Bloom Where You're Planted Farm

  (Avoca, Nebraska)
A family-owned educational farm & pumpkin patch near Avoca, Nebraska
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Looking ahead to our 10th Season!

Our tenth-annual Pumpkin Festival is fast approaching, and in under 8 weeks we'll be opening our doors again to our favorite people -- our customers.  

It doesn't seem possible that this will be our tenth season, but it is.  We have grown in ways we never dreamed possible since we opened in 2005, and we appreciate each and every person that has visited our farm and helped our dream to grow.

Dates for this year's Pumpkin Festival are Sept. 20 through Nov. 2.  With Halloween falling on a Friday we decided to extend a little past that date, and have a fun Thanksgiving food drive event planned for that final weekend.  Stay tuned for details.

New this year......more restrooms!  We're improving our concession kitchen by converting our original restroom into storage space, and building both men's and ladies' rooms onto the east side of the schoolhouse.  We'll still have a couple porta-potties and will hopefully do away with the long lines some of our customers experienced last season.  

We're also planning a couple new fun attractions which will be announced soon.  The gift shop will again carry lots of locally handmade items, yummy foods, fall decor, souvenirs, and antique/vintage/funky decor touches.  We're confident you won't find a store quite like ours anywhere else.  :)

Head to our Facebook page for the latest on the farm, the pumpkins, our newest (baby) farm animals, and events we have coming up.  Until we see you again, enjoy the rest of your summer!   

 

 
 

Counting Down!!

Our ninth-annual Pumpkin Festival begins in just over two weeks!  On Saturday, September 21st we open the doors for another pumpkin season. This week I've been working in the store, shopping for supplies, marketing, and getting the Schoolhouse Cafe ready to go.  Terry has been tending to the animals, building a porch swing, doing farm maintenance and helping out at his parents' farm as his dad is out of commission for awhile. There is quite a bit on our to-do list, but as of right now it seems manageable.  

That can always change, though, as it did the year a big hail and wind storm hit five days before we opened for the season.  You just never know what will happen when the success of your business is largely dependent on the weather!  Thankfully it has been a good year for growing pumpkins and we are excited by what we see in the patch.  There are some huge, beautiful orange pumpkins as well as lots of different and interesting heirloom varieties (white, red, tan, blue/green, flat, warty...it's hard to pick a favorite!)

We're looking forward to a fun season and can't wait to see you SOON at the farm! 

 

 

 
 

Late summer on the farm

August and September are two of my favorite months here on the farm. Being in the pumpkin patch business I love October, too, but it comes with mixed emotions of the season drawing to a close.  August and September are busy and sometimes stressful, but I love the anticipation of another Pumpkin Festival approaching.

August begins with the county fair, which is going on now.  I harvested our first pumpkin of the season yesterday to take to the fair.  Cutting that first stem of the season and carrying the "prize" back to the house is still exciting and very rewarding.  The pumpkin, squash and gourd vines grow visibly every day and the fruits are forming nicely.  It's been a little on the dry side, but we were lucky to have rain last week and it is WAY better than last summer's drought.  And, we planted more ground than ever before so are hoping for a big harvest.  

August also brings lots of planning and to-do lists.  We start working a little harder and faster to get everything done as our Sept. 21 opening day draws closer.  We've been doing a lot of weeding out in the U-pick patch.  I've been ordering merchandise and looking for vendors selling local crafts.  And, I've been talking to our seasonal employees and working out their schedules for the season.  

With the start of school we'll soon be hearing from teachers booking field trips and groups booking campfire parties.  If you're thinking of scheduling something it is never too early to contact us -- be sure you get your preferred date and call soon! 

Things are coming along, but there is always something to do.  Once we hit September it really becomes crunch time, so I'm trying to get as much done this month as I can and enjoy the process.  Pumpkin season is what we live for and I'm trying to savor the anticipation.    

We look forward to seeing you soon at the farm! 

  

 
 

Early Summer Adventures

May and June have been a whirlwind and it is hard to believe July is just a week away.  This has been a busy and exciting time on the farm as pumpkin planting time just ended.  We started planting May 24 with some of the longer season hardshell (big green) gourds.  They require about 120 days to mature, and we always try to time our plantings out with opening day of pumpkin season, so things are ripe just in time but not too early/late.

The bulk of our planting was done on June 3.  It was a long day with the tractor and planter.  Terry's parents were generous enough to let us plant a big plot on their farm and we're excited about what this land can yield for us if nature cooperates.

Final planting of shorter season squash and the tunnel and walls in the gourd garden was finished last week.  Everything is coming up beautifully and we're very thankful for the rain and warm temperatures which have been perfect for pumpkin germination and growth.  We planted a total of 39 varieties of pumpkins, winter squash and gourds and look forward to a lot of variety this fall.

Our junkin' adventure continues, too.  We did a little flea market festival at Christ Lutheran Church on June 8.  We had a good time at this very well-run event and made good sales of our farm relics/vintage/antique/"junque" merchandise before we were rained out late-morning.  June 14-16 was Junk Jubilee West in Lincoln, NE, our first big show.  We set up a 12 ft. by 22 ft. mini-store for three days and really enjoyed all the customers and other vendors we met.  We handed out a ton of cards advertising the Pumpkin Festival and our second Rural Route Rust Sale scheduled for Nov. 2 & 3.  We continue to "pick" and search for more great merchandise when we're not busy tending to the crops and farm animals.  The barn this fall will be stuffed with new-old stuff as well as our usual selection of seasonal gifts and decor.

JULY 13 is our Barn Sale.  8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Shop for vintage items, antiques and GOOD JUNK. Come out to score that perfect piece for your home or yard. There will even be a rough room/sale area. Hot dogs, chips, cold drinks & baked goods will be available.  Also enjoy the Kids Corral, swings, and farm animals.  Admission is FREE.

We hope to see you soon on the farm! 

 A bit of our booth at Junk Jubilee West...

 

 
 

Bring on Spring!

We survived the long winter, and although we're still melting from a surprise snowstorm over the weekend we know Spring is just around the corner!

We had a very successful fall 2012 season.  So many new friends came to the farm and we are thankful for each and every one!  We were also thankful for each and every pumpkin after a summer of drought.  As of today we are just over 6 months from doing it all over again and although it might be another dry year, pumpkins are pretty resilient and we have high hopes. We're waiting on one more seed catalog and should have our ordering done soon.  Late May/early June is planting time for our pumpkins, squash and gourds, and we can't wait to get out in the dirt again.

We spent the winter building a different part of our business, one which has always been in the background but is stepping to the forefront for our off-season.  If you've been to our gift shop or in the pumpkin barn you know we love to collect farm primitives, antiques, and fun rusty stuff (like the clawfoot bathtub we keep our mini pumpkins in, or all the old farm tools and signs hanging around the barn).  We've always kept a small inventory for sale in the store, but we've been collecting and searching all winter and now have a big, fun pile of "good JUNK"!  

On April 13 & 14, 2013, we're opening the barn doors and farm gates for our first-annual Rural Route Rust sale. Besides for our own selection of primitives, garden junk, "man-tiques", vintage textiles and kitchen goods, repurposed lighting, industrial accents, and leather cuffs handmade from vintage belts, we've rounded up about a dozen other vendors that share our love of this kind of merchandise.  There will be a great selection of vintage, antique, repurposed, upcycled and handmade goodies and we're excited to support our fellow small-businesspeople while providing a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for our visitors.

We'll be holding our annual spring open house in conjunction with the sale.  The Schoolhouse Cafe will be open, serving chicken salad sandwiches, soup, hot dogs, pie, brownie sundaes and other homemade yummies all day long, and the young and young-at-heart can explore the farm and visit the horses, goats, chickens & cows.  Admission is free all weekend, and hours are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  

We're currently booking field trips and parties for fall 2013, so contact us anytime to be sure you get the best dates.  Whether in April for the Rural Route Rust Sale & Spring Open House, or in September for the Pumpkin Festival, we look forward to seeing you soon at the farm! 

 
 

Counting Down...

When we get into the month of August we usually start our countdown.  How many days until opening day of the pumpkin patch season?  How long do we have to get everything on the "To Do" list finished?  There's a list on our refrigerator door with the days written out and we cross one off each night....30...29...28...27...

As of today we have 26 days to go.  Anything under one month really starts to feel like crunch-time.  The weather has been nice lately (that's one positive aspect of not getting any rain!) so we've been accomplishing a lot.  There's always some maintenance/fix-up issues to tackle, as well as building of new attractions, cleaning, mulching, painting signs, more cleaning, marketing, phone calls, arranging employee schedules, setting up the gift shop, planting flowers, etc.  As we get down to the last 10 or 14 days we'll start decorating around the farm, setting up attractions like the duck races, wheelbarrel maze and corn box, moving fences, getting the nature trail in shape, buying groceries and supplies, picking produce...

It's a lot to do but definitely exciting for us.  After the trying summer we've had, filled with record heat and worry about the drought, we're thankful fall is almost here.  We work all year for the moment when we get to open our doors to our wonderful customers once again.  So, see you in 26 days, and counting!

 

    

 
 

Late Summer

Despite how terribly dry and hot it has been this summer, our pumpkins have survived and seem to have fruited pretty well.  The drought continues but the temperatures have finally cooled off so they continue to bloom and grow.  We did lose some plants as we always do to bugs--and maybe drought--and the pumpkins may not be quite as large this year, but we will certainly be thankful for each and every one!  We continue to pray for rain to help them finish strong. 

It feels like fall this morning so I headed out with my camera to document their progress.  Our 8th Annual Pumpkin Festival opens September 15th...just over a month away!  There's much to do but we love the excitement that comes with getting ready to finally open our doors to our beloved visitors!

The gourd garden has new wood chips and is coming along nicely!

 

Bees are busy pollinating the pretty pumpkin blossoms...Did you know squash bees wait inside the flower for the blossoms to close, then stay there until the next morning when it's time to do more pollinating?

       

These photos show just some of the varieties we are growing:  Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins (a few which are ripening already), Black Futsu squash, Butternut squash, Cheese pumpkins, Hooligas, and mini bottle gourds which are new this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have lots of favorite varieties, but it's always fun when last year's cross-pollinated seeds "volunteer" in the patch.  You get some really unique results which are always popular with shoppers.  Here's an example:

 

See you in just over a month at our Nebraska Pumpkin Patch!

 

 

 
 

Mid-Summer

Mid-July already?  What??  I can't seem to believe it's this time of year already, although the signs are all there.  The cicadas are singing, we ate our first BLTs yesterday with our homegrown tomatos, the corn is all tassled and the pumpkins are blooming and starting to fruit.

Here are some photos of mid-summer on the farm.  65 days until the opening of our eighth-annual Pumpkin Festival!

 

First Gourd Harvest of the Season!  This one grew as a volunteer on our burn pile.

Our first effort at broom corn looks like it will be a success! 

Dave and Buster moved in with Gabby and they're getting along well.

 

 

 

Vines are starting to cover the gourd tunnel.  That's a 'Silver Edge' pumpkin (a new variety for us) growing in front.

New planter around the sign at the end of our driveway

 

 

 

 

Have a great summer!  Hope to see you soon on the farm!

 
 

Early Summer

I'd better start this post with a little prayer of thanks for the 1.5 inches of rain we got Sunday night.  This was the driest its ever been at planting time, and we desperately needed a rain to wet the soil so the pumpkin seeds could germinate.  Pumpkin plants can tolerate pretty dry conditions, but without moist soil the seeds won't sprout.  Now with the rain our seedlings should be popping out in 5-7 days!

We planted 35 different varieties of produce:  orange (Jack-O-Lantern & pie) pumpkins, heirloom pumpkins, small gourds, large hardshell gourds, and squash.  We always try to add a couple new varieties and I'm excited about this year's additions.

The pumpkins we planted in early May are doing well.  These will hopefully yield some beauties to take to our county fair.  The broom corn is also looking good and should be a cool addition to our fall decor.

A.J. the calf and our four new chicks are growing and thriving.  Check out our Facebook page for their latest photos.  www.facebook.com/bloomwhereyoureplantedfarm

On June 9 we drove near Yutan to pick up two new goats.  They're pygmy/fainting goat crosses, males about five months old.  They're super cute but not very fond of humans yet.  We'll have to bribe them with food until we're able to pet and handle them better.  By fall they should be very friendly and happy to eat out of visitors' hands!  We're having a naming contest on Facebook.  Submit your suggestions, we'll put them up for a vote, and the winner(s) will receive free admission to the Pumpkin Festival!

Watch for us in the Weeping Water Limestone Day and Murdock 4th of July parades.  Have a great summer, and we hope to see you soon on the farm! 

 

 
 

Young'uns

In the past five days, our farm family has grown by as many members. On Thursday evening our heifer Alice had her first calf, a little bull.  Alice had some trouble "letting down" her milk -- although her udder was full, the little guy wasn't getting anything, no matter how hard he tried.  After a few bottle feedings for Junior and a drive to the vet's office for a shot for Alice, we're back in business.  We let the pair of them out into the big pen this afternoon and he was running around, kicking up his heels in the sunshine.

 

On Friday I drove to Elmwood-Murdock elementary school where my niece Grace is in preschool.  Their class had incubated some eggs and the chicks hatched on Monday.  By Friday they were ready to go to their "adopted" homes.  We got four chicks, all different types.  As of today they're one week old.  It's funny to watch them scratching and pecking in their bedding looking for lunch, and pecking at dirt specks on the walls of their tub in case they might be bugs.

Besides our furry and feathery new additions, we have some other exciting young'uns on the farm.  We planted our first pumpkins last week, and the seedlings have emerged.  These are just the first of many thousands we'll plant this year!

 

 

 
 

And It Begins...

Yesterday was a milestone for us -- the first planting of the year!  We started a new garden spot out near our chicken house, and planted two types of tomatoes and sweet red peppers.  We also planted a couple rows of the broom corn seed that I bought last year but couldn't find a spot to plant.  I'm excited about the broom corn and think it will be a nice addition to the fall decorations we sell at the pumpkin patch.

In the same garden we planted a row of Big Moon (giant) pumpkins and a row of my favorite Jack-O-Lantern-sized variety.  The Big Moon need 120 days to grow, so need to be planted early in order to be ready by pumpkin patch time.  We haven't had the best of luck with these the past couple of years.  Hopefully with a new garden spot where we can watch more carefully for bugs and other problems we'll get some this season.  The Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins only need 95 days but we're planting early in hopes of having some ready to enter at the Cass County Fair in August.

In the raised bed in our gourd garden area we planted strawberries.  We've been planning to do this for the past couple of years and haven't succeeded until now.  This long, warm Spring really has been helpful, giving us extra time to get things done before the rollercoaster of pumpkin planting and tending (AKA weeding) begins.

As Terry said last night, after we came in with the season's first dirt-filled socks and shoes and pant knees needing "Shout" to remove the dirt stains,  "And it begins...".  But, these are the times we wait for all year long and we always look forward with hope for a good crop we can share with all our wonderful customers this fall!

 

 
 

Pumpkin Planting is Done!

As of yesterday, there are just 3 months left until opening day of the 7th season here at our southeast Nebraska pumpkin patch!  I can't believe how fast time can fly.  We've been very busy on the farm and finally got all our pumpkins, squash and gourds planted just a few days ago. 

The weather has been perfect--lots of warm sunshine with just the right amount of rain for the seeds to sprout quickly.  We had some issues with mice and/or voles actually digging our seeds out of the ground and leaving nothing but several seed-sized holes in dozens of hills.  They seemed to particularly like the squash and white pumpkin seeds.  Using traps, poisons, cellophane bags tied to sticks, and repellents, we seem to have that problem licked (we hope!)  So, after re-ordering seeds and replanting, we can move on to the next phase, watching the seedlings sprout and grow while trying to protect them from bugs and keep the weeds under control.

We've started work on several projects including repairs to the barn roof, rebuilding and painting the loading chute (the ramp kids climb on to reach the big round haybales) and fixing fences.  We have all the materials on hand to start building an overhang on the south side of the barn, where we'll move the admissions counter and pumpkin weighing station.  Today we made a trip to Lincoln after landscaping blocks to improve the fire pit.  And, I've started ordering new merchandise for the gift shop.  Its a very busy but exciting time as we work to make the farm and pumpkin patch the best it can be for our fall visitors.

Speaking of visitors, yesterday we hosted a field trip for Sandee's Place daycare out of Lincoln.  There were about a dozen 1-4 year olds who really seemed to enjoy their visits with the horses, goats and chickens.  Their morning ended with a hay ride and sack lunch at the picnic tables.  You can check out the photos on our Facebook page.  So, you don't HAVE to wait until fall to come and visit -- we welcome groups of all ages for field trips or campfire parties in the spring and summer too!  Our website has all the details.  Hope to see you soon at the farm!

 
 

Spring Chickens (& Calves & Pumpkins)

This is a great time of year at Bloom Where You're Planted Farm.  Rain has been plentiful, the grass and trees look lush and healthy, and the iris and peonies are starting to bloom.  In the next week or so we'll start planting some of our longer-season pumpkins and gourds.  The full planting assault will happen around Memorial Day, hopefully finishing up the first couple days of June.  I can't wait to get out in the dirt!  Its so exciting to think about all the pumpkins we'll harvest, plus its great exercise!

On April 29 we brought home five hens, a cross between Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshires (so they're very East Coast but seem to be enjoying the Midwest!)  April 30 & May 1 was our second-annual Spring Open House.  It was good seeing the familiar faces of some of our loyal customers and friends, and exciting to meet some first-time guests, too.  The following weekend we held a "Barn Sale" -- basically a big yard sale heavy on the antiques and primitives.  We made room for all the "new" antiques, primitives and gift shop merchandise we'll be bringing in for this fall.

The most fun thing this spring has been the arrival of two baby calves.  Fern delivered her first calf on May 1, a bull calf we named Mayday.  Ten days later, Molly's calf Rosy arrived.  I surprised myself (and really surprised Terry, when I told him the story later) by jumping in to help pull her when I realized she was coming out rump-first and upside down.  Molly may have been fine without me, but ideally they should come out head/front feet first, and I got scared.  Both calves are perfect and they're SO darn cute! 

Mayday

 

Rosy

Well, I'd better get outside to enjoy this great weather and get something accomplished.  Have a great spring, and we hope to see you soon at the farm!

 

 
 

Fair time & the first harvest

Yesterday was an exciting day, as we harvested the first fruits of this year's labors.  Our county fair is this week so we gathered up our contenders.  We ended up with nine entries between the two of us:  mini pumpkins, small gourds, one large pumpkin, an apple gourd, and the "monsters"--two Green Cushaw squash and two enormous and somewhat freaky-looking snake gourds.  It's fun and exciting to make the first harvest, but man are the pumpkin vines and leaves prickly this time of year!  My legs and arms are a scratchy mess!

Over the weekend Terry built permanent wooden benches on the hayrack.  This should be a safer, more comfortable ride for our guests, not to mention much less messy than the previous straw bale seats.  It's been extremely hot and humid lately, so we've been trying to do projects we can work on in the shade or indoors, including shopping for (almost) all of the rest of the materials we'll need to build the goat pens, chicken enclosures, and a new fence in the barnyard.  Most of the gift shop merchandise is in, including some cute and funny Girl Power/Witchy Woman decor pieces. 

It's crazy how fast it all starts rollin' this time of year!  Watch for our ads (thanks to a grant from Nebraska Tourism) in Lincoln Kids! newspaper, Nebraska Life magazine, and the Omaha-area's "Let's Go" magazine soon.  Those of you who attend the Cass County fair can pick up our new brochures at the Scenic Weeping Water Valley Association's booth.  We'll also be in the parade Saturday evening.

Teachers are starting to think ahead toward fall field trips and our calendar is beginning to fill up.  If you're interested in a field trip, birthday party, or campfire party this fall, call or email us and we'll get you on the schedule.  We hope to see you soon at the farm!

 

 

 
 

Really rollin' now!

Summer projects are in full swing, and we had a busy and productive three-day weekend.  I'm happy to report that the barn painting project is now done!  The north and east sides of the Pumpkin Barn & Gift Shop, and the west wall of the animal barn, are now sporting fresh red paint.  The other sides of these buildings have red tin siding so (fortunately) don't ever have to be painted.  Terry is a great painter, but I always seem to make a big mess of myself.

Also completed is the gourd garden project.  The final touches went onto the raised planter bed/bench.  The tunnel and wall panels have been finished for a few weeks and the gourds are growing quickly.  Soon they'll start their climb over the tunnel and walls and our vision of a living walled garden will become a reality.  We're really excited about this project!

Sunday was spent mowing, weed-whacking, taking care of a couple horse-related tasks, and weeding and spraying bugs in the pumpkin patches.  We even found time this weekend for church services and a wedding!  We don't do much relaxing this time of year, but enjoy staying active and putting our hearts into what we do.  We're continually working on improving virtually every corner of the farm and hope these many small touches will add up to an ideal fall experience for our customers!  Sixty Days 'Til Pumpkin Festival 2010! 

 
 
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