Every year around this time the national news is filled with stories of monument-sized pumpkins from places like Maine and Michigan, but Georgians are no slouches when it comes to giant produce.
Gardeners here produce 200- to 350-pound pumpkins each fall. Some of those gardeners are only about one-quarter of the size of their prize pumpkins.
This year dozens of Georgia 4-H youths tried their hands at growing mammoth pumpkins and entered them into the 2012 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest”t. Trey Thomas, of White County, won first-place with his 342-pound pumpkin. Tift County’s Jasper Utley took second place with a 281-pound pumpkin and Piper Brown, of Henry County, took third with her 260-pound gourd.
“This year’s contest showcased the heaviest crop we have seen since 2008, and Georgia 4-H could not be more proud of each of the participants,” said Jenna B. Daniel, the Georgia 4-H program assistant who manages the contest. “The preparation, research, and patience these 4-H’ers put into their projects is a perfect representation of their commitment to engaging in learning and their mastery of skills essential to successfully harvesting their pumpkin.”
The top three 4-H’ers will each receive a cash prize, sponsored by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association, in recognition of the months they spent tending their plants.
4-H organizers like the pumpkin contest because it teaches students the responsibility needed to complete a long-term project, the self motivation and confidence needed to tackle a project independently and the ability to use problem solving skills to persevere against insects, dry spells and pumpkin diseases.
But more importantly for the 4-H members, the payoff is really the chance to wow their friends and neighbors and have people ask if they can take a picture with their pumpkin.
To learn more about the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest, contact Jenna B. Daniel at email@example.com or (706) 542-4444.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Trey Thomas, of White County took home first place in the 2012 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest with his 342-pound pumpkin.Download Image
Jasper Utley, of Tift County, took home second place in the 2-12 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest with his 281-pound pumpkin.Download Image
Piper Brown, of Henry County, took home third place in the 2012 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest” with his 260-pound pumpkin. 3321Download Image