Smoky summer may have spoiled world record for Calgary-area pumpkin grower

Click to play video: 'Smoky summer may have spoiled world record for Calgary-area pumpkin grower' Smoky summer may have spoiled world record for Calgary-area pumpkin grower
WATCH: The heavy smoke drifting from wildfires in B.C. this summer put a damper on all kinds of things in the Calgary area. As Gil Tucker shows us, for one very dedicated pumpkin grower, it might have blocked out a good shot at a world record – Oct 10, 2018

Eddie Zaychkowsky has been growing pumpkins on his rural property northeast of Calgary for almost two decades, but never anything quite like the giant surprise the summer of 2018 brought.

“[It’s] 2,255 pounds,” Zaychkowsky said, showing off his proudest achievement in the pumpkin patch. “It’s the biggest one ever grown in Canada. We had days of over 60 pounds in a 24-hour period that this thing gained.”

Zaychkowsky figures it might have grown even bigger if Alberta hadn’t been hit by heavy smoke drifting over from summer wildfires in British Columbia.

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READ MORE: What you need to know about the smoky air blanketing Calgary

“We ran into a snag at the beginning of August when all the forest fires hit because it took away the sun,” he said. “We were running at [gains of] 40 pounds a day and it dropped to six.”
“We might have given the world record a run [of] 2,624 pounds, grown in Belgium three years ago,” Zaychkowsky said. “We were on track to beat it.”

And while the scale shows it’s the biggest pumpkin ever grown in Canada, it won’t earn Zaychkowsky a national record.

“There was a hole [in it] about the size of a knitting needle,” he said. “That’s what disqualified it.”
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But Zaychkowsky’s giant gourd is still getting pumpkin people pretty pumped.

READ MORE: Pumpkins take over Smoky Lake for annual weigh-off

“We already have a waiting list of people that want these seeds,” he said. “From New Zealand to England to Australia.”

And he’s keeping his fingers crossed that next summer wildfires won’t again smoke him out of that potential record.

“Oh yeah, we’re going to come back,” Zaychkowsky said. “And it’s going to be bigger!”

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