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World's Largest Pumpkin (493 Lbs.)
Champion pumpkin grower Howard Dill, of Windsor, Nova Scotia, claims the pumpkin he harvested last fall, a 493 lb. giant, is the biggest ever produced. As winner of the 1981 U.S. pumpkin growing competition in Philadelphia, and the producer of a 459 lb. pumpkin in 1980 and another weighing 438 lbs. in 1979, he should know.
Dill's "biggest ever" world champion Jack-O-Lantern measured 30 in. high, 44 in. wide, and 43 in. long. Circumference was 10 ft. and its rate of gain during the growing season was 8 lbs. per day! "The pumpkin actually weighed 493 1/2 lbs. when picked in early October but shrunk to 469 lbs. by the time it won the competition last fall," says Dill.
He has been breeding pumpkins for 15 years. Breeders disagree, he says, whether big pumpkins are true pumpkins or perhaps part squash. He sold his 1981 record-setter to a store chain in Canada "for several thousand dollars," and got the seeds back, which he's offering for sale at $5 each. "The genetics are there. You'll get a big pumpkin," he told FARM SHOW, "but probably not 493 lbs." Dill's winning secrets include: Good soil, deeply tilled, and lots of cattle manure. I also use commercial fertilizer."
Each plant is spaced 25 to 30 ft. and needs 100 leaves, with each leaf manufacturing more than 4 lbs. of pumpkin. "Don't prune the vines only the extra blossoms," Dill advises.
His goal this year is to produce a 500 lb. pumpkin, despite the relatively short growing season in his area.
"We have 125 to 130 frost-free days and the last spring frost can come as late as early June. We do have very long days, however," he adds.
Other big pumpkins entered in the pumpkin growing contest last year were grown by Richard Wright of Robinsville, N.J. (391 lbs.) and Francis Collins, Petaluma, Cal. (317 lbs.)
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Howard Dill, 400 College Rd., Windsor, N.S., Canada B0N2T0 (ph 902 798-2728).

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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #3