Gargantuan gourds in quest for greatness

  • 26/10/2015
Gargantuan gourds in quest for greatness

The quest for greatness drives many men, while driving many of their wives a little crazy.

For one man in California, that drive has pushed him each year to try to grow the world's largest pumpkin.

John Hawkley doesn't just grow pumpkins, he babies them – covering them in blankets to protect to protect their skin from the sun.

His pumpkin freak show, he says, began on a whim. Mr Hawkley became fascinated by other farmers and their gargantuan gourds.

His breeding and cross-pollinating paid off. Last year Mr Hawkley set a North American record, with a 933kg monster.

Once again he set out to create the largest pumpkin on the planet.

He says his pumpkins grow around 20kg a day.

When his pride and joy reached nearly 900kg, it blew a hole and was disqualified. Mr Hawkley was so devastated he says he avoided his patch for a week.

But it wasn't a complete loss; one of his other pumpkins finished seventh at a weigh-off this month. Already he's plotting to plant new seeds that will become next year's giants.

His wife, Patty Hawkley, admits that record or no record, sometimes she can only roll her eyes.

"I definitely have approached him with the thought of taking a year off and maybe growing every other year, and working on projects at home," she says.

"It's cool in a way, but on the other hand it's like, 'yeah, it's a pumpkin'. Remember that, John, it's a pumpkin."

At the very least, it can make a lot of pies.

CBS News