Through Veterans Day, visitors can see Ross Osborn’s Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin at JACE Real Estate Company off Sequim Avenue. Here, Osborn chats with Eileen Schmitz, principal broker at JACE. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Through Veterans Day, visitors can see Ross Osborn’s Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin at JACE Real Estate Company off Sequim Avenue. Here, Osborn chats with Eileen Schmitz, principal broker at JACE. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim gardener’s giant pumpkin on display until Nov. 11

JACE Real Estate hosts weight guessing contest

SEQUIM — Some light reading became a heavy project for Ross Osborn.

The 85-year-old Sequim resident grew his second batch of Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins this fall. He’s known for growing an abundant crop inside his greenhouse and donating much of it to the Sequim Food Bank, but last year Osborn opted to try pumpkin growing, too.

“I’ve been reading about Dill’s Atlantic pumpkins, and I got some seeds from the world champion winner (Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill) in Oregon. He became a friend,” Osborn said.

“It’s become just a fun thing to do.”

At the recommendation of his daughter, Debbie Cottrell, a real estate agent, Osborn brought his latest giant pumpkin to JACE Real Estate Company, 761 N. Sequim Ave., to share it with the community.

Pumpkin selfies

Through Veterans Day, people can guess the pumpkin’s weight by calling 360-565-2028.

People can enter only once — the deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 11 — and not go over the weight for a chance to win local gift certificates. They can also go to the business to see the pumpkin and snap photos with a chance to win prizes by receiving the most likes/shares from posted selfies on JACE’s social media pages with the hashtags #jaceolantern and #thegreatjacepumpkin.

For more information, call the Sequim office at 360-681-7979 or visit jacerealestate.com.

Pumpkin time

With tough circumstances regarding COVID-19 and Halloween, Osborn said he was “more than happy to share it” with the public.

Osborn said only a few people know this year’s pumpkin’s weight, and he surpassed his giant pumpkin’s weight from last year.

“I’m proud of that,” he said.

The pumpkin was grown in his outside garden on his McComb Road home where he lives with his wife Betty. He retired 11 years ago after he worked 34 years as a machinist in Port Angeles and eight years at Boeing.

Much of his spare time has been devoted to his garden, he said.

Eileen Schmitz, president and designated broker for Jace Real Estate Company, said Osborn is known for his tomatoes.

“I gave them to a friend who loves tomatoes, and she loved them so much she cried,” she said.

‘Pumpkin Whisperer’

Osborn planted his Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds on April 24 and began seeing blooms in May. He started with three plants but discovered a powdery mildew that killed two of them.

On cold nights, he’d place a blanket over it to help it stay warm at Daletas’ recommendation.

“They have the possibility to grow 25 pounds a day under optimum conditions,” Osborn said.

“My best was seven pounds a day. It varied and dropped to two pounds a day sometimes, depending on the weather.”

Interest in pumpkins has grown to Osborn’s neighbors with four of them growing giant pumpkins, too, he said.

One neighbor had his up to 275 pounds.

Because of his enthusiasm, neighbors nicknamed him the “Pumpkin Whisperer” and even gave him a ball cap with the title.

“It’s a big neighborhood, and we have a lot of fun,” he said.

Osborn is unsure if he’ll grow the giant pumpkins in 2021.

“My family wants me to do it. But to do it properly, I need to do it in a greenhouse for the optimum conditions,” he said. “But that’s an everyday job.”

One thing he’s learned through the process is that he needs to give the pumpkins more water. Osborn estimates he was giving the pumpkin about 10 gallons a day, but they need upwards of 90 gallons, he said.

Whatever he decides to do next year, Osborn is fairly certain he’s going to make some alpacas happy this year as he traditionally donates the giant pumpkins to a nearby farm as a treat.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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