Subject: Giant Pumpkin Competition
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2009 17:26:21 +1200


Giant pumpkins

Each year a group of friends and I have a giant pumpkin growing competition in Tai Tapu, Canterbury. It started off as a bit of fun, an excuse really to get together at a pub to celebrate my birthday, judge pumpkins and do something a bit wacky. Read how to grow your own here.

Giant Pumpkins
Rachel's Beauties 2008
Giant Pumpkins

Last spring in my infinite wisdom I decided I would widen the competition to fellow gardening commentators and personalities. To eliminate any un-fair advantages or seed tampering antics from certain gardening types, I raised the seedlings and sent them all over the country.

The likely green fingered contenders who took on the challenge were:

  • Myself – Rachel Vogan. Editor
  • Lynda Hallinan, editor NZ Gardener magazine
  • Helen Jackson , host Kitchen and Garden show – Radio Live,
  • Denise Cleverley editor Go Gardening magazine, garden columnist NZ Woman’s Weekly
  • Katie Ryall from Tui Products
  • Ali Jones – News Talk ZB
  • Rachel MacGregor – NZ Gardener Magazine

The competition caught the interest of Breakfast TV, on TV1 which meant a visit to Auckland for one of my large pumpkins called Hugh and me to meet Paul Henry. The interview was fun and lighted hearted and can be viewed on our site by clicking here..

While in Auckland we visited the homes of some of the contenders to check the progress of the giant gourds. Only to discover that bribery, corruption and cheating was alive and well north of the Bombay’s.

Giant Pumpkins
Lyndas Actual Pumpkin
Giant Pumpkins
Lyndas Imposter

None more so than at Lynda Hallinans, secretly she imported 2 huge pumpkins from her mates at Kings Seeds to try and steel the show. These massive
Once I saw her actual pumpkin I could see why she has sunk to such depths, you certainly needed keen eyesight to find her ‘modest’ undersized pumpkin. The dear wee soul measured in at 35cm.

Giant Pumpkins
Helen Jacksons -
Giant Pumpkins
Katies - Tui

Katie Ryall from Tui Products, Tauranga decided to for go her shot at the title and picked her pumpkin to bring up to Auckland for the measuring last week. She tucked it into the back seat of her car, secure it in with pillows, cushions and even ‘pimped it out’ with a diamante tiara. Hers measured in at 122 cm.

Helen Jackson, celebrity cook is a self confessed novice gardener proved that green fingers were not required when growing pumpkins. Helens passion for being able to cook what you grow must have been passed onto her giant pumpkin as it measured in at 125cm. A top effort from the delicious foodie. She has number of pumpkin recipes on to check out – the Pumpkin Risotto Balls With Mascarpone And Shaved Parmesan or try Pizza Of Roasted Pumpkin With Ewes Milk Feta And Olives.

Sadly there was no point visiting Denise’s pumpkin as the plant was now in the compost bin. It didn’t cope well while the family was away aver the summer; it could be another case for the SPCA for vegetables.

Giant Pumpkins

Giant Pumpkins

Last but not least, my pumpkin, Hugh. I picked one of my 3 large pumpkins for the journey north. My pumpkins have names carved into there skin, this is a great thing to do with kids as they can watch there names grow as the pumpkins grow. I loaded Hugh into a sports bag, supervised him being loaded carefully into the plane and collected him at the other end. The staff at Rydges Auckland certainly were surprised at the look of my luggage. The team at TVNZ were intrigued by Hugh as were other guests like the Australian Strip tease act called the Sydney hot shots. The hot shots were happy to flex there muscles holding and modeling round the pumpkins. Hugh measured in at 125cm – the same size as Helen Jackson’s.

Giant pumpkins
Pumpkins at Rydges Hotel

Giant Pumpkins
Sydney Hot Stuff & Pumpkins

Competition ends in may – stay tuned for the final results.

If you a giant pumpkin story you would like to tell us about send it to me along with some pictures to



Giant Pumpkins
Sydney Hot Stuff & Rachel



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