October 2, 2016 8:17 pm
Updated: October 2, 2016 8:25 pm

B.C. giant pumpkin competition awards 1,172-pound gargantuan gourd

Scott Carley
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How many pumpkin pies could you make with a 1,172-pound pumpkin? Some of B.C.’s biggest pumpkin growers may soon find out after the B.C. Giant Pumpkin Weighoff 2016.

Four pumpkins weighed in at over 1,000 pounds on Saturday at Langley’s Krause Berry Farms. Scott Carley had the largest at 1,172 pounds, 100 pounds heavier than North Vancouver’s Andrea Dixon’s second place pumpkin.

Scott Carley and his family show up his prize-winning pumpkin.

Scott Carley

It was a battle between spouses as Dixon’s husband Glenn’s 1,029-pound pumpkin came in fourth. Richmond’s Janet Love made third place with a 1,036-pound gourd.

Andrea Dixon’s 1,077-pound pumpkin before the Krause Berry Farms Giant Pumpkin Weighoff 2016

Andrea Dixon

The competition is B.C.’s only world-recognized giant pumpkin weigh-off and has been happening for the last four years.

Three-time winner Carley, whose 1,411-pound pumpkin won the competition in 2015, told Global News last year that the key to big pumpkins was big fertilizing and a little TLC.

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The seeds are planted in April or early May and pollinated by the end of June. By early October, they are ready to be weighed.

This year, however, was problematic due to the wet and cool weather.

“I lost a whole bunch of bigger pumpkins because it was too wet and the vines kind of rotted out,” Carley said.

Carley grows his pumpkins in a 12,000-square foot area on his land in South Langely. For big pumpkins, he said the best weather is warm daytime temperatures around 25 C and nighttime temperatures at a minimum of 15 C.

Each plant takes about 50 gallons of water per day, depending on the soil.

The obvious question – how do you move around a 1,100-pound pumpkin? – is easy to answer if you’re a farmer like Carley. He owns a tractor and what he calls “pumpkin lifting slings” that move the gourds around quite simply.

Backyard gardeners have it tougher. Carley said runner-up Andrea Dixon and her husband grow their pumpkins in their North Vancouver backyard in a space about 20 feet by 40 feet.

“You don’t need a huge amount of space to grow them.”

But you may need a good amount of yard if you want to get your pumpkins at big as Carley dreams of. His goal is to beat the B.C. record by growing a pumpkin bigger than 1,500 pounds.

In case you were wondering – and we know you were – the largest pumpkin ever recorded belongs to Germany’s Beni Meier who grew a 2,323.7-pound specimen in 2014.

What happens to these ginormous gourds after the big weigh-in? Carley often donates his to community events for kids to enjoy or leaves them at Krause Berry Farms to spice up their decor. With the extras in his yard, he’ll carve up a jack-o-lantern to put out on Halloween.

And pie?

Carley estimates you could bake thousands off just one of his blue-ribbon winners.

 

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