Peters’ pumpkin pushes 200 pounds


What started out as a friendly wager between Steffany Peters and her grandpa has grown into a 194-pound pumpkin.

“I saw a packet of seeds at the store that said they could grow a pumpkin 100 to 500 pounds, so I thought ‘hey that’d be fun,’” said 15-year-old Steffany Peters of Killarney. “Then I was sort of showing them off before I planted the pumpkin, and my grandpa saw them, and then we decided to make it into a competition.”

Peters started growing her pumpkin indoors at the beginning of May, and then planted it outside after a couple of weeks, when there were four or five leaves on the plant.

“You have to train the vines,” she explained. “They say to put it in a Christmas tree pattern. You cut off all the other pumpkins and the tertiary vines as they grow, in order to grow a big pumpkin.”

It took her about a week to go through the entire plant. And by that time, it was ready to do again.

“You just go along every vine and cut off all the pumpkins, other than my main one that I wanted to grow,” she said. “And also any new leaves that wanted to grow, once the plant was a good size.”

One of the things Steffany found most fascinating about her growing experience was pollinating the pumpkins.

“The first few pumpkins, they didn’t grow,” she said. “They would get to a certain size and then just die. Then we had to pollinate. There’s the male and female flowers. You take the male flower and you rub it all over the female flower, and it works.”

And what about that competition?

Well, Peters’ pumpkin got so big that it needed a name – ‘Yerek.’

Her grandpa, John Clark from Treesbank, didn’t fair as well.

“Grandpa lost, but he’s excited about trying it again next year,” Steffany said. “The loser was supposed to make a pumpkin pie.”

“But he cheated and bought a pumpkin pie, and we’re not going to let him off that easy,” said Steffany’s dad, Myron, about her grandpa. “He needs to get flour on his hands and make that sucker from scratch. So until that happens, we’re going to be on him.”

“It will probably taste better from the store though,” joked Steffany.

As for humongous Yerek, Steffany said they might try cooking him, piece by piece, although they’ve been told the big pumpkins are not the best for baking. The huge pumpkins are grown mostly for show they said.

“If you want pumpkin pie, you’ll want your 30 to 40 pounders,” said Myron. “That’s where they’ll taste the best, apparently.”

So for now, Yerek will just be admired in the Peters’ front yard. Unless of course they turn him into a giant jack-o-lantern this Halloween, which they agreed was a distinct possibility.


YEREK THE GREAT – Steffany Peters’ pumpkin has grown to mammoth proportions just in time for Halloween, and it all started with some seeds and a little friendly competition.


HALLOWEEN UPDATE – The great Yerek was carved up and lit up on Halloween, fulfilling his destiny as a giant jack-o-lantern.