Giant Pumpkin

September 23, 2009 - 1252 pound pumpkin breaks Georgia record

Jason Gagne recently harvested a giant pumpkin. He says, "This one is a monster! I had to leave the rest in the field because of all the rain." Jason's huge record breaking Atlantic Giant pumpkin was loaded onto a truck and hauled to Kentucky where it was officially weighed in at 1252 pounds. This broke the Georgia record and won second place in Kentucky . Jason adds, "I know I had a big one when it barely fit on the scales. It's not a beauty contest. It's all about their weight."

He continues, "I got my green thumb from my grandpa. That's why I grow them - for Grandma and Grandpa Murdock." Gagne pollinates each blossom by hand. He explains, "Each plant has male and female flowers. I collect the pollen from the male flowers in the evening and pollinate the females in the morning." He then covers the pollinated female flowers so that the bees don't interfere with the hybrid process.

According to Jason, there are pumpkin enthusiasts all over the world and one seed can cost thousands of dollars. Seeds are swapped between growers and results are carefully recorded. One of these genetic hybrids contain anywhere from five to a thousand seeds. "You never know till you cut it open," says Jason. People can see the giant pumpkin on display at Nelson's Tractors in Blairsville, Georgia.

 

Jason Gagne grows record breaking pumpkin

October 11, 2007 - Jason Gagne grows record breaking pumpkin

Jason Gagne recently harvested several record breaking pumpkins. The largest one weighed in at 789 pounds. The magnificent Atlantic Giant pumpkin would make at least 500 pies and had to be lifted out of the vegetable patch with a farm tractor and hoist.

The prize pumpkin was loaded onto a truck and hauled to Kentucky where it was officially weighed at an annual pumpkin weigh-in. Jason eagerly waited for his turn at the scales. "789 pounds broke the Georgia record," says Gagne. "It's not a beauty contest, as the giant pumpkins are kind of ugly. It's all about weight."

Jason Gagne adds with all seriousness, "My life is a pumpkin." He says, "My family and girlfriend put up with me spending all my spare time in the pumpkin patch or I wouldn't be able to raise these record breakers. I got my green thumb from my grandpa Ed Murdock."

It's a lot of hard work. Gagne pollinates each blossom by hand. He explains, "Each plant has male and female flowers. I collect the pollen from the male flowers in the evening and pollinate the females in the morning." He then covers the pollinated female so that the bees don't interfere with the hybrid process. Jason has to irrigate his pumpkin patch due to dry conditions. He says, "I pumped 200 gallons of water every day up to the vines."

According to Jason, there are pumpkin enthusiasts all over the world and one seed can cost thousands of dollars. Seeds are swapped between growers and results are carefully recorded. One of these genetic hybrids contain anywhere from five to a thousand seeds. "You never know till you cut it open," says Jason.

Jason works full time at Nelson's Tractor in Blairsville, Georgia, where his pumpkins will be on display for a couple of more weeks. Jason grew the pumpkins in his home garden in Fannin County . Each plant takes up 500 square feet of space. Only one pumpkin is allowed to grow on each plant to allow for maximum size and weight. Gagne says, "I also grow lots of hot peppers, watermelons, and corn but my main concern is pumpkins." Jason hopes to continue his endeavors next year. He adds, "God willing, I hope to grow a 1200 pounder next year!"