What a treat to see what our friend creates right here in his yard every year!
If I didn’t see the entire setup with my own eyes, I couldn’t comprehend just how big the operation is for one huge pumpkin! John Stellern shared with us in his Why Cheyenne video that he has been experimenting with and growing these huge pumpkins for 29 years, since he and his wife first built their home in Cheyenne’s Western Hills neighborhood. He started out with a love of growing things as a kid in Laramie, WY. Once he was in Cheyenne he wanted something fun to do that wouldn’t take him away from his family, so he started a flower garden, then a vegetable garden. After researching what’s the biggest thing he could grow he fell into growing pumpkins.
Each year he learns from the mistakes of the previous year and makes adjustments. John starts with eight pumpkin seeds in March, then through a process of elimination he plants five outside when the season is right, from that point he prunes off the weaker plants to leave the strongest plant. Freezing temperatures and hail are the two things that will ruin a garden overnight in our area. We have such fluctuating temps here that we can occasionally get an early frost or freeze that immediately ends the growing season. He’s lost many pumpkins over the years to weather. The hail canopy is 440 square feet and the leaves cover 850 square feet!
His 2021 pumpkin is featured in the blog image with Tara Nelson and me and it’s estimated at 800 pounds! The weight is estimated using a formula of ground to ground, top to bottom, and side to side with a tape measurer. In the end, he can weigh the pumpkin at a local nursery, Riverbend, but what makes the difference is the thickness of the pumpkin walls. Once the growing season is over he tries to send all the leaves to the compost, then enlists the help of friends to move it to his front yard to display for Halloween! Pictured above is his granddaughter when she was two!
If you’d like to see his pumpkin in person or even take a picture with it head over to Brittany Drive in Cheyenne! He’s got it set up with this year’s Halloween display. Thanks John for sharing your unique gift with the community!
Check out his video HERE.