At nearly 300 pounds, Tubby is something of a lightweight.

The Kitsilano-grown giant pumpkin is dwarfed by its 1,543-lb parent. 

“We got the seeds from giantpumpkinsbc.com. Actually my wife Verity and I both secretly ordered seeds from the same place. We originally planned to see which one of us could grow the largest pumpkin,” said grower Joey King.

Early germination struggles (and restricted garden space) inspired combined efforts. 

“You need to start early, to maximize your growing time. But if you start too early, the vine is too big to transplant once conditions are right.”

Germination timing was the first of many lessons learned.

“There’s an incredible amount of information out there about how to grow a giant pumpkin. It’s easy to get started. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to remain a casual gardener.”

Tubby is still something of a fixture — neatly occupying almost half of an ambitiously sized wooden pallet next to its raised front yard bed.

A strong start into July was met with a number of challenges.

“Our son was born at about the same time the first female pumpkin flowers appeared. Then we lost the first pumpkin to a rat. Then an epic bout of powdery mildew got into the vine later in August.”

Powdery mildew, which forms in humid conditions and spreads rapidly through squash vines if not rapidly checked, ultimately kills infected leaves.

“We kept it contained for a couple of weeks with aggressive pruning. But eventually we would have had to prune the whole vine.”

While growers Verity and Joey have some choice words to say about powdery mildew, the most unprintable commentary came from local visitors.

“Mail and package delivery folks were always excited about the pumpkin,” said Verity. “We’re proud to be representing our Kitsilano neighbourhood this weekend at the BC annual giant pumpkin weigh-off event, even if we leave with a participation ribbon and serious inspiration for bringing the gold home next year.”

Last modified: October 9, 2022

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