Record attempt by Lymington pumpkin twins Ian and Stuart Paton thwarted
DISEASE has defeated the efforts of Lymington twins Ian and Stuart Paton to grow a record-breaking pumpkin after they came within a few pounds of achieving the feat last year.
The brothers, who have been growing super size squash for the last 40 years, were still able to produce a 1,400lb whopper.
Stuart said: “Everything started out really well with this pumpkin – it was growing at a faster rate than last year’s record breaker.
"But then disaster struck and the plant was hit by disease.”
Growing their huge squash at Pinetops Nurseries in Lymington, Ian and Stuart initially started out with six plants but quickly lost two to the disease.
The remaining pumpkins continued to develop well but one by one the plants were affected.
Stuart said: “It is something that has been niggling away for a couple of years. Now we know what the problem was and we have a plan to fix it, there will be no stopping us next year.
“We tried lots of new ideas this year and they all worked really well. We are going to steam-sterilise the soil we grow the pumpkins in so we can be sure it is free from any disease for next year’s crop.”
Last year the duo grew the biggest pumpkin ever cultivated in the UK, a 185-stone monster that was just short of the world record. During their peak growing period the super squash was gaining around 50lbs a day for 21 days straight.
Ian said: “We started growing pumpkins over 40 years ago, when our biggest weighed 54lbs, and it is absolutely incredible to think that the pumpkins we grow now can gain around that in weight each day.”
Ian and Stuart plant seeds from previous giant pumpkins every April for a crop of six plants, which are then used to grow one pumpkin each.
The plants are pollinated in mid-June and it takes around 110 days for the pumpkins to reach their maximum size.
Stuart added: "In the last five years we have been amongst the top five growers in the world every year. We are confident next year will be our year."