Friday, October 03, 2008

Boston Grower is "pumped up"

kinda like the national debt - particularly after today.


SHARON - Darkness and fog shrouded the ranch houses receding into the inky blackness of this forested suburb. Standing in the damp grass of a field, wearing galoshes, shorts, and a long-sleeved T-shirt, Steve Connolly held aloft a portable work lamp, brilliantly illuminating an otherworldly orange orb that looked as though it had crash-landed in his yard.

For five months, he has slaked its thirst with a garden hose, shaded it from the sun with a cotton sheet, kept off the rain with a plastic tarp. He regularly fed it an exotic recipe of ground bone, blood, fish, molasses, and cow and chicken manure. Now more than 16 feet around and weighing an estimated 1,878 pounds, it is packing on 11 pounds a day.

In a week, when he loads it on a truck and takes it to Frerichs Farm in Warren R.I., Connolly hopes it will be the biggest pumpkin the world has ever seen, smashing the record of 1,689 pounds and possibly coming in at more than a ton, an accomplishment that is to competitive pumpkin growing what the 4-minute mile was to track and field.


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