Pumpkin night a winner

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Penny Elenor with her prize-winning pumpkin.
Penny Elenor with her prize-winning pumpkin.
Locals and visitors flocked to Tamahere School’s annual Pumpkin Gala in what looked to be record numbers on Saturday.

The much coveted prize for the heaviest pumpkin went to first time pumpkin grower Penny Elenor with a beast of a pumpkin that topped the scales at an impressive 170kg.

Penny, 10 and in year six at Tamahere School, gambled all her pumpkin growing prowess on a single seed.

“Penny brought two seeds from school in November last year but we were only able to plant one because the other was cracked,” said proud dad Rob Elenor.

“Penny and her Grandad Clive planted the seeds in seed trays and watered them regularly every day. Once they became seedlings they were planted into the ground and continued to be watered every day and fed with organic fertiliser every other day,” said Rob, who added that there were no other secrets to growing the monster pumpkin.

However, Penny showed it was an all or nothing effort.

“Once the pumpkins came through we noticed that we had two on the vine,” Rob said. “Penny wanted one big pumpkin and so we thought it would be better to cut off the second pumpkin and allow the nutrients to feed the remaining one.”

It was a strategy that clearly worked. Nathan Bell produced the second place getter with a pumpkin weighing a credible 155kg, which even so was 15kg lighter than the winner.

The careful business of pumpkin judging is underway
The careful business of pumpkin judging is underway

And it was a case of last but not least when it came to the tense business of the weigh-in.

Penny’s pumpkin was last on the scales.

“Penny was soooo excited,” said Rob. “Hers was the last to be weighed and we couldn’t believe it came in at 170kg.”

So what happens to all that pumpkin now?

“Funnily enough none of the family are particularly keen on pumpkin and so the biggy will be given to Penny’s Uncle for his two kune kune pigs Rita and Rosie.”

Like the rest of the crowd who turned up to the popular fundraising event, the Elenors also enjoyed the rest of the evening’s entertainment whether it was helping run stalls, watching displays, playing on Zorbs or enjoying the range of talented performers on the stage.

“It was a really great night!”

Rob Elenor shows what it takes to get a prize-winning pumpkin to the gala
Rob Elenor shows what it takes to get a prize-winning pumpkin to the gala

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