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Haaland Estates resident keeps watch over unique crop of pumpkins

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 11, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT A large pumpkin grows through a fence at Haaland Estates.

A productive pumpkin patch outside of Haaland Estates resident Shirley Walsh’s window brings back fond memories for her.

Walsh, who farmed with her husband near Mylo for many years said, “We always had a garden on the farm. We grew squash and pumpkins and whatever you could plant.”

Walsh said she also remembers how her family watched “The Great Pumpkin” on TV in years gone by.

“I think this year, the Great Pumpkin came to visit me!” she quipped, pointing to two large pumpkins in her patch. One of them sits perfectly on the ground in the middle of the patch, perfectly round and deep orange. The green stem on the healthy-looking squash indicates it won’t stop growing soon. “Isn’t it something?” Walsh asked. “I wonder how big it will get?”

Another large pumpkin is an even more unusual sight. Somehow when it was much smaller, the pumpkin became wedged between two slats on the property’s white fence. Undaunted by the tight squeeze, it’s kept on growing.

Closer to Walsh’s window, a scarecrow stands watch over the patch.

“Here’s my scarecrow. I’m so glad I know it’s there, otherwise, I’d be afraid,” Walsh quipped.

“We’re going to have to get a crane if our pumpkin keeps growing,” Haaland Activities Director Tammy Tufte said of the largest one.

Tufte said she tilled two areas in the property’s courtyard to plant pumpkins and watermelons. She also planted regular-sized tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in a wooden raised garden at the end of May. Tufte said the pumpkins and tomatoes have done “really well.” The watermelons haven’t been doing so good, she added.

“We’re going to try cucumbers next year,” said Tufte.

Residents have enjoyed veggies harvested from their gardens so far, according to Tufte. “We had salads made from tomatoes and we have onions in our garden, too.” Tufte said the residents hoped to make a cucumber salad as well, since cucumbers are a popular veggie with the residents.

“But,” Tufte said, “Shirley is our woman in charge of the pumpkin patch. She’s our woman in charge of this,” Tufte said of the pumpkin patch.”

“That’s because my room is right here,” Walsh said, pointing to her window. “So, I’ve been watching it grow and grow.”

“We’re going to let it keep growing to see how much bigger it can get,” Tufte said.

“It would be good to weigh it, too. I wonder how much it weighs?” Walsh asked.

Walsh and Tufte also wondered aloud if there were any pumpkin contests going on in the area. Both said they were confident the Haaland pumpkin would be a contender.

In the meantime, Walsh said she enjoyed just keeping an eye on her patch. “It brings back a lot of memories,” she smiled.

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