When Russell first floated the idea of growing pumpkins in the summer of 2016, Lucy thought he had lost the plot! She was used to being married to a man whose brain is always ticking but this seemed to be a crazy idea even for him! Over a glass of wine (or two) he explained his desire to encourage children to experience rural life and learn where food comes from while having fun. Having a purely arable farm with everything on a big scale – machinery, land and big highland cows as pets – there hasn’t ever been much scope for our children to be involved in the day-to-day running of the farm and this is something he was desperate to change. So, the dream of growing pumpkins for a ‘pick your own’ pumpkin patch was born!
The children were incredibly excited and with all the family on board, the research and planning began. We spent the rest of 2016 and 2017 working out how to grow pumpkins and what our patch would look like. We decided to grow a test patch for family and friends to visit in time for Halloween 2017. We managed to grow 250 or so pumpkins of lots of different shapes and sizes and learnt lots about what pumpkins do and don’t like! They love sunshine and water and dislike deer! It was a hit and pumpkin picking at Kilduff was a GO!
The Patch opened to the public in October 2018 and what a year it was. 5,000 pumpkins seeds, all planted by hand and smothered love and attention for six months yielded around 8,000 pumpkins which lay waiting for the 6,000 visitors to take home. We were joined by Sinclair & Rice with their horsebox ‘Bluebell’ from which they served their speciality coffee, hot chocolate and toasties. Visitors delighted in exploring The Patch, our bale maze and numerous photo opportunities in the (mostly constant) sunshine.
We couldn’t have asked for a better first year on The Patch and we can’t wait for the 2019 Patch to open. Pumpkin seeds will be sown in April and planted in the ground around six weeks later. There will be lots of new varieties planted this year and a dedicated culinary patch created. Keep an eye on our blog and social media for lots of exciting updates from The Patch.