(top) For the second time in 3 years, Mathia Willemijn won the world record for his behemoth pumpkin weighing 2,624.6 pounds. (all the rest) Carving pumpkins is really fun. Simple to complex there are some very creative people out there. And no matter how old you are Halloween is as fun as it is tiring.
While driving down to Heat Treat 2017 in Columbus, Ohio this year (GO BUCYEYES), I started thinking about our plans for Halloween, decorating, pumpkin pie (of course), and getting our pumpkins for carving with the girls. Growing up, we would all have a pumpkin to carve and once completed we would place then on a long piece of wood in the from yard supported on two saw horses. Now having 20 pumpkins in a row was quite a sight! As I got older and had a family of my own, Jackie, the girls and I would go to our favorite pumpkin farm where they had a great deal! All the pumpkins you could pick up at one time for $10.00. So…. any of you who know me most likely know what would happen next. I needed to pick up 6 pumpkins and they all had to be the same size – carvable! I am happy to say – Success! Over the years I had to sadly give up that tradition. Now, I am only allowed to carve pumpkins if I promise to be good and minimize the use of power tools! (Spade drills work really well!) I digress, now with time to wander, I was wondering what the world’s largest pumpkin is these days, who holds the record, and where it sits. So, at a rest stop, I typed into my phone, and found – Ready – Mathias Willemijns, from Belgium, at the 2017 Giant Pumpkin European championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany on October 9th, weighed in at 2,624.6 pounds. WHAT??? Here’s some more fun history and trivia to go along with the newest record – Good luck carving.
- Mathias Willemijns grew a pumpkin of proportions not seen until this year. The Belgian man set a world record last week with a super squash that weighed 2,624.6 pounds. Guinness World Records has yet to confirm it.
- The previous world-record pumpkin was 2,323 pounds. Swiss grower Beni Meier set that record in 2014 at a weigh-off at the same event.
- The first European settlers were stunned by our Native American’s ample crop of squash, which they mistook for melon. Centuries later Irish immigrants abandoned the turnips they carved for jack-o-lanterns on All Hallows Eve, and replaced them with pumpkins, giving us our doorstep decorating traditions we still use today.
- For many years, record-setting pumpkins – a variety of Cucurbita maxima, bred in Nova Scotia, was the standard, raised in cool-weather New England, where summer days are in the mid 80’s, maximizing photosynthesis without desiccating the bloated fruit, along with bonus sunlight throughout the growing season.
- In the US, during June, giant pumpkins are growing exponentially, and by August, they’re packing on one to two pounds per hour, while guzzling about 100 gallons of water per day.
- Many pumpkins are raised by amateur growers, who keep daily diaries filled with secrets. Genetic lines include Pleasure Dome and Freak 2, with individual seeds we’d normally bake, salt and eat, selling at auction for almost $2,000.
- The shift to European champions is rather recent, with the first German gourd-baking championship and pumpkin expo in 2001. Since then, old world growers are clustering in northern Europe, using high tech greenhouses, heating, air conditioning, irrigation systems, and automatic fertilization.
- The current winner, Mathias Willemijns, is the lead technician at a large vegetable research center, and uses his own 130 foot poly tunnel to handle only four large pumpkins. Soil nutrient nanotechnology and genetic technologies lead to bigger crops and faster growth.
- Matt DeBacco of Rocky Hill, Connecticut has developed special blends that has excited the growers, and been a boom for the cannabis industry as well.
- In the madcap world of competitive horticulture, the record holders are: Carrot: 20 pounds, Zucchini: 64.49 pounds, Radish: 68.9 pounds, Green cabbage: 138.25 pounds, Watermelon: 350.5 pounds.
- Thank you Pintrest – here’s a link to the top carving designs – have fun!! (and send me photos)