The secret behind spook-tacular 22-stone pumpkin grown on allotment near Hartlepool
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At a whooping 22.046st (139kg), his awe-inspiring creation pictured here is undoubtedly one of the biggest grown in the area this year.
The pumpkin was planted back in March in the greenhouse at Michael’s allotment in Horden and was moved outside once the weather got milder.
The fruit eventually became so massive that it took four people to load it into Michael’s car to take it to a scrapyard in Blackhall, where it was weighed a fortnight ago.
Unsurprisingly, the mammoth pumpkin caused a stir and Michael had to stay behind as people were taking pictures with it.
It has also brought lots of joy to his children Michael, 10, Jade, seven, Ethan, four, and seven-week-old Libby, who have been “over the moon” with the pumpkin and have been sitting on it.
"While it was in its growing stage, you could see it growing every day,” he said.
Michael, 30, added: "It would be good to have a year off, but I think I’m going to have another go at a bigger pumpkin now that everyone has seen it.”
The dad-of-four had been trying to grow a large pumpkin for a few years and harvested a five stone creation back in 2021.
He has credited the hot weather over the summer for this year’s impressive crop, which also includes another big pumpkin, weighing 12 stone and a 42-inch-long carrot which won a local competition in Easington.
The giant pumpkin is now being stored and the family will carve it for Halloween.
"If you look online, there’s a lot bigger pumpkins around the country, but I think that’s the biggest around our area this year,” said Michael.
"If I get a big one next year, I’m hoping to take it to the Harrogate show.”
Michael got into gardening three years ago and has been documenting his journey on Instagram @wilsonsfamilyallotment, where nearly 1,500 people follow him.
He also grows tomatoes, carrots, chillies, leaks, cucumbers and melons and has advised fellow gardeners hoping to grow a huge pumpkin to be patient.
"Just time, and effort and plenty of research online. Having good ground with plenty of nutrients in as pumpkins are very hungry plants.”