Farmer grows SA's biggest pumkin

By Drum Digital
18 March 2013

A semi-retired farmer from Worcester in the Western Cape has set a South African agricultural record by cultivating a 417.5kg pumpkin, Beeld reported on Monday.

His secret to cultivating such a pumpkin? One has to "look after them nicely", farmer Johan du Plessis told the newspaper.

He broke the record at a Great Pumpkin Competition at the Diemersdal Durbanville Wine Estate on Saturday, which formed part of a regional agricultural festival.

He said it took about six months to grow his fairytale-sized winning entry, which was big enough to accommodate Cinderella.

Last year's record was set by his son, Henri, who cultivated a pumpkin weighing 390kg.

Du Plessis sen. also won the title in 2009 and 2011. Henri won the third prize this year, with a pumpkin weighing 376.5kg.

Du Plessis sen. said his relatives had always had a particular fondness for pumpkins and enjoyed growing them.

To successfully grow large vegetables an enthusiast had to "look after them nicely," he said.

He said his pumpkins were grown organically, and he paid particular attention to the soil, in which he planted Atlantic Giant seeds.

"The pumpkin gets covered with cloth to protect it from sunburn, and it also needs plastic sheeting underneath it, with good spacing allowance for the leaves and stems so that it gets enough food."

-by Sapa

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