Valley Gardening: Very important stuff

You know how everyone says not to go shopping when you are hungry? The same should be taken into consideration when shopping for seeds.

I’ve been trying to do a pumpkin contest for the past 3-4 years, but it seems like I always ran out of hours in the day. Five years ago we had a contest and Josh Gilliam grew a 440lb giant in La Garita. He is so looking forward to doing it again this year so consider the contest starting April 15th.

I work with the Howard Dill family out of Canada and when I started ‘shopping’ I should have stopped with 3 varieties, but the seeds and pictures were all so beautiful. I ordered lots! It made me think spring, which is probably why it is now windy—oh, well. Mr. Dill has grown some of the largest pumpkins ever and has won numerous contests. The largest variety I ordered is for 500-700 pound pumpkins. The world record pumpkins are now around 2400 lbs—can you imagine?

Seed can be purchased April 15th. There will also be an entry fee ($5.00-$10.00) so that we can build up some prize money. As pumpkins and squash don’t transplant real well when they are too big, I believe that most folks won’t get started until the middle of May.

Whether you start your pumpkins in peat pots, or straight in the ground doesn’t matter in the contest. I will be asking that folks be willing to share their growing tips. I do understand that a rapidly growing pumpkin will need quite a bit of water, so in order not to waste, I am asking that you refrain from showering once a week—or more, and use that water for your pumpkins.

I am not exactly sure, but tentatively planning on the contest ending on the 27th of September, with pumpkins on display in my back lot across from Jim’s Tire on Saturday, the 27th. Probably do a hot dog/hamburger roast and raise money for one of the charities we support. More details coming.

Many of you have met Sydney Carroll. Sydney used to set up a ‘nail polishing station’ here at the store—pretty adorable. She also was our door greeter, and her wheelchair served as a walker for my granddaughter, Peyton, to learn how to walk. When she was 8 or 9 Sydney helped me paint the handicap parking spots in front of City Hall, because we couldn’t get the city to do it. Sydney has been a big sister and inspiration to my grandchildren.

Sydney has the same disease as Peyton Sanchez, only hers has affected her differently. She had a leg amputated when she was 2 and has other symptoms than Peyton. A couple of weeks ago Sydney had surgery on her stump and 6 lbs. of tumor mass was removed. This week Sydney was taken back into surgery where a liter and a half was drained from the surgical area, and then clots were found in her lung.

As of my writing, Sydney remains in the ICU. AND, I am gathering up lose change from my charity jar (my customers) and will be sending that to her and her dad, Jason. When you have medical things going on, the little costs like food, and phone, and staying in a motel, and missing work, and….and….and…. all add up! My question to you is---do you have any loose change in your car that you can spare? SK—you started this out when you donated $100.00—thank you! (Later Friday—Sydney just got out of ICU).

I have almost 80 signatures on my petition (very informal) to have extended hours at the Rickey Recycling Center. I will continue to collect names, until I go to the next City Council meeting. Come on by and make a difference. I have names from Alamosa and beyond! What I am hearing about folks from out of town, is that they come to town to recycle/empty their cars and trucks, so that they can do their shopping in Alamosa. Isn’t that a good thing?

Seems like a good thing to me! But what do I know!!??