How Circleville Giant Pumpkin Champs Grow Their Winners

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Growing giant pumpkins takes much more than love and care.

In Circleville, pumpkinscome oversized, weighing almost as much as cars, and win the support of an entire town for one festival every year. That's right, the 109th annual Circleville Pumpkin Show-Oct. 21 to 24-is almost here. Growers Bob and Jo Liggett share what it takes to nurture a champion gourd.


The number of pick-up truckloads of fertilizer used for every four pumpkins the Liggetts grow. The fertilizer is made with maple tree leaves and manure sourced from cows owned by the Pickaway County prosecutor.

6 inches

The average circumference of an oversized pumpkin vine

80 gallons

Amount of water used daily, on average, for a prize-winning pumpkin. Watering routines vary among farmers, but the Liggetts water theirs every day.


Indoor temperature at which pumpkin seeds are planted, around April 23 each year. The Liggetts transplant sprouts to a heated ground field in May.

12 feet

The minimum length of vine from which the Liggetts grow an oversized pumpkin


Year the Liggetts grew the parent pumpkin of one of this year's pumpkins. Serious growers often play with genetics; some even travel to conferences and conventions to trade tips and pumpkin seeds.

30 inches

Width of the sections in the pumpkin patch that accommodate growing pumpkins

1,964 pounds

Weight of last year's winning pumpkin, the heaviest in event history. The second-place pumpkin clocked in at 1,714 pounds.