The Hodges family
The Pumpkin Lady
The local pumpkin patch came alive in 2001 just outside of Harveyville on Highway 31; the fall celebrations began for pumpkin buyers, the local school children and the Methodist Youth Group. In the beginning the schools allowed the students to come on a field trip and pick some pumpkins for their classrooms. Then schools became so busy with “No Child Left Behind” regulations there were no time for field trips.
Velda Hodges is the local pumpkin grower and area children bring their families every weekend October to the field and her little red barn, never missing a chance to take a trip on the wagon pulled by her small tractor, Mr. Kubota, to the pumpkin patch.
Jim Thompson of “Horseway Farms and Adventures” loaded up the church group on his wagon pulled by his team of draft horses and brought them out to Vel’s for a wiener roast, games, and the choosing of pumpkins for a full celebration day.
Grandmas who are afraid of chiggers or people who do not wish to take the wagon ride can view the scene from a large tree house which sits high enough to see the entire three acres of pumpkins, provided they are not afraid to climb a ladder to get up high enough to enjoy the adventure.
After Vel bought the property, she had the original barn removed and had a small barn built to exhibit her crafts and weigh the pumpkins after the venture to the field.
Besides the pumpkins, she grows lots of gourds to sell and dry for her craft ideas; her art is displayed in barn. She is very creative and has painted gourds hanging around the red barn for sale. Becky Palmer, a Wabaunsee County artist, paints on Vel’s dried gourds.
As a neighbor and a gardener, I adore her technique of laying out her pumpkin field in perfect design. She grows many varieties of gourds and pumpkins. Of course, her big challenge is the control of squash bugs: they can wipe out a large area of growth over night. Weeds are a problem each year but nothing like the control of bugs.
Vel says, “I have dedicated the pumpkin endeavor to my entire family because when my kids were young they wanted to plant. I gave them a package of gourds and pumpkins to plant in 1970. They grew a bumper crop and sold them at our roadside.”