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Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers weigh off, September 26

Beth Edwards
Haigler, Neb.
Beth EdwardsEntrants lined up for public viewing.

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Giants descended upon the land in 2008. The land of Jared’s Nursery in Littleton, Colo., that is.

On a warm, sunny Sept. 27, giant pumpkins came from all over Colorado and a couple from Wyoming to see which was the biggest giant pumpkin for 2008 in the Rocky Mountain region.

The Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers held its third annual weigh-off in 2008 to determine who grew the largest of the large. The giant pumpkins rolled in on trailers and in pickup beds. They were carried to the official scale – a couple by hand, a few by cart but most by a front end loader using a device called a pumpkin lifting ring.

For the first time, a Junior division was established for children age 15 and under. There were four of the huge vegetables entered in the Junior Division. The top weight was 171 pounds, grown by five year old McKenna Edwards of Holyoke, Colo. Judges Charlene Hopson and Duke Edwards went around and talked with all the junior entrants before the weigh-off began to encourage them and see what they remembered about their pumpkin growing experience.

The adult growers division had 16 entries. There were other pumpkins there for display only as competitors could only enter one vegetable in the competition. Weights ranged from 129 pounds to the new state record whopper – 1,135 pounds grown by Joe Scherber of Wheat Ridge, Colo. Joe, a dentist, started growing giant pumpkins after seeing a patient’s photographs of his giant pumpkin patch and pumpkins. Joe thought he’d give it a try himself – 2008 was Scherber’s third state record. He claimed the other titles in 2007 with a weight of 1,075 and in 2000 with a weight of 1,009.

Pumpkin color ranged from a very pale orange to yellow to a deep rich orange. Also shown for exhibition purposes were giant green squash, long gourds and giant sunflowers. One of the pumpkins, with a weight of 895 pounds, a beautiful deep orange pumpkin grown by Gary Grande of Littleton, Colo., was put on display at the Ronald McDonald house in Aurora through the end of October.

Grande, whose screen name is “TheWiz” on ColoradoPumpkins.com and president of the RMGVG club, says, “I want people to know it’s a real rewarding challenge growing them (the pumpkins) so large.  It’s really hard to believe how fast they can grow and when they take off your mouth just says WOW … It is very addicting.”

“The best advice for anyone interested in growing giant pumpkins would be to read all the publications you can if you want to grow for competition. There is a lot to learn, but growing for fun is OK, too. Both are rewarding and well worth trying. The folks in the giant vegetable growing community are all just great folks who share their energies and friendships, so it’s more than just growing vegetables but growing friendships and learning,” he says.

Twenty new growers were added to the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers club in 2008. The more time and energy members put into the club, the bigger it will grow – just like the giant pumpkins.

The land will be filled with giants again in the fall of 2009 after a season of selecting seeds, germinating, coaxing, planting, pollinating, fertilizing, burying vines, watering, watching and waiting. Waiting to see how large the giants will be on Sept. 26, 2009.

Giants descended upon the land in 2008. The land of Jared’s Nursery in Littleton, Colo., that is.

On a warm, sunny Sept. 27, giant pumpkins came from all over Colorado and a couple from Wyoming to see which was the biggest giant pumpkin for 2008 in the Rocky Mountain region.

The Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers held its third annual weigh-off in 2008 to determine who grew the largest of the large. The giant pumpkins rolled in on trailers and in pickup beds. They were carried to the official scale – a couple by hand, a few by cart but most by a front end loader using a device called a pumpkin lifting ring.

For the first time, a Junior division was established for children age 15 and under. There were four of the huge vegetables entered in the Junior Division. The top weight was 171 pounds, grown by five year old McKenna Edwards of Holyoke, Colo. Judges Charlene Hopson and Duke Edwards went around and talked with all the junior entrants before the weigh-off began to encourage them and see what they remembered about their pumpkin growing experience.

The adult growers division had 16 entries. There were other pumpkins there for display only as competitors could only enter one vegetable in the competition. Weights ranged from 129 pounds to the new state record whopper – 1,135 pounds grown by Joe Scherber of Wheat Ridge, Colo. Joe, a dentist, started growing giant pumpkins after seeing a patient’s photographs of his giant pumpkin patch and pumpkins. Joe thought he’d give it a try himself – 2008 was Scherber’s third state record. He claimed the other titles in 2007 with a weight of 1,075 and in 2000 with a weight of 1,009.

Pumpkin color ranged from a very pale orange to yellow to a deep rich orange. Also shown for exhibition purposes were giant green squash, long gourds and giant sunflowers. One of the pumpkins, with a weight of 895 pounds, a beautiful deep orange pumpkin grown by Gary Grande of Littleton, Colo., was put on display at the Ronald McDonald house in Aurora through the end of October.

Grande, whose screen name is “TheWiz” on ColoradoPumpkins.com and president of the RMGVG club, says, “I want people to know it’s a real rewarding challenge growing them (the pumpkins) so large.  It’s really hard to believe how fast they can grow and when they take off your mouth just says WOW … It is very addicting.”

“The best advice for anyone interested in growing giant pumpkins would be to read all the publications you can if you want to grow for competition. There is a lot to learn, but growing for fun is OK, too. Both are rewarding and well worth trying. The folks in the giant vegetable growing community are all just great folks who share their energies and friendships, so it’s more than just growing vegetables but growing friendships and learning,” he says.

Twenty new growers were added to the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers club in 2008. The more time and energy members put into the club, the bigger it will grow – just like the giant pumpkins.

The land will be filled with giants again in the fall of 2009 after a season of selecting seeds, germinating, coaxing, planting, pollinating, fertilizing, burying vines, watering, watching and waiting. Waiting to see how large the giants will be on Sept. 26, 2009.


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