The Giants of Jerry’s Pumpkin Patch
Most of us have been to a few pumpkin patches in our lives, but there aren’t many patches like Jerry Gibson’s.
He grows giant pumpkins on his plot of land in Sturgeon Lake. He aims for pumpkins that weigh more than 1,000 pounds.
He starts his seeds in the middle of April inside in a greenhouse. He plants them in the ground in early to mid-May and keeps them covered until the chance of frost overnight is gone.
“Once it takes, they grow so fast,” he said.
His were putting on anywhere from 5-25 pounds a day.
“And you can water anywhere from 70 gallons of water per pumpkin, per plant, to 125-150,” Gibson said.
He grows them competitively, choosing seeds from the best genetics for weight or color.
“This seed in particular for this pumpkin was a 2350 Gienger,” he said, pointing to one of the four giant pumpkins he grew this season. “It just means that the pumpkin weighed 2,350 pounds and Travis Gienger was the guy that grew it.”
But growers can only estimate how big they really are as they grow. They take measurements up the ground and over the top and around the circumference. That gives an approximation.
They can also win awards for the color and shape of the pumpkin at competitions. During the summer, Gibson spends 2-4 hours a day tending to his pumpkins.
“It’s a second job is what it is,” he said. “Labor of love. True hobby. You’ll never get out what you put into it.”
He estimated his biggest pumpkin, named Brutus by his Facebook followers, would be between 1,100-1,500 pounds. At a weigh-off in Anoka over the weekend, it came in at 1,442 pounds, 3 pounds bigger than his personal record.
The two he did not choose for weigh-offs will be taken to Pier B Resort later in October to be carved.
Gibson also offers pumpkins more suited for front steps and decorating. His patch is usually open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.