Farmer's giant pumpkin weighs 1,502 pounds

Monday, October 9, 2006

WARREN, R.I. -- This pumpkin will make one big jack-o'-lantern.

A Rhode Island farmer has set what could be a new record for the largest pumpkin in the world -- 1,502 pounds.

Ron Wallace's pumpkin easily outweighed the current Guinness World Record-holding 1,469-pound pumpkin grown last year by Larry Checkon of Pennsylvania. Wallace said at the 13th annual Rhode Island Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Championship that the key to growing a giant pumpkin is committing to the task from April to October.

Agriculture officials say the heavy rains this season have damaged or stunted the crop of many competitive growers of giant pumpkins.

Central and southeastern Massachusetts were the hardest hit.

Officials say heavy rain delayed planting, impeded pollination and contributed to rot on blossoms and fruit. Another ailment, "damping-off," constricted pumpkin stems and contributed to the early death of many plants.

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