Maybe Linus wasn’t expecting this pumpkin in the pumpkin patch – but Andy Wolf’s pumpkin is definitely a big one. Wolf, a Little Valley resident, has been growing gigantic squash since the late 1990s, but this year’s crop yielded the biggest harvest he has ever grown. His precious pumpkin weighed 2,365 pounds, or over a ton.
Wolf recently brought the pumpkin to a competition at the Parks Garden Center in Canfield, Ohio, and won the 2021 North American Championship title.
He said it was a great experience.
“I have been close before, and each year the competition becomes a little more difficult” he said. “The genetics are improving, so the pumpkins are getting bigger and it’s a little harder to get into the top row than it was when there were probably fewer pumpkin growers.”
While the feat may seem impossible for everyday gardeners, Wolf said âIf you can grow a good garden, you can grow big pumpkins. “
“You have to turn the soil over, extract the seeds from other big pumpkins” said Wolf. âHe took care of the plants and you must be lucky along the way, too. “
He said he was interested in the horticultural hobby when he attended a pumpkin pageant in North Collins as a child. He said he went on the internet, found other people who were successful in growing big pumpkins, and got seeds.
“I got a bit addicted” said Wolf. âMost guys will say it’s a little addicting. Your first pumpkin, you take it to a contest, and while it’s not a monster, you know you’ve got a number that you want to beat the next year and keep improving.
He grows more than one pumpkin a year and typically attends five pumpkin competitions in various fields. However, this year Wolf was able to enter pumpkins in nine different competitions.
“This year has been a little different”, he said. âI put in a lot more plants than usual and didn’t lose that many along the way. Sometimes you lose them because of cracks or rot or critters or something like that. I really had enough pumpkins for everyone.
Wolf said the smallest pumpkin he had competed in this year weighed 665 pounds. He said the one-ton pumpkin wouldn’t fit in the back of his truck, so he hauled it on a trailer with special padding so it wouldn’t break.
After the contest, Wolf loaned his award-winning pumpkin to a festival in Pittsburgh and dropped it off this week at the New York Botanical Gardens in New York City.
“It will be on display in New York until Halloween”, he said.