Pumpkin worth the wait
KEEPING it in the family, Steve Leadbeatter took out the second annual Kyogle Pumpkin Festival on Saturday with his 222kg Atlantic giant.
Inspired by his cousin John's win in last year's inaugural festival, Steve said his massive pumpkin took five months to grow from a seedling.
"When my cousin won last year's show I thought it was something different that I would like to give a go," he said.
The Kyogle local said ferti- liser, water and soil preparation were the key elements to growing an Atlantic giant pumpkin.
"I got the seedling off the festival organiser Chris Pike, so I didn't have to wait 10 days for it to shoot."
As the pumpkin grew, Steve said he estimated it would have reached about 180kg when mature so he was pleasantly surprised when it was weighed in.
The youngest grower at the festival was 15-year-old Ben Baxter from Waterview Heights, near Grafton, with his 125kg Atlantic giant.
Ben said his desire to grow giant pumpkins came two years ago after he bought some giant pumpkin seeds for his dad for father's day.
After sourcing his seed from American soil scientist Scott Holub,Ben said he planted it in October and was happy with the result.
"I water my pumpkins every day; they need a lot of water," he said.
"Farmers from America have been very helpful sending me seeds and different fertilisers to use."
Festival organiser Chris Pike said hot windy weather followed by all the recent rain wasn't ideal conditions for pumpking growing, which may have accounted for the reason there were only 15 entrants.
But on the plus side, Mr Pike said after last year's biggest pumpkin tipping the scales at 67kg, this year's whoppers were impressive.
More than 200 people took advantage of the fine weather and saw the giant specimens at the Kyogle Showground.
1st Steve Leadbeatter
2nd Chris Pike
3rd Kev Donaghy