trowel, hand cultivator, shovel)

The Steps:
1. Till up existing soil with hand cultivator, shovel and trowel

2. Using shovel, cut manure into old soil

3. Add garden soil as a top soil

4. Form small mounds, about 12 inches across, with moats surrounding them for water

5.  Use your finger to create a small opening for the seed.

6. Place the seed in the opening, pointing up.  

7. Cover the seed lightly with top soil.

8. Plant no more than 4 seeds per mound.  As they grow, you will need to decide which is biggest and strongest and remove the other plants.

9. Water Well!  Use a plant fertilizer attachment and the "soft shower" mode on your hose nozzle.  Particularly in the early stages, you need to be careful of washing away the seeds with too heavy of a flow.

10. Continue to  water your pumpkins on a regular basis (pumpkins are 80-90% water!), but only until water pools slightly at the top of the soil.

Watch them grow!!!

Tip: You may want to mark your pumpkin patch (as we did, above). That way, well meaning gardeners, family members or neighbors don't disturb the area and damage the fragile pumpkin hair roots

These little pumpkin sprouts showed up only six days after we planted them! 

I'm looking forward to some beautiful natural decor come fall!

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