Dallas Ehman grew a 506 lbs pumpkin this year, reported to be the biggest one yet in Terrace history. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

Dallas Ehman grew a 506 lbs pumpkin this year, reported to be the biggest one yet in Terrace history. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

Skeena Voices | Squashing numbers

It’s not just Cinderella with a giant pumpkin to take her to the ball — Terrace now has its own to sing about.

This year, Terrace resident Dallas Ehman grew a 506-pound pumpkin, a feat that took a lot more than rain and sun to make it happen.

“I feel kind of bashful because I feel like I’m soaking up all the happy with it, showing it off but I just like sharing it,” he says, adding he was towing it around in a trailer hitched to the back of his truck. “It’s awesome…there’s yelling out the windows and stuff like that, it’s pretty cool. A lot of people are pretty excited about it.”

Ehman says he was crazy when it came to growing this pumpkin and became obsessed with seeing how big it would get. When it surpassed his initial expectation and began to grow 30 pounds a day, he knew it would be one for the books.

But growing big pumpkins is not new, unexplored territory for Ehman. He says it first began at his job at Parkside Secondary School a few years ago when be brought in an 80-pound pumpkin he purchased at the store and saw how excited everyone was. It sparked a challenge at the school for staff to bring in the biggest squash they could find each year. Ehman knew the pumpkin he had in mind wouldn’t be standing in front of a grocery store for sale and came across countless online forums that taught him how to grow one.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | King of the hives

Having spent some time with his wife growing food at their local community garden space, Ehman felt confident enough with his green thumb skills to take on the task. That year, he found someone selling seeds from a giant pumpkin and he was stoked to try it on his own.

The first year, he grew a 200-pound pumpkin and couldn’t believe it. He had spent hours a day making sure everything was growing perfectly and had learned what to do to make it bigger.

So this past summer, Ehman prepared himself again and this time, bought seeds from a pumpkin that had reached 400 pounds on Prince Edward Island. Not having the space in his own yard to allocate the ideal amount of soil, he was granted permission from his friend’s family to use their garden for his experiment.

Spending hours a day and investing a few hundred dollars into the best fertilizers and nitrogen for the soil, Ehman approached the task scientifically as he arranged the vines into the ground to feed the pumpkin nutrients. He also set up an electric fence to keep it from getting consumed by wildlife.

“I put the hoses underneath, I don’t want to water it from the top because it gets powdery mildew on the leaves and so I’m spending all this money on these fungus sides spraying every leaf and we’re talking hundreds of leaves that I’m spraying them every day,” Ehman explains. “I don’t even want to think of how many hours I spent on this… I would even dream of it get eaten by bears.”

Just 90 days after planting the seed, the pumpkin had reached its maximum size when he saw a crack beginning to form at its stem. And then the frost came through.

“They take about 125 days to mature so this one’s only 93 days old,” says Ehman. “And when I did see it starting to see it snap like that… I just ripped out some of those roots that I put in all around to slow it down because I knew it would blow up.”

Cutting its “umbilical cord”, Ehman tried to move it but the pumpkin wouldn’t budge. Calling a friend for help and with the use of a tractor, they were finally able to load it onto a small trailer. When they weighed it, he was astonished.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | A legend off the ice

Despite having the biggest pumpkin reported in Terrace, Ehman says he had spent so much time and energy on it that it’s a bit of an empty feeling not having to tend to it anymore.

Ehman showcased it at the Skeena Valley Farmers’ Market and had dozens of people come by to take photos, but says he is a bit distraught over the entire emotional process. He wishes he had fundraised for a charity or done something more meaningful with it.

“Everybody’s shocked first, like how big it is but after that, it’s like nobody really cares… it didn’t feel right. It was anticlimactic [last time, too] and that’s how I’m feeling again but I’m glad the kids are loving it,” says Ehman. “When I decide to grow another one, I would like to hold a raffle and like to raise some money.”

But many people are still in awe of its size and this massive gourd has a destined artistic end to its life. A few students from his school will come together and carve out the pumpkin in time for Halloween. He hopes to then put it on display on Ferry Island.

Unfortunately, Ehman says they won’t be able to savour it and make any pumpkin dishes as he’s worried the split might have caused the inside to become inedible. He adds the pumpkin is still technically premature, as it hadn’t turned its orange colour.

“I don’t think it’d be very good to eat… I don’t know what’s going in there so I’m not gonna even put anybody in jeopardy over that sort of thing… so we’re going to be selfish and our science teachers are thinking of a way to blow it up.”

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | The perfect fit

He laughs that he couldn’t take a vacation this summer because of the pumpkin so it will be a few years before he puts on his gardening gloves again. But he expects his next one will be bigger and better. He’s seen online how other growers do it, with the world record at 2,600 pounds. He knows it may difficult in Terrace with its short growing season but hopes for the right temperatures to make it happen.

“We just don’t have the growing season here so it’s actually quite a miracle that it got this big,” he says. “To grow this thing, it took two things: TLC and OCD. That’s all there is… [next time] I’m going to get a seed from a 1,200 pounder and I’m going to try for that record.”

Ehman adds he doesn’t want to keep all the pumpkin-growing fun to himself and wants to extend his school challenge to the rest of the city. He says at the next seed exchange, he will be giving away his pumpkin’s seeds to encourage others to grow one of the same size.

“I’ve had so many people begging me for seeds,” he says. “I just want more people to grow these things because I’d love to see like a giant pumpkin contest or something like that here. There’s got to be somebody with OCD other than myself.”



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This concept artwork from July 2020 shows the inland port planned for the former Skeena Cellulose mill site in Terrace. (Image courtesy Hatha Callis, Progressive Ventures Group)
Terrace city council approves inland port OCP amendments

Project still requires zoning bylaw, development permit to continue

This copper frog pendant was made by Jamika Aksidan, a young Nisga’a artist who was recently recognized with an award for her work. (Photo courtesy Nisga’a Museum)
Nisga’a youth artist wins award

Award includes $500, exhibition in Nisga’a Museum

A BC Hydro outage is affecting nearly 4000 customers in Kitimat. The cause of the outage is under investigation. (Screenshot/BC Hydro Outage Map)
Cable fault responsible for Kitimat power outage, BC Hydro says

At its peak, the BC Hydro power outage affected near 4,000 customers

Graph showing the 2020 passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace. (Submitted/Northwest Regional Airport)
New year brings an end to a turbulent 2020 at Northwest Regional Airport

Passenger totals half of what they were in 2019

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read