There are giants among us

Par Mario Pitre
There are giants among us
Jim and Kelsey Bryson of Ormstown took home the big prize at the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest with a giant pumpkin weighing 1,871.5 pounds on September 29. (Photo : Facebook)

The father-daughter duo of Jim and Kelsey Bryson of Ormstown have once again topped the scales at Pumpkinfest in Port Elgin on September 29, with a giant pumpkin weighing 1,871.5 pounds. The pair also took home the top prize at the Wallaceburg Pumpkinfest on September 22, with another slightly smaller whopper at 1,792 pounds.
“It takes a lot of work to grow these things,” says Jim Bryson, who notes this summer was especially challenging and required a lot of watering. “The days were pretty hot but the nights were the right temperature,” he suggests, describing how the pumpkin grew 49 pounds each day for over a week. “It’s pretty exciting to to watch that grow,” he admits.
The pumpkin was grown from a seed from last year’s Pumpkinfest winner. The plants were kept warm at the start with heating cables and were manually polinated on the vine on June 20. By the end of July they had salvaged four, however one grew so fast it split itself open. By the time the season began to change and the nights grew colder, the pair constructed a small greenhouse over the pumpkins to keep them warm and growing bigger still.
A history of gigantic pumpkins
It was his cousin, Harley Sproule, who first turned Mr. Bryson on to growing giant pumpkins. He brought home a plant that grew to be over 600 pounds. “I was hooked after that,” he says. There must be something in the soil at their Ormstown farm, where the pumpkins have a 900 square foot garden space, as each year it seems the gourds keep growing larger and larger. In 2011, Jim and Kelsey set the world record with a giant at 1,818 pounds, and they have since won the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest 5 times over.
With their sights set on the 2,000 pounds mark, the pair are looking forward to the next growing season together and another season of festivals and weigh-ins.

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