If the economy in Alberta isn’t growing, at least we know the potatoes and tomatoes are!

My neighbours in Alberta Avenue harvested what appear to be freaks of nature, but perhaps are merely the result of our rainy growing season. For years, Nicola DiLullo, 90, and his wife Maria, 88, have cultivated two healthy backyard gardens: their own and the space once tended by my late mother. Our families have been neighbours since 1968.

In mid-September, Nick proudly displayed this monster of a potato he dug from the ground. It measured 22 x 14 cm and weighed nearly 2 kg (4.4 lb). He said that he has been harvesting fields and gardens in both Italy and Canada since he was 10 years old and has never before found a potato so large.

This potato weighed nearly 2 kg. | David Bodnar

Two days later he picked, from a vine which would surely whimper from the strain if it could, a gargantuan tomato, as wide as the salad bowl to which it will soon make a contribution.

These specimens will likely become part of balanced suppers in his household for a week straight, but for a short time this autumn they will be the centrepiece of attention for his sons’ families and visitors to their bungalow. I gladly give credit for these “objects d’weird” to Nick’s green thumb (though soil, weather and maybe atomic mutation may also be factors).

This tomato will likely make a monstrous salad. | David Bodnar

I can only speculate what amazing sights might have greeted trick-or-treaters this Halloween had Nick tried his luck with a pumpkin patch.

Featured Image: Nicola and Maria DiLullo have been growing two gardens for years.| David Bodnar