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photoMonte Pringle sits on his pickup tailgate beside his very large pumpkin, Whitey.

Pringle's Pumpkins
Aiming for 800

UPDATE 10/4: Monte Pringle’s pumpkins came in plenty big. The biggest, ‘Whitey’, landed at 473 pounds, which means Pringle broke his own record of 421 pounds, grown in 2010. ‘Pear’ tipped the scales at 260. The two that are both nicknamed ‘Runt’, grown from the same vine, weighed in at 160 and 91 pounds.

Pringle’s biggest pumpkins will be on display at the Pumpkin Fest held Saturday, September 5, at Windmill Farm on the Gold Creek Loop Road. Then he will transport them to the Winthrop Library, probably on Sunday, where they will be on view until about Wednesday, Pringle said.

After a summer of fertilizing, trimming and watering, Monte Pringle plans to harvest some really big pumpkins on Friday.

photo Monte Pringle explains the techniques of growing a really large pumpkin.

Pringle planted four pumpkin vines on private land out past the Winthrop Library and tennis courts. Three vines made it into the summer, one died. The three survivors have been carefully tended and now nourish some monster pumpkins. The biggest Pringle named Whitey, for its color. He believes it will weigh over 400 pounds. ‘Pear’ is the second largest: it tried to grow upside-down first, Pringle said.

“If I do 421 (pounds) I break my record,” he added, and that’s the goal this year. He’d like to grow an 800-pounder someday.

Pringle has had his successes and failures. “ In 2010 I grew a 420 pound pumpkin in Richland…. in 2011 all plants and pumpkins were lost due to a beetle of some sort.” He didn’t try to grow any in 2012, so this is his come-back year, in the Methow Valley, where he’s living with and helping his father, Bud Pringle.

“I’ve pretty much overwhelmed myself,” he laughs. “It’s just kind of fun.” He has had help from his relatives, the Belsbys.

“The key is to bury the vines as they grow to promote more roots,” Pringle explained—plus lots of manure and fish fertilizer. “Boy, it stinks every time” when he applies the fish fertilizer, he said. And “each time I used it, a bear came along, a little black bear,” spotted from the nearby house. The garden’s soil includes cow manure and top soil from Spring Creek Ranch. A soaker hose irrigates the pumpkin patch. That’s better for pollinating, Pringle said—sprinklers can wash away pollen.

photo Pringle’s hand is dwarfed by one of the pumpkins he grew.


The vines he pruned constantly: he kept just a couple lateral vines going, and picked off all extra vine buds and young pumpkins.

The three biggest pumpkins from the patch will provide seeds for next year. “They will be available for others” also, Pringle promised.

Pringle’s pumpkin mentor is Joel Holland, a man whose website claims he has grown 40 pumpkins that weighted over 1,000 pounds each. (The world record is a 2,009 pound behemoth, according to the internet.) Pringle uses Holland seeds.

photoMonte Pringle shows the Winthrop scale that will weigh the pumpkin—which he will move with a backhoe.

Stand by for more information: The Methow Grist will publish the results of the Friday weigh-in. Plus, the biggest pumpkin should be on view this weekend at the Winthrop library. Pringle has worked with the town and with librarian Sally Portman to get permission to set it (gently) on the library porch.

Pringle mentioned another pumpkin event in the lower valley: October 5, the Kids’ Pumpkin Fest at Windmill Farm on the Gold Creek Loop Road will feature “games, prizes, candy, (a) country store, (a) hayride and of course buying the perfect pumpkin” according to a post on the Methow Grist.

Pringle has been an electrician for 30 years. His own home is in Wenatchee, and he gets dispatched to jobs as a member of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers. He’s worked as an electrician on jobs for Microsoft, REI, Alcoa and at Hanford, he said. Pringle is related to the Badger, Boesel and LaRue pioneering Methow Valley families, he said, and to a “Pringle from the Bridgeport bar” on the Columbia River.


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