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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : November 26th 2008
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, November 27, 2008 21 NEWS Ben Boyton and his enormous pumpkin in 2006. Ben prepares for another colossus NICOLE HASHAM ON a suburban block in Sydney's west, one man is taking backyard gardening to a whole new level. In a carefully tended plot surrounded by wire, Ben Boyton is growing what will soon be one mighty large pumpkin. Already classed as a heavyweight gourd-grower, Ben's last effort in 2006 smashed the Australian re- cord, weighing in at a whop- ping 512kg. This time, Ben is deter- mined to go one better. ''Its just a bit of a crazy hobby. One year I got some giant seeds and just threw them in, and I got a good- sized pumpkin,'' Ben said. ''Then I had another go and thought how can I get it up to 200kg? I just want to grow a bigger one than last time.'' A paving layer by day, Ben spends his weekends and evenings tending his plot -- preparing the soil, trimming vines and keeping the bugs at bay. And while his plant might look a little ordinary now, Bensaiditwillbeaseaof leaves by March next year, with a huge pumpkin ripe for the picking. ''The last plant grew out to 95sq m. (The pumpkin) didn't go anywhere -- we rolled it over to the scales then cut it up, got the seeds and let it rot down,'' Ben said. The key to success, he said, was a bed of soil bursting with nutrients. ''The soil makes every- thing happen. Make it nice and rich and you're ready to grow something decent,'' Ben said. And while his efforts might not lead him to fame and fortune, you might think a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup would await Ben at the end of the journey. But he shatters that illusion. ''(Giant pumpkins) have no real flavour. You can try and make a soup, but if you boil up 20kg you'll get an inch of slurry, and the rest is water,'' he said. Cumberland-Courier is giving you the chance to grow your very own giant pumpkin in the Great Back- yard Pumpkin Challenge. Growers will have their pro- duce entered into a special competition at the 2009 Sydney Royal Easter Show. Collect an intent to enter form and seeds at this news- papers office by the end of November. You will be sent the official entry form in January 2009. All systems go for seniors ZILKA GROGAN John Smith and students at Computer Pals for Seniors need more tutors. Picture: PHIL BLATCH ~PP220638 JOHN Smith had only retired for a couple of years before he felt he needed something else to occupy his time. So when the opportunity to establish a computer club for seniors popped up, Mr Smith leapt at the chance. ''I didn't know anything about computers beforehand,'' he said. ''Now I can actually put a computer together, all the bits and pieces and get it up and going.'' As one of the founding members of Computer Pals for Seniors in Concord, Mr Smith teaches basic computer skills to fellow retirees. The organisation, which has about 80 members, is looking to expand by attracting more tutors. ''The problem is you have to have more tutors otherwise you're not doing the right thing for your members,'' Mr Smith said. ''We don't want a long waiting list for members.'' Mr Smith and 13 others volunteer with Computer Pals. He hopes to find at least 10 computer-literate seniors willing to donate their time to teach others. ''It would allow us to give more time to our students and allow us to have classes five days per week.'' Contact John Smith on 9743 1243 or Robyn Trinder on 9684 4140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 260A LIVERPOOL ROAD, ASHFIELD NSW PH: 02 9799 8488 www.ashfieldmall.com.au COME AND GRAB A FREE REINDEER WITH EVERY SANTA PHOTO PURCHASE!* A centre wide welcome parade will commence at Ashfield Mall followed by a traditional Christmas show outside Woolworths (on Level 4) Santa photos begin at 12pm *While stocks last SEE SANTA ARRIVE AT ASHFIELD MALL SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 11am
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