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Reflections on Big Lake -Planning for Pumpkins

Large field of pumpkins

Planning and preparing for our upcoming camping season fills my time in winter. Days with less than nine hours of light at the shortest, and cold temperatures have historically influenced Mainers and their chosen winter recreation. Where we live, high school basketball is a favorite diversion with statewide tournaments  being held every February. Ice fishing is a great way to spend a day but being dependent on temperature, wind speed, snow cover, and ice thickness - it isn’t always an option. On those days when you can’t get out on the ice, or the snow, or to cheer for your favorite team, people often take time to dream about the next growing season.

My good friend, Joyce, whose family owned our property for generations and was born and married in our home, said that seed catalogs were a much anticipated treat to be carefully perused and orders debated until plans were established and the order placed through the mail. I still receive a catalog in the mail thanks to Johnny’s Seed - the company with the tagline - seeds for short seasons. 

seed cataloge

We do have a short growing season but a robust one. Our home garden includes tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, carrots along with squash and more unusual items like watermelon and cantaloupe. From the house garden we enjoy the fresh bounty and also pickle, can, and freeze a few things for storage. Bread and butter pickles (from Joyce's recipe) and pickled beets are our favorites. But the most important items on my order are the pumpkin seeds. We plant about twenty very long rows of various pumpkins for wholesale and retail. The smallest are not much larger than an onion and the largest weigh 40 pounds or more.

In spring, when the soil is warm, we plant those tiny seeds. Depending on conditions, fertilizer and lime may help with yield. We watch for pests like cucumber beetles and leaf hoppers that can do a lot of damage. Then larger pests in the form of white tail deer have to be kept away with an electric fence. And in our spare time, we weed! Eventually in the fall, the vines begin to fade and the fruit begin to turn orange and they can be delivered to local customers and stores.

large orange pumpkin small white pumpkins

There is satisfaction in continuing the tradition of producing a crop on this historic farm and it’s a nice addition to the campground. The attention to the earth reminds me that we are continuing the farming tradition here where acres of beans and potatoes once grew.

If you are a fellow gardener, tell me what things you enjoy planting and what time of year the growing season begins in your area.

2 comentários

17 de fev.

I’d love the bread-and-butter pickle recipe if it’s not a secret! I made some this year but they were mediocre. Here in Texas we have already planted onions and are getting ready to plant beets due to a very mild winter. We had orange pumpkins in June last summer! Also, I was thrilled to see that my stonecrop plants and my clematis are growing well! — Susan

Wesla Ranalli
Wesla Ranalli
21 de fev.
Respondendo a

No secret, I'll get it written out for you. Clematis is lovely.

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