NAMPA — Among the best email subject lines I’ve received this year was DJ Steffler’s “The Great Pumpkin is coming!” I’m not sure his pumpkin is going to be handing out gifts (if it is, this is a way bigger news story than I thought. Alert the New York Times, someone), but it sure is a great, big pumpkin.
To be precise, DJ estimates the pumpkin, which he grew in a greenhouse in Nampa, to weigh about 1,600 pounds. In a week or two, he’s going to get it weighed on a certified scale, and then he says it will break the current 1,219-pound Idaho record.
The pumpkin will be on display at the Farmstead corn maze (1020 S Rackham Way in Meridian) starting Monday.
I asked DJ, “What are you feeding it to get it to that size?” I was partially joking and partially serious, but he took the question and ran with it. For those who, like me, are interested in what goes into a pumpkin like this, here’s DJ’s answer:
“I try to feed it whatever it needs when it needs it. I started with a soil test to see what I was starting with.
“After the plant was growing, I tested the leaves to see what nutrients were in the plant vs. what it should be. Giant pumpkins like natural fertilizer such as fish emulsion, compost tea, humic acid, sea weed and work castings. I also used beneficial bacteria for root health and to help control fungus and added mycorrhizae.
“I used conventional fertilizer as needed if I needed nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, sulfur, calcium. I added micronutrients that I needed — boron, manganese, zinc, copper.”
According to DJ, this breed of pumpkin can gain up to 50 pounds per day.
According to me, it’s a bit of a diva. Talk about high maintenance! The results, though, are cool and so worth it, I’m sure.
Congrats, DJ, on your monster pumpkin. I’ll cross my fingers for next year’s to be even bigger.
West Valley Medical Center awards four scholarships
West Valley Medical Center has awarded four Allied Healthcare Scholarships to help local students going into the health care field.
These students are Jacinda Buzzard, of Caldwell; Analiese Cook, of Parma; Rachel Davis, of Nampa; and Brooke Hansen, of Parma.
Each is going into nursing and received $1,000.
Congratulations and good luck to each of you.
Mayor’s School Walking Challenge begins
Nampa Mayor Bob Henry has put on his walking shoes again.
The annual Mayor’s School Walking Challenge is on, and if he averages 10,000 steps per day this month, he’ll receive $1,000 to contribute toward a city park or elementary school project that encourages physical activity.
The elementary school that gets the most walking done will get a prize, too, but I wasn’t able to confirm just what it would be.
However, I do know that Mayor Henry will get bonus steps for walking with students.
Fun times ahead! If you see the mayor out walking, give him a honk (if you’re driving) or a high-five (if you’re biking or walking).
The challenge is sponsored by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, St. Luke’s Health System and the Idaho Dairy Council.