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What happens when two good friends who love to garden set their minds on growing the largest plant they have ever grown? Read on as TeaTime-Mag gives you an inside look at the world of giant pumpkins.
Text by: S. M. C. Godoy      Country: Canada

ardening can be very relaxing. Every Canadian spring, garden centres are busy with everyone planning gardens filled with flowers and vegetables. But only a few people will dare to grow the largest vegetable of all!

The joys of pumpkin growing can ease even the darkest thoughts. My neighbour and I were looking for just such a distraction. So we two friends, Sarah and Elaine, decided to share in the work and the glory of pumpkin farming. Canadian fall fairs always include a competition for the biggest pumpkin and that would be our ultimate goal. “The prizes are small, but we will be famous!” I said to Elaine.

Giant pumpkin growing is not a simple art, although the pleasure that results quite easily offsets the labour. Much care and even more thought is involved. First of all, we needed to select the perfect site: plenty of sunlight and near water. The small modestly priced seed package was promising us a pumpkin of at least 1,000 pounds from each seed. So, the garden site, while being well secluded from the public eye, would also need to be accessible by a powerful tractor to move the inevitable fall crop of pumpkins. “They will undoubtedly be far too large to carry out by hand!” Elaine assured me. After a careful study of the sun and shade, we chose a fine spot for our seeds. We hoped the curious and hungry animals would be deterred by our rough fencing. Some anxious days later, despite the odds and the ever present danger of deer, groundhogs, and rabbits, five of our six seeds sprouted. We were filled with optimism for the season’s harvest.

However, leaves alone do not a pumpkin make. Now, we needed flowers. With time, they too appeared. Hours were happily filled with thoughts of pumpkin offspring. Finally, with some intervention and a lot of luck, several pumpkin fruit set and the race to gain weight began. Individual fruit were lovingly monitored, their own future depending on a rapid growth pattern. Our daily patch visits now included measurements and visual inspections of each baby fruit. We were filled with pride and happiness as our crop began to spread beneath the leafy green leaves. “Aren’t we clever gardeners?“ we thought to ourselves.

The importance of water for giant pumpkin growing cannot be overstated. Really, giant pumpkins are just oversized orange containers filled with water. Without ample supplies of water, no pumpkin, no matter its inner drive and talent, can ever reach its full potential. Sadly, our ancient hand-dug well dried out completely in early June, just when gallons of water were needed for our baby plants. For the rest of the growing season, our crop depended on Mother Nature and buckets of murky pond water dragged from a pond which was not nearly as close we thought. Pumpkin weight gain slowed accordingly. But, we were not deterred. “Surely with enough attention and love, our pumpkins will gain weight anyway?” we hoped.

There were also several close calls for those innocent stationary pumpkins plants. Once, I was overeager and tried to leap the fence with a bucket and tripped mid-air. “Oh Sarah, look out for that fence…” Elaine tried to warn me. Luckily, no lasting damage was done and the pumpkins survived.

In the meantime, our pumpkins were serving a role far beyond their small beginnings. The patch became a destination. Friends and relatives began inquiring about their health and progress, as they might ask about extended family members. “How is your pumpkin today, Sarah?” they kindly asked. Children were intrigued. City friends were astounded with the amount of pumpkin related conversations that filled our days. And, the pumpkins kept on growing.

Some months later, in early fall, it became clear that our crop might not be as prizewinning as initially hoped. In fact, harvest time involved only a wheelbarrow and an old toboggan. No need for that oversized tractor after all. We did require a special scale, but it was only a kitchen scale, as the bathroom scale turned out to be too large for some of the fruit. Our original plan of winning the pumpkin category at the local fair was changed instead to impressing people. Many Canadians use pumpkins for Halloween decorations, and so did we. “But, is that really a giant pumpkin?” my neighbours politely wondered, looking at the small orange ball on my porch.

So, our giant pumpkins never did reach their maximum weight, but they certainly did entertain us well. Peaceful pumpkin thoughts have flowed through our minds all summer, often successfully dislodging other worries. Indeed, even now our minds are still busy, this time with plans for improvements to next year’s pumpkin patch. Really, who has time to worry, when a giant pumpkin is in your life?


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Easy Summary

Gardening is very relaxing. Every Canadian spring, garden centres are busy with everyone planning gardens filled with flowers and vegetables.

Giant pumpkin growing is not easy. First of all, you need to select the perfect site: plenty of sunlight and near water. The importance of water for giant pumpkin growing cannot be overstated. Without plenty of water, no pumpkin can ever reach its full potential.

The small, modestly priced seed package promised a pumpkin of at least 1,000 pounds from each seed. So, the garden site, while being well secluded from the public eye, would also need to be accessible by a powerful tractor to move the fall crop of pumpkins.

However, leaves alone do not a pumpkin make; you need flowers. With some intervention and a lot of luck, several pumpkin fruit set and the race to gain weight began. Individual fruit were lovingly monitored, their own future depending on a rapid growth pattern.

The joys of pumpkin growing can ease even the darkest thoughts. Really, who has time to worry, when a giant pumpkin is in your life?

 

Comprehension

Below you will find text comprehension questions. Read and listen to the text and answer the questions (we recommend you read first and then listen).

Pondering in the Pumpkin Patch

Quiz

 

Grammar in Use

Below you will find PDF documents with the Grammar in Use.

Elementary. Compound Nouns.

Advanced. Prefixes and Suffixes.

Vocabulary

Pondering in the Pumpkin Patch.

Farming Terms.

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