With Halloween fast approaching, a lot of people are getting into the spirit of the holiday. That includes stocking up on candy for trick-or-treaters, decorating the house, and getting costumes ready. But this holiday is also about pumpkins and the bigger the better. For one teacher, this Halloween will be extra special.
Halloween Capital of the World
A teacher by the name of Travis Gienger from Anoka had something incredible happen. What makes this story even better is that this city is the self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World.” Every year, people there go above and beyond to make this holiday something that no one forgets.
This year, Gienger did the impossible, or so it seemed. He grew a pumpkin that weighed 2,350 pounds. You heard that right. This thing is almost the size of a small car. How on earth did he accomplish such a feat.
A little bit of help
Come to find out, Gienger teaches horticulture at the technical college in Anoka. So, if there’s anyone who understands growing pumpkins, he’s it. As Geinger stated, he’s been growing pumpkins for the past two decades. But this year, something changed.
A perfect environment
He planted seeds purchased from the Atlantic Giant seed company in his backyard when the conditions were ripe. With improved soil, he hoped that perhaps, he’d end up with a much larger pumpkin than usual. But he never expected it to weigh more than 2,300 pounds.
Optimistic that he could grow a large pumpkin, Geinger signed up to participate in an annual event sponsored by the grocery store giant Safeway. According to the rules, the person who grew the biggest pumpkin would make $7 per pound. Well, at 2,350 pounds, that meant Geinger received a check for a whopping $16,450.
The giant pumpkin seeds that come from this particular company start about the size of a peach. That makes them exceptionally large. At that size, the gourds can grow up to 50 pounds a day. Can you imagine watching a pumpkin get bigger and bigger at that rate of speed?
A North American record-breaker
In North America, Geinger’s pumpkin became the largest ever grown. But even at that massive size, it’s not the largest one on record. That title goes to Mathias Willemijns from Belgium. In 2016, he produced a pumpkin that weighed 2,624 pounds.
So, what’s the secret?
Growing a pumpkin as big as the one Geinger grew isn’t just luck. It requires some careful calculations and again, the right soil. For one thing, it’s essential to purchase a superior quality seed. Also, it must be fertilized daily, constantly kept moist, and the vine has to be buried in the soil to boost the rooting process.
The rules of the Safeway-sponsored event state that if Geinger’s pumpkin had formed any cracks while being transported to the weigh-off, it would’ve been disqualified. That meant several people involved in moving it had to take extra precautions. That included using a fitted trailer, tarps, a pallet, and even soil to prevent any jostling around. Also, Geinger had to water his huge pumpkin every time they stopped to refuel.
A long trek
Although the event was live-streamed, Geinger still had to transport this beast from Minnesota to California. We can only imagine how nervous everyone was. Making the unveiling all the more exciting…this was the 100th anniversary of the Halloween celebration in Anoka. Everyone in town was rooting for Geinger and he didn’t disappoint.
Although achieving something like this rarely happens, if you love competitions and gardening, perhaps you might want to see what you can do for next year’s pumpkin harvest.
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