Great pumpkin found in Aberdeen garden

Farm Forum

A Linus van Pelt-worthy cucurbita almost snuck by an Aberdeen family earlier this month.

Brian Fischbach’s great pumpkin was also a great surprise.

The 300-pound golden behemoth was just one of several in the mess of plants Fischbach had in his Aberdeen-area home garden. As they grew, the invasive vines wove a green blanket, camouflaging the pumpkin as it fed and grew to a massive size.

“We planted it and added more plants from my mother … we had so many vines, it was so thick,” Brian Fischbach said earlier this month. “I just watered four times a week.”

The family garden is close enough to the edge of town that it’s amazing the fruit didn’t get more damage. Deer had started to munch on the rind, and many other garden items went missing during the season, but the pumpkin continued to gain weight.

By pure happenstance, Fischbach got a neighborly hand when he wanted to load the pumpkin into his pickup so he could get it weighed, but didn’t have any idea how to hoist it.

“I got it on a pallet and the neighbor was having his house sided, so we asked, and they used a skid steer to load it in my pickup,” Fischbach said.

He then got the lumpy winter squash, partially flattened under its own weight, to a grain scale. With the pallet, it was 320 pounds, Fischbach said. The family isn’t quite sure what it would like to do with the pumpkin, but the Fischbachs know they’ll have the mutant fruit on display.

“I thought we could carve it, but you’d need something bigger to carve it than a carving knife,” said Abigail Fischbach, 19.

Abigail and her sister Caitlyn, 16; brother Quintin, 11; and mother Shelley won’t take credit for creating the environment that led to the super-sized piece of produce. That’s Brian Fischbach’s domain. He grew up a farm kid and is now a (small) city guy with an earnest green thumb.

Despite his field experience, Fischbach said it’s weather and soil that have to be in sync to get plants to produce a bountiful harvest.

“We do always have a garden. We tried last year and we didn’t get any (pumpkins),” he said. “I grew up on a farm. Now the garden and lawn are my farm.”

Be assured that once the gourd is broken into, the Fischbachs will be saving seeds for potentially even greater pumpkins.

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• Pumpkins fall under the genus curcurbita and family peto.

• Pumpkins are a form of winter squash, some are decorative, some edible, some are both.

• A pumpkin is considered a fruit.

• The largest pumpkins ever grown surpass 2,000 pounds with one of the recent largest, a 2,323 pounder from Switzerland in 2014, according to news reports.