Adventures Of A Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch: The Growing Season
Adventures of a Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch: The Growing Season
Lots of you have been in touch since we released the details about our Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch, which is brand new for 2021! So, what better way to answer and give you lots of pics, than here in the blog?
Why Have You Planted Your Own Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch?
Well known for our love of Christmas through our Christmas Barn, it might surprise you to know that Gwil's and mine favourite season is actually Autumn. So we decided during the COVID pandemic 2020 to cheer people up with a small shop and some pick your own pumpkins. Wanting to be different, we focused on the beauty of Autumn rather than Halloween, and you guys loved it!
We did try to grow a pick your own pumpkins patch down by the house - those of you who visited us in 2020 for the first ever Autumn shop will probably remember! But sadly, out of about 50 plants, we managed to grow around a dozen pumpkins! Not great, but thankfully we knew Farmer Gary who stepped in to help us last minute, and supplied us with wonderful orange, green and white pumpkins from his farm in the Brecon Beacons. Having learned lots of lessons from other pumpkin growers in various forums that we belong to, and from our own mistakes, we decided to go give it another shot this year, but in a larger paddock than last, with perfect growing soil for our pick your own pumpkin patch.
When Did You Start Growing For the Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch?
Do you remember at the end of May, the weather turned very cold and stormy? We chose those two worst days to dig over the field, and plant. We had hail, vertical rain and winds. Yuck. I want to give a huge shout out to our friends Malcolm who helped us with the whole project over the two days, Liz who helped me plant the seeds, and father-in-law Dai who bailed us out with his tractor (again!)
It took the seeds ages to germinate, it was much too cold for them really, but fast forward to mid August and our crop is blooming beautifully.
What Do You Have Growing on the Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch?
Well, this is the exciting bit! I don't believe in just copying what other pick your own pumpkin patch farms are doing, so we decided this year to keep Farmer Gary growing his orange, green and white pumpkins for us. Don't fix if it ain't broke. And we've decided to grow unusual and specialist varieties of squash, gourds and pumpkins. We knew that we weren't growing purely for the carving crowd, many of you were doing displays with your pumpkins, and so went for anything and everything that was different.
We scoured the internet and seed catalogues, and bought in to about 15 varieties of weird and wonderful looking 'pumpkin' shaped varieties: some from the UK; some from abroad; some yellow, greens, red, black, and even blue; some with warts; some shaped like swans; we had great fun shopping!
Rather stupidly however, we didn't make a note of what we planted where and we mixed up the varieties in the rows too (rookie error). This means that with the bee pollination, we're expecting to end up with cross breeds of those that we planted too! Truly unique for your perfect displays!
How Long Will It Take To Get Fully Grown Pumpkins on the Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch?
With what we've planted, the pumpkins/gourds/squashes will take anything between 8 - 16 weeks depending on the variety.
These have mostly been in the ground for 9 weeks, some only for 7, but because we planted in such cold conditions these would probably take a further 2-3 weeks to grow.
What Will Happen Next On The Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch Adventure?
We've spent the last two months hoe-ing every day to rid the weeds around the fruits. Hopefully, the weeds will now slow down, and we can watch the pumpkins, gourds and squashes grow and as they ripen, they'll change into their final colours. They'll need to be cut and washed in a cleaning solution before we have visitors to the pick your own pumpkin patch. This helps to make sure they last for the whole season. We'll also be visiting Farmer Gary, to see how his pumpkins are growing, and then they'll be delivered just before we open. We also have the shop to stock up, and the displays and decorations to finish. Plenty of work yet for us at Pontybat Farm!
When Are You Opening the Pick Your Own Pumpkins Patch for 2021?
For 2021 season, the pick your own pumpkins will be open every day between 02 - 31 October, 10am to 5.30pm. Check out this page here to find out all the up to date information
- Annabelle Summerfield