These pumpkins will put your knife and forklift to the test

GROUND GIANTS: Brunswick Wholesale Plants owner John Mills with his Atlantic giant pumpkins which weigh up to 570kg.
GROUND GIANTS: Brunswick Wholesale Plants owner John Mills with his Atlantic giant pumpkins which weigh up to 570kg. Marc Stapelberg

AT half a tonne each, a forklift is required to move these pumpkins grown by John Mills of Brunswick Heads.

The heavier one boasts a circumference of 454cm with the stem alone 40cm around at its thickest point.

But astonishingly, these are not the biggest pumpkins grown in the Northern Rivers this year.

That honour goes to John's publicity-shy friend Dale Oliver from Knockrow who has taken out the giant pumpkin prize at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on more than one occasion.

According to John, two weeks ago Dale had a pumpkin weigh in at 575kg which will smash the previous Australian record of 518kg if, as expected, it is verified.

But now that Dale's giant gourd has gone to that great pumpkin patch in the sky, John reckons he still has a shot at glory at this year's Sydney show which opens on March 21.

John, who runs Brunswick Wholesale Plants, spends hours tending his pumpkins.

He has an entire shelf in his shed devoted to the nutrients and fungicides required to grow the giant vegetables.

He reckons his purple patch this season was due to planting five weeks earlier so the rain came at a less damaging time in the growth cycle. "I just dearly want to win the Sydney Show. But don't ask me why. It's just madness. My wife thinks it's insanity," he said with a chuckle.

John and Dale have the admiration of fellow monster pumpkin grower Earl Knight from Bangalow.

Earl, who also regularly exhibits at the Sydney show, has had a bad season. He's lost four of his giant pumpkins with just two left weighing up to 400kg that he's not confident will make it.

Earl, 76, reckons it's a combination of the recent rain and wind and pumpkins being very temperamental vegetables.

"It's just the nature of the mongrels. They're hard to grow. You need a lot of luck.

"Babies are easier to rear than pumpkins," hesaid.

Did you know

  • THE world record for pumpkins is 911kg and was set by US grower Ron Wallace in 2012.

Topics:  editors picks farming giant pumpkin northern rivers record

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