Pumpkins are the main part of pies and great decorations for others. Yet, some people want to take these plants and see just how large they can get them to grow. Perhaps they were inspired by the carriage in Cinderella, or they just have a desire to push nature to its limits. Either way, some pumpkin growers are doing their best to grow the biggest plants. We’re going to look at the fruits of their labors and examine the world’s largest pumpkin ever grown!
In this article, you’ll learn about pumpkins, how large they get on average, and what to expect in terms of size at a pumpkin contest.
What Type of Plant is a Pumpkin?
Pumpkins are a form of winter squash that has been selectively bred to produce the plants we know today. Thus, pumpkins are considered a “cultivar” of winter squash.
The most popular pumpkins that we see around as decorations come from the Cucurbita pepo genus of plants. This type of squash is native to North America. That is the plant that most people refer to as a pumpkin when they talk about them. However, some other genera do have similar traits, but we’re not going to make an exhaustive list here.
Pumpkins have a very distinct look about them. They are large, roundish, possess a yellow or orange rind and orange flesh, and have slight ribbing. The interior cavity of a pumpkin is filled with pulp, seeds, and flesh. The flesh, or solid part of the pumpkin, is used for a wide variety of things.
Most famously, the flesh is used to make a puree for pumpkin pies. However, the insides of this fruit are used for many other purposes too. For example, some people make soup from the innards of this plant, manufacturers use it in dog food, and people even bake the seeds for a tasty snack.
The flavors associated with pumpkin concoctions, especially pie, are infused into coffee, milkshakes, and ice cream as well. In some ways, an entire microcosm of western food culture and counter-culture embraces (or rejects) this squash. Now that we have a little bit of background on this plant, let’s move on and discover the average size of the pumpkin.
What is the Average Size of a Pumpkin?
Before we get into the world’s largest pumpkin, we need to perform some size comparisons. Just how large do these things get normally?
The pumpkins that most people use for carving and for decorating usually weigh between 7 and 18 pounds and have a diameter of about 7 to 9 inches. However, smaller varieties exist that are only about 1 or 2 pounds each and only between 2 and 4 inches in diameter.
An easy way to conceptualize this answer is that the plants usually grow to the size of a volleyball.
Now that we know about the typical size of the plants, let’s look at the biggest.
How Do We Measure the World’s Largest Pumpkin?
Unlike other times when we’ve measured the largest animals and plants, we’re choosing the winner based on weight only. Although it might be interesting to look at the largest circumference or height, the weight of the biggest pumpkins is meticulously cultivated and difficult to attain.
Also, the heaviest pumpkins tend to be the largest as well.
We must keep in mind that pumpkins begin to rapidly lose their mass from the day they are picked off the vine. Sometimes, they can lose several pounds a week. So, we’re going to recognize and celebrate the heaviest pumpkin while also revealing its incredible size.
What Was the Largest Pumpkin Ever Grown?
The world’s largest pumpkin ever grown was 2,702 pounds and 13.9 ounces. The fruit had a width of 11 feet 8 inches and a circumference of 17 feet 9 inches, making it the largest as well as the heaviest ever certified by a governing body.
This pumpkin is the largest by every measure ever seen at a competition. It was grown by a man named Stefano Cutrupi from Italy in 2021, and this record was certified by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. This group established standards and regulations for competitive pumpkin growing.
The GPC regulates weigh-offs that many growers aspire to join, holding conventions, setting rules, and assisting with getting sites prepared for weigh-offs.
Interestingly, the record-setting pumpkin was not the only one that Cutrupi brought to the competition. His other two pumpkins weighed 2,158 and 1,751 pounds each. The previous record-holding pumpkin was 2,624 pounds. It’s clear that the competition for the biggest gourd is heating up. New attempts at the record are happening all the time!
How Do They Grow Massive Pumpkins?
The pumpkin-growing season is from April until September or October when the weigh-offs occur. During that time, the people trying to grow the largest pumpkins using a variety of methods. They spend hours each week cultivating the plant.
First, growers purchase pumpkin seeds from the previous record-setting pumpkin. Then they carefully prepare the soil and provide the plants with all sorts of extra nutrients to get the biggest plant. Growers don’t often share their secrets. Some people water the soil with home-grown fertilizers, and others use calcium-rich milk!
Unlike the largest potato ever grown, people attempt to grow the world’s largest pumpkin. They don’t simply happen by accident. If you want to get involved with the pumpkin-growing craze, you can find several guidelines for pumpkin-growing contests, possibly in your area, by going online.
The key is that you must stick to the rules. For example, pumpkins are not allowed in competitions if they’re cracked.
The record for the world’s largest pumpkin ever was broken less than a year ago at the time this article was written. New attempts are set to happen this year. However, records are not broken every year. They are broken often, though. In the last 10 years, five pumpkins have claimed the top prize. However, it will be hard to beat the current record-holder for its combination of size and weight.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Elena Seiryk/Shutterstock.com
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