For five months, Steve Connolly has slaked his pumpkin's thirst with a garden hose and shaded it from the sun with a cotton sheet. He regularly fed it an exotic recipe of ground bone, blood, fish, molasses, and cow and chicken manure. Now more than 16 feet around and weighing an estimated 1,878 pounds, it is packing on 11 pounds a day.
In a week, when he takes it to Frerichs Farm in Warren, R.I., Connolly hopes it will be the biggest pumpkin the world has ever seen, smashing the record of 1,689 pounds and possibly coming in at more than a ton.
Even in the world of competitive pumpkin growing, where a single champion seed can fetch $500, the epic girth of Connolly's pumpkin has electrified. Wide-eyed growers, who have been making pilgrimages to behold Connolly's creation, have respectfully dubbed his pumpkin “The Beast from the East.”