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Pumpkin Harvest Stories
When it comes to harvesting Giant pumpkins, everybody has a story. Some are hilarious. Some are just plain funny. And others become funny later on, long after the disaster is over. Here are a few. If you have one, please send it along to share with our community.
My first AG growing experience was here in FL in 1998. I planted late in March (too late) and had trouble with droughts and heat. With the help of Dr. Ferrer, University of Florida, I had one nice fruit. It had stopped growing in June, shortly after finding a pin hole in a sag line on the top of the fruit. The decision was made to harvest, so I gathered Dr. Ferrer along with other state officials (all men) as my lifting crew and witnesses.
It was a lazy Friday, mid June, about 96 degrees in the shade at 10 AM when Dr. Ferrer made the cut. We rolled the fruit onto a lifting tarp and positioned the pumpkin on the trailer. Someone mentioned they smelled something odd, but we all sniffed about and agreed it was nothing. We weighed the fruit on the certified truck scale on site, getting a 220 lb. reading. As a comparison, we also made arrangements to weigh it at the Sanford Scale Company, a business located two or three miles across town. We drove there directly.
Upon arriving at Sanford Scale, I could see the owner standing beside the platform scale on the loading dock, instructing me to back the trailer toward the dock. The guys jumped out and strategized their lift from the trailer to the dock. I stood nearby to take photos as the men lifted my fruit toward the scale. Just as they got it mid-air at shoulder level, the pumpkin broke open, exploding if you will, sending radioactive fallout everywhere! It was in our hair, drenched through all layers of clothing and even got into our mouths! Some of us got it worse than others. We all stunk badly, except the owner of the scale company and his lovely dog, who were on the dock out of harm's way.
Evidently, the pumpkin had partially rotted in the field due to the pin hole, causing gas and pressure to build up. As the sidewalls rotted, they became weak while adding to the swill inside the shell. My pumpkin just could not take the stress of the road trip across town or the handling.
There we stood, covered in smelly, pumpkin puke. Not a trace of dignity among us! What is it about human nature that makes us laugh incessantly when we see and smell truly awful things? The five of us stood there laughing so hard, we could barely breathe.
After regaining our composure, we decided to weigh the broken pieces, which totaled 197 pounds. Many of the seeds were still intact, so we loaded what remained of the fruit back onto the trailer and climbed into my truck for the ride back to the field (thankfully, Mike threw in some extra tarps).
On the way back, Dr. Ferrer wittingly suggested stopping off for lunch after such hard work, an idea that was nixed for obvious reasons. We joked as we traded fictitious newspaper headlines such as "Noxious Fumes Evacuate Restaurant; Source Found to be Patron's Clothing". We returned to the field, recovered the seeds from the rotting AG carcass and headed in different directions for showers.
The seeds that were recovered were found to be viable and have grown pumpkins in New Zealand, America and South Africa.
Barb Kincaid, Sanford, FL
Two Bucks and a Blue Ribbon
Thought I'd relate the tale of moving one of my AG's last year. I had a 409# that stopped growing, so I thought I'd take it to a local "rinky dink" fair. I had worked with one of the guys that always competed here and usually took first, so I thought I'd surprise him and blow him out of the water! I left work at 2:30 p.m. that day, so I could get my entry there on time. There were 4 guys building a pole building on my property, so I figured I'd use their help. Much to my dismay, when I got home, I found that these 4 guys never showed up for work. So, it was all up to me, and the clock was running. I strapped two 16' slings around the pumpkin that I'd borrowed from work, and since it was sitting on sand, I slid it out of the garden with my pick-up truck and over to the kids swingset. There I used an eyelet from the kids swings (heavy duty) , straps, and a come-along to lift the pumpkin. I got it high enough to set in my truck when, WHUMP!, the eyelet broke and the come-along came along and punched my pumpkin! It didn't punch a hole but left a lasting "impression"! I put a tag with the weight over top of the "punch"! I didn't know how I would load and unload this thing at the fair, but on the way out of the driveway, I checked the mail, and lo and behold there was the lifting tarp I had ordered. When I got to the fair and registered my pumpkin, they told me to bring it on in. I said, "I don't think you understand!". After rounding up 5 people to help me, I noticed that the gentleman from work whom I was competing with had not entered. His patch burnt up when he left town for a few days! I ended up with a prize of $2 and a blue ribbon, second place was only 110#! What a day!
kilr from Penna.
Then there was the story heard on the net a year or two ago of a guy who was rolling them down a hill and lost control. Well, the owner found out three things:
1. Pumpkins roll down hill...and roll and roll and roll.
2. Once set in motion, the laws of gravity apply and nothing is about to stop them.
3. Well that big pumpkin hit a spot that acted as a ramp and proved that pumpkins float as the pumpkin flew up into the air and landed in a swimming pool!
More Money than It's Worth
In 1999, John, spent four months caring for, loving and cultivating the 56-stone whopper in his greenhouse Came weigh off time, John paid £70 to rent a 4x4 and trailer to transport the mighty plant to the giant vegetable finals in Hampshire.
He thought the operation was well worth it because last year's winner won a trip to San Francisco.
John's face fell when his 13ft 8in-wide whopper won - and he was handed a cheque for £50! John, of Temple Normanton, Derbys, moaned: "I couldn't believe it. I maybe the champion, but I'm 20 quid out of pocket!"
John, who last year carted off the trophy for growing the world's biggest marrow, fumed: "I didn't think it would cost me more to get the flaming thing to the contest than I won in prize money." John H. age 69, Great Britain
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