Tucked away in an unassuming family vegetable garden in Edgewood lives what could be the biggest pumpkin ever grown in New Mexico.
“Last year, I put a seed into the compost pile and we got a pretty large pumpkin,” said Nicole Marquez, who with her family grew the giant squash, adding, “We decided to try it again this year and see if we could grow another giant.”
This year Marquez and her family did successfully grow another giant. They estimate its weight to be close to 500 pounds already, and the family plans to enter it into the State Fair this year.
She said the current record holder for the state weighed in at 532 pounds.
The family reports that at the peak of its growth the pumpkin put on as much as 20 pounds a night. They said now that the weather is cooling down a bit, the pumpkin’s growth is also slowing down; it’s gaining 10 to 15 pounds a night.
They said they didn’t do anything special other than giving it compost and water.
The garden is tended by Marquez with her husband, Aaron Price, and kids Aramus, Novalee and Paislee. Dad Aaron is most interested in taking measurements of the gourd, which are used to estimate its weight. Its actual weight will be determined by a scale, and can be affected by water content of the pumpkin.
Marquez said the pumpkin is called Atlantic Giant.
She said after lots of research to find a reputable source for seeds, she made a friend online, then bought his seeds and his book to learn more about growing giants.
The Atlantic Giant Pumpkin is grown all over the world as it can gain serious size in the right conditions; it is the most popular breed for vegetable growing contests.
The family has estimated its size based on the circumference of the pumpkin. She said the pumpkin can go “heavy or light” and they won’t know the true weight until they get it weighed at the fair.
Marquez said her family has been growing pumpkins, squash and gourds since 2011.
The pumpkin will be on display at the New Mexico State Fair starting on Sept. 8. in Albuquerque. The family also hopes to display their grandiose gourd in some local events, but nothing is firm yet.