On October 3rd 2015 Jeff’s giant pumpkin was wrestled onto the scales. Its weight – an astonishing 1,683 pounds, equivalent to the weight of about 10 men.
Also astonishing is that this pumpkin was not grown in the tropics but in northern Ontario, in the community of Englehart, north of Temagami and 500 kilometers north of Toronto.
We are proud to say he uses Plant-Prod fertilizers, which is the brand of plant nutrition used at Aidie Creek Gardens where he grows other giant plants including carrots, sunflowers, beets, cabbage, rutabagas and celery.
How did Jeff grow such a massive pumpkin?
“You need good seed, good soil and don’t be lazy, get out there every day,” Jeff states, “Even if it is raining out I don’t care I go out there anyway, every day, I don’t sit on the couch.”
Around the 24th of April he planted 10 seeds in a hot house in small pots. Then after 7 – 10 days he transplanted the two strongest plants into a 600 square foot greenhouse. The soil is, as Jeff reports, “Very sandy around here, to which I have added a lot of black muck, a little clay and over the years our own compost that has a lot of peat moss.”
“As the plant grows we completely bury the vine encouraging the plant to root, so all you see is the leaves sticking out. Where the leaves meet the vine it sends roots down, so it sends down hundreds and hundreds of roots.” In July the shoots grow 14 to 16 inches every day. And when they meet the walls of the greenhouse, holes are cut allowing them to advance outside.
“We water every day. We feed with Plant-Prod 10-52-10 for the first couple of weeks. Then use 20-20-20 Classic about once a week for the majority of the summer, and for the last three weeks of the season we use 15-15-30 High K Finisher.”
“Most days we weed which is a constant, never-ending, thankless job. Some days we just smile and just hope for a good summer.”
At Aidie Creek Gardens half the business is growing tree seedlings and half a garden centre. Explains Jeff, “We use Plant-Prod in the whole operation, which we have used in all my years here. One year I tried another brand for my giant vegetables but quickly switched back.”
The pumpkin grows quickly. As the shoots touch the greenhouse walls, Jeff cuts holes so they can continue growing outside.