Growing giant pumpkins is a real thing in Ohio. Just about every town with a “ville” or “burg” at the end of the name has a giant pumpkin growing contest in the fall. Okay, the contest is actually a weigh-in. A growing contest would require you to stand in a field all summer watching vines creep around the place.
Really, that’s not too exciting.
While I was back in Ohio just last week, I caught a news story about such a contest in Huntsburg, Ohio. A guy named Jerry Rose won. His pumpkin weighed 1,284 pounds. As you can see in the photograph below, giant pumpkins are a bit freakish. They look like something from a Star Wars movie. Jabba the Hutt, maybe. And that’s Jerry standing alongside his winning pumpkin.
In truth, a great deal of science and whole season of effort is involved in growing a giant pumpkin. Sex is involved. The seeds (mother) and the pollinator (father) are often brought together with great purpose. The parents of these monsters have names such as “1730 Werner” and “1524 Fulk.” Not sexy, but good genes.
Growing a monster requires dedication. Weeds must be pulled from the growing plot. The vine growing the behemoth must be pruned to eliminate competition from any other fruit. Fertilizer must be applied. Up to 100 gallons of water a day may need to be applied to the growing plot. Rose said that, for a time, his winning pumpkin was putting on 40 pounds of weight every day.
Impressive, to be sure.
Well, we grow stuff here in Montana, as well. My friend Kevin has a garden. Yesterday, I went down to his place to grab a few carrots and a kohlrabi. This year, Kevin and Cooper, his grandson, tried their hand at growing watermelons. Posted is a photograph of the single watermelon Kevin managed to bring forth. As you can see, Kevin is beaming with pride…or, maybe the beer is good.
Pumkin Photo: Thomas Ondrey