A PUMPKIN farmer is hoping to raise money for a gourd cause with his crop of super-sized squashes.
Roger Cloake, aged 79, has carved out a decent living by selling pumpkins from his backyard in North Whilborough, near Kingskerswell, for over two decades.
‘When I started growing pumpkins, they were a different colour,’ Roger remarked. ‘They had a bit more of a blue tinge, they weren’t as much of this orangey colour. But times change, seasons change.’
Although well-versed in pumpkin production, this is the first year Roger has attempted to grow giants.
But Roger’s backyard behemoths are foreigners to our lands. With the seeds coming from Ireland and the species from the US, the genetics for giant gourds are certainly not easy to come by.
They were put in seed in March, but growing got down to business in May, after the threat of frost has subsided.
Roger said: ‘They take plenty of hard work, the whole thing’s done by hand. You have to hope for wet in the spring, dry in the summer and wet in the autumn. It’s a complicated business.’
This year, the three prodigious pumpkins got to a considerable size, but Roger reckons that next year they’ll get even larger.
He said: ‘I haven’t weighed them, I don’t even know how you’d go about it. But the conditions were horrendous for pumpkins this year.
‘But it’s a bit of fun, isn’t it? I’ll grow a few more next year. Theoretically, they’ll grow to a tonne. You can eat these apparently, I only like the squashes, I don’t even really like pumpkins.
Now cut and ready to go, Roger hopes to donate the pumpkins to a charity to use for fundraising.
He added: ’It’ll put something back in society. If a charity comes along, they can have it free of charge - they’ll just have to come and get them!'