Some light reading became a heavy project for Ross Osborn.
The 85-year-old Sequim resident grew his second batch of Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins this fall.
He’s known for growing an abundant crop inside his greenhouse and donating much of it to the Sequim Food Bank. Last year, however, Osborn opted to try pumpkin growing. too.
“I’ve been reading about Dill’’s Atlantic pumpkins, and I got some seeds from world champion winner (Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill) in Oregon; he became a friend,” Osborn said.
“It’s become just a fun thing to do.”
At the recommendation of his daughter, real estate agent Debbie Cottrell, he brought his latest giant pumpkin to JACE Real Estate Company, 761 N. Sequim Ave., to share it with the community.
Through Veterans Day, people can also guess the pumpkin’s weight through 5 p.m. Nov. 11 by calling 360-565-2028.
People can only enter the contest once and not guess over the weight for a chance to win local gift certificates
. They can also go to the business to see the pumpkin and snap photos with a chance to win prizes by receiving the most likes/shares from posted selfies on JACE’s social media pages with the hashtags #JACEOLANTERN and #THEGREATJACEPUMPKIN.
For more information, call the Sequim office at 360-681-7979 or visit jacerealestate.com.
With tough circumstances regarding COVID-19 and the Halloween holiday, Osborn said he was “more than happy to share it” with the public.
Osborn said only a few people know this year’s pumpkin’s weight and he surpassed his giant pumpkin’s weight from last year.
“I’m proud of that,” he said.
The pumpkin was grown in his outside garden on his McComb Road home where he lives with his wife Betty. He retired 11 years ago after working 34 years as a machinist in Port Angeles and eight years at Boeing.
Much of his spare time has been devoted to his garden, Osborn said.
Eileen Schmitz, president and designated broker for Jace Real Estate Company, said Osborn is known for his tomatoes.
“I gave them to a friend who loves tomatoes and she loved them so much she cried,” she said.
Osborn planted his Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds on April 24 and began seeing blooms in May. He started with three plants but discovered a powdery mildew that killed two of them.
On cold nights he’d place a blanket over it to help it stay warm at Daletas’ recommendation.
“They have the possibility to grow 25 pounds a day under optimum conditions,” Osborn said.
“My best was seven pounds a day. It varied and dropped to two pounds a day sometimes depending on the weather.”
Interest in pumpkins has grown to Osborn’s neighbors with four of them growing giant pumpkins, too, he said.
One neighbor had his up to 275 pounds.
Because of his enthusiasm, neighbors nicknamed him the “Pumpkin Whisperer” and even gave him a ball cap with the title.
“It’s a big neighborhood, and we have a lot of fun,” he said.
For 2021, Osborn is unsure if he’ll grow the giant pumpkins again.
“My family wants me to do it. But to do it properly I need to do it in a greenhouse for the optimum conditions,” he said. “But that’s an everyday job.”
One thing he’s learned through the process is that he needs to give the pumpkins more water. Osborn estimates he was giving the pumpkin about 10 gallons a day of water but they need as much as 90 gallons.
Whatever he decides to do next year, Osborn is fairly certain he’s going to make some alpacas happy as he traditionally donates the giant pumpkins to a nearby farm as a treat.
Again for more information on the pumpkin contest, contact JACE Real Estate Company at 360-681-7979 or visit jacerealestate.com.