Pumpkins are a no-show

But I only planted them on a whim, so I’m not broken up about it.  I knew I got them in the ground about a month too late, and the ground itself was almost sterile in terms of organics.  I would have been better off planting beans of some sort, and then turning them over in the fall.  But I planted pumpkins because I was excited and impatient, and so I got nothing but male flowers.

Am I upset?  Gosh, no.  I still had fun tending them.  It’s a lot like writing.  If I jump in on a whim with no thought or preparation beyond “I have a sunny spot on the yard.  Pumpkins would be fun!  I know how to grow pumpkins!”  Then I get a bunch of flowers, not three or four sturdy fruits.  Or in other words, if you try to write with the mindset of, “I have a great idea!  I know how to write!” and don’t have the stamina (light), drive (fertile soil), determination (seeds), spousal support (timing) or peers to urge you on (a good hoe to get the weeds), then all you will get flowers.  Pretty, but not what you were looking for.

Notice I didn’t put the limitation of time in there.  Time is obviously important, but a page a day will get you a manuscript in a year–if you have good soil, light, space, and a good hoe.  I wrote my first seven manuscripts while working part-time.

So no home-grown pumpkins for me this year.  I’m already planning on what I can do to amend the soil this fall. Because growing seasons are like ideas.  There is always another one next year.  😉  Sometimes it just takes a little more planning to get the result you want.  And sometimes . . . you get lucky.  My neighbor has five pumpkins growing out of his compost pile from where he dumped his pumpkin guts last year and ignored them for eleven months.  (I can’t help but laugh . . .)  Next year . . .  Just you watch.  I’ll have pumpkins coming out of my ears!


Filed under Drama Box

73 responses to “Pumpkins are a no-show

  1. LISA


  2. Mary Jeanne Blum

    Dear Kim,
    I, too, am sorry about your pumpkins. My son-in-law threw old pumpkin guts next to a pond and gets the biggest pumpkins I’ve ever seen with no thought or care whatsoever. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
    I was reading Rachel’s chapter in “White Witch, Black Curse” where she remembers and, once again, I’m crying like a baby. You are a phenomenal writer to keep drawing such deep emotions out of me over and over again. You’re probably sick of hearing it, but I miss Kist. But I can’t wait until the next book comes out to see what trouble Rachel gets into next. Maybe HIS ghost will come back!!! One can only dream! Thank you for being such a great writer and a nice person, too.

    • Hi Mary. Thanks. I’m glad my writing resonates with you. I miss Kist, to. I can promise you his ghost will not come back. However . . . I set the graphic novels when he was alive, so we will see him there! 😉

  3. becca

    hey kim
    here is something to cheer you up with the loss of the pumpkins…..just shows you,thank goodness,that vampires are still cool!!!!

    hope the weekend was good
    my smallest boy stats school on monday and wow its strange!!!!no more children to look after…..what the heck iam i gonna do???get a job?nope read books all day and chillax,makes up for the last several years of sleepless nights etc!!lololo

  4. Tine

    I live in Lancaster County, PA. I have discovered the miracle of mushroom manure and leaf mold. If you can get it, use it. My plants are so much bigger than they are supposed to be.

  5. Janette

    I had to laugh about your neighbor getting pumpkins out of his compost patch. One of my best friends lives up in Michigan just the other side of the Illinois border. She has two inadvertant pumpkin patches in her front yard (which is huge, they have a small farm) because they just sort of left last year’s Halloween pumpkins to fend for themselves.

  6. JanisHarrison

    According to one of our local garden gurus, we can never add too much compost. I recommend burying all but the most completely composted, a few inches down. It will “break down” faster and nourish your garden. Check the acidity of your soil and add lime generously if needed to “sweeten.” and oh hey! yeah! Bonemeal!

    Me, too, regarding my balcony-pot garden: Better luck next year.

  7. Sorry about your pumpkins. You should ask your neighbor for some of the seeds from his obviously hearty plants. You have a whole year to work on a good compost to amend your soil with and they should do great next time. I can always make you some pumpkin earrings for Halloween as a substitute.

  8. Jo Aultman

    I was so excited to see my little yellow flowers thinking my Italian cucumbers were growing, little fuzzes were growing like crazy; then they stopped turned bright yellow only to find I have some kinda mini mini mini melon.

  9. Zucchinis were a no-show in my flower boxes. I had very few cucumbers as well. I should have stopped the plant’s growth to give a chance to the fruits but it looked so pretty all wrapped around the railing! *sighs* I guess it’s a bit like your pumpkins; not what I expected but fun nonetheless. I’ll do better next year.
    At least I got plenty of tomatoes! 😉

  10. Liz

    My jack-o-lanterns from last year got tilled into my garden this year and now pumpkins have taken over my back yard. I do have pumpkins coming out my ears. At last count there was 20, so Kim if you’d like some pumpkins you are more than welcome to travel up to Wisconsin and take all you’d like from my garden! I have more than enough to share!!!

  11. TJ

    You can have healthy pumpkins this year. Just visit your neighbors patch when their pumpkins are mature and take a few. Place them in your field and no one will know that you didn’t grow them.

    • OMGosh, TJ. I know that my neighbor would notice, and even if he didn’t, I’d feel AWFUL! Having pumpkins was the goal, but it’s the process that makes them fun.

  12. Ash

    Sorry about the pumpkins, next year will be better!! I didn’t plant anything this year because I have spent all my time mowing (I have six acres or more) usually there are two of us mowing but my better half has been working so hard it has all been left to me to mow. (Yippee!) We haven’t even taken the boat out on the lake this year. 😦 Oh well.
    Have a great weekend!!!!

  13. JulieB

    Nicely said. And, aside from the edible blossoms (as Terry said), you got a great blog post out of it. The garden analogy spoke to my heart today. I’m going to save this for tough days, and I’ll try adding some compost and light to my story today. 🙂

  14. suzannelazear

    Our pumpkins aren’t doing well either. Poor tot.

    The other day the tot was watching a show about dinosaurs and the narrator kept calling the Alosauras “Big Al” — the hubby didn’t understand why I kept laughing.

    Have a great weekend.

    ~Suzi and the tot, too

  15. Beth

    Well you are a wonderful writer, even if the pumpkins didn’t turn out. I love both of your series and look forward to new additions. 🙂

  16. Sara

    Awww, sorry about the pumpkins! Our garden kicked it during the drought this year (100+ degree days with no rain for weeks will do that – even with constant watering) and we’re already planning on planting crimson clover to prepare the soil for next year. Probably will move it a little to the right as well so they get some reprieve from the sun. I’m pretty sure when seed packets say “full sun” they don’t mean “Full on 95-100 degree southern sun for eight hours”. *sigh*

    Aside from failed plantings, I’m soooo looking forward to the next Hollows novel! Is it here yet?? :p

    Enjoy your fall!! The weather has changed here so I can smell it and sense it, but the days are still too hot to be genuine fall – even if lots of leaves have died and fallen to the ground already (drought-induced) – and muggy! My VA falls weren’t this muggy! I should be thankful for the rain….but still..I miss the cool, crisp falls of “home.”

    • Hi Sara. Isn’t is funny how you can smell fall, even when the cues you grew up with are absent? We are truly closer to the earth than most people give us credit for. Hope it cools down soon!

  17. Raven

    I planted some pumpkings of my own at the end of summer.
    So far I have about 8 or 9 that have just started to grow, they’re about the size of a marble, but 1 is well on its way! It’s already about the size of a tennis ball

  18. mudepoz

    For the harried gardener, or the gardener with two acres and vegetarian dogs:

    For quick pumpkins or container pumpkins


    One page a day, eh? Does that include drafts? I figure unless I write flash fiction, I’ll be about … 100 years old:)


    • mudepoz

      Powdery mildew and maybe borer. Weather issues. Can cover vines with more soil above frass.

      Can use baking soda and horticultural dormant oil to wipe out powdery mildew.
      Mud, the plant doctor.

    • Thanks, Mud! I’ve not seen that bag-growing tip before. Looks like it would work great!

  19. Pingback: A Little Bit « Chasingmoonlight

  20. Frederique

    My pumpkins didn’t work this year either. I’ll try a different approach next year. My ultimate gardening goal is to grow a pumpkin big enough to hug.

  21. Irish

    what’s with the rocks!!! haha, clear the group and have nice soft soil. xx

  22. Vampyre

    Howdy ma’am,

    The image of you with pumpkins coming out of your head is a little funny. Maybe you should settle for a set of pumpkin ear rings. 😉

    I asked the “What’s next?”question because I know you put a lot of time and effort in to the Hollows (like you do everything you do) and once it’s done, there will be a big hole that needs filling.

    It will be kind of sad to see the series end, when it’s time but, I am excited to see what comes next. Please don’t go the Stephen King “Misery” route, I’m your biggest fan. (just kiddin’ 🙂 )

    Just one last thing, Have you seen the weather about the hurricanes? One of them is named Igor. I just watched that movie. Everytime I see an update about Igor, I think, “Throw the switch!” (It’s what Igors do in the movie)

    Hope you have a great weekend,


  23. Tiffany

    Kim, i was curious about your “I wrote my first seven manuscripts while working part-time” comment and was wondering if you would clarify. Do you mean that you wrote your first “published” manuscripts – be they your Dawn Cook works or the Hollows – while you were also working a part time job? It is interesting to me, this ‘starting out’ period of an author just beginning to get published. Juggling with a ‘dream’ while at the same time putting food on the table by less creative means, i guess, lol.

    • Hi Tiffany. Those first manuscripts would be published under Dawn Cook. I’m not sure, but I think I had quit the part-time when I started on the Hollows, but now that I think about it, I’m thinking I didn’t quit until I was writing GBU. . . One thing I can tell you for sure is that I quit the day-job when the writing was bringing in about as much as a part-time job at Micky-D’s. The stories of people coming out with their first book and making tons of money are rare, and usually due to publisher hype than any “super fantastic” writing ability.

  24. Machelle

    Sorry about the garden, don’t feel bad though, I’ve never gotten anything to grow, except for my little cactus, and even that died, didn’t water it enough apparently.

  25. Deana

    I guess I was a bit luckier than you. Due to several trips, a graduation and some life stresses our garden wasn’t tended to very kindly. Despite that, a pumpkin was the only vine plant to survive. I planted minis because I wanted to be able to give a pumpkin to each kid in my classes. Now I am about 30 short of that goal. Hooray for the Farmers Market though. I should be able to come up with a few!

  26. Carmen

    Well at least you tried! I don’t try because I kill everything…even Cactus. Good luck next year.

  27. Tanya

    The same thing happened to me last time I tried to grow pumpkins. Beautiful flowers, nothing else. I had better luck with tomatoes…sorta. Little tomatoes were growing then the really bad summer heat hit (over 110) and the plant didn’t make it. *sigh* Ah well, at least my aloe vera plant has survived!!

  28. Brandi Drapinski

    I planted cucumbers, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, radishes, carrots, green beans, kohlrabi, and sweet peas. I got about 2 dozen cucumbers before the vines dried up and I’ve picked about 500 tomatoes (I planted a lot of tomatoes…because I love homemade salsa and sauce) and I had 1 surprise pumpkin!! I have about 18 cups of pumpkin meat in the freezer. I already made pumpkin bread and canned 23 pints of salsa and 8 pints of sauce. I couldn’t water my plants enough this summer to get more. Michigan was really dry this year. So, I’ll try again next year, but maybe a little less tomatoes. I still have about 2 weeks left on those so I’m sure I’ll have a few hundred more of those to can.

  29. Stephenie

    Gardening is an endevour that I am far too impatient for. It`s like fishing. I enjoy the product but not the process so I`m glad my girlfriend enjoys it because I love flowers. I`m definitely not in fertile ground writing wise atm and I need to be. I`m taking a college fiction writing course and my one short story of the semester is due in 2 weeks. It`s 15-20 pages but I don`t have a concise idea yet… I`m biting my nails and praying the Muse makes good.

  30. Gina

    Two Halloweens ago I had a pumpkin by my front porch get smashed by a neighbor kid. Seeds from it grew into a plant, which produced a single pumpkin, slightly larger than a softball. Since I live in a townhouse apartment I’m sure my neighbors thought I was nuts, but I thought it was just too cool to interfere with it. We did have to move it to a sunny spot eventually so it would turn orange.

  31. Last year it was bad tomatoes, this year beans. I planted pole beans for the first time (usually plant bush) and nada! Flowers but not many beans and the ones I did get were mealy looking. With all the heat here in Michigan I had a bumper crop of everything else so I don’t feel too bad. You should amend your soil with leaves and compost in the fall and try bone meal in the spring.

  32. Terry

    Well…Since Pumpkins are a variety of squash and squash blossoms are edible, it isn’t a complete waste…

  33. Hehe. It figures. You spend all that hard work, and get nothing. He dumps something in a pile (literally) and walks away and gets pumpkins. 🙂 A bit ironic I suppose.

    One thing I love about coming here and reading is your encouraging words and insights into writing. I’m currently in English 111 and struggling quite a bit. It’s one of those cases where I like the teacher quite a bit, but we’re not on the same page with communication (which is really bad for an English class!).

    Last week I got marked down to a C: on a journal entry because he asked me to write a summary of what my upcoming essay was going to be about, and I didn’t provide supporting evidence for the essay’s main point. I am frustrated because he asked me what the essay was about, not to actually write the essay itself (which would require such supportive statements).

    This week I did 2 peer edits and wrote my own rough draft. He made some good suggestions in cleaning up my rough draft, but at the same time he got really nitpicky about my use of pronouns. Oh, and he lost one of my 2 peer edits, and marked me off for that.

    *ponder* I just looked over what I wrote up above and looked back at my rough draft. I’m not really being fair I think. I’m still upset about the journal entry (I did NOT deserve a C grade for it), and that is tainting my perceptions of his comments on my rough draft. I bet editing is a lot like this. 🙂

    I sent him a message indicating I did 2 peer edits (and whom I edited) and asked if he needed me to resend them to him. Hopefully things will go well this weekend when I can sit down and go over my paper.

    Anyway, I’m babbling a bit, and trying to avoid work a bit too much (work is pretty bad. Too many deadlines). Talk to you later and hope you have a good weekend.

    • I hope you had a great weekend, too, Greg. 😉 My neighbor might have fabulous pumpkins, but I got more enjoyment tending my garden than he did, so I still count myself the winner. -laugh-

  34. at least they broke the ground. our never came up.

  35. Debi

    Don’t feel bad, last year I didn’t get “baby” pumpkins, so this year, I was very excited to see 10 – 15 little pumpkins!! Needless to say, my vines, now all look just like yours with not a single pumpkin on them. 😦 This years “crop” was from our compost pile, so maybe next year. What I do find interesting is a tomato plant has sprouted and grown as well, and that has BUNCHES of really nice looking tomatoes on it. Not sure what they’re going to be yet, but sometimes, compost heap gardening is totally the way to go!!