By John Last
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – This will no doubt be a special Halloween season for many people. It already is for one man in Erie County. He accomplished a major goal this year. He grew a gigantic pumpkin weighing over one-thousand pounds.
Bob Bayhurst’s prodigious pumpkin weighs 1,028 pounds. It doesn’t hold the world record or even the American record, but the pumpkin is the achievement of a goal that Bob worked hard to reach. In previous years, his heaviest pumpkin was only 571 pounds.
“Well, we’ve been doing this for years and we’ve never accomplished anything this big,” says Bob. “This year was exceptionally good for growing because it was a hot, dry year. These things like hot dry weather. You’ve got to give them water but they like hot, dry weather.”
Bob pollinated the pumpkin on July 5 when it was the size of an egg. The seed for this particular pumpkin was ordered over the Internet from a farmer in Manitoba. It came from a pumpkin that weighed 1,927 pounds. Yes, genetics are important when growing big pumpkins. Bob quickly saw results.
“So from July 5 to July 31, this thing grew to 203 pounds. So we knew we had something going here when it went to 203 pounds,” he said.
The pumpkin grew and grew. Every week, Bob would measure the size of the pumpkin. Those measurements were then transcribed to a chart which calculates its weight. When the weight reached a certain milestone, it was time to give the orange orb a name.
“In August, when it got to about 800 pounds, I said, ‘You Know what, that’s one Big Jack.’ So it got the name Big Jack. Being a Jack O’ Lantern, I figured that sounds the best,” says Bob.
Bob harvested Big Jack on September 23. The official weigh-in at 1,028 pounds was the result of daily tender loving care…including over 4,000 gallons of water and 150 pounds of fertilizer.
But what about next summer? Can Bob grow an even bigger pumpkin?
“I want to grow one bigger. My wife says, ‘You don’t have the time. We’re going on vacation.’ So I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not,” says Bob.
The pumpkin is now on display at the residence of Bob’s son in Greene Township. The public is invited to stop by to look at the pumpkin and take a few pictures. The address is 8935 Horseshoe Drive. The pumpkin can easily be seen in front of the house. Horseshoe Drive can be accessed from Route 8 near Kuhl Hose Company.