Giant pumpkins winning streak for South Windsor family

IT all started when Paul Simmons won the giant pumpkin (over 100 kilograms) class at Sydney Royal for his 130-kilogram vegetable.

Though to be fair, it really started when Paul procured some 'stock' pumpkin seeds from a mate, and planted them in his backyard at South Windsor.

In the family: Rodney Simmons (left) and his grandson Connor with their award-winning giant pumpkins at the 2019 Hawkesbury Show. Picture: Supplied

In the family: Rodney Simmons (left) and his grandson Connor with their award-winning giant pumpkins at the 2019 Hawkesbury Show. Picture: Supplied

He said after his win in 2017 that as far as pumpkins go, his wasn't even very large - it had been more a case of unfavourable weather conditions knocking-out much of the competition.

Even so, Paul's love for large vegetables spread - much like the huge vines he was growing - across the back fence and over into his father's yard.

Paul's dad Rodney Simmons caught the giant pumpkin bug and went on to win Class 2 (over 50 kilograms and under 100 kilograms) at Sydney Royal this year for his 99.5-kilogram behemoth.

Less than a month later, the very same pumpkin earned Rodney first place at the Hawkesbury Show where it was the biggest pumpkin out of the lot.

It towered over the nearest runner-up - which was considerably smaller in stature - but there were no surprises there, because the pumpkin that came in second had come from back over the fence at Paul's place - only Paul didn't grow it, his son Connor did, meaning the Simmons took out the two top spots at this year's local show as a grandfather-grandson giant pumpkin-growing duo.

Family first: Paul Simmons' first-prize-winning giant pumpkin at the 2017 Sydney Royal, which netted him $1000. Picture: Supplied

Family first: Paul Simmons' first-prize-winning giant pumpkin at the 2017 Sydney Royal, which netted him $1000. Picture: Supplied

Is there something in the soil on your street, we asked Rodney? Three generations of giant pumpkin winners living next door to each other couldn't be dumb luck.

It's not the soil, apparently, but the weather; when everyone else was suffering from the heat, cold, wind and drought, conditions in the two Simmons patches must've remained fairly temperate, because according to Rodney, he and Connor, just like Paul in 2017, 'did a Bradbury' this year.

(In case you don't know about Steven Bradbury, he was the Australian speed skater who won the gold for the 1,000-metre event at the 2002 Winter Olympics after everyone else in the race stacked it en masse around the last corner.)

"It hasn't been a good season for pumpkins. It shouldn't have really won, but we've just got to get the temperatures right," Rodney said.

He said it takes only around four months to grow a massive pumpkin: "The secret is, when you want a big one, you cut the others off the vine and leave one or two and nurture them along a bit - that way, all the goodness goes into the ones you want to show."

"They also need a lot of tender, loving care - and fertiliser. They take over your backyard, the vines grow that big, so they need a lot of water, and you need a lot of luck on top of it," he said.

"Paul got the first winning one, and now I've got the second, and now we'll hand it over to Connor for the win - we hope! Connor loves gardening more than Paul and myself."

Comments