September 30, 2012

Giant pumpkin: Oh, rot!

It's a big disappointment for Lucas Dion of Waterboro, whose effort to grow a prize-winning giant pumpkin was spoiled in the end.

By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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A dejected-looking Lucas Dion sits on his father’s pumpkin while waiting to weigh his own gourd at Sanford Harvest Daze. Lucas’ pumpkin weighed in at 185.5 pounds, but rot disqualified it from winning a prize.

Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Lucas Dion of Waterboro sinks his finger into an area of rot that disqualified the pumpkin he grew from being a contender in the Sanford Harvest Daze pumpkin weigh-off on Sept. 22.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION on giant pumpkins, go to the website of the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization at

Jim Dion himself lost a giant or two this season, but he was growing more than one. Lucas had more than one on the vine during the summer, but only one survived into late September.

Once Lucas saw the rot on his pumpkin, he figured his shot at cash was done, and he wanted to move on. It was his father's idea to get it weighed at the Sanford contest anyway, to see what might have been if the pumpkin had been healthy.

"Just a few more days and he would have been sitting pretty," said Jim Dion. "If we had taken it to a contest last weekend, he would have won something."

Lucas was pretty busy during growing season. He wrestles, plays baseball and worked on a farm during the summer.

Looking back, he feels like he probably didn't spend enough time with his pumpkin patch.

"Maybe I could have fertilized it more, just taken care of it more, maybe rototilled the soil," said Lucas. "But hey, it's only a pumpkin."

When Lucas was sitting near his pumpkin before the Sanford contest, another grower came up to him and asked if he kept his pumpkin dusted with sulphur to help it grow.

Lucas shook his head no, to which the other grower responded, "Living dangerously, huh?"

Would Lucas try again, knowing what he knows now?

"Maybe," he said. "If I have the time."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Lucas with his pumpkin. Al Berard of the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization estimates that less than 50 percent of first-time growers successfully grow a giant and get it to a weigh-in without rot or some other problem cropping up.

Staff Photographer


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