Pumpkin contest draws huge entries

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2002

There's a few secrets when it comes to growing a giant pumpkin. But Dave Andree doesn't mind sharing.

Water. Miracle-Gro.

"Lots of manure," he said. "And lots of fertilizer."

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Andree, of Brownsdale, heads up the Southern Minnesota Giant Pumpkin Growers club. The group's been around for four years and they're gaining members.

Many were out Saturday at Jim's Super Fresh in Austin to witness the giant pumpkin weigh-off.

The Hayfield FFA members helped out, some by carefully heaving the massive objects from a forklift and onto a scale.

Andree said it takes about 1,000 gallons of water a week per plant to grow the pumpkins. Some are a little slow taking off.

Others, well …

"There was one that grew 76 pounds in 72 hours," he said. "We have a chart and then we measure them."

The winning pumpkin was 720 1/2 pounds by Fred Muermann. He traveled 150 miles from Wisconsin to weigh his entry. Andree wasn't surprised that a local person didn't win.

"Right in this area, nobody had much luck," he said. "We were lucky to get 400-pounders this year. It was the weather. It was just too hot."

Many in attendance also looked at the various pumpkin carvings and giant sunflowers (the winning entry was 19 inches in diameter), while sitting on hay bales and enjoying a fall day.

"Everybody seems to like it here," Andree said.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail :mailto:dan.fields@austindailyherald.com