Top: It took five men

Top: It took five men

Big pumpkin draws a crowd at Fort Steele

Gargantuan Atlantic pumpkin took a summer of dedication to produce for Fort Steele's Thanksgiving celebrations

  • Oct. 16, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Courtesy Jenny Humphrey

This summer, Kate Ruoss of Cranbrook grew a gargantuan Atlantic pumpkin from one of two seeds given to her in the spring. Her garden at Fort Steele’s Cohn House is always productive but Kate had always wanted to try to grow one of these giant squash.

After germinating two seeds and selecting the strongest plant, she anxiously awaited the flowers. Many trips were made to her garden waiting for the first female flower to open.

Not wanting any cross pollination with other squash, Kate hand pollinated the first female flowers.

After two fruit were assured, only one baby squash was kept.

“Kate’s new baby,” as the squash became affectionately known, was carefully nursed through summer and photographed many times by tourists.

Under the watchful eyes of Ryan Yadernuk and Dennis Juhasz, Fort Steele employees, the pumpkin survived with only one nibble from the deer, until this Thanksgiving Weekend.

On Thanksgiving Sunday the Atlantic pumpkin was the topic for a “Guess the Weight” contest, and two passes to the Halloween Spooktacular were awarded to those who guessed the weight most closely.

It took five men to carry the pumpkin to the weigh scale brought in and kindly lent for the occasion by Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement.

The pumpkin weighed in at 225 pounds.

Two people tied for the win: Deborah Lye of Kimberley and Amy Korth of Rosen Lake, who will be enjoying the upcoming Halloween Spooktacular.