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  • Farmer Powell

No.5 To pumpkin seed or to not pumpkin seed??????

It's March 2020, we were in the thick of lambing, exhausted, subject to an unprecedented lockdown and in un-chartered territory when it came to homeschooling and the decision needed to be made. Do we buy the pumpkin seed and plant them this year or not?! What do we do? So many unknowns. How long will lockdown last? Will people be able to pick their own pumpkins for Halloween in 2020? Would we be back in lockdown by the Autumn with another peak in Covid19? This is too high risk for our first year, do we wait until next year? But I've put so much effort into it and we're ready to go. What a nightmare. All the planning and research I have done over the last 12 months, felt wasted. Yet again another idea hitting a brick wall. I didn't know what to do. I had planned to promote the Pumpkin Patch using banners and decorated big bales on the side of the road so that all the passing traffic would see it during the summer holidays.

Coming in October 2020 Powells Pumpkin Patch @PowellsFarmWales

A road that normally has a constant flow of traffic had come to a halt over night. So I spent nights tossing and turning, I had seeds in my basket at three different suppliers, I kept looking at my phone but it didn't give me any answers. I had to make a decision. On 6th April after a long slog in the lambing shed I pushed my self to make a decision. I felt it was too risky to continue with our original plans so I scaled it back and placed an order with just one of the seed companies. I convinced myself this was a good thing. A chance to see if we could even grown pumpkins in New Radnor. An opportunity to do a trial, plants lots of different varieties and see how they fayre against each other. Try some in seed trays in April and some direct into the ground in May. Then we would know whats best for our farm for the following year.

There was a three week delay on the seed delivery then as I had put the decision off and everyone else in the Country had now seemingly taken up vegetable growing as you couldn't find food on supermarket shelves! I waited patiently and finally they arrived so on a glorious day on 25th April the children and I planted half of the seeds in the seed trays. Well what I mean is the children started helping, I got one good photo, and then they disappeared to play in the garden. I remember thinking that was straight forward enough. Then it was a waiting game.

Had we planted them correctly?! It was only compost and a seed in a tray, how could we go wrong?! Surely even I could manage this. But isn't it funny how as soon as you do something you start to hear all the other ways you could / should have done it in places that you have never heard of before. Soak the seed for 6 hours in warm water before planting; make sure you put the stem end facing downwards; use moist compost; make sure you put the seed 1/2" in. What the ............. This is getting technical now we just filled they trays with the cheapest compost I could find the Hay & Brecon, made a hole with a stick and stuck the seed in and covered it over - job done! No need to water until they germinate or was there??!! (Brain fried emoji).

So we waited and waited and waited, everyday checking to see if any had germinated. 7-10 days they told me. Day 10 came and nothing! I was starting to worry now so I got a fork and starting pocking around in the tray for signs of life. Thank god, there was something happening. Bearing in mind these seed trays are dotted all around the house as the poly tunnel did not get put up. The windowsills were now home to trays of pumpkins and the cats could often be found lying on them! They were like my new babies "baby kins" every morning and night I'd check on them, if it was sunny I'd carry them out to the garden, one tray at a time and put them in the sunniest spot for the day then at night tuck them back in! Seriously how would I have done this with 10,000 lol. But it was worth it, finally on day 15 we had action :)

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