For immediate release
September 14, 2005
Local Gardeners Compete to Win the “Great Pumpkin Contest” presented by the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona
The Regional District of Comox-Strathcona (RDCS) is pleased to report that over 30 participants are ready to “weigh-in” their massive pumpkins as part of the 2005 Great Pumpkin Growing Contest.
The contest, initiated by the Composting Council of Canada and presented locally by the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, challenges gardeners across Canada to grow the largest pumpkin using only compost as the nutrient additive in the soil.
Previous winning pumpkins from Lunenburg (NS), Kelowna (BC), and Hanover (ON) have weighed in at over 400 pounds or 181 kilograms. The grower of the heaviest pumpkin receives $500 to be donated to a local gardening event.
“The contest is a fun way to bring some of our education programs to life,” stated Jim Abram, Chair of the RDCS board of directors. “Part of our responsibility is to come up with creative ways for people to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfills. Composting is one tool that helps achieve that at the same time as growing ’great’ pumpkins.”
The official weigh-ins take place on Thursday September 29th from 4:30–6:00pm at the RDCS Compost Education Centre in Campbell River (opposite the regional district’s Strathcona Gardens, 228 South Dogwood) and on Friday September 30th from 3:00–6:00pm at the RDCS Compost Education Centre at Comox Bay Farms in Courtenay.
Contest officials will be on hand to weigh the pumpkins, take photos and present certificates to the participants. The public is welcome to attend.
The competition began in April, with organic farmer Gerry Pattison of Black Creek germinating “Atlantic Giant Pumpkin” seeds that were made available to the public.
Background on the Great Pumpkin Growing Contest
The contest is an annual program of the Composting Council of Canada. The rules are:
- Only compost can be used to prepare the soil (no fertilizers/supplements allowed).
- Force-feeding nutrients through the vines is not allowed.
- The pumpkin must be grown outdoors. Seeds can be germinated inside.
- Each participant must take part in a weigh-in on September 30th and send in a fax report and photo signed by a local municipal official or horticultural group.
At the time of weigh-in, a pumpkin must be healthy and completely undamaged. No foreign material can be included in the weighing. To enforce this, judges may x-ray the specimen.
The Regional District of Comox-Strathcona is a partnership of nine electoral areas and eight municipalities providing nearly 100,000 residents with over 140 services– from parks to full-service sports facilities to regional solid waste systems.
High-quality digital photos of participants with their pumpkins are available on request.
Manager, Operational Communications
Regional District of Comox-Strathcona
Tel: (250) 334-6037