People often associate giant pumpkins with northern states like Michigan and Massachusetts, but Georgia gardeners routinely produce 200- to 350-pound pumpkins. What makes those giant gourds more remarkable is that some of these 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 2013 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest.
Ree Daniel of Tift County won first-place with her 252-pound pumpkin. Tift County’s Jasper Utley took second place with a 216-pound pumpkin and Caroline Daniel Brown of Terrell County took third with her 213-pound gourd.
This is Utley’s second year taking home the second place prize for his pumpkin. Last year, he grew a 281-pound squash.
“All of the participating 4-H’ers did a great a job with producing pumpkins for this contest,” said Tyler Ashley, state 4-H program assistant and pumpkin contest coordinator. “On behalf of myself and the entire the 4-H staff we are so proud of all the 4-H’ers and of the efforts of the Extension agents and volunteers who make this contest a success.”
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 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 Tyler Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 542-4444.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Ree Daniel, of Tift County, won first-place with her 252-pound pumpkin in the 2014 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest.Download Image
Caroline Daniel Brown, of Terrell County, took third place with her 213-pound gourd.Download Image
Jasper Utley took home second place in 2014 Georgia 4H Pumpkin Growing Contest with his 216 pound pumpkin. This is Utley's second year taking home the second place prize for his pumpkin. Last year, his grew a 281-pound squash.Download Image