What Growing Pumpkins Taught Me

dog on steps with pumpkins and mums

Jasper showcasing all manner of pumpkins at our back door

October has one of my favorite garden goodies - pumpkins!  However, they've been extremely high maintenance in my experience, bringing along massive amounts of frustration and tremendous amounts of joy.  Let's discuss. 

four small pumpkins - 2 blue, 2 orange

My pumpkin successes! 

I tried growing pumpkins from seed for YEARS - I'd have beautiful seedlings that would look strong and hardy and, once outside, would decline and die.  I did everything right and they were still duds for me every year.  In frustration during the fall of 2020 I left some store bought pumpkins outside in our yard over the winter.  Wouldn't you know, the next fall I had four beautiful baby pumpkins that I was over the moon about!

Sometimes we've taken all of the human footsteps - we've read all the books, we've done all the things and nothing is changing.  We can't make it happen on our own.  And so, when I hucked that pumpkin under the bush I thought "worst case, it'll feed the squirrels over the winter; best case, it'll give me a pumpkin next year" and I let it go.  I had zero expectations.  I literally left it to nature.  And that's when it worked.  

mass of pumpkins and squash

I saw this outside of a home in Dallas & HAD to snap a pic!

I am generally of the mindset that good old fashioned blood, sweat and tears can get almost anything accomplished.  But sometimes they don't.  And, when it's more serious than a pumpkin in your yard, that can feel devastating or shameful or give a sense of defeat.  What I love about the pumpkin story is that, when it worked, it wasn't me doing it by myself.  It was the birds and the squirrels that moved those seeds around into the ideal places that I would have NEVER planted them in.  It also took the earth, the sun and the rain working together to nurture them.  And then it took bees to pollinate their flowers.  Then I needed to be watering them and supporting the weight of the pumpkins as some were literally growing up the side of a bush!  It took all of us together to accomplish something that I couldn't do on my own.  And that is a whole other metaphor.  But we'll stick with pumpkins for today 😊.

It's a helpful reminder for me as I have some situations right now that I've tried to work any way I could - to fix them, to say the right thing, to do all the research to solve the problem - and I can't.  And the only thing left to do is to release it.  Maybe it'll grow into something beautiful and maybe it won't.  But after exhausting every thing I can do I'm becoming more at peace with "going with the flow" and trusting that I, by myself, don't have to fix everything.  I don't have to carry it all.  

And as such, this year I'm just buying my pumpkins at Whole Foods!  And they're great!

Erin's signature


  • Erin's Faces

    DS – I’m so glad it was useful – thank you for reading them and for reaching out xoxo

  • DS

    Made me cry thank you love your blog posts<3

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