Halloween Greetings from the Pumpkin Patch

I always wanted a pumpkin patch.

My earliest Halloween memory is of Trick or Treating with a hollowed out turnip dangling from a string that threatened to snap as the candle flame licked at it and my tender young fingers. Actual pumpkins were in short supply when i was a kid (back in the late 1800s). But they became easier to pick up as the years rolled by, and are now a seasonal staple in farm shops and supermarkets across the land.

My first attempt at growing my own jack o’lanterns took place two decades later in a tiny, urban garden in the heart of Camden Town, London. The soil composition was mostly thick clay and cat poo, so it was a miracle when one green little fruit appeared – and not at all surprising when it died a week later.

Fast forward another decade and here we are at Lee Cottage. It’s our second Halloween out here in the countryside (…the October Country, if you will) and as the Season of Mists fast approached I was more determined than ever to give growing pumpkins another go.

We started them off in my office, on the windowsill that gets the sun. I read M.R. James Ghost Stories to them to get them germinating, and pretty soon we had four viable plants. We planted the best three of them outside and, after a lot of feeding and watering and slug wrangling, got two lovely pumpkins per plant.

The smaller ones we ate in September (one roasted in a risotto, the other souped up) had a very mellow flavour. But October’s batch has ripened much more, with that classic earthy sweetness.

Our biggest, prize pumpkin will be carved up by our two little monsters today. I like to think my sons will, like their Dad, marvel at the fact that they are scooping seeds from a pumpkin that we grew from a seed.

And at this special time of year (when the cycle of life, death, and birth is embedded in our Samhain rituals and customs) i can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate than with a pumpkin plucked from my very own patch.

I always wanted a pumpkin patch.

Well, at long last i got one. And next year, it’ll be bigger.

Happy Halloween to you and all your pumpkins. Young or old, shop-bought or hand-cultivated, enjoy them!

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About frazerlee

writer/director: On Edge, Red Lines, The Stay. screenwriter: Simone, Panic Button. bram stoker award nominated author: The Lamplighters, The Lucifer Glass, The Jack in the Green. http://www.frazerlee.com View all posts by frazerlee

3 responses to “Halloween Greetings from the Pumpkin Patch

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