Size counts with these massive pumpkins

WHOPPER: Dale Oliver of Knockrow with one of his giant pumpkins.
WHOPPER: Dale Oliver of Knockrow with one of his giant pumpkins. Patrick Gorbunovs

YOU may have heard of James and his giant peach, but even more impressive is our own local grower Dale Oliver and his giant pumpkins.

Weighing in at 600kg and 450kg, these impressive atlantic giant pumpkins still weren't the biggest pumpkins in his patch this season.

The mother pumpkin weighed in at a staggering 684kg, but had to be fed to the cows after a split in the shell threatened to rot the mammoth vegetable.

Mr Oliver said a combination of good genetics, soil conditions, water and sunlight were required to produce pumpkins on this scale.

"You've got to have all the conditions right, that's all," he said.

"Like your pH, fertilisers and plenty of water."

He said the atlantic giant breed of pumpkin generally grew to about 200kg.

They also grew rapidly, Mr Oliver said, with his two fully grown pumpkins just 75 days old.

"Through the peak they put on at least 20 pounds (9kg) a day," he said.

"We put a stick in beside them an inch (2.5cm) away from them and then come out the next day and it's up against the stick."

Mr Oliver has been growing, on average, between three and four atlantic giant pumpkins a year for the past eight years.

It was a hobby he picked up from a friend and which his two children, Luke and Adrian Oliver, then aged 10 and 8, were quick to pursue.

In the first year, Luke managed to grow his pumpkin to 205kg, taking out first prize in Alstonville.

Mr Oliver takes his biggest pumpkins of the season to the Sydney Royal Easter Show each year.

They also will be in this year's Kyogle Pumpkin Festival, but only on display.

"I'd rather see it (the prizes) go to Kyogle locals," Mr Oliver said.



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