Father-son duo competing to become Cape Breton's top gourd growers
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 1:48PM ADT
A father and son have launched a fierce, but friendly competition to become Cape Breton’s top gourd growers.
Ray Head’s pumpkin recently took top honours at the annual Joe King Memorial Giant Pumpkin Festival in Millville, N.S., but his 20-year-old son says he’s gunning for him.
Zack Head’s own prized pumpkin weighed in at more than 920 pounds. He says it’s the biggest one he’s ever grown, and he’s lucky to be learning from the best.
“He always continues to teach me every day, so it always makes it a worthwhile experience, always coming home, going to the garden, and he always has something new to teach me,” says Zack.
It was a banner year for Ray Head too, as he watched his gourd grow from a tiny seed into a 1,400-pound pumpkin.
“This is my biggest pumpkin and every year it seems like I’m growing a couple of hundred pounds bigger,” says Ray. “This pumpkin here was putting on 50 to 60 pounds a day, every day for a month.”
The two prized pumpkins are on display in the Head family’s front yard in River Ryan, N.S.
Ray says the secret to their success is an organic diet of manure and composted seaweed, in addition to almost 400 litres of water per day.
Ray has taken the top prize at the pumpkin festival two years in a row, but he’s still hoping to beat the record set by another Cape Bretoner in 2012. The record-breaking 1,811-pound pumpkin was grown by Carl Graham of Donkin.
“Next year or the year after, I’m going after Carl,” says Ray.
He’s also working to become the first Canadian to grow a gourd bigger than 2,000 pounds – a labour of love he’s happy to share with his son.
“It’s something that we really connect together and really enjoy getting up in the morning and going out and seeing how big it’s gotten.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald