Giant Pumpkins Star in Gardening Show

The winner of last year’s giant pumpkin weigh off set a Colorado state record at 1,135 pounds and was grown by Joe Scherber of Wheat Ridge.

giant-pumpkins-blog1The Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers are hoping for a new state record when the results are in from the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off set for Saturday, September 26.

The annual weigh-off, held at Jared’s Nursery & Garden Center in Littleton, is a fun event that’s free and open to the public.

Judging for the junior division starts at 10:00 a.m. with the adult division following at 11:00.

I recommend getting there early so you can see how these monsters are transported to the event. We’re talking pumpkins so big they need a forklift to get them into place.

It’s an all-around fun day with music, a pumpkin pie baking contest, Jared’s Galleria of Ghouls and a free straw maze and obstacle course. Food is available for purchase, too.

Awards are given to the top 3 heaviest pumpkins and a special award for the Ugly Duckling.

Members of the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers ( spend the entire year thinking, dreaming and scheming about growing giant pumpkins. Gary Grande, group leader, told me growers will try just about anything to grow a pumpkin that weighs over 1,000 pounds.

I’ve toured some of their gardens and many have built elaborate structures to create the perfect growing environment in our challenging Colorado climate.

In fact, it’s typical for a new grower to start off with a mild interest in the hobby, but it soon turns into an obsession.

If you’d like to try your hand at growing an 800-pound pumpkin, this group will help you get started. But if it turns into an all-consuming passion, remember that I warned you!


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Jodi, have you been having problems with squirrels marring pumpkins, winter squash, and melons this year? My yard’s been hammered by the lil’ critters and I’m at a loss as to how to defend my cucurbits from their nibbling….

Carol–sorry to say, I don’t have enough room to grow pumpkins and such…but the squirrels aren’t bothering my summer squash and I wish they would! They’ve discovered they love my tomatoes, so I’ve been leaving a few bad ones in the garden for them as a diversion. Would dog fur placed around the garden help? I’ve heard it works to keep rabbits out.

I know what you mean – the squirrels like my tomatoes too, and, in a bizarre rodent version of an Easter egg hunt, we’re discovering them all around the yard! I’ll grab a hank of dog hair from my dad’s pooch to try and keep the squirrles away. He (the dog) has plenty of hair to share.

Hello everyone. I am requesting help locating pumpkins to use on Food Networks CHALLENGE show…Outrageous Pumpkin Carving. I live in Michigan so finding quality pumpkins on the other side of the country can be a daunting task. Two years ago I won the competition and if you are interested in seeing the show it will air again Oct. 18th and many times there after until Halloween. On Oct. 16th I will be competing again against all new contestants. There are three categories requiring three different sized pumpkins
20-25lb…give or take a little
100-150lb…give or take
150-200lb plus
The smaller 20 -25 lb. pumpkin would be best if the ridges were extremely shallow preferably smooth. Oval as opposed to squatty and round.
the 100-150 lb must be thick , or heavy for it’s size. A very compressed pumpkin would work best…not a typical perfect round in shape one.
For the largest one I am somewhat open but a thick meat pumpkin is also a must as these will be carved.
If you would like to see one of your pumpkins transformed into something cool and taped on an episode of CHALLENGE please contact me at with pics of your pumpkin. You can view some of my pumpkin carvings here:

Also, for whoever supplies me with the pumpkins, I will be happy to return the pumpkin to you after the show in its carved form.

Thank you.

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