Hawk Valley Garden

  (Spencer, Iowa)
Pumpkins and so much more
[ Member listing ]

Hot, crazy summer at Hawk Valley Garden

Hello to all from Northwest Iowa...

Hawk Valley Garden has survived this long, crazy summer of 2012. We planted early in May and had a decent month of rains and weather all the way to mid June. Then drought hit us and we had no rain until the last weekend of July...add that to constant 100 degree days we were forced to water.With 800 feet of hoses we hand watered all 2200 hills of our pumpkin patch 3 times. Even though it exhausted us.. our plants flourished and started putting fruit on early and as of today our pumpkin patch is loaded with nice pumpkins, squash and gourds. Our indian corn was slow growing but now it's also taking off. Thankfully we had put on load after load of horse manure this spring and also fertilized two more times during the long, hot month of July with fish emulsion(nasty, stinky stuff but boy does it work!)

But with all this heat our plants are advancing faster than ever so we decided to open our pumpkin stand a week early and for the first time ever will be open Labor Day Weekend. We have always had customers stopping early and have usually sold to them but this year our pumpkin stand will be up and running. This year we have over 150 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds at our pumpkin stand. Some of the newer kinds are Millionaire pumpkins..these are pretty neat. They are creamy white w/yellow and green stripes and are about the size of a basketball. I think these will sell out quickly. A new heirloom pumpkin variety we have this year is the white boer pumpkin. I love these flat white beauties and can't wait to stack them. We planted over 400 hills of cinderalla pumpkins and they are loaded with pumpkins..come early early for best selection as these are my all time customer favorites.

Other new things happening around here...we have turkeys! We now have 3 Royal Palm turkeys in our feather family and I love them so much. They follow us around the yard and garden and thru the pumpkin patch eating bugs. Royal Palm turkeys are Heritage turkeys that don't get as large as regular turkeys and very calm breed. Also another addition is we added 8 bobwhite quails. They are quirky, little birds and are just as fun as the turkeys. And lastly we also have 15 mini call ducks that hatched out this spring and now they are full grown and hilarious to watch. The little hens are so bitchy and loud ..they even chase the turkeys around. Add that to our other feathered friends which include 17 chickens and 6 ducks we have considered changing our name to Hawk Valley Feather Farm. For Christmas this year my parents got me a new chicken coop. Originally it was a farmer's old seed shed and my dad moved it 30 miles on trailor to get it here. Over the spring we stripped it, painted it and added new roof. Now it's one of my favorite places in our yard.

Thanks to my parents...best gift EVER!!

Well I had better get busy...we open in 33 days and got lots to do.


Fall is officially here..yay for September!

Happy September...it's fall y'all.

Yes I love fall and to me September means pumpkins, cool nights and beautiful landscapes. Oh yes and the end of summer...been a long hot summer here in Iowa. It's Labor Day weekend  and around here that does not mean relaxation-it means labor. Hawk Valley Garden's pumpkin stand opens Sept 10 and we are so busy picking and washing pumpkins and getting our stand all set up. Monday we picked two truckloads of cinderella pumpkins and added to the pile of other pumpkins we have sitting out on pallets ready to be sold. Our daughter Liz has been here most nights washing pumpkins and putting pricing stickers on them. She is such a huge help and we are thankful to have such a great worker and even greater daughter. She is our official indian corn and broom corn bundler and is usually the one lugging pumpkins out to customer's cars. Thanks Liz..love you much.

Other things that are exciting around here...this year we have 19 chickens, 11 ducks and 3 guineas. We just got done fencing them all in. With all these nice pumpkins sitting around we have found that chickens do have a fondness to pick at certain varieties...like our cinderella pumpkins. So sad to say that they have to be penned up during this season. They do benefit from the spoiled fruit as they love pumpkin seeds and the juicy pulp.Customers will also have to put up the with loud chatter of the guineas. They are such weird little creatures and usually are found perching on top of the roof of the chicken coop. And the ducks can usually be found on grampa's pond ...they are not very intelligent but are the most entertaining. Hopefully in another year or two we will have enough to start selling chicken and ducks eggs.

My dad has been busy the last week picking and delivering pumpkins to us. One new pumpkin that he grew is called Polar Bear. It's big white pumpkin that gets to be about 60 pounds and it is fast turning into a favorite for me. He got seeds from Johnny Seeds and it definitely a producer. The middle of his 4 acres patch is covered with big white mounds...they grow on long 15 to 25 foot long vines and have either one or two per vine. I think they will sell out fast this year...like all white pumpkins do...so come early if you want one of these white beauties.

Well I had better get busy...got so much to do in the next week. Look forward to opening day and seeing all our friends, family and customers again.



Hawk Valley Garden will open September 10 for Fall 2011 Season

Hawk Valley Garden is northwest Iowa's speciality pumpkin provider and carries over 150 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds for your fall decorating needs.

The fall 2011 season is almost here and we are so excited and anxious for opening day which is September 10 at 8:00 am. We are still located 3 miles east of Spencer, Iowa on Highway 18 or 12 miles west of Emmetsburg, Iowa.

Good news--- Highway 18 is finally reopened.The bridge work is complete so no more detour!! It was a long year and half with road closed but we ended up having a great pumpkin season reguardless.

This has been a long, hot summer and we experienced the hottest July since 1957. We survived the Little Sioux River flooding last month (barely). Water rose up to within 5 feet from the south corner of our house and we had a 500 foot lake form across our yard and southeast corner of our pumpkin patch. Luckily we had planned ahead and had only planted gourds and our tomatoes in that location so they are no huge loss. We about lost the bee hives but luckily we got them raised up 4 feet before water over took them. Our ducks had the time of their lives and water went down within a week so all ended well. We have battled cucumber beatles all summer and completely sick of them and now seeing vine borers doing a lot of damage to our vine bases. Seems to be never ending problems for us pumpkin growers each year. Each year you wonder why you continue to grow vegetables/pumpkins but yet each fall when you are out picking the wonderful produce all past grievances are quickly forgotten.We have one more month to go so we pray Mother Nature will be kind to us the remaining growing season.

Another thing we did this summer was to add on to our growing grounds. A friend let us use a couple acres of his farm ground so we put in an additional 2000 hills of pumpkins and squash. Some of the pumpkins we grew there were Charisma, Big Max, Howden Biggies and Racers. Charisma pumpkin vines went crazy..wow they are fast growers and are loaded right now with lots of baby pumpkins. Highly recommend that variety. Not a huge fan of Big Max as the seed's germination rate was pretty dismal and was a slow grower and so far doesn't have a lot of fruit on vine. Hopefully they pick up this month.

Hawk Valley Garden will celebrate our 8th year this season and we are looking forward to seeing all our customers and friends again. If you are planning any fall weddings call or email me early for best selection. Same thing for Clay County Fair vendors....if you are needing fall produce for your fair display call me and we can setup pickup times or possible being able to deliver to fairgrounds for you.

Thanks again to my family, especially my parents, for all the help and support. My dad's pumpkin patch this year really looks so great and he has worked super hard all summer to keep it that way. I am so lucky to have such great parents and love them both very much. You will see both of them here on weekends delivering and helping out and my mom will be here during the Clay County Fair running the stand while I am at work. Many thanks to both of them!!!






6 years of growing pumpkins and we are still learning more each year

Welcome to my blog.

My name is Sue Loring and my husband and two children own and operate Hawk Valley Garden Pumpkin Stand in northwest Iowa near Spencer, Iowa. My parents also assist us and grow 3 acres of pumpkins on their property.

2009 marks our 6th year of growing pumpkins and we have nearly 2000 hills of pumpkins. Each year we have learned one thing...don't count anything out. We have learned to deal with bugs, drought, storms and the dreaded hail, and even vandalism.

Yes we do get stressed at times but that is normal for all gardeners.

But we love what we do and wouldn't change a thing.

Each year we get to grow new varieties  and in the fall we open up our pumpkin stand and meet wonderful people from all over the country and catch up with friends and neighbors who fully support our business.

We appreciate everybody's support and look forward to seeing you all in the fall.

RSS feed for Hawk Valley Garden blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader