BIGGER AND BIGGER AND BIGGER: It can raise one's adrenaline, or at least interior excitement meter, when a particular pumpkin on the backyard vine begins to go for the gold. You've seen what we mean, if you've ever grown pumpkins at home (which is particularly easy, so much so the vines can almost outrun you). There are all of your little pumpkins, trying and huffing and growing, day by day, and then, randomly, there's the Big One, the "one of these things is not like the other" pumpkin, the jewel of the vine that you want to show off to all of the neighbors. And maybe even do, dragging in people off the street to admire your potentially prize-winning gourd. But could your giganto pumpkin go the distance against other pumpkin-growers' giganto pumpkins? You can find out, on Sunday, Oct. 26, when Tanaka Farms of Irvine hosts the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.
GARDENING PUBLIC WELCOME: This isn't just about professionals who grow pumpkins for sale; if you've got something mondo and orange-ish and seed-filled going on in your little side plot right now, you're invited to try for the glory. The glory and "$1,800 in cash and prizes for Heaviest Giant Pumpkin, Best Color, Funniest Shape, Youngest Grower, and Unluckiest Grower." Yep, that last category means that even if your pumpkin meets with a squashed/split-open fate before the weigh-off, you can still throw your proverbial hat in the ring. (Don't throw pumpkins though -- they get absolutely everywhere.)
THE PUMPKIN TITANS: For sure, the mega pumpkins of Half Moon Bay, the ones that regularly scale-tip in at more than a thousand pounds, are still among the champions of the California big pumpkin league. But the entries at Tanaka Farms could begin to be a SoCal contender for the Golden State's heftiest gourds. Want to make a run for it, pumpkinists? Better start coddling the Big One out on your backyard vine, ahead of Oct. 26.