Eighty-Five-Year-Old Man Grows 1,000 Pound Pumpkin

"It's kind of a fun sport and hobby"

We’re used to going to a pumpkin patch and seeing pumpkins the size of watermelon, not a pumpkin bigger than some children.

“It’s kind of a fun sport and hobby, you try and beat yourself every year,” says Sioux Falls farmer George Witter.

A pumpkin Witter grew this year weighs 1,132 lbs.
His friend’s Judy Benson’s pumpkin weighs 1,293 lbs.

“Every day I probably put an hour of work into it, Judy helps about the same, she’s out there working every day,” says Witter.

The two showcased their hard work in the Country Apple Orchard Harvest Festival’s pumpkin weighing contest in Harrisburg.

“It’s friendly competition with a bunch of friends that you know,” says Witter.

So how does one grow a one thousand pound pumpkin?

“Get a good seed, get a good genetic background and as they grow I burry the veins, and a lot of good fertilizer,” explains Witter.

Simple right?

“I’m 85 years old and it gets a littler harder every year.”

Not quite.
Witter says he starts growing the pumpkin at the end of April in his home, and then puts it in the garden around the middle of May.
And in a good year, the pumpkin will grow 40 pounds per day starting in July.
It’s a big task, but Witter says luckily, he’s not alone.

“I have some great neighbors in the neighborhood and they all kind of come and help, we have one gentleman who comes with a fork lift and get a lot of help taken care of them getting them up here.”

Witter’s pumpkin got third place out of the 10 pumpkins entered into the adult competition.
His friend Judy Benson got first place, winning $500.

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