Big, bigger, biggest!

Hey Gerjan, it’s been a while since we wrote about you! I bet our readers are very curious about your scores at this year’s Dutch Pumpkin Growing Championship. When we spoke to you last year you said you won first prize in the Dutch tomato division and fourth prize in the Dutch pumpkin division. From what we’ve heard it seems you’ve had quite a rough time in preparation for the contest? Tell us all about it!


How many giant pumpkins did you grow last season?

I started this year with eight plants of which I ended up putting three actually in the ground. Two outside on open ground and one in the greenhouse. Unfortunately I had little success outside, the pumpkins grew in very weird shapes. They also only reached 100 kg. Luckily  I had more success in the greenhouse! This pumpkin became 635.5 kg and it has been my best one so far. I even won the prize for the most beautiful pumpkin of The Netherlands. According to the jury my pumpkin had the best color and shape and also no (visible) signs of damage.

Wow, sounds like a great result! Have you been growing any other giant vegetables?

Yes, I grew tomatoes again this year. It turned out I grew the largest one of all participants, namely 1843 grams! Unfortunately I did not set a new personal record though. I also grew sunflowers for the first time this year. I participated in the competition for the largest sunflower head and won third place! However, I participated in this part of the competition mainly for fun and for the seeds.

Nice scores again Gerjan! Did you have to deal with any setbacks?

I guess you can say that’s an understatement… I've had quite a few setbacks this year. As I told you before, the pumpkins outside did not perform as expected. I had really hoped to grow one of at least 600 kg there as well. The pumpkin in the greenhouse that was the only one left at one point, also started to suffer from mildew. Then on top of that I was bothered by mice and for the first time ever by spider mite. The mice even caused the pumpkin to rot. So quite some trouble in paradise!

That's not just a little bit of bad luck indeed! What did you have to do differently this year to still achieve a good result?

Because I discovered the issues in time, I could intervene before it was too late. By slowing down the rotting process, I was able to limit the damage until weighing. I managed to do this with the help of your grow specialists' tip to use hydrogen peroxide for disinfection. I also built a ventilation system in the greenhouse so the plant could be provided with fresh and cool air. On top of that, I used different Plagron nutrients and worked them through the soil at the beginning and during the grow. The result was a pumpkin of 80 square meters!

Will you be participating again next year?

Sure thing! Next year I will be aiming for 700 kg and try to grow some other giants. To accomplish this I already started for next pumpkin season.

Do you have one ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal changes all the time. The very first time my goal was 100 kg, then I went on to 250 kg and eventually 500 kg. Now my next goal is 700 kg and once that is achieved I’ll probably set another one. It has to be challenging every time again!

We get that! Thanks for your time again Gerjan. We enjoy being your coach along this journey and look forward to guide you to great results again in 2022!