Thursday, 18 August 2022

Pumpkin sparks police pursuit

AT 560lbs Tim Saint’s personal best, prize-winning pumpkin was always likely to turn heads.

AT 560lbs Tim Saint’s personal best, prize-winning pumpkin was always likely to turn heads.

But the Playhatch gardener attracted the attention of the police on his way home after scooping the heaviest pumpkin and best in show prizes at the Malvern Autumn Show.

Officers spotted the giant orange squash, which has to be transported in a trailer, while on an overhead bridge in Cirencester. After catching up with Mr Saint’s vehicle, they pulled him over before taking pictures to post on Twitter.

The 34-year-old said: “They didn’t believe it was real — they actually thought it was a fake one.” He said he was “over the moon” after beating his previous best by almost 100lbs and also doing the double at the East of England Agricultural Society’s autumn show in Peterborough last weekend.

“My goal was 500lbs — when it hit the scales down at the Malvern Show I couldn’t believe it. We didn’t have scales large enough to weigh it. I came second last year and I’ve finally cracked it. Everybody was so happy for us which is nice.

All the parents want a photo of it with their young children sitting on top of it.

“You could take that along and get beaten by three or four pounds or a couple of ounces.”

After planting the seed in April he fed it with chicken and cow manure, liquid seaweed and gave it three cans of water a day.

“It grew so quickly it actually bulged the side of the polytunnel,” he said. “If you overfeed them or overwater them they will split. It goes rotten very quickly, within the space of a week.”

He is more than happy to share his growing tips and explained: “I think if you can help people then the shows keep going longer and it gets more people into it.”

With Halloween fast approaching Mr Saint’s effort will put any pumpkin found in the supermarkets to shame.

“I think you’d need a few candles wouldn’t you?”, he joked.

He doesn’t recommending eating the oversized squash either and said: “It would be like eating an old pair of boots! It would make some pumpkin pie wouldn’t it?

He now hopes to use the seeds from the pumpkin for next year and said: “I’m just carrying on and trying to get bigger each year. I’m going as big as I can really. It’s great fun to be honest and it’s nice because it makes people happy.”

He thanked his friend Charlie Knight who loaded the pumpkin into the trailer with his tractor.

“Without Charlie you couldn’t move it to be fair. It would take a good six blokes to lift it,” he said. When it arrives at its destination it has to be unloaded on a pallett using a fork lift truck.

It’s been a successful year for Mr Saint who also took three prizes at this year’s Henley Show held last month.

His 388lb pumpkin and 87lb marrow were both the heaviest and he also had the longest marrow at 39 inches.

He been been entering the show for a decade but this year’s entry didn’t beat his winning pumpkin from 2010, which weighed 467lbs.

But he said: “I’d say it’s the best season ever for me to be honest. Pumpkins and marrows are my favourite. I started with marrows when I was nine and pumpkins when I was 10 and, crikey, I never dreamed I’d get one this big.”

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