Pumpkins provide entertainment, opportunity to earn spending money for Pratt youngsters

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Kelsie and Kenzie Liggett (front) and their friend Piper Schmidt (blue shirt) are having a ball getting more than 100 pumpkins ready to sell Saturday on their front lawn on N. Main in Pratt.
Yard display with a purpose catches attention on N. Main on Saturday in Pratt.
Max Liggett and his granddaughter Kenzie Liggett share some afternoon fall fun Saturday in Pratt.
A wide variety of fall pumpkins were available to the public Saturday on a private lawn in Pratt.

Grandchildren of Kiowa County farmers Max and Thelma Liggett spent several hours late last Friday night out in the Kiowa County family pumpkin patch, picking more than 100 of the round gourds which they brought to Pratt to sell on Saturday. It was quite a sight to see the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor spread across the Liggett family's N. Main Street lawn as they proceeded towards their goals of selling their fall harvest.

"We had the whole crew out to help pick, including Cade, Kelsie and Kenzie Liggett, Isaac Gruetter and Brennan Birk," said Terri Liggett, mother of three. "Some adults helped too and we brought in all sizes of pumpkins, from less than 5 pounds to ones that weigh more than 65 pounds."

Liggett said the larger pumpkins were loaded by the adults in the group but the kids helped pick all the mid-and smaller-sized pumpkins and then unloaded them in groups to sell on Saturday afternoon.

"We hadn't really planned on doing this more often than today," Liggett said on Saturday. "I guess it depends on how many we sell and if we want to keep it up again for next weekend."

To augment their pumpkin displays, Max Liggett and sons also brought to town an old grain-hauler wagon with a long history of helping at harvest. Made more than 100 years ago, original wheels and axles still worked, somewhat, at least for a fall harvest display.

"This wagon was a wedding gift to my grandmother Brensing," Max Liggett said. "They used it to haul their wheat to town over by Hudson many, many years ago. Of course, that was back when it was loaded onto the wagon by shovels and then shoveled back off at the elevator. A lot harder than loading pumpkins."

Max Liggett said he and his wife, Thelma, decided to dedicate an unused field on their farm to pumpkins this year because they wanted to try something different. Along with help from their children and grandchildren, they planted eight different varieties of pumpkin seeds this spring in six long rows in an area that was somewhat protected from the wind.

"We had quite a crop the first time around," Liggett said. "We did use some drip irrigation andt the pumpkins grew very well this year."

While the Liggett grandkids were in charge of selling the great pumpkin harvest of 2021, adults and grandparents sat on the shade of the N. Main porch in Pratt and contemplated planting ideas for 2022.

"I think we might do this again," Max Liggett said. "The variety was fun, and this was a good way to get everyone together."

Max and Thelma Liggett live on a farm in western Kiowa County, between Greensburg and Mullinville.