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The Great Pumpkin

By Jane Whitmore - | Oct 1, 2020

PUMPKIN GROWER Joel Kibbie of Emmetsburg is pictured with some of his largest pumpkins. The pumpkin at left, weighing 789 pounds, looks like a bean bag chair or a flower or maybe even a glob of orange slime. The next pumpkin in line “looks just like its mom,” according to Joel. The trailer of pumpkins is currently on display across from the Kibbie home on North Huron (just north of Five Island Campground). Drive by and take a look at these giants from the garden. --Jane Whitmore photo

by Jane Whitmore

A trailer of giant pumpkins is on display on North Huron just north of Five Island Campground. These giants of the garden were grown by Joel Kibbie of Emmetsburg.

Some of the pumpkins were grown from seed that Kibbie had harvested. He also planted Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins, that are pictured in this group.

These pumpkins weigh 789 pounds, 578 pounds, 544 pounds, and 591 pounds. Kibbie’s goal is to raise a pumpkin weighing over 1,000 pounds. He points out that the world record is a 2,624 pound pumpkin grown in Belgium.

The blossom end of the pumpkin indicates the number of lobes inside. Pictured below, the blossom end has four and one-half heart-shaped nodules: there are four lobes inside this pumpkin. With four lobes, there are four veins of seeds on the inside of this pumpkin. The largest of Joel’s pumpkins has five lobes. It is most desirable to have four, five or even six lobes inside the pumpkin.

Pumpkin weigh-offs are held throughout the area. Joel Kibbie hopes to take this trailer of pumpkins to a weigh-off this weekend where other growers will bring their giant pumpkins.

Joel Kibbie has been a seed saver for years. He exchanges seeds with others, including exotic seeds. An example of exotic is a horned melon, which he grew this year. He described the melon as a mix between citrus fruit and a cucumber.

Kibbie also planted hot peppers in his garden: Carolina reapers, ghost peppers, Trinidad scorpion, and Peter Peppers, in addition to giant bell peppers. He uses the hot peppers to make salsa, which he gifts to friends and family.

Joel will be harvesting seeds from his produce again this year. When he hollows out the pumpkins, there is the possibility Joel might be spotted on Five Island Lake, floating inside the pumpkin shell.