During this season of pumpkin patches and fall festivals I long to grow my own pumpkins. I’m not much of a carver, but I really like making pumpkin puree from baking pumpkins. However, there’s a reason pumpkins are imported into our area. You can read all about it along with a bit of Dr. Jerry Parsons’ wit and wisdom on PLANTanswers.com. Simply put, pumpkins are difficult to grow. They have a long growing season taking 3-4 months to mature a proper fruit, they are prone to frost and cold, the fall vine borer is a constant threat, and the space requirements are impossible for most home gardeners.
In another season of life our family lived in the middle of nowhere in the high desert of California. It was a harsh landscape and remote location that left many longing for what they didn’t have. In this barren dry place an amazing thing happen. I was exposed to a group of women who individually possessed characteristics I didn’t even know I longed for. One woman used humor and drama to speak truth to the deepest recesses of the soul, this other possessed the wisdom of Solomon, another sang like she belonged in the heavenly choirs, still another prayed and I was sure mountains moved. Individually and collectively they stirred a longing in me for things quite simply out of my reach.
My season in the desert was a steep learning curve. There was a provision of daily nourishment for my soul like that of the quail and manna of the Israelites wilderness experience. My longing for the gifts others possessed mysteriously became a satisfaction for the gifts I’d been given. The harvest from this season of life was an understanding of the gifts that were my part to contribute to and nourish the community in which I lived.
I’ve realized that my current garden will never have a pumpkin patch. However, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are well suited to my home garden. I will look to my extended community through the farmer’s markets and local grocery stores to purchase my baking pumpkins. However, any tomatoes, greens or herbs I grow I’d be more than happy to share!