Two new provincial records were set at the annual B.C. Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, held at Langley’s Krause Berry Farms and Estate Winery on Saturday, Oct. 2.
David Chan of Richmond grew the largest pumpkin ever seen in B.C. at 1,911 lbs. (866 kilograms), breaking the previous record of 1,543 lbs. set by Langley resident Scott Carley.
Chan described how he did more soil sampling than usual this year, using money from a vacation budget that went unspent because of the pandemic.
What Chan discovered, when the lab results returned, was his soil didn’t need that much enhancing.
“It was the least amount of fertilizer that I’ve used in any growing year,” Chan remarked.
Seeds for his monster pumpkin came from a grower in Michigan.
Chan also won a certified World Recognized Great Pumpkin Commonwealth jacket at the Krause weigh-in for having three entries totalling more than 4,000 lbs. (GPC) is the international body that sets rules and record records).
Carley is the only other British Columbian to achieve that milestone.
Jeff Pelletier from North Vancouver was second, Glen and Andrea Dixon of Mill Bay were third, and Carley was fourth.
Pelletier won for the largest field pumpkin at 122 lbs. breaking the previous provincial record of 111 lbs., also set by Carley.
“I said to Dave, oh no, we’ve poked the bear [Carley],” laughed Pelletier, who also served as MC at the event
In the process of relocating to North Langley, Carley ended up growing this year’s entry in a regular garden rather than the pumpkin patch that produced his previous winners.
Gracious in defeat, Carey noted the new record holders achieved their winning growth using relatively small backyards.
“I can’t take anything away from them,” Carley commented, adding he was looking forward to next year.
Chan described how he first became interested in the art of growing very big pumpkins about 40 years ago, when he saw a man who’d grown a giant pumpkin appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
The man mentioned that the seed for his winner had come from a Canadian, a man in Nova Scotia named Howard Dill.
“This was before the internet,” Chan recalled, so he took a chance and sent a letter addressed to “Howard Dill, Nova Scotia.”
“In one week, I got a letter back.”
Dill, well-known for growing giant pumpkin varieties, has been called the “pumpkin King” and “Father of all pumpkins.”
At an estimated 1,000 people turned out to watch the Langley event, which was better than expected.
It was the first weigh-in since the 2020 event had to be cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions.
Increased interest in the art of growing gargantuan gourds has members of the Giant Pumpkins British Columbia Facebook group thinking about establishing a growers’ association that would help newcomers, Pelletier told the Langley Advance Times.
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