Pam Dudding Contributing writer
It’s the beautiful, majestic fall season which seems to birth the turning of the colorful leaves with pumpkins popping up on people’s front porches for decorations.
However, Jonathan Huffman shot for a larger goal this year: to grow his pumpkins to a much larger size than can be carried.
Though they had to be pulled early, the weights of his pumpkins were huge.
His largest this year was the SB1 which weighed in at 484 pounds. The MG1 was 405 pounds, Jessica’s Blob pumpkin was 251 pounds and the Shade1 pumpkin was 203 pounds.
“We ended up having to pull them early due to stem issues, which was caused by Cucumber Beetles and Squash Vine Borer. Both insects damage the plant foliage and eventually ate into the vines and stems where they lay eggs,” Huffman explained. “The larvae are devastating to the plants but the open wounds also allow bacteria and water to get into the vine/stem and eventually the pumpkin causing them to rot.”
He noted that this year was a learning experience and is hoping to do “far better next year.”
“The current plan is to concentrate on the areas we found issues with this year ranging from ground preparation, soil amendments, insect control and foremost we plan to get a much earlier start next season,” Huffman noted. “It may take a few years to get everything right, but I definitely intend to pursue competitive growing.”
He believes he has successfully set an unofficial record for the county, but still has work to do before his goal of the state record is within reach.
“I would like to thank everyone that has followed and supported my gardening adventures this year and I hope they enjoyed it if for nothing more than a break from everything else that has been happening this year,” Huffman noted.
He did mention that he has pumpkins displayed at his home if anyone is interested in seeing them or getting pictures.
“I also have quite a few pumpkins I am going to sell between now and Halloween,” Huffman said before adding, “I will have seeds for sale later on as well.”