Fairbanks greenhouse raises another giant pumpkin

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alert Linus Van Pelt: There's a great pumpkin in town.

Great as in large. Mammoth. Put it in a boxing ring, and this 100-plus-pound colossus could fight as a junior flyweight.

The Atlantic Giant pumpkin was one of two grown indoors this year at Ann's Greenhouses on Sheep Creek Road by employee Linda Dolney, daughter of greenhouse owner Ann Dolney. Ann Dolney, who has been growing pumpkins in the Interior for decades, said the fruit was the largest produce of any sort she had grown on the property -- not bad for a plant less than 90 days old.

''It's only been on the vine since the middle of June -- not three months,'' said Ann Dolney. ''Everybody that's seen that pumpkin's just been in awe.''

It's still on the vine, but Dolney thinks the pumpkin has finished growing and is beginning to ripen.

Dolney said this year's other indoor pumpkin paled in comparison, as did a number of pumpkins of another strain grown outdoors. The pumpkins are generally sold as food or as decorations, although Dolney said the greenhouse ones were mostly a diversion.

''It's just a fun thing to do after the hectic season's over, then my daughter puts that in,'' she said, noting that her daughter was going for size. ''It has to be a special seed to get them that big.''

Dolney still expressed surprise that the behemoth arose from the 2001 growing season. ''It hasn't been that great a year,'' she said.

Dolney said the pumpkin would have finished well in the Tanana Valley State Fair, but no one wanted to harvest it that early. ''That was two weeks ago -- the fair's a little early for things like that.'' She added that lugging it to the later Alaska State Fair would have been more trouble than it's worth.

''You want me to drive it to Palmer?'' she asked.

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