There is a long tradition of growing fruits and vegetables to be shown at country fairs. The history of the growing giant pumpkins can be traced back to 1857 when Henry David Thoreau, American poet, philosopher, and naturalist harvested a pumpkin weighing almost 124 pounds. The first official record was set on 1900 in Paris World's Fair. Four years later in 1904 William Warnock of Goderich, Ontario, using seeds from the same strain, produced a 400-pounder, a pumpkin so mind-bogglingly enormous that he was invited to display it at the Paris World’s Fair. Warnock’s pumpkin remained the undisputed champion of squash for nearly a century—until Howard Dill, of Windsor, Nova Scotia, developed the pumpkin breed now known as Atlantic Giant.
By 1996 the world record passed the 1,000 pound mark, and in 2012 Ron Wallace from Rhode Island broke 2,000 pound barrier. Seeds from Wallace’s 2,009-pound pumpkin have sold for more than $1,000 in a charity auction. (….)
According to scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, there’s no reason to think the pumpkin is going to stop at a mere two tons. The vines can grow 1 foot or more daily, and pumpkins can put on 45 pounds per day, mostly from water. Based on force measurements—in which hapless pumpkins are crushed in vices—the researchers concluded that pumpkins should be able to attain weights of up to 20,000 pounds. (….)
This year Steve Geddes from New Hampshire , won $6,000 in prize money at the Deerfield Fair for his first place pumpkin. The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the global body that sets the standards for giant pumpkin growing, stated that the pumpkin by Geddes, weighing in at an astounding 2,528 pounds, is the biggest pumpkin ever grown in North America and falls less than 100 pounds short of the heaviest pumpkin ever grown.
This year New York Botanical Garden in collaboration with the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth organized the Giant Pumpkin Exhibition. Monstrous pumpkins from around the country—some weighing in at more than a ton are on display through October 31. Kids can explore in the garden more than 100 friendly, larger-than-life scarecrows set among nearly 1,000 rare and unusual pumpkins and gourds.
On Wednesday New York botanical Garden is free!