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It's not the Great Pumpkin

Erin Huff and her husband, Harold, have a great pumpkin but it didn't rise out of the pumpkin patch on Halloween night to bring toys to children around the world.

Instead Erin and friends Chuck and Mike Achay loaded it into a pickup truck on Oct. 10 and drove it to the eighth annual Central Market Weigh-Off in Shoreline, north of Seattle.

Huff said the 1,027-pound pumpkin and a 782-pound squash were the last to be hauled out of her field at the end of Livengood Lane and the largest.

Huff said she gave several 50-, 100- and 200-pound pumpkins and squash to Olympic Game Farm for use as animal feed.

She also supplied a pumpkin on display for a "guess the weight" contest at the Safeway in downtown Port Angeles.

A pumpkin's weight is estimated by measuring its circumference, then from side to side over the top and finally from stem to blossom.

Those three figures are added together and plugged into a chart that is available at www.back yardgardener.com/weight.html.

According to the chart, those three measurements for a 1,000-pound pumpkin would total 369 inches. The world record weight for a pumpkin is 1,689 pounds.

Huff transported her pumpkin to the Central Market, which held a contest this past weekend featuring giant pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes and gourds.

She also entered a squash in the contest that she estimated at 700 pounds. It weighed 782 pounds and won first place.

Huff and her two assistants practiced hoisting the squash onto a mattress in the bed of a pickup truck before attempting to lift the prized pumpkin.

The top three heaviest pumpkins stay for display according to the contract and the rest are hauled back by the growers, Huff said.

She sometimes keeps her mammoth pumpkins uncovered while driving them to various contests but usually keeps them covered to avoid creating a distraction for drivers and to protect the pumpkin's skin.

Huff said her secret for growing such large pumpkins and squash is the animal manure that has enriched her property's soil over the years.

East Coast locales such as Maine usually are better for growing super-sized pumpkins because they have warmer summers, she said.



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