At 885 pounds, giant pumpkin shatters Ala. state record | News
CULLMAN COUNTY, AL- "Good seed, good soil, good luck."
According to Trent Boyd, that's all it takes to grow a record-breaking giant pumpkin. Boyd's 885 pound pumpkin shattered the Alabama state record for heaviest pumpkin by more than 300 pounds. The previous state record was 534 pounds, he said.
Boyd, his wife and their six kids loaded up the giant pumpkin in their van and took a road trip to the Indiana State Fair for a vacation earlier in August. They came home victorious: their pumpkin won third place at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 11. The official weigh-in at the state fair also formally qualified the pumpkin as the heaviest pumpkin grown in Alabama on record.
Boyd is a civil engineer who also has a farm in the Fairview area of Cullman County. He said his inspiration to grow a giant pumpkin came during a family vacation last year when his family stopped off at a pumpkin festival in Tennessee. This summer's competition in Indiana is the first time he's ever entered a pumpkin growing contest.
On top of his beginner's luck, the fact that Boyd's pumpkin was grown in Alabama also stands out among the competition. Boyd says most record-breaking pumpkins in the nation come from the Midwest or northern states, such as Ohio, Iowa or Kentucky. His pumpkin is the only one from Alabama currently in the top 20 listed on the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth website for 2012. (His is currently ranked in 9th place.)
[VIDEO: Alabama pumpkin sets new record]
Although Boyd's pumpkin is the biggest in Alabama, it's more than 900 pounds lighter than the world's heaviest pumpkin on record, an 1818 pound pumpkin grown in Ontario, Canada. The heaviest one documented by the GRC for 2012 is a 1589 pounder ground in New Zealand.
The seed for his Atlantic Giant Pumpkin came from a "mother" pumpkin that weighed 782 pounds. When he had to pull his 885 pound pumpkin off the vine to take it to Indiana, Boyd says it was still growing.
Boyd says Alabama's heat makes it harder to grow huge pumpkins, so he used a shade net to keep the area around his prize pumpkin around 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. He watered his pumpkin an average of 100 gallons per day, or a couple hundred gallons every other day. He says he also used organic fertilizer, fish food and seaweed to help it grow.
Boyd says the other farmers he's met who grow pumpkins competitively are usually open to sharing their secrets and offering advice, and most will even mail you seeds from their prize winners for free.
"Growers are good people, they try to promote the 'sport' of pumpkin growing," he said.
And as for his prize-winning behemoth of a pumpkin, where is it hanging out now?
"It's back at the house, in the carport. Not sure what to do with it," Boyd said.
Some prize winning pumpkins end up being sold or get auctioned off for charity, but so far his is still sitting at home not far from where it was grown.
Boyd says he's more than willing to give away seeds from his pumpkins and this won't be the last pumpkin he enters in a competition. Next year, he plans to try again - and it'll be his own 885 pound record he'll aim to beat.
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