Until four years ago, the only Great Pumpkin I had ever heard of was the one on It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. And then I read about a special breed of pumpkin and the people who grow them. I’m talking about REALLY big pumpkins. Too-big-to-carry pumpkins. World-record pumpkins.
There are competitions all over the world for growing the biggest pumpkin. In New Zealand, the largest pumpkin grown in 2018 tipped the scales at 808 kg (1,777.6 lb). The world’s largest pumpkin in 2017 came from Belgium. The winner weighed in at 2,222 pounds. Now that’s a big gourd! But it didn’t beat the world-record giant that was grown there in 2016 and recorded a weight of 2,625 pounds! In fact, there seems to be something about Northern Europe that has made it an ideal place to grow these mammoth gourds. Pumpkin growers in Belgium, Switzerland, and Great Britain have had great success in recent years.
That shouldn’t stop you from trying to grow your own. For as little as a few dollars, a garden space, and time, you too might be on your way to fame as a giant-pumpkin grower. The breed for giants is Dills Atlantic. There is no shortage of advice for growers, but some of the success just involves good luck.
Our Grade 3 Simple Solutions Reading Comprehension book features a passage and question set about growing these giants. Get it here. You can view samples of the complete reading series, 1–6, on our website. (Grades 7 and 8 will be available in spring 2019)
Follow up with some Student Research
Invite students to choose a state and research the largest pumpkin grown in that state. Most states have competitions that begin at local county fairs and culminate at the state fair. The 2018 winner at the Iowa State Fair was a 795- pound pumpkin grown by Dane Davis from Bloomfield, Iowa. There are lots of large numbers reported in these contest stories, so students could use the information they find to write a math problem to be solved by classmates. The largest pumpkin ever awarded a ribbon at the Ohio State Fair tipped the scales at 2,150 pounds in 2017. It was grown by Todd and Donna Skinner of Barnesville, Ohio. I wonder how many pies that would make?