This season produced the biggest pumpkin ever, for dairy producer John Leadbeatter, Rukenvale via Kyogle. But heat and humidity are conspiring to make sure the 585kg monster never makes it to the Summerland Giant Vegetable growers' show, held at Lismore showgrounds on January 20.
Unlike previous years, many would-be leading contenders failed to navigate a challenging spring window and rumour has it competition will be small. This news fails to comfort Mr Leadbeatter who is in a race against the elements to make sure his certain prize retains enough strength to be lifted and weighed.
Beating his previous best by almost 200kg this year’s giant, planted mid-October a week after the Kyogle Show, was 63 days old from pollination before he harvested it and brought the beast under cover to keep it from rotting in the humidity.
Mr Leadbeatter used post-flood alluvial sand instead of manure-rich soil and added plenty of potassium. At its peak the pumpkin put on 10kg a day.