Growing a plant can take a lot of hard work, dedication and patience – but have you ever thought about what it would take to grow one of those giant pumpkins you see each and every year at the Pumpkin Show?
Diane Gabriel, a retired biology teacher turned pumpkin grower, moved to Pickaway County from Fairfield about twelve years ago. Moving into her husband’s family farm, she was looking for a challenge and that was inspiration enough to start pumpkin growing.
“I bought some seeds from the pumpkin stand at the pumpkin show and started to grow. I am a retired biology teacher so the genetics aspect of the pumpkin growing attracted me.” she shared while adding to her previous remark: “I just wanted to get a pumpkin big enough to take to the show
That said, growing a giant pumpkin is not an easy task. The process from germinating the seeds inside, to putting them in the ground and watching them grow is a lot of work – but according to Diane, the outcome is so rewarding that it is worth it all.
“Just watching how fast they grow is amazing. Once they get going, the vines can grow feet each day – and a pumpkin can put on 40 pounds in a day. You can see them grow from day to day.”
Another thing that she would agree is rewarding, has a lot to do with other pumpkin growers she has interacted with: “Probably even more than [the growing process] is all of the people who join the pumpkin club. [They] help each other out with everything from how to start, maintain and problem shoot while growing. I organize the seed sales at the show so I get to talk with everyone and hear their stories.”
With every challenge comes rewards, discipline, growth – but there are also difficulties and trials. Growing a giant pumpkin is no easy task. For Diane, she sums this up in a couple of sentences.
“Crawling around on the ground and digging in the vines on hot summer days is hard. Also, disease control is challenging,” she admitted.
Still, seeing the growth of your pumpkin outweighs all the struggles – including when you see your pumpkin outweighs its competitors at competitions! Pumpkin growing is so much more than winning, however. For Diane, it was looking for something new to try – and tackling the challenge head-on.
Her advice for pumpkin growing?:
“Buy your seeds at the pumpkin stand at the Pumpkin Show or from a grower, you cannot get these seeds at a store. Also, join the pumpkin club so you can become a part of the fun!” she finishes.
So when you’re looking at the giant pumpkins this year at the Circleville Pumpkin Show, remember Diane’s words – and if you’re up for the challenge ahead, be sure to buy some seeds and give it a shot!