Is this Worthing’s largest pumpkin?

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WEIGHING as much as two average-sized people, could this be Worthing’s largest pumpkin?

It took six people to remove the 288lb squash from the ground, and it had to be weighed on giant, industrial scales.

It was grown by Peter Foan, a member of Worthing and District Allotment Association, and has caused quite a stir in the horticultural world.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, a dry spring and a cool damp summer, made growing conditions for pumpkins tough, making Peter’s feat all the more impressive.

Peter, 53, of Broomfield Avenue, said: “This was my first attempt at growing a giant pumpkin. I bought the seeds which came from a giant European champion pumpkin, so I knew it could grow pretty big or it might come to nothing.

“I actually had two others grow to a large size, but they both exploded in around August time, but this one just kept going. It is quite exciting when you see it’s taken off, but obviously then it becomes difficult when you need to move it and things like that.”

Peter has been a keen gardener for years, but only really began growing vegetables when he was given a plot at the West Tarring Allotments in Ringmer Road, Worthing, two years ago.

He planted the pumpkin seeds in February, and the huge specimen which was drinking eight gallons of liquid feed per day was finally dug up at the end of last month.

After being weighed and then displayed at the Southwick and Fishersgate Horticultural Society show last week, it is now “maturing” in Peter’s garden.

He said: “If I leave it for a couple of weeks, it will make the seeds more virile and will give them the best chance of being used to grow giant pumpkins next season.

“I have had a few people ask me if they can buy some of the seeds, but I’ll be looking after my friends first. I will definitely be trying to grow one again next year, too.

“When this one was weighed, lots of people were surprised it didn’t weigh more. Next year, I’m hoping I can get one to 400, even 500lbs!”