PUMPKIN PLANTING SESSIONS!
Grow your own pumpkin at home with expert advice from the pumpkin patch! These sessions are aimed at children but anyone can take part and they are a great family lockdown activity. Growing a pumpkin is really exciting, particularly as they grow so fast. Jenny from Udny Pumpkins has grown thousands and can't wait to help you grow your own at home!
WILL THERE BE PLANTING SESSIONS IN 2021?
Yes but, like last year, they will be "virtual" sessions. Usually we love hosting our children's pumpkin planting sessions at the farm during the Easter holidays but due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions this is not possible again this year. However, the virtual sessions were really popular last year with more than 400 people taking part! This year we have made some changes to make them even better - so read on to find out more! The virtual sessions offer a great lockdown project for the whole family at home.
HOW DO THE VIRTUAL PLANTING SESSIONS WORK?
Step 1: Buy a kit from our new online shop! You have a choice of 4 kits depending on which pumpkin variety you would like to grow! Your kit will be delivered the first week of April, or you can collect it from the farm gate at Udny Pumpkins. Your kit will contain a colourful plant pot, pumpkin seeds, peat-free compost, label to decorate and instructions.
Step 2: Join the private Udny Pumpkins "Virtual Pumpkin Planting" Facebook group. Once you buy a kit you will be sent details of how to join. This is where the virtual planting session video will be found, as well as lots of follow up advice.
Step 3: Take part in the virtual pumpkin planting session, which will be held on 11th April. If you can't manage that date don't worry, the planting video will be available to watch at any time that suits you! There will also be follow up videos, tips and photos to help you have the best chance of growing your pumpkins successfully.
NEW FOR 2021:
1. This year each person taking part will have a choice of pumpkin variety to grow:
KIT A: Mini orange munchkin pumpkin: Very cute, decorative pumpkins that are also a bit easier to grow than their larger relatives. They can be grown in quite a small space so they are ideal for children with smaller gardens or those who will be growing in a pot. They are very cute and always popular with children. They are also delicious to eat.
KIT B: Mini white munchkin pumpkin: As above, but white!
KIT C: Standard orange: this is a traditional orange pumpkin that is tried and tested to grow well in Scotland. It is quite a small variety, which makes it easier to grow successfully but it is large enough to carve and also delicious to eat.
KIT D: Large orange: For those who like a challenge and have plenty of space to grow. These are not recommended for first-time growers but if you have experience, this is a stunning pumpkin when it works out! You will need plenty of space and ideally a sheltered and sunny spot to grow it.
2. Everyone taking part will be sent three seeds to give you a good chance of success. If one doesn't germinate, you will have two more chances!
3. You can choose the colour of your plant pot to make sure it is your child's favourite. Choose from purple, green, orange, blue, pink and red from the drop down menu when ordering your kit.
4. This year as well as initial online planting session there will also be follow up videos to show you how to care for your plant - such as how to plant it out and how to care for the pumpkin when it starts to grow. These will take place on the private Facebook group.
PLEASE NOTE: Unlike in previous years we will not be planting an individual pumpkin at Udny Pumpkins for the children to find at the pumpkin patch. Instead we will be focussing on helping you grow your pumpkin at home.
Who are the planting sessions suitable for?
They are aimed at children, but really anyone can take part. It's a great lockdown activity to do as a family.
Will you be growing a pumpkin for the child to find at the pumpkin patch, like in previous years?
No, this year we are focussing on helping you to grow your pumpkin at home. The pumpkin patch will be open in October as usual but we won't be growing individual pumpkins this year for planting session customers.
How much does it cost to take part?
Each kit costs £10 and the price includes the virtual planting session and all follow up tips and videos. Delivery of your kit is £2.90, pickup from the farm gate is free (but please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know the date you will be collecting it, between 1st and 10th April)
How do I know which kit to choose?
If you would like to grow a traditional Halloween pumpkin we would recommend kit C. This is a variety that is tried and tested to grow well in Scotland. It is quite a small variety but big enough to carve and also very tasty to eat.
If you only have a small space to grow your pumpkin it may be better to go for one of the munchkin varieties (Kits A or B). These are beautiful decorative varieties (too small to carve), which are also very tasty. They can be grown in a large pot and are easier to grow than larger varieties, giving you a great chance of success.
If you really want a challenge and you are confident in your growing skills, go for kit D. These are beautiful large pumpkins, but large pumpkins are not easy to grow in Scotland (pumpkins prefer sunnier climates). Your chances of success with this variety are lower but if you have grown pumpkins successfully before, this could be the choice for you!
The following information applies to "normal" years when the planting sessions can be held at Udny Pumpkins rather than virutally. So not all this information is relevant for 2021.
WHEN ARE THE PUMPKIN PLANTING SESSIONS?
These will be held during the second week of the Easter holidays and during the first week back after the holidays. Each session lasts an hour.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE PUMPKIN PLANTING SESSIONS?
The first half of the session is focused on planting pumpkins. The children begin by collecting compost from the compost heap, then use that in the polytunnel to plant their seeds in colourful pots. They water them, label them and learn about how to care for them. The second half of the session is spent visiting and feeding the animals on the smallholding. This is likely to include sheep, hens, baby chicks and bunnies. At the end of the session they take their pots with their planted pumpkin seeds home to try to grow into a pumpkin.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The hour-long session costs £10 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult (there is no charge for adults). Siblings who are too young to join in are welcome to come along and watch.
WHAT AGE IS IT SUITABLE FOR?
Any child up to the end of primary school. We don't have a minimum age but to get the most out of the sessions a child would probably need to be at least 3. The children do need to be able to follow a few instructions in a group setting. However, we are happy to take younger children as long as they are accompanied by an adult who is happy to be hands on and help the child. Sometimes adults like to bring a baby to plant a pumpkin on their behalf, and we are very happy with this. If a parent/carer thinks a child will be too young to join in, they are very welcome to come and watch if an older sibling has booked.
DO YOU HAVE A TOILET?
Yes we have a composting toilet.
DO YOU HAVE A CAFE?
No we do not have refreshments available at the pumpkin planting sessions. However, we are spoilt for choice with so many lovely cafes nearby. These include the Coffee Apothecary, The Barn, The Murly Tuck, the cafes at Haddo and Formartine's. Please bring a drink for your child if they are likely to get thirsty as they may do a lot of running around.
DO YOU HAVE HAND WASHING FACILITIES?
Yes and at the end of each session we ensure that all visitors wash their hands. This is extremely important after touching the animals.
HOW DO WE FIND YOU?
We are located near Udny Green, about 9 miles north of Aberdeen. If using the sat nav, the postcode is AB41 6SP but note this will take you to a farmhouse around the corner. With this on your right, drive to the end of the road, turn right and Udny Pumpkins is the first on the right. If approaching from Aberdeen, drive along the B999 towards Pitmedden. Take the left turning marked Millbank, just before the turning to Udny Station. Udny Pumpkins is just over a mile up that road on the right.
WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR?
Warm clothes that can get messy and, most importantly, wellies. It can be very muddy.
CAN YOU CATER FOR SCHOOL OR PLAYGROUP VISITS?
Yes we have a small number of sessions available for groups such as primary school classes, nurseries and playgroups. A group visit would typically follow a similar format to the pumpkin planting sessions, starting with pumpkin planting and followed by a chance to visit the animals. Jenny, who runs the sessions, has PVG certification under Disclosure Scotland and a risk assessment is available on request. We may be able to accommodate group visits at other times. Please contact us for more information.