CIRCLEVILLE — It doesn’t take a giant piece of land to grow a giant pumpkin and one Circleville resident is proving that.
Dawn Wagner is only in her second year of growing pumpkins in her Circleville garden but she certainly seems like she knows what she’s doing. The last time it was measured it was estimated to weigh over 700 pounds.
Wagner has spent this summer tending to her plant in her roughly 480-square-foot garden she has outside her home with her pumpkin casting a shadow on the vines.
“It’s all pumpkin,” she said of her garden with a laugh.
Wagner grew a 376-pound pumpkin in 2017 and got into it on a whim.
“I was at Rural King and they had their giant pumpkin seeds and I thought that I would get a pack,” Wagner remarked. “There were six seeds in there and I stuck them in the ground and one came up. I wanted to just see it grow. I didn’t do anything to it other than water it.”
Wagner said she’s always had a garden, and she thought she could apply that experience to growing a giant pumpkin.
“I thought I would try it, I’m a good gardener and my garden is always fantastic,” she added. “I thought if I can grow this other stuff I can grow a pumpkin.
Since then Wagner said she’s learned about some of the things growers need to watch out for in order to grow and qualify for the pumpkin weigh-off at the Pumpkin Show. Things like powdery mildew, rodents, nutrients and more. She then bought some seeds during the Pumpkin Show, and has been taken under the wing of other, more experienced growers too.
“It looks pretty good, except that it’s a bit lopsided — it’s got a good shape,” she said. “It’s not really what I was going for.”
Bob Liggett, member of the Pickaway County Giant Pumpkin Growers and 13-time winner, put Wagner’s name as a front-runner for the Nancy Martin Award for prettiest giant pumpkin brought to the weigh-off.
“Dawn is fantastic,” Liggett said. “I’m so excited for her and so pleased. That orange is so beautiful. We always want the Nancy Martin to be a pretty orange pumpkin and sometimes we don’t get that. I’m encouraged this year.”
Wagner said she’s had no problems other than a leaky stem which she’s now corrected with Liggett’s help.
“I told him that I have a drip but it doesn’t stick,” Wagner told The Circleville Herald. “It wasn’t 10 minutes until he was here. If that ooze is on there too long it’ll get infected. At first we thought it was a fungus but Liggett seems to think it’s getting too many nutrients. We went over what I was doing and I asked if I should cut back but he said to keep doing what I am.”
Wagner said now she’s trying to just maintain her pumpkin.
“I’m always one that’s up for a challenge. I’m not going for big, I’m going for keeping it alive and the challenge of seeing what I can do. I was excited when it surpassed what I had last year,” she concluded.
All that’s left for Wagner is to keep it up for a week-and-a-half. The Giant Pumpkin weigh-off is Wednesday, Oct. 15 starting at 9:15 a.m. at the intersection of Court Street and Main Street.