Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Great Pumpkins! (an IWSG post)

Last IWSG, I was talking about how late it was that we planted our garden this year. And it was. Very late. You can go read about that here.

As late it was planted, though, it is doing very well, now. Sure, we didn't get things like tomatoes as early as everyone else, but we're getting them faster than we can eat them, now. In fact, it's time to start making and freezing sauce.

The above picture is the first three pumpkins to come off the vines. There are three more I'm going to get soon (in fact, by the time this posts, I will probably already have gotten them). AND the vines have suddenly put out all kinds of new growth, so there may be more pumpkins next month! Or early November. And here, that's a totally doable thing, because they're not going to freeze.

The picture above, still showing the pumpkins, also shows "the monster." Or, shall I say, "the attack of the killer tomato vine." [My kids totally accused me of making it up when I told them about the movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!] Let me just make it perfectly clear: We did not plant this particular tomato vine. It grew there all on its own.
You can't really see the placement of the vine in the picture, but it's right next to the front door of our house. Back behind the "the monster" is the gate to the backyard. My daughter hates this tomato plant, because it keeps growing over the sidewalk leading to the front door (no matter how often I cut it back), and it has grown up and through the lattice by the front door, so it attacks people is they go in and out of our house.

Now, I just want to be clear, here. We are in the middle of the worst drought on record in California. I did not water this plant for the entire month of July and most of August. I was hoping that by not watering it, it would, you know, scale itself back. Not grow so crazily. But it did grow crazily even without the water and, today, when I was picking tomatoes, I got as many off of it as I did off of all of other vines, the vines we actually planted and took care of, combined. In fact, I didn't finish picking from it, because I ran out of storage space, so I got an equivalent amount and left A LOT behind. It is The Monster.

When the vine first started growing, my wife wanted me to pull it up. "It's in a bad place; it will never survive; we don't even know what kind of tomato that is." But I didn't see any reason to just pull it up. My idea was to just let it grow and see what happened. Of course, since then, my daughter has been the big advocate for killing it, but my wife doesn't want to do that anymore. Mostly, I think, she is just amazed at it. I know I am. What a huge success from such an unexpected source.

Which is the point. We don't ever really know what's going to take off and be successful and what's, despite our best efforts, just going to sit there going nowhere. Or just piddle along. Or whatever. It's like when you work really hard on something, something you think is great, and show it to someone and he just shrugs at it and says, basically, "So." But, then, you have this other thing that you just threw together and don't think is anything special and someone comes along and really loves it. Really loves it. As in, "This is great!"

So you nurture your ideas and let them grow, even the ones you don't think will go anywhere, because you may just end up with something huge. As I mentioned recently, that is how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started out.

And you may end up with some pumpkins, too. Things that take a lot of work, that look doubtful for a while, but yield a nice prize at the end. By the way, between the beginning of this post and now, I did go out and pull those other three pumpkins. They're in a nice pile on my table, at the moment, and we have big plans for them. It's all a matter of keeping your options open and not closing off ideas just because you don't think they will amount to anything. I mean, "the monster" grew out of rocks, basically in a completely inhospitable environment, with people trampling on it and no water. And, well, my daughter's scared of it because it wants to eat her. That's what she says, anyway.

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This post has been brought you in part by the Insecure Writer's Support Group.


  1. There are portions of my yard like this. Areas I spend all my time and watering on grow weeds, and the grass is taking over the area I forget about.

    I'm still waiting for my writing ideas to take root in a publisher's slush pile.

  2. We had a stray tomato plant come up like that. Tomatoes weren't that good from it though.
    We never know what will take off. (I certainly had no idea!) That's why we keep trying.
    Was this for the book?

  3. Yeah, it's true. You never know what's going to click with people. Sometimes I'll spend hours and hours on a post I'm super proud of (not today's obviously :P) and then people will just sort of be meh about it. Other times the silliest thing will get a lot of hits. So hard to figure out.

    And I suggest you make a LOT of salsa with those tomatoes. It goes good with cat. :D

  4. dolorah: Well, a slush pile is not one of the areas I'd ever suggest putting time into. That's like trying to plant your garden in your neighbor's yard. Either they're going to rip it up or they're going to keep all the fruit.

    Alex: Most of these have been good. Well, we have another, small stray vine in another part of the yard that has a few beautiful tomatoes, but my wife, the only one to have eaten from it so far, said those weren't very good.

    Elsie: If you were my neighbor, I'd let you have some. :)

    L.G.: One thing I've learned: response to posts is usually inversely proportional to the amount of time I put into them.

    I made pasta sauce last night (so good!); I'm sure it must be good with cat.

  5. It's true. They say indies should try several different things and go with what takes off. I think that's sound advice. You just never know, eh?

  6. Crystal: Well, certainly ride the airplane of whatever takes off. And maybe try to guide it to the things you'd like to do better?

  7. Pumpkins from your own garden sounds great. Plus that mutant monster you have might end up saving the world from a drought. (And in defense of your kids, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes does sound too ridiculous to be real)

  8. Jeanne: Yep. There should be pumpkin curry in my future. (Many things sound too ridiculous to be real.)

  9. I don't know many people that can turn a pumpkin or tomato plant into inspiration. Nice job. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  10. We had a renegade tomato plant by our front steps one year. We figured it came from a tomato seed spilled on our table cloth that was shaken over the porch railing.
    Many years ago I planted a few tomato plants and they all withered and died...soil wasn't terribly good. The next year we had moved and I decided to plant many more tomato plants seein's how the last batch did so poorly...they alllllll made it. I had tomatoes for a large neighborhood. These plants have to be more predictable.

  11. wow, that was one of the best analogies!!

  12. emaginette: Thanks :)

    Donna: Tomatoes are certainly interesting. We only deal with the cherry sized ones, now, because the bigger ones are always disappointing.

    Tammy: Thanks!

  13. Maybe you have some radioactive material by the front of your house.

  14. Gardening is fun. Something nice about growing things -- my dad used to have a very large garden at my parents house and the cucumbers and tomatoes always tasted better.

    So cool you guys grow pumpkins, they look big! You are a jack of all trades

  15. Pat: There was a chemical spill last year, but the tomatoes were crazy before that.

    Jean: They're not really that big. They're pie pumpkins, so their not like the huge ones you see at the grocery store. I think they're sometimes called Oz pumpkins.

  16. Love the analogy. Growing up on a farm, I often think of things in relation to agriculture.

    Happy writing.

  17. If something is flourishing there is probably a reason for that. Let things go where they may and see what happens is a good philosophy I think. Nurturing ideas is a good mental exercise.

    Tossing It Out

  18. A.B.: My grandparents had a farm when I was a kid, and I spent an inordinate amount of time down there.

    Lee: Mental exercise is good!

  19. Those pumpkins are adorable! I hope there'll be some pumpkin pie in your house by Halloween. Maybe the monster vine has grown so much that the roots have infiltrated your water lines and that's why it's producing so much. Or it could be aliens...

  20. Great Pumpkins!! That's awesome to be able to grow so late in the year. I love the analogy too. It is important to have patience with our work, and not be so quick to declare something garbage..that's why I avoid, (or try to avoid)disclosing how I personally feel about something I've done, whether it's a story or a drawing...whatever..I just throw it in the campfire and see who warms their hands.

  21. Lexa: I'm sure there will be pumpkin pie; however, I'm hoping for some pumpkin curry. It'll be a new dish for us to make.

    I'm voting aliens.

    Eva: I haven't had the misfortune of writing anything, yet, that I thought, once I was finished, was garbage.