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Terrell County 4-H'er wins state recognition for her 430-pound pumpkin

By for CAES News

The average Halloween carving pumpkin weighs 10 to 20 pounds, but with tender loving care the right pumpkin can grow to 10 to 20-times that size. That’s the goal Terrell County 4-H Club member Caroline Daniel set out to meet as she cared for her 430-pound, first-place winning pumpkin this fall.

Daniel was one of dozens of Georgia 4-H Club members who entered the club’s annual pumpkin growing contest this year. It was a good year for big pumpkins, with Daniel’s winning pumpkin weighing almost 180 pounds more than last year’s winner.

White County’s Christine Taylor took second place with a 354-pound pumpkin and Lauren Weeks of Tift County took third with her 112-pound gourd.

This is Daniel’s second year placing in the pumpkin growing contest. Last year she took home third place with a 213-pound pumpkin.

The top three 4-H’ers will receive a cash prize from the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association in recognition of the months they spent tending their plants.

    Other 4-H club members who produced pumpkins of note this year include:
  • Fourth place, Kellee Alday of Seminole County; 106 pounds
  • Fifth place, Savannah Anderson of Lumpkin County; 100 pounds
  • Sixth place, Taylor Weeks of Tift County, 79 pounds
  • Seventh place, Braden Weeks of Tift County, 74 pounds
  • Eighth place Ree Daniels of Tift County, 73 pounds
  • Ninth place Kaydee Huskins of Bartow County, 65 pounds
  • Tenth place, Ella Daniels of Tift County, 60 pounds

Georgia 4-H leaders say the pumpkin contest teaches students the responsibility needed to complete a long-term project, the self-motivation and confidence needed to tackle a project independently and the ability to use problem-solving skills to persevere against insects, dry spells and pumpkin diseases.

“The 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest is a great project to get kids digging in the dirt, planting seeds and learning about gardening. Whether their pumpkins ends up the size of a Volkswagen Bug or just a grape, 4-H’ers can experience first-hand the challenges and satisfaction of growing plants,” said Jeff Buckley, a Georgia 4-H faculty member who coordinated the contest this year. “Perhaps this contest will spark an interest in gardening that will guide them to a career in the agricultural and environmental sciences.”

p>To learn more about the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest, contact Buckley at jbuckley@uga.edu or call (706) 542-4H4H (4444).

Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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