I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
--John 12:24 (NIV)
We attempted to grow pumpkins this summer, and were not very successful. But I learned some things:
1. Do not try to grow 8 pumpkin plants in the same mound just because all the seeds sprouted and you hate to kill a baby plant. Thinning is crucial to healthy growth. (That goes for my list of to-dos, too.)
2. Compost is wonderful, but steer manure is even better for pumpkins. The food should fit the seedling. (Chocolate soymilk for one. Beef jerky for another.)
3. Don't get lazy when it comes to watering. (Or listening.) Pumpkins need more water on hot days, not less, just because you don't feel like getting off the couch.
Fortunately, the local farm we visit each fall had no trouble producing enough pumpkins for what appeared to be our entire city. (Everyone in town seemed to be visiting the same day we were.) The farmer's daughter even gave us an awesome lesson on how pumpkin grow. (Though I thought she made it seem easier than my personal experience.)
Plus, they had some really cool tractors to look at, including this enormous machine:
We even got to follow the Children in the Corn Maze:
After the pumpkin patch, we headed to a nearby park to meet some friends for treats and crafts. The kids made Monster Hands with popcorn and candy corn stuffed into gloves. They decorated (and ate) sugar cookies. They glued cotton ball teeth onto Jack-O-Lanterns. They bobbed for apples. (And hopefully didn't spread too many nasty germs.)
I made vegan pumpkin cookies for the party, and while I probably posted this last year, I'll share it again. Because I'm just nice that way.
Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned, or roast your fresh pumpkin and scoop out a cup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I use half all purpose, half whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon
1/2 tsp each: salt, ginger and nutmeg
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugars and shortening. Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Blend flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Add pecans.
Scoop spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, press down with a fork, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for approx. 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
--Isaiah 61:11 (NIV)