in honor of the season, i'm enjoying reading a book titled "backyard giants - the passionate, heart breaking, and glorius quest to grow the biggest pumpkin ever." it's a documentary following a father/son team from Rhode Island trying to break the world record of 1,500 pounds.
how can pumpkin growing be heatbreaking? try being on track to break the record only to have your pumpkin catch a bad fungus and break open the day before the weigh off. since they feared the soil would continue to foster the fungus, they acquired additional land next to their home for $225,000. i recall an old perfume ad from the 80's : "somewhere between love and madness, lies obsession."
i believed for many years, these types of sizes were achieved with 'dill's atlantic giant' variety but the genetics have progressed many generations since then. to take advantage of the extra vigor coming from hybrids, a select female bloom is polinated with a different male flower. eventually only one pumpkin per vine will be permitted to mature. the seeds of a world record holder can fetch over $200 per seed at auctions the following winter. see what i mean about obsession.
another thing i learned is where each set of leaves occur, they bury the vine so sadditional roots can send more energy back to the fruit. i had no idea. to find out if the father or son breaks the world record, check out this beautiful written book at your library.
the largest fruit, yes like tomatoes they are fruit, in kansas topped the scales at over 950 pounds. our summers are just too hot for whopping pumpkins.