Sep 20, 2022
By Christine Ross
Listen to Christine’s report here.
A Newfoundland man has grown a monster pumpkin expected to reach 800 pounds by Halloween. That’s a lot of pumpkin pies!
“We’ve come up with the name Gourdzilla, a guy at work was calling it the Godzilla of pumpkins,” says gardener Leslee Lake of Clarenville who set out to grow the biggest pumpkin he’s ever grown.
“I just measured him today, he’s 11 feet circumference, and a little over 7 feet side to side and a total weight of 734 pounds,” says Lake. “It’s leaves span 30 inches across.”
Lake expects Gourdzilla to reach a hefty 800 pounds by Halloween, shy of the expected record this year by another gardener 2,400 pounds.
“I like to go organic but this is such a heavy feeder that I do feed it some commercial nitrogen fertilizers, it’s an extremely fast growing plant.”
The story of the big pumpkin is drawing the curious, so Lake cut a hole in the backyard fence so visitors can catch a glimpse of Gourdzilla in his backyard pumpkin patch.
So what happens when this big, round flat-bottom gourd reaches maturity at the end of October?
“I could carve something nice or scary and put it on the front step, for everyone to come and see, my wife has seen that in Nova Scotia, they hollow them out and float them across the pond but I’m not so eager to do that,” Lake explained.
For protection from the summer sun, the giant pumpkin was covered with a Winnie the Pooh blanket but that didn’t last.
“When we called him Gourdzilla, Winnie the Pooh just didn’t cut it, so I had to get a great big black skull blanket.”
Despite a cooperating Newfoundland climate, recent rain created some splits in Gourdzilla’s skin. But like treating a wound, Lake fixed them with peroxide and covered them up.
Lake says the secret to growing huge pumpkins involves many factors, but number one is genetics. This year, he ordered seeds from an American pumpkin grower.
“I’m just a goofy guy growing a pumpkin in his backyard.”
Photos and video courtesy Leslee Lake.