This past summer was a tiring season for 13-year-old Milan Lukes.
The boy from St. Norbert, Manitoba worked long and hard in his backyard garden, poring over his crops on a mission to grow the biggest pumpkin the world (or at least, his community) has ever seen.
And this year, he appears to have succeeded. Just look at what it took to move his massive pumpkins.
Yeah, they basically needed a miniature crane.
Those two bad (pumpkin) boys in the above image were enough to earn Milan both the first and second prizes at the annual Roland Pumpkin Fair, which, if you didn’t already know, is a pretty big deal. About 1,500 people were in attendance, and all eyes were on Milan and his giant crops as they were hoisted onto a scale. The giant fruits netted weights of 1,348 lbs and 1,283 lbs respectively, shattering literally all of the competition.
But this wasn’t solely one summer’s worth of work in the making; Milan has been fascinated with pumpkins since he was six. The once-giant crops that blew his mind as a child shrank as he got older, prompting his parents to show him the oversized versions in Roland. Needless to say, he was inspired to make some giant pumpkins of his own, but there were a few problems to solve first.
“He realized the normal seeds at the grocery store were never going to grow really, really big,” Milan’s mother, Janice Lukes said during a telephone interview (Milan is busy at a “We Day” event today).
Instead, the boy turned to the internet, where he found all the precious seeds he required. His first pumpkin grew to be 500 lbs — a good start. But he wanted them even bigger. It wasn’t long before his projects started requiring additional infrastructure: special, top-secret fertilizer had to be imported from the U.S. (Milan will not reveal what he uses), heaters were activated, wind-breaks set up, mouse traps were deployed and even greenhouses had to be constructed.
“My backyard looks like a science laboratory right now,” Janice said.
That’s not all, either. Milan has four different weather apps on his phone that he uses to prepare his pumpkin for whatever Mother Nature throws his way. He’s even sacrificed three years of summer vacations to tend to his crops. The whole growing process stretches from June to October, but we imagine it all seems worth it when this is the result:
So what will come of Milan’s roughly 1,400-lb pumpkins?
First, they’ll be taken to a farmer’s market to act as an in-house decoration and conversation piece. Then, they’ll have a spot on the Lukes’ family lawn, where the pair will act as food for the neighbourhood deer once the seeds have been eaten.
Unfortunately, turning them into a Jack-o’-lantern is out of the question, since the pumpkins are way too heavy and their external shells are about a foot thick (Milan can fit inside both pumpkins quite easily).
That only leaves one thing: Could Milan, grower of all things large, not like pumpkin foods as much as he likes the plants?
“He has learned how to make pumpkin pie, he loves pumpkin pie,” Janice said. “I can’t keep any pumpkin in the house in the way of food.”
Sure answers our question.