Pumpkins and Pokers


One of the biggest challenges in being a father is meeting the expectations of our children. Last year my oldest son really wanted to grow pumpkins in our garden, and being the loving dad that I am, I planted some seeds and put them into my new pop-up greenhouse. Things were going great; the seeds sprouted, the tiny vines were growing, my son was very excited.

Then the wind came…

We get terrible winds in our neighborhood. On one occasion the wind blew so hard that it knocked the shelf in my greenhouse down to the ground. All of the things I was planting, including my little man’s pumpkins, crashed down and were destroyed. We made up for it by getting some partially-grown mini-pumpkins, but still, our from-seed pumpkins were lost.

This year I got smarter about it and setup my greenhouse in a completely different way. Laying a paver stone floor, I split the troublesome shelf into smaller shelves and moved them away from the sides of the greenhouse. Take that, wind!!

I planted all new pumpkins in little pots and put them into my new secure greenhouse. They started growing, they were doing even better than last year, and our son was even more excited.

Then the frost came…

Apparently I had the plants out in the greenhouse too soon. Or, much to my wife’s disagreement, I needed to have a small greenhouse heater to keep the temperature higher than that of your average ice cube (if you agree with me, please comment and tell my wife that the Opining Penguin Greenhouse 2018 needs a heater!). Either way, all of the little green things I planted, those that were doing so wonderfully well hours earlier, had died.

I did all I could to bring them back. Extra watering. Fertilizer. Mouth-to-stem. In the end they were gone. RIP, plants.

But this year, I refused to buy half-grown plants (except for the tomatoes, I gave in on that one). This year, nature would not beat me! I resolved to win the battle of the pumpkins!

I planted all new seeds in a few of those biodegradable pots. Three little pumpkin seeds all neatly tucked in dirt. Not wanting to rely on my it-likes-to-kill-my-plants greenhouse, I put the potted seeds into my upstairs office space. I pulled back the curtains, cranked the heat, and shut the door. The next day: LIFE.

I let the little guys sit back in the office and chill for a few days and let them grow their little hearts out. Over the weekend I moved them from their warm office suite to the great outdoors. Admittedly I’ve been fearful of how they would survive, but thankfully, after a year and a half of trying, we have ourselves a baby pumpkin!! Yes, it’s only a couple of leaves with its seed pod dangling off of it, but still it’s progress.

 

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Our lovely little baby pumpkin plant

So here’s hoping it all goes well. There’s no frost in the future so these things should live! And my son will be oh-so-happy to finally have a pumpkin that we can grow together and carve when the time comes. Assuming I don’t accidentally kill the thing before then.

Speaking of my son, my wife found the perfect toy that she instantly regretted buying for him. It’s a “pointer”, basically a small Mickey Mouse-looking hand on a stick with the pointer finger sticking out. Apparently it hurts when jabbed into your abdomen. She’ll be okay, the swelling’s going down and she’s able to eat solid foods again.

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Beware the finger…

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