PIMPINIO man Ray Smith was told he wouldn’t be able to grow the Naples Long pumpkin seed in Wimmera soil.
But he had other ideas.
Mr Smith has grown 11 of the native Italian pumpkins, with some growing longer than one metre and weighing in at more than 27 kilograms.
Mr Smith said he, his wife Heather and daughter Gay found the seed at a farmers’ market in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown.
“They had two of these pumpkins sitting out at a stall and I thought I would like to grow one of them,” he said.
“Gay asked if we could get some seeds out of it. The man said we wouldn’t be able to get them to grow down here – he said they only grew up in Darwin.
“In the finish, he gave us one seed – as big as your thumbnail. Now we have a garden full of them.”
Mr Smith said at one point, the pumpkins were growing two inches every day.
Mr Smith said he estimates there would be more than 250 kilograms of pumpkin in his garden.
“We will give them away,” he said.
Mr Smith said he has already picked three pumpkins – one 12-kilogram pumpkin, one 22-kilogram pumpkin and one 27-kilogram pumpkin.
“There is one out there that will be at least 30 kilograms,” he said.
But Mr Smith said he was unsure if he would grow the variety again.
“It was an interesting experience seeing them grow,” he said.
Gay Baker said the project nearly didn’t happen.
After purchasing the seed, Mrs Smith put it into a bit of paper and threw it into her handbag.
“We all forgot about it and we got around to pumpkin seed season and couldn’t find it,” Mrs Baker said.
“Mum was then going around her bag one day looking for something else and she found the seed, so he put it in his hot house in October to get it started and off it went.”
Mrs Baker said her father had green fingers.
“He is a seed saver and a tree grower,” she said.
Mr Smith has lived on his property at Pimpinio since he was five. He is now 92.
“All the trees you can see around the property, all bar a couple, have come from all over Australia,” he said.