March 6, 2012 in City

For the right price, gourdzilla could be yours

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Attention gardeners.

Today I bring you the biggest cropportunity to come along since that Jack guy swapped the family Holstein for a bag of magic beans.

Admittedly I don’t know mulch (har!) about farming. The last time I actually planted anything was the morning after my beloved dog, Elvis, expired.

I do, however, know that serious gardeners are always looking for ways to become outstanding in their field.

And here it is:

A seed from the planet’s portliest pumpkin can be yours for the bidding later this month.

For the record, I’m not talking about the hayseeds you always see bulging out of their bib overalls at the county fair.

Those are giant bumpkins.

This is a genuine seed from the record-setting 1,818.5-pound pumpkin that was grown last year by Canadian Jim Bryson and his 12-year-old daughter, Kelsey.

The seed will be sold on March 24 at the annual dinner/auction to benefit the West Valley High School band and color guard programs.

( This year’s event will be held at the Millwood Community Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Road, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are 20 bucks and must be purchased in advance from a band booster or by emailing ed.janet@webband.com.)

I learned about this singular seed sale from Dan Hansen, my buddy and former S-R editor.

Hansen’s son, Kyle, plays trumpet in the West Valley band. So, being a good band parent, Hansen was wondering how to boost auction attendance.

Inspiration flashed one day while Hansen was listening to a National Public Radio segment about Bryson and his goliath gourd.

Hansen decided to write the man, asking if he would donate one of the precious seeds to the West Valley Band Boosters dinner and auction. Hansen even drew up a letter of authenticity for the man to sign.

“This seed is from the largest pumpkin on record …”

Sounds a bit crazy, sure.

That is, until you research the subject a little.

If you do you’ll learn that one of these coveted seeds already sold at an auction for $1,500, a price that surprised (and no doubt pleased) even Bryson.

Giant pumpkins are ever-popular with the public. The Bryson behemoth, for example, was displayed at the New York Botanical Garden and featured on numerous TV shows like “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

Yet as time dragged by, Hansen said he all but forgot about his pumpkin ploy.

Then one day a package from Ormstown, Quebec, arrived.

Inside was you know what.

I think.

On Wednesday, I drove to the Rocket Bakery in Millwood. Hansen soon arrived toting a small blue metal lockbox. After some jawing, he took a key out of a pocket, unlocked the box and presented me with a …

Small sealed envelope.

It did feel like there was something seed-shaped inside.

Hansen obviously couldn’t break the seal to give me a peek. If he did, how would anyone know the mutant seed hadn’t been replaced with a pedestrian seed?

A world-record pumpkin.

Could this be the growth industry the Spokane area has been praying for?

And consider the agrarian bragging rights.

Neighbor 1 – “Lookee this here zucchini I brung ya. Kinda looks like Nixon, huh?

Neighbor 2 – “Nice. But take a gander at my pumpkin out there in the back 40.”

Neighbor 1 – “Mah gawd. That thing’s bigger’n granddad’s goiter.”

So get your tickets. Get in on the auction action for a worthy cause: band uniforms, instruments, transportation costs … . Yes, there will be plenty of other items to bid on, too.

A word to whoever takes this pumpkin prize home.

Buy crop insurance.

See, nature is a cruel crapshoot. There’s no guarantee that planting your giant pumpkin will get you close to Kelly Ripa.

If I owned the seed, I’d try to get the government to give me one of those sweet agricultural subsidy deals.

You know, where they’d pay me to NOT grow the thing.

That’s my idea of farming.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.


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