Hey, all, Suze here. It’s giant-pumpkin-growing time at the Hardy backyard garden this year, so I thought I’d rerun this post from last summer. This year’s giant pumpkins are growing, but are still unnamed and unphotographed, I’m sorry to say! Stay tuned :)
Let me tell you an interesting factoid about my family. We grow giant pumpkins. Actually, it’s my husband and son who grow the giant pumpkins. My participation is pretty much limited to not complaining because 50% of my back yard is covered in pumpkin vines (we live in the burbs — not on a farm!). Last year (edited to add: that was 2010) they grew a 450 pounder, which took first place at our local fair. It crushed all the competition in the “King of the Pumpkin Patch” competition, easily dwarfing the other pathetic gourds (sorry, 4H kids!) and garnering the top prize of fifty bucks.
Now, it’s not easy to grow a pumpkin of that size (even though 450 pounds is just a baby in the “real” world of giant pumpkinism. I think the record is 1800 pounds or so). It takes a lot of TLC, secret organic fertilizers, mystic plant-sex fertilization rituals, ruthless cutting of inferior pumpkins to allow the ones with the greatest size potential to grow, and a special tent during the day so the skin does not sunburn, followed by the application of a blanket on cool nights so the behemoth stays snuggly and the skin doesn’t split due to temperature differentials. Normally, we have several pretty big pumpkins going, just in case we lose one.
This year, though (edited: that was 2011), mostly due to weather factors, we had only two large pumpkins set. And we just lost one (The Hulk) to a disgusting mold (white, not green). But Captain America, our great hope for the fair, is doing well. He has only been growing for a month, and probably weighs about 200 pounds or so right now. Please, if everyone could just send out some positive energy to Captain America, who needs to continue growing until mid-September, I’d appreciate it.
It’s kind of a scary feeling to have all your hopes riding on one thing — all your eggs in one basket or all your seeds in one pumpkin, as it were, What if something goes wrong? What if my first novel, the one I tended so lovingly, not only doesn’t become an instant, Twilight–like best seller, but doesn’t sell at all? What if it turns out I don’t have a talent for writing romance, but my writer’s voice is better suited to mystery or steampunk? Will I throw in the towel because my first plan, the one I thought was going to work perfectly, didn’t succeed the way I wanted it to?
Nope. I’ve got other ideas, other plans. I’m not giving up, and I hope you won’t either. One of the great things about being a writer is that there’s always a do-over. There’s always next year’s fair.
Update: As for 2012’s pumpkins, well, they’re looking pretty good! We’ve got one weighing in around 200 pounds right now, and we have a month to go before the fair. Keep sending “grow” thoughts to our gourds, please!
Tell us — have you had to start over or reinvent yourself or your work?