Giant pumpkin weighs in at 400kg

Farmer Dale Oliver, of Knockrow, with his giant pumpkin. It is one of the biggest recorded on the North Coast.
Farmer Dale Oliver, of Knockrow, with his giant pumpkin. It is one of the biggest recorded on the North Coast. Kate O’Neill

TIPPING the scales at more than 400kg, this massive pumpkin grown by Knockrow farmer Dale Oliver is one of the biggest and heaviest grown on the North Coast.

And if it makes it there intact, it stands a good chance of winning this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show Pumpkin growing competition.

Mr Oliver, who has been growing giant pumpkins for more than a decade, said it was one his best, despite this year’s difficult growing conditions. Of the several he had growing, all but this one have rotted away.

“It’s just been too wet. I’m lucky to have it really,” he said.

Mr Oliver said the seeds for the Atlantic Giant were purchased on the internet and the pumpkin’s flower was pollinated in November. He helped it along with “heaps of fertiliser and organic matter” and picked it three Sundays ago. It is now in storage in his shed to prevent it from rotting before the April show.

Mr Oliver is humble about his achievement, but fellow giant pumpkin grower John Mills, of Brunswick Heads, said the Knockrow pumpkin was “a beauty”. He and Mr Oliver put the pumpkin on scales sent up from Sydney and believe it could weigh up to 441kg – making it very close to Bangalow grower John Tidge’s 456 kg monster produced in 2009.

“It’s the second biggest grown in this area,” Mr Mills said.

The pumpkin may lose up to 30kg in storage but with the current show record at only 270kg, it will still be a major contender.

Now it’s just a matter of getting the pumpkin to Sydney and praying that rot doesn’t strike before then.

Last year, Mr Mills’s 320kg giant collapsed from rot just before it was to be loaded on to a truck bound for Sydney.

“You can’t talk about the one that got away, if it doesn’t get to the scales it doesn’t count,” Mr Mills said.

“But if he (Mr Oliver) gets it to the line he’ll be very, very hard to beat.”

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