|Longtime pals make pumpkins summer priority
Boys plant variety of pumpkins in home patch
By Natalie Gray
Josh Wade, 13, and Wesley Mephum, 14, have known each other forever or so, Mephum said in a phone interview.
Together, the two long-time friends are taking a unique approach to spending their summer; where most other kids their ages will be taking advantage of their time off from school by relaxing, Wade and Mephum are keeping busy by planting a one-and-a-half acre pumpkin patch.
“The idea was from my mom,” said Wade, adding that the project was to create a bonding experience between the two boys and Wade’s father, Rob. The idea behind the project was to give the three something to watch, work and care for together over the summer and into the fall.
Both Wade and Mephum are homeschooled, with Wade taking some classes at the Winter Valley Christian School. After the summer ends, Wade will be entering the eighth grade, Mephum into his freshman year of high school.
As Mephum suggested, it really would seem the two have known each other forever. According to Wade, their mothers have known each other since college and have kept close as the years went on, shaping a close friendship between their sons. The two boys have spent most of their lives living close to each other, first in Marin County, now in Sonoma, with Wade moving to Santa Rosa, along Petaluma Hill Road, just a year ago.
The pumpkin patch is already well under way, having begun in April. The boys and Rob Wade meet at least twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays to work on their patch. According to Josh, the hardest part of preparing the patch was creating an extended pipeline drip to water the pumpkins. Most of the pumpkin plants were planted into the field two weeks ago, after the young plants had grown a few inches in seed starting cells.
“It’s all looking really cool actually with all the rows,” said Mephum. According to Josh, their patch is to have a wide variety of different kinds of pumpkins; their patch is to have jack-o-lantern carving pumpkins, white pumpkins, orange pumpkins and warty and smooth pumpkins. They will also have “Big Max” and “Arctic Giant,” two brands of pumpkins that are known for growing to exceed 100 pounds. Wade and Mephum have 1,300 pumpkin plants in all, with only 300 plants still waiting to be replanted from their starter pods to the field.
Josh said he was unaware before cultivation of the patch that there were so many different types of pumpkins, but had no problem now listing the many kinds he and his friend planted, including what the pumpkins looked like and where they were from.
If the patch is successful enough to allow for another planting next year, Josh and Mephum said they would like to extend their harvest to include corn. The pumpkin patch is totally organically grown. Josh and Mephum said they have had had a lot of fun with the planting and are excited for the results this fall.
The pumpkin patch is located at Wade’s home on Petaluma Hill Road, and it is there the boys plan to set up a stand this fall to sell their pumpkins. The pumpkins are expected to be ripe around late August, early September.