Autumn Pumpkin Festival, Netley,
Paton twins reclaim throne as Pumpkin Kings with 1,884lb record breaker
Ian and Stuart Paton have broken the UK record for a giant pumpkin for the 9th time. The gargantuan gourd measured more than 17ft in circumference and during its peak period of growth piled on a staggering 35lb a day.
To match its rate of growth the vigilant horticultural siblings, who run Pine Tops Nursery in Hants, lovingly supplied close to 100 gallons of water a day, plus a nutrient-rich fertiliser. Its final weight was just 218lb off the world record.
They reclaimed their title from Dorset dairy farmer Mark Baggs, who stole it from them in 2013 with his first ever big win. He was on hand again this year to defend the title with a 1,582lb giant but lagged behind by a good 300lbs.
Each time a record is broken at the annual Jubilee Sailing Trust
Autumn Pumpkin Festival, show sponsor – seed and plant mail order specialist Thompson & Morgan – takes the winning specimen back to its Ipswich HQ. The seeds are harvested, tested for viability and prepared for sale.
Buy the seed from the Prize winner
In honour of their success in the hobby, plus the fact they have supplied the most seed over the years, T&M sell it under the variety name Pumpkin ‘Paton Twins Giant’. It’s a popular line with amateur growers at just £9.99 for two huge seeds with the genetics to
become a record breaker with the right care. It’s the seed of choice for serious competitors too – the majority of entries to this year’s official UK weigh-in at the Southampton event came from seeds supplied by the Patons.
The brothers will be using seeds from this year’s crop next year – which they say will bear the best seeds in the country thanks to careful hand pollination of their plants to cross two of their best ever performing plants. And with the world record now held closer to home (Swiss gardener Ben Meier recently took the title with a 2,097lb monster), they say they are even more set on gaining the accolade themselves.
Stuart said: “ We’ve always been confident of getting the world title eventually and it’s brilliant to installing a new greenhouse for 2015 on better soil with better drainage and twice the amount of growing space. We should be all set to take on the Americans and the Swiss.”
T&M Horticultural Director, Paul Hansord said: “It used to be said that the world record would never leave the US, but if the Swiss can do it, we can do it. Our seed quality just keeps getting better thanks to the Patons’ selective pollination, and UK growers are upping the game every year. I’ve every confidence the Paton boys can bring the title to UK shores in the near future.” Having just handed over the £1,000 prize cheque and with a promise to pay £10,000 for a UK world beater, he could be regretting that confidence in coming years!
What next for this year’s Paton Giant?
Before collecting the seeds, T&M has invited local artist Janie Pirie to carve the giant for display at Jimmy’s Farm Halloween Half Term and the spooky-themed Ipswich Firework Display, Christchurch Park, 1 Nov. To see the beast in the flesh, visit www.jimmysfarm.com and www.ipswichfireworks.co.uk for details
To order your own ‘Paton Twins Giant’ Seed and grow a giant yourself next year, visit www.thompson-morgan.com/giant-pumpkin