Culture & Lifestyle

Great gourd: Cape Breton giant pumpkin grower looks to set new Canadian record


Maritimers have taken up all kinds of pet projects during this pandemic, but what’s growing in Carl Graham’s greenhouse could be one for the record books.

The Donkin, Nova Scotia resident has established himself as a big player on the ‘giant pumpkin’ scene since taking up the hobby in 2008 – but he’s never grown a gourd as big as the one in his backyard this fall.

“As growers here in Canada, we’ve been trying quite hard to grow the first 2,000-pound pumpkin. So this could quite possibly be it”, Graham told CTV Atlantic on Monday.

Graham says his prize pumpkin is currently estimated at about 2,200 pounds. The past couple of weeks, it’s been gaining sixty pounds a day – about the weight of a small child.

The gargantuan gourd gets its nutrients from an umbilical cord-like vine that runs the length of its greenhouse. It’s needed a lot of care since going into the ground as a seedling back in April.

“Lots of sunlight”, Graham said. “Just like today – this is beautiful, it’s like August. Lots of water. Lots of fertilizers. And lots of luck.”

Jody Rendell won the annual giant pumpkin contest in Millville, NS last fall. He says everyone is looking forward to this year’s official weigh-in on Saturday to see if Graham can make history.

“If he gets it, I think that’s great,” Rendell said. “I wish him all the best. I went over to his place last weekend to see it. I couldn’t believe it. It’s huge.”

As things stand right now, Carl Graham already holds the Nova Scotia record for the largest pumpkin. A gourd he grew back in 2012 weighed in at more than 1,800 pounds. Graham says other Canadian growers have come close in recent years to the elusive one-ton mark, including one last fall in Ontario that reached 1,959 pounds.

“Oh, it’s going to be the first 2,000 pound pumpkin”, Graham said of his current effort. “Because I just want it so bad. And to be honest with you, I have the gut feeling that Howard is going to bring this record to Nova Scotia. Because that’s where he would like to see it.”

That’s right. Graham named his gourd after Nova Scotia’s all-time pumpkin king, Howard Dill.

If Carl Graham manages to officially reach the elusive 2,000-pound milestone on Saturday, he’ll carve his own place in history. 


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