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Giants among vegetables

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PEGGY SAVAGE - Ron Ogren, a Molalla farmer, entered his 946-pound pumpkin in the Bauman Farm giant vegetable competition over the weekend. HIs pumpkin didn't take first place, but his 34-pound watermelon did. It was still growing – hadn’t yet turned orange – but Ron Ogren picked his 946-pound Atlantic Giant pumpkin Friday and entered it in a giant pumpkin competition Saturday.

Every year Ogren, a member of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers, competes in competitions around the Pacific Northwest. Last weekend, his giant pumpkin placed 17th at the annual Bauman Farms competition at Gervais.

Ogren was a little disappointed with the results. “I was hoping for a thousand pound pumpkin,” he said. “Didn’t quite make it.”

But, his 33-pound watermelon took first place Saturday.

Ron Ogren also grows giant tomatoes, but his four-pounder beauty developed early and rotted before Saturday's competition.He also grows giant tomatoes, and had a beautiful four-pounder, but it developed too early, and it rotted before Saturday rolled around. It became compost. Sort of like the fish that got away story. Oh well, he said Monday, somebody won that contest with a seven-pound tomato.

Ogren has been growing giant vegetables since 2003 in his giant garden. He and his wife live out on Kauffman Road, where the ground is, apparently, fertile.

“I don’t grow ordinary vegetables,” Ogren said. “Mostly I concentrate on giants. But I’m 79 years old, so I’m thinking about tapering off. It’s a lot of work growing these big ones.”

He sold his pumpkin to Charity Marshall, of Castle Rock, who may use it to float 16 miles down the Cowlitz River Sunday, trying for a new Guiness record.