The Murder of My Pumpkins

I’ve decided. In South Dakota, we don’t have seasons. We have Never-Ending Winter which is occasionally interrupted by Hot. No Spring, no Summer, no Fall. Just Winter and Hot.

I’m bitter, you see. Yesterday, I had a beautiful leafy garden with great potential. There were dozens of green tomatoes on the vines. There were five or six plumping melons. Bushels of lovely gourds in every shape, size, and color. And hope of hopes, there were pumpkins. We planted two types: a small type that’s supposed to be good for baking, and a big beautiful kind that is supposed to make fall a more festive season.

My Dead Garden

We didn’t get any pumpkins at all until August, when one pitiful little pumpkin finally appeared on one of the little pumpkin plants. It wasn’t much, but it was healthy and pleasantly symmetrical. The other pumpkin plants flourished and vined and took over the lawn. Millions of big orange flowers but not even a hint of fruit until last week. Seriously! First week of September we got our first real pumpkin. It was about the size of a chicken egg when the frost killed it this morning, along with everything else (except the carrots, which I don’t even like anyway).

My Dead Pumpkin

I’m so mad! I feel like there should be an 800 number I can call to complain. “There is nothing in my garden contract about frost in the first week of September! And by the way, what’s up with my dead peas??”

But there isn’t. And I should have known better. It was 45 degrees and raining all day yesterday. I thought about putting a blanket out last night, but none of the forecasts said frost.

(That should have been my first clue. Since when are the forecasts around here EVER right around here?)

What a crappy summer. It was cold and rainy all the way through June, and then suddenly it was record-breaking hot during all of June, July, and August. We paid a million dollars in air conditioning bills and my grass never did get to looking much better than crispy. And now welcome to September – time to freeze again!

I was thinking about this in the car this morning. Here in South Dakota, we spend nine months out of the year in grey, dreary coldness. Naked trees, yellow grass, icy roads. You’d think all these pine trees would give some relief, but if they aren’t covered with snow, they just look black. Summer comes and goes and we hardly have time to get used to it before it’s snowing again. I heard someone say once that the four seasons in South Dakota are Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. I’m beginning to think they’re right.

Don’t get me wrong. I love snow. The more the merrier (especially if there’s so much I can’t leave the house). All I’m asking for is a little transitional cushion on either side! In the spring, there’s always a late frost that comes in and kills all the budding trees and sets the whole season back a month. Enough of that! Let spring start in April like it deserves! Every fall, there’s snow before the end of September. Okay fine, but can’t we ease into it with some mellow days where the trees are beautiful colors and the wind just a little crisp before the arctic drops down and kills all my vegetables?

I deserve pumpkins.

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6 thoughts on “The Murder of My Pumpkins

  1. Next year start your plants indoors so they will produce sooner!
    Down here we have Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer and Nearly Summer…… :p~

  2. *cry* I planted them indoors in MARCH!! They did great inside for awhile, then they started to be sad, which fortunately coincided with the time the weather was getting nice. So I put them outside and then the weather was cloudy and cold for two months, so they did nothing at all until July. Stupid summer. “Summer.”

    Next year, I’m thinking December, and bigger pots. UV light, maybe? Watering with melted snow? Turn the library into a greenhouse. Yup. Brilliant.

  3. You need pollinators! Flowers can’t turn into squashes without a little help from the birds and the bees. Our neighbor (who has a nice tidy lawn) has expressed dismay at getting anything to bear fruit in her back yard. Ours is an absolute mess, but the local wildlife and insects love the chaos, and they repay us by helping our plants do the nasty. 🙂

  4. Chaos is a yard philosophy I could definitely subscribe to! My husband, on the other hand, might go out of his mind. AND he hates bees. Kind of counter-intuitive to getting a productive garden, I know. He even thinks butterflies are creepy, which is too bad, because I’d love to have a butterfly garden. Actually, this year I’ll settle for any sort of flower garden at all. I figure this year we’ll plant MORE vegetables, and that might improve the statistical odds of attracting a wandering bee. 🙂 The seedlings are already started. Didn’t start in December, as suggested. Oh well.

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