Willem le Grange’s vegetable helped him break the South
African record after it was cultivated outside his Mossel Bay home.
Willem le Grange’s vegetable helped him break the South African record after it was cultivated outside his Mossel Bay home.
Farm manager Willem le Grange has helped break a South African record for the biggest pumpkin to come out of the country. His vegetable weighs in at a staggering 867 kilograms and takes first place at the Giant Pumpkin Festival.
Willem explains that he grew the massive vegetable
outside of his home in Mossel Bay over 170 days and it scored him a large sum
of cash when he won the first prize of R175,500 at the Giant Pumpkin Festival and
an additional R50,000 for breaking the South African record.
But Willem explains that he almost missed out on his chance to present the pumpkin. “A month before the weigh in there was a porcupine,” Willem explains. “It came into my patch and bit my pumpkin twice. I was scared it was going to rot, but I disinfected it and it healed quickly. If I had not given it attention, it would have rotted.”
Willem adds that he was thrilled that his prized pumpkin made such an impact at the Giant Pumpkin Festival after the months of hard work it took to cultivate. The festival took place in Heidelberg in the Western Cape on March 26 and 27, but on a much smaller scale as a result of the pandemic, with only 250 people allowed to attend each day.
The farm manager explains that he is looking forward to investing the prize money into his business and growing even more pumpkins.
“I will have to open a pumpkin account and keep the money and spend it on pumpkins,” he says. “It’s a great feeling but so much can happen through a season. Every year is a great season but not every year is pumpkin season. So much can happen and your pumpkin can rot or break open, but with good seed, good soil and good luck you can grow a good pumpkin.”
He adds: “I grew five plants and was lucky to harvest all five, which is not how it usually works through the season because you lose a few pumpkins. If you add them together they come to a total of 30,050kg.”
Interestingly, the love for large vegetables runs in the family as Willem’s father, Casper le Grange, took second place at the festival.
Image courtesy: Willem le Grange
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