Back in July, the situation was bleak.
A cold, rainy June and a July of less than average amounts of sunshine meant crops were a couple of weeks behind schedule. At best. Including my pumpkins. When they finally emerged from the soil, they were immediately set upon by a still-unidentified predator. Only three plants survived. Even the seedlings I had purchased at a garden centre as my back-up were not immune. In fact, they were the first to go. I was devastated.
I felt I might never plant another pumpkin seed.
Then, in August, everything changed. The weather didn't appear to improve dramatically. But my pumpkin plants did. Those last survivors, which had been limping along for weeks, suddenly sprung to life. Extending their stems and vines across my front garden and amongst the shrubs and perennials.
Even climbing the sides of my veranda as I had envisioned months ago.
Producing strong healthy leaves that seemed less susceptible to whatever creature had been feasting upon them.
And best of all, despite the numerous fledgling pumpkins that had withered and died before their lives had truly begun, four pumpkins thrived and grew larger. Leaving me hopeful about their carving potential. All four are already larger than the biggest of last year's crop. They just need to survive for a few more weeks.
I'm not sure if I can take the credit for the stunning turnaround in the pumpkin patch. Perhaps it was my diligence in watering and fertilizing and checking on their progress each day. Making sure they were comfortable. Perhaps it was the mid-summer weather. The alternating weeks of rain. And sunshine. And more rain. Whatever the reason, my faith has been restored. I'm not ready to throw in the pumpkin-planting towel quite yet.