Pumpkins, big ones!

In the Observer music monthly this week there was an article on alternate careers that various famous musicians have embarked on.
Jim Martin is now a big pumpkin grower. No, I should rephrase, he grows enormous pumpkins and enters them into competitions. Big, sick, Jim Martin, formerly of Faith No More (the mighty, majestic band who influenced well, a gazillion other bands, none of whom can compare.)

I have copied this from bbs.bunglefever.com/

The former rocker works in a property management company with his family. For six months straight though, he spends every spare moment tending the gourds. The only other crop he grows is peas. Why? “I love peas. I stand out here and eat them,” he said. “They never make it up to the house.” Martin lives with his wife of four years, Rain, and their 2-year-old son, Napali. Martin could never grow such huge pumpkins without her, he said. “I bring him beer and cigarettes,” she said, laughing. “From the time he’s home until he goes to bed he’s out in the patch. Whatever he’s doing in life, he focuses on it. He’s happier growing pumpkins than being in the office. He likes to see them grow and likes going out on his tractor.” When it’s time to remove the pumpkins from the patch, it takes the help of more than a dozen people. Rain Martin cooks stew and pumpkin pies for them, and keeps the beer flowing, all while chasing Napali. Most of Martin’s friends and relatives don’t understand his passion, but fellow competitors do. There is a community of about 20 serious growers in the Northwest who Martin sees at contests and conferences. The Martins are quiet about Jim’s 1980s and early’90s rock days, but the secret got out anyway. “People are mentioning it to me,” Martin said. “I didn’t want it to get out, but it did, so what can you do?” Martin likes to live in the present. “It took a lot of time to recover from those years,” he said. “It was an awful lot of work. No weekends, no settling, no family. You hear about how glamorous being in a successful band is, but it’s not everything you might think it would be.” Martin looked toward his patch again and said, “Music is what fit then, this is what fits now.” He comes from a long line of farmers and was interested in big pumpkins since childhood. “I’d see them on TV and think, ‘I wonder if I could do that,'” he said. He’s been growing pumpkins for five years and was successful almost immediately. It takes an incredible amount of work from May through October. The pumpkins can grow up to 30 pounds a day, and the tangled mass of vines around them can each grow 2 feet a day. The pumpkins are fenced off from predators and are protected by a tent at night. The pumpkins Martin grows taste great, but the big ones can’t be eaten; the poisonous pesticide he uses is systemic. “I look at them and sure, I feel satisfaction,” Martin said. “Growing these isn’t all that different than what I used to do in music. If you want to be good you have to give it what it needs.” And you also need good soil. Martin said he has the best in California. “Isn’t it obvious,” the generally serious man asked with a grin as he looked at his award winning pumpkin. “I mean, there’s the proof.” 1,087 pounds of it.

There’s something so wonderfully nutty about this. I love that he only grows peas and pumpkins, and gets completely obsessed for 6 months a year, just taking his tractor out and watching them. I mean, think about that, he watches pumpkins grow! And he says he used to watch big pumpkins on tv and wonder if he could do that. How supremely random an ambition. Dude, I grew an oversized vegetable. Yay.
I am fascinated with people who devote themselves to one specialist area. Jim Martin…big and sick, I salute ya!

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1 thought on “Pumpkins, big ones!”

  1. I’ve thought about using a systemic to grow pumpkins. It makes sense since they wouldn’t be used for eating. Boy, but with pumpkins over a thousand pounds he must really know what he’s doing!

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