PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – James Osmond likes vegetables.
How else can one explain his penchant for growing giant pumpkins every year? He’s also had success with oversized cabbages, and giant sunflowers up to 142 inches tall.
“I love growing them,” says James, who is trying to grow a pumpkin to 1,000 pounds.
In 16 years, this is his biggest yet, a whopper at 819 pounds that came from a seed of a 714-pound pumpkin in the Annapolis Valley.
The giant pumpkin has attracted lots of attention.
“I would say we’ve had close to 200 kids here now.”
Osmond grows his enormous veggies by his cabin in MacDougall’s. The effort requires two or three hours of work every day. He gives the pumpkin 50 gallons of feed once a week and wraps it in quilts at night to keep the heat in.
The pumpkin almost met with disaster when a small rabbit took a liking to its main vine. Thankfully, Osmond was able to mitigate the damage.
A rival giant pumpkin grower in Prince Edward Island told Osmond he couldn’t possibly grow a pumpkin that size in Newfoundland, but Osmond delights in the fact he’s managed to prove him wrong.
After this year’s success, however, Osmond might take a break next year.
“You can’t go nowhere,” he said, because the pumpkin requires daily care.
“It’s like having a little kid.”
Once Hallowe’en is over, the pumpkin will be carved into pieces with a chainsaw and carried to the town’s dump. Osmond will harvest seeds from it first, just in case he decides to grow another one again next year. He still hasn’t hit that 1,000 pounds yet.