How to Move a 1,000 Pound Pumpkin [PICTURES – VIDEO]
I was at Bartels Farm in north Fort Collins a few weekends ago and saw a 1,0004 pound pumpkin named Fat Albert. My first thought was how on earth did they get it there. I found out that it was grown by a local man named Tim Hanauer. I asked Tim how he did it. He said he used a tripod that was built by Peter Mohr, a giant pumpkin grower from Fort Collins.
How to Move a 1,000 Pound Pumpkin
The tripod is constructed from 14' 4x4 posts. There was a little trial and error involved with getting the legs set evenly and spaced properly to get the truck between them at the height we needed. This tripod set up uses a 3/4" piece of all-thread at the top to go through all three beams. Then, you wrap the all-thread and joined beams with a heavy chain. You afix the one ton chain hoist to that chain. The lift ring is a wielded hoop from which the straps hang. The straps are a sort of seatbelt material which have loops at the bottom. You run a sturdy climbing rope through the loops and cinch it around the pumpkin up against the dirt. The chain hoist is low geared and you could very slowly raise the pumpkin single handedly if you wanted to.
This YouTube video shows Fat Albert being lifted into the air using the chain and wooden tripod:
The moment the pumpkin leaves the ground, it's swinging in the air. You a glimpse of the cavernous underbelly. You want a flat bottomed pumpkin. A concave bottom means 50-100 pounds lost.
There is no way to know how a pumpkin is growing underneath until you get it airborne. Once the pumpkin was in the air, Tim notice it had a crack in it. That means no prize money, but they loaded Fat Albert into Tim's neighbor Mike Daugaard's truck anyway and were off to the weigh off.
Get a look underneath the giant pumpkin in this YouTube video:
How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin
I started this particular pumpkin, "Fat Albert," from the 2020.5 Werner seed that grew the PA state record. I started it inside on April 9 and transplanted it into a heated hoop house on May 6. Pumpkins grow both male and female flowers. The female flower, when pollinated, turns into the pumpkin. This pumpkin was pollinated on June 22 at 12' out on the main vine. It put on 1004 pounds in 101 days and hit 26 lb per day at its height in July. It was the largest pumpkin grown in Larimer County this year. My pumpkin plants are fertigated three times a day (they are watered by drip irrigation that fertilizes in trace amounts three times per day) and then they are misted six times a day during the sun's hottest times. I also spray with concentrated kelp, humic and fulvic acids, calcarb and a variety of other fertilizers, plant hormone boosters and beneficial soil microbes all for the somewhat ridiculous goal of growing an enormous fruit that no one would ever want to eat.
Here are a few pics that show the pumpkin moving process:
More about Tim Hanauer
I also have a few other more rational hobbies. I garden a great deal during the summer in a more traditional sense. It suits my hobbit-like nature. The last two years, I've aimed to organically grow a year's supply of food. I got a year's supply of pumpkin that first year. And I think I've got a year's supply of beans and broccoli out of this last season. I'm also a singer songwriter; I've had more than 40 spots in TV shows, commercials, films, and trailers. I record mostly at The Blasting Room here in town. And, though I once played several shows a month, I now play only about two concerts a year. And, I'm a full time high school English teacher. And, I'm a father of two adorable little kids, one four and the other only two months old.