WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) –Although it doesn’t feel like it outside, fall is here. That means its pumpkin season. Pumpkins come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The pumpkins that were in Williamsville for the world pumpkin weigh-off just happen to be the largest!
Jeffrey Podraza, pumpkin grower, described his submission to News 4, “This year its 360 inches or so.”
The history behind these competitions stems from Collins, NY. After injuring his back, Ray Waterman, an avid runner, could no longer do what he loved. He picked up growing the large fruit as a new hobby. He told News 4, “We initiated the world competition in 1983 by growing the US’s largest pumpkin ever grown, my brothers and I.”
That pumpkin was 465 pounds. From there, the idea sprouted both literally and figuratively. Now competitions are held all around the globe. Waterman said, “As long as 20 years ago, we had 22 weigh off competition sites throughout the world. We had a northern and southern hemisphere competition. That involved growers in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and its spread pretty good through Europe now too.”
The world’s largest pumpkin record actually comes from Europe and now sits just over 2600 pounds!! But something that huge takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Podraza of Clarence spends hours a day coming up with the exact balance of science and love in order to get his pumpkins so large. He told News 4, “Looking at soil science, balancing the soil, looking at nutrients and fertilizers. Pest and disease control is something you accumulate a wealth of knowledge over time.”
If you can grow a zucchini or a tomato or a cucumber you can grow a giant pumpkin. Your results are all dependent on the amount of commitment you have towards the plant. Podraza said, “It turns into a bit of an obsession. I only grew one plant this year so it turned into several hours a day. Monitoring, pruning, spraying, and watering, in hopes of expanding the weight you get from year to year.”
If you would like to see some of these pumpkins, the fall festival continues in Williamsville throughout the weekend. If you can’t make it there, next weekend at The Great Pumpkin farm you can witness more weigh-offs.