Haskell Man Growing 600-Pound Pumpkin For Competition

Tuesday, August 18th 2009, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

HASKELL, OK -- What do you suppose it would take to grow the record biggest pumpkin in Oklahoma?

There's a man in Haskell who thinks he knows exactly what and how.

Pat Benner has two gigantic specimens. One of them is pushing 600 pounds; both of them are growing for a record.  Benner's small garden has just three pumpkin plants and is covered with leaves and vines. It took some research on the Internet to make growing the plants a success.

"I logged on to some websites, and they started growing them. I thought let's give it a try," said Pat Benner.

He tried last year, but the pumpkin only got to 400 pounds or so before the vine died. He started last fall preparing the ground for this year's attempt. He put the seeds in the ground in April, pollinated in June and since then has been watching them grow.

"I try to point everything toward one plant," said Benner.

He feeds them with a foul smelling concoction he calls compost tea -- alfalfa pellets and worm castings, among other things.

"You add some molasses. I got some numic acid and some fish fertilizer," said Benner.

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The goal is to take the biggest one to the Regional Weigh-off in Republic, Missouri. He can win $600 for the grand prize. The smaller one will go to the Tulsa State Fair.

"I can only win $10 there. It'll cost $4 to enter, so I'll be able to buy a $6 burger at Carl's Jr. on the way home," Benner said, laughing.

The pumpkin judging and weigh-in is later this fall. First Benner has to get the pumpkins out of the garden. To do that, he'll have to build a lift and a transporter to get it to his truck. The News On 6 will update this story after the weigh-in.