Dill's Atlantic Giant


This amazing heirloom pumpkin, a Dill’s Atlantic Giant, was grown in Bathurst by Keith Hungerford, and its brother or sister won a prize at the Bathurst Show! It then went on to be displayed at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. The breed has produced the world’s largest pumpkin weighing in at 496kg. It took 2 men to lift this one!

At 11am on Sunday, at our Community Market Co-op, I’ll be taking a knife to it. A great opportunity for market-goers to grab a slice, with some seed, so they can grow it next Spring …. assuming they’re into giant pumpkins, that is! One plant can grow quite a few of this size.

Last night we attended a seminar at the NSW Department of State and

Regional Development in Sydney. Called “The Future of Food” the seminar focussed on urban agriculture and highlighted the fact that more than 20% of an individual’s carbon emissions are a result of the food they eat. They also drew attention to rising food prices in the last 4 years which include a 31.7% increase in the price of milk and a 23% increase in the price of bread.

Not that I think pumpkins like this are the answer. I’m assuming they’re not the best eating variety and I can tell, when I tap this one, that it’s fairly hollow. But gosh what a triumph to watch nature produce something this size – the boys loved it. And while I have one self seeded pumpkin in the garden this year, I’m now inspired to plant lots more next year to carry us over winter.
In the last 18 months we’ve finally managed to grow about 90% of our own vegetables. Phew! Quite a bit of work (hence fewer blogs!) but the rewards are so delicious. And it’s not all potatoes and spinach! I’ve just made a cake with lemon verbena and lemon geranium leaves …. couldn’t have made this without my garden, or my chooks!


Lemon ‘n’ Lime Cake

Makes two 9-inch layers (1 cake)

This moist, old fashioned cake takes on the subtle flavour of lime or lemon geranium and lemon verbena while it bakes. The same herbs scent the sugar used in the frosting, adding a subtlety to the lemon and lime juice flavouring.


3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon verbena

1 cup milk

6-8 lemon or lime geranium leaves

240g butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

3 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the lemon verbena in a heavy enamelled saucepan with the milk and heat to scalding point. Remove from the heat and let the lemon verbena steep in the warm milk until it is cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of paper. Butter the paper and place 3 or 4 lime geranium leaves in the bottom of each pan.

Cream the butter. Gradually mix the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold one-third of the whites into the batter, then carefully fold in the remainder.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until done. Remove the layers from the pans, peel off the paper and geranium leaves, and cool on racks.


1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon verbena

120g butter

1 box icing sugar into which 6-8 slightly bruised geranium leaves have been buried at least overnight (cut them in half before putting them in)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lime

Sprigs of geranium and lemon verbena to garnish

Heat the milk in a heavy enamelled saucepan with the lemon verbena and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain. Cream the butter. Gradually add the flavoured sugar, along with the milk and lemon and lime juices. Beat well. The frosting should be light and fluffy. If necessary, add a little more milk.

Spread the frosting between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with lime geranium or lemon verbena, in blossom if possible.

(adapted from a recipe by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead in “Herbs: Gardens, Decorations and Recipes”)

Ah well, off to net the last of my beans before the bower bird takes them all!

5 thoughts on “Dill's Atlantic Giant

  1. Rohesia

    That’s a lot of pumpkin! I saw the photo and some of the information in the Lithgow Mercury as well. I might wander up that way tomorrow if I have time, there are a couple of errands I could run en route.

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