New world record for giant pumpkin

A Minnesota horticulture teacher has set a world record in California for the heaviest pumpkin after growing a giant jack-o’-lantern gourd weighing 1247kg.

Travis Gienger, of Anoka, Minnesota, on Monday won the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, with an enormous, lumpy, orange pumpkin that could produce at least 687 pies.

“I was not expecting that. It was quite the feeling,” said Mr Gienger, 43, who has been growing pumpkins for nearly 30 years and last year set a new US record for growing a giant gourd.

The previous world record for heaviest pumpkin was set by a grower in Italy who produced a 1226kg squash in 2021, according to Guinness World Records.

Mr Gienger grows his gourds in the pumpkin patch in his backyard. He said this year he decided to give his plants extra care, watering them up to 12 times a day and feeding and fertilising them a bit more than usual.

Mr Gienger, a landscape and horticulture teacher at Anoka Technical College, has been growing pumpkins since he was a teenager, inspired by his father who also grew them.

He first competed in Half Moon Bay’s annual weigh-off in 2020 and has won three of the city’s last four giant pumpkin contests.

“I put in the work so that I can put a smile on people’s faces and it’s just so nice coming out here to see everyone in this town,” he said.

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