Tipping the scales
Couple sets new Waterville weigh-off record with 1,808-pound pumpkin
A New Brunswick couple grew the heaviest pumpkin to ever tip the scales in the decade-long history of the Annapolis Valley Giant Vegetable Growers’ weigh-off.
The crowd gathered for the 10th annual weigh-off at Glad Gardens in Waterville Sept. 22 and erupted in applause as the giant pumpkin grown by Daryl and Maureen Tingley of Fredericton weighed in at 1,808 pounds – a new Annapolis Valley Giant Vegetable Growers (AVGVG) weigh-off record.
Daryl said he and Maureen have been growing giant vegetables since 2003. They planted the record-setting pumpkin inside their house around the middle of April and moved it outside in mid-may. They harvested it on Sept. 20.
“I would have preferred to harvest it this morning because it would have gained a couple more pounds,” he said.
Daryl sees growing giant pumpkins as taking gardening to the extreme. He said the competitions are fun, but he was more concerned with topping their previous best - a pumpkin that weighed 1,447 pounds - than he was about winning the weigh-off.
He is impressed with the quality of the competition in the Valley.
“Once you start getting pumpkins over 1,000 pounds, it’s very good, and they consistently here have half a dozen over 1,000,” Daryl said.
Maureen said they love being outdoors and growing things, including flowers, vegetables and berries, but giant pumpkins are the biggest things you can grow.
She said they got off to a slow start this year because of a flood. They would have planted the pumpkin outside a week earlier, but the ground was under water.
Although it became pot-bound because of the delay, Daryl said the winning pumpkin was the couple’s best plant from the beginning. They are now focusing on their next competition, coming up next weekend in Neguac, N. B.
Fred Ansems of Steam Mill, who holds the world record for long gourds at 139.25 inches, had the heaviest squash at the competition, 986 pounds, and the second heaviest pumpkin at 1,361 pounds.
A past winner of the weigh-off, Ansems said it’s very satisfying to do so well, especially considering there is a lot of work involved. He said it’s great to be able to compete with the top growers around.
Ansems said he figured when he saw the Tingley’s pumpkin arrive at Glad Gardens the previous evening that he would be competing for second place.
He said you couldn’t ask for a better growing season in the Valley for giant pumpkins than this year. It was cool starting off but if you had a hot house to start them in or another way to keep them warm, it was alright. Ansems didn’t plant his secondplace pumpkin outside until the day after a late freeze in early June that damaged a lot of crops.
“He had a little slower start than some of the other ones but once it took off, it grew like crazy,” Ansems said.
He’s had the heaviest squash at the weigh-in for a few years now but said his winning entry this year was actually his backup. He had one that was bigger, 1,297 pounds, but it rotted on Sept. 6.
AVGVG president Ron Muis said the annual weigh-off, an official Great Pumpkin Commonwealth event, is a great way to end the season for club members and they look forward to it every year.
The growers worry about their entries and spend time on them as if they were children or pets. However, “there comes the day when you’ve got to let them loose and today’s the day.”
Muis said there was an exceptional array of entries this year across the many categories. When it comes to the pumpkins, he said they seemed to average much larger than at past events. He said this has everything to do with genetics as growers continually strive to come up with something bigger and better.
Growing giant vegetables has become a family affair for many and the club does all it can to encourage and support young growers, he said.
They get to see nature at work and, through the experience, become better stewards of the land.
Daryl and Maureen Tingley of Fredericton, N.B. were the big winners at this year’s Annapolis Valley Giant Vegetable Growers (AVGVG) weigh-off at Glad Gardens in Waterville. Their giant pumpkin tipped the scales at 1,808 pounds – a new Waterville weigh-off record.
Growing giant vegetables is a family affair. Here, AVGVG president Ron Muis, right, takes a moment to pose for a photo with his giant pumpkin entry and family members Michelle Muis, left, six-month-old Ethan Brown and Amanda Muis-brown.
The first, second and third-place winners at the AVGVG’S annual giant pumpkin weigh-off. They include Daryl and Maureen Tingley, Fred Ansems and Gerard Ansems with pumpkins weighing 1,808, 1,361 and 1,318 pounds, respectively. There was a $500 prize for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third.
Fred Ansems of Steam Mill, left, waits to see how much his giant pumpkin entry weighs. Ansems took second place with a weight of 1,361 pounds.
Paul Cameron with his giant pumpkin entry, weighing in at 548 pounds.