Tip­ping the scales

Cou­ple sets new Waterville weigh-off record with 1,808-pound pump­kin

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA

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.

KIRK STARRATT

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.

KIRK STARRATT

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.

KIRK STARRATT

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.

KIRK STARRATT

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.

KIRK STARRATT

Paul Cameron with his gi­ant pump­kin en­try, weigh­ing in at 548 pounds.

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