Sea-going pumpkins next step - grower

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 24/04/2013
Steve Dasler
DAVE HALLET/Fairfax NZ
IT'S PUMPKIN-RACING TIME: This isn't Steve Dasler's first wacky idea rodeo.

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It sound like a fairytale - a Canterbury man plans to turn his pumpkin into a boat.

Steve Dasler, a volunteer firefighter from Banks Peninsula, is growing a pumpkin large enough to carry him across the sea - well, at least a small part of it.

But he doesn't want to do it alone.

"[Just] one person racing would look ridiculous," he says.

However, since a bunch of pumpkins racing across the waves would be perfectly normal, Dasler is looking to get other people to grow giant seafaring vegetables to join him on the water.

He intends to take the top off his pumpkin and put a frame around it before attaching it to an outboard motor.

"It looks like a lot better option [than sails or oars]."

As an enthusiastic gardener, Dasler first started growing pumpkins as a hobby last year.

He took the resulting 118-kilogram pumpkin to the Little River Pumpkin Festival and won a local prize. "It's a heated competition," he said.

This year's pumpkin was definitely bigger, and he's putting all his efforts into growing it even larger. The keys to growing a big pumpkin were frequent watering, deadheading the little pumpkins, and "bulls...".

"Literally, bulls... - I grow them directly on it."

A local farmer even offered him free manure when he found out Dasler was growing pumpkins.

Other pumpkin-growers went even further, he said, using heat mats to keep the things warm and injecting sugar into the stalks of pumpkins to enhance growth.

A sailing pumpkin isn't Dasler's first fantastical project.

He had also built three life-sized racing Daleks, evil alien robots from British TV show Doctor Who.

The Little River Pumpkin festival is on tomorrow from noon at the Little River Domain. It celebrates all things pumpkin.

Entry is by donation and all proceeds go to Little River School. For more information, see littleriverpumpkinfest.co.nz, and if you are interested in joining Dasler's pumpkin race, email him at stevedasler@gmail.com.

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- The Press

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