Time to Have a Break….

What’s Coming Up

In this post I’m covering a couple of different things:

  • Having a break from social media
  • Planning and working things out
  • Seeds and the online shop
  • Pumpkin Event Stuff

This is a long post. So strap yourselves in.

Break from Social Media

First up I’ve decided to have a break from social media.

It’s very easy to get stuck on a hamster wheel of creating content. When people like something you get a dopamine hit.

The platforms show your content more when people interact. Or when you are pushing out content .

It can get tiring.

So for the rest of April I won’t be checking social media. I need that break. And I need the time to work on things I mention below.

If you are into making content. Have a think about making a space of your own. A website or a blog that isn’t built upon social media.

One day Facebook might go away.

If anything super interesting crops up I might post that to FB or IG. I use different tools to do that without actually visiting the site.

To keep up to date with the blog posts make sure to subscribe at the bottom of this post. And if you want to get hold of me, send me an email via the website.

Time to Plan

I’m using this time to plan things.

Things I need to update. Things I need to do for next season, And planning more content for you.

I’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about different areas.

I’m working out which gives the biggest benefit for myself. And giant pumpkin growers out there.

To do all this I need less distractions. So that’s why I’m blocking social media for April.

Our Down Time

This is a great time to do this. As it is the off season here in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere for growing giant pumpkins.

While it is nice to see what the other grower in the Northern Hemisphere are up to. It’s not super important right now.

Things I’ll be Working On

Everything and anything I’ve done before plus some new ideas.

From updating the website (I’ve been slack with that) through to videos, new ideas and more. It’s a large undertaking.

I’ve made giant lists where I’ll be prioritising on what to work on.

Seeds and Online Shop

My biggest headache this past year has been seeds and the online shop.

I’ve currently turned the online shop off for now while I work out what I want to do. People buy pumpkin seeds at weird times of the year.

Pumpkin Seeds

When you only have a small amount of pumpkin seeds on hand you can’t keep testing the germination rate of them.

  • some seeds will never grow – they genetically don’t want to
  • others will one year but seem to go dormant the next
  • it’s a seed which could grow in some conditions but not others
  • you never know how good people are at starting seeds

There is a lot of variables with the seeds. I sent out a lot of extra seeds this year to cover ones that didn’t want to germinate.

And while the cost of 1 seed might seem like a lot. In the grand scheme of things it’s a bargain for the genetics that are in it. But that can be a hard sell for a lot of people.

There is always a risk of the seed not growing. If you spent $500 on a seed it might not grow. Or it could and it might still be average as.

This Coupled With Sourcing Problems

Not being able to get seeds into the country also doesn’t help. While there are good growers here in NZ to do really great things we need seeds from overseas to bring into the mix.

But it’s pain in the ass to do that. Covid didn’t help and the whole process is relying on one Canadian to help us out. Which I am eternally grateful for when it works.

I need to work out if there is another way of approaching this. It might cost a bunch of money.

And if there is a way forward, I need to get as many people as possible as keen to get as many seeds as they can. To make it worthwhile. Both from the testing and sending seeds to NZ point of view. And the bringing in a wide range of seed.

Does Everyone Need Top Seed?

I don’t think so. Sure, people want a competitive advantage to get the biggest pumpkin they can. But what do you answer if I ask these questions?

  • Are you getting soil tests done?
  • Are you setting up drip irrigation with nutrients being fed into the lines?

If the answer is no to either of those. I think you will be fine with getting the best seed around.

A great seed with an average grower putting in average effort doesn’t mean you will get amazing results.

You might disagree with me on that.

Couriers and Sending

The other part of the seed selling equation is the amount of time it takes to send things to people. Couriers are a pain in the ass.

Covid has caused massive strains on the courier network. Chasing them, making sure things get sent and that can take up a lot of time.

Time that could be spent doing other things.

What’s the Answer?

I’m not too sure right now.

While the seed sales are the only way I make any money on this site currently. It’s nowhere near the amount it takes to run the site. Pay for items for the growing season etc.

If anyone tells you they grow giant pumpkins to make lots of money. They don’t know what they are talking about.

I’ve been thinking if some sort of donation type setup could work. This is what I’m thinking.

  • To say thanks for the content I make and to help keep the lights on running the website. You can make a contribution.
  • It would be the minimum cost of shipping + at least $1 (or more) on top of that. The person decides.
  • You’d get a giant pumpkin seed (different ones would be on offer)
  • But… You accept all risk of trying to grow this seed. It is all on you. If it doesn’t grow, bummer. I offer all the seeds in good faith and I hope they all grow.

But like I mentioned earlier. There are so many variables to seeds, especially in small quantities.

Let me know if that sounds like a good plan. Or not.

Or I don’t sell seeds at all.

I’ll get lots of emails asking where to get them from though.

Pumpkin Event Stuff

Another area I’ve been putting a lot of thought into is the local pumpkin event I am currently president of.

Losing my Passion for Running the Event

While I have a renewed passion to create content, update things and grow pumpkins. The same can’t be said for running the current pumpkin event I am involved with.

We have a small team that helps run that event. Out of that small team there’s only a couple of us that actually grow pumpkins.

While I’m the president, I have no vice president.

I normally think about what I need to do with this event. What I need to organise etc. This year I had no thoughts about it whatsoever.

We cancelled it due to Covid. Which is good. As I hadn’t sorted out much at all.

I’ve mentally checked out of it.

Which is a shame. Because I don’t want the event to stop. But if I step away from it, that is most likely to happen.

Get More People Involved

Maybe you’re saying just get more people involved.

Sure. But who?

Our event is a large pumpkin event not really associated with any group or school. Any money made just goes back into the event.

It’s unique. In that it’s held in a large city, not in a small community. Which I think would make it easier to run if it was, from what I’ve seen at other events.

I really don’t know what to do.

I can’t delegate things to people that don’t want to learn how to do something, or are too busy doing other things.

Like I said above, I wouldn’t want the event to not exist. I’m just so far involved that even if I stepped back a bit, it would still take up a lot of my time. I really do feel I need to just not be involved.

Will that change over time? Maybe. But for now I want to focus on a lot of the other things mentioned above.

While our event is really good. I’d be happy to just weigh some pumpkins and have a BBQ. And nothing else.

It’s a weird position to be in. If I was getting out of everything giant pumpkin related it would make it easier.

But I’m not. And if this event stops happening. I’m not sure who or what would fill that void. And if there is no public event to go to, then what am I and others growing for?

And… if I create my own event. Even if it is smaller, then won’t I end up in the same boat of doing a lot of the work myself?

It’s a whole dilemma.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about this. I’d love to hear your take on it.

And if you aren’t from NZ and are going to mention growing groups or clubs, well don’t. We don’t have any of those.

Our population is small. The amount of giant pumpkin growers is tiny. And the group of competitive growers in the country pushing the limits and going for the NZ record. Well, that number is probably less than 10 people.

And whatever I choose to do. Well there is a deadline.

We have an AGM that needs to be sorted. Decisions made.

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Pip Graham
2 years ago

It seems to be the season on feeling like stepping away from social media – it’s time for real life…

Hope the break clears the air for you.

Take care Sam 😎


Shane Newitt
2 years ago

Hi Sam you do a fantastic job and a little break no doubt will do you good. We need you going strong as you created a situation that pulled all southern growers together from various countries. Your content I find is really presented well and informative if we are going to encourage and get new growers in the southern countries. I think personally this year I did not interact as much as normal due to over work load on the large scale farms, I know Tim also had his hands full with the farms I agree having a vice president and some more committee would be the way to go. .please keep going when you are rested up.. we need this site humming and up and running.. Shane.

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