It was a tough competition with highs and a few lows.

Caption: Club member Ross Wensley, left, with DG Nick Wood with our Club entrys at the weigh-in. 

It was a battle with Mother Nature to get our pumpkins off to the District competition. 

Pumpkins for Polio was DG Nick Wood’s District project for polio fundraising and awareness.

To get an entry a club needed to have registered growers and for our club that was members Ken Connell (aka Pumpkin Project Lead), Ross Wensley, Natasha Holland, Ria Bond and 'family of Rotary' member Robbie Fleck (aka Pumpkin Patch owner).

Our five plants started their journey with after being hand-delivered by DG Nick Wood on October 14, 2021.

Caption: Ready to grow! 

Right from the start there was discussion on us getting a head start from Sunrise as they only got seeds but seven of them so two more chances than us.

The babies were left in President Lisa's sole care until planting day on October 27, some 26 weeks ago.

On April 23, 2022, club members Ross and Leon transported the five remaining pumpkins from the patch to Bannockburn for the weigh-in.

Our club donated $1075 to this project to assist DG Nick with his goal to get $33,000 across the district to apply for matching grants with the ultimate goal to get this project to a $100,000 End Polio donation.

The results

Caption: The winners in a row. Pictured,from left, Cromwell Goldenview Village (3rd), Tony and Nicola, of Wanaka (1st)  and Jim Carroll (2nd).
1, Tony Brown and Nicola Brown, of Wanaka, with a whopping 162kg monster

2, Alexandra Rotary Club president Jim Carroll with 135.5kg 

3, Goldenview Village team in Cromwell with 109.5kg

The best single plant went to Waimate president Michael Horne with 208kg spread across four pumpkins.

Caption: Janice Lee, of Koha Kai, with three of the pumpkin entries from the East Road Pets' team pumpkin growing competition. Photo credit: Samantha (Koha Kai). 

Little did we know there was another pumpkin growing competition going on just a km or two away from our pumpkin patch.

Liz MacAskill, of East Road Pets, said the competition idea came from wanting to have something all the team could get involved in; a way to boost morale with all that had been going on around them.

The variety of pumpkin for their competition was an Atlantic Giant, from Kings Seeds. Each team member was given two seeds each that were planted mid-October 2021.

MacAskill said the competition brought a mixture of results with some not growing anything from their original seeds with the smallest entry on the day weighing 51kg, and the winning entry weighing in at 74.8kg.

A variety of growing methods were used from seeds started in glass houses, in compost bins, in swede patches.

This competition was not without out its losses – with rabbits taking an entry.

Exposure to full sun and fish fertiliser were eluded to as be secrets to success.

The pumpkins from East Road Pets competition have been donated to various community organisations along with some recipe suggestions for soup and pumpkin pie.