Plan for plump pumkin patch

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Eight-year-old Noah Marquez of Tucumcari may have some tips for backyard gardeners when it comes to growing pumpkins.

“I had four seeds,” he said. “I pushed the dirt back a little bit, and put the seeds in, then I covered it up.”

Sometime later, “I almost pulled them up, I thought they were weeds. But then I saw it was four little green leaves coming up.”

The result: A crop of pumpkins weighing in at between 5 pounds and 25 pounds. The vines have gotten so robust, they have smothered the family’s colorful four-o’clocks.

“There’s been a lot of rain,” and that has helped, said Noah, who is the son of Jovita Laredo.

Noah admits to being a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to pumpkins. “I didn’t like buying them at the store. Sometimes, they had mold, or they had cracks.”
And what he’s been growing is pretty nearly perfect – just the right shape, he said, for making pumpkin pie or jack-o-lanterns.

So what’s Noah’s gardening secret?

As near as can be figured out from Noah’s recollections, here are the steps.
1. Go to your grandparents’ or a friend’s house the year before you plan to plant your garden. While you’re there getting ready for Halloween, carve up a pumpkin just the way you’d like. Then put four of the leftover seeds in the pocket of your blue jeans.
2. Leave them in your pocket and forget about them. Let Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays go by without a thought. Don’t even think about those four seeds until school’s been out for a little while. (By the way, it doesn’t seem to matter if your mom washes your blue jeans several times in the meantime.)
3. Around June, you can start looking in all your blue jeans pockets until you find your four seeds. Or as Noah did, one day, you just discover them in your pocket.
4) Then you plant them, water them and fertilize them. He recommended MiracleGro.
5) Your pumpkin patch will also need some TLC. “I patted their leaves and talked them,” Noah said. “I told them, ‘I want you to grow to be really big.’”

And all you backyard gardeners, if want to be faithful to Noah’s methods, you’ll have to let your pumpkin patch grow in the front yard.