Monster pumpkins grow to 1,000+ pounds ahead of Halloween

Del Faust and his wife Julie Faust pose with their grandchildren behind a giant pumpkin, October 5, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

FOND DU LAC, Wisc. (WLUK) -- With Halloween just weeks away, people are already picking out the perfect pumpkins.

But if you're looking to super-size your pick, there's an area family who has growing extra-large gourds down to a science.

"It's six foot by six foot. So it's taller than me," said Julie Faust, Giant Pumpkin Grower.

At about five feet tall, Julie Faust says the giant gourd is one of the biggest pumpkins yet. Her husband Del Faust agrees.

"That one got to, I'd say 1700-1800 pounds, which is good," said Del Faust, Giant Pumpkin Grower.

The pumpkin is one of 10 Faust raised on his property northeast of Fond du Lac. He says the giants have a veracious appetite.

"We feed them a lot of organic compost, and fish oils. Kelp. We try to stay with the organic," he said.

The plants also need a lot of water, about an inch per week. The Fausts use a pond nearby to pump the liquid to the giant pumpkins.

"That one was growing at 43 pounds a day for two weeks," said Faust.

That's 602 pounds.

"That was the peak. and then it tapered down now," he said.

Faust says the cool wet spring and then summer weather didn't help.

"Like this last week, when we had 90 degrees. Pumpkins don't like it 90 degrees. And they don't like it at 40 degrees. They don't like the fluctuation," said Faust.

"Sometimes I wish I were the pumpkins," said Julie Faust.

The Fausts say the squash are pampered. Fans run 24-7, keeping the stems cool and dry. Heating coils in the ground give young plants a helping hand.

"The ideal temperature is 80 during the day, 65 at night. You always do different things to make sure your pumpkins grow bigger," said Del Faust.

The Fausts grow the gourds to compete in Wisconsin Giant Pumpkin Growers contests around the state. One is headed to Nekoosa on Saturday.

"It's a great hobby. We have made a lot of friends that we made because of growing pumpkins. So that is cool," said Julie Faust.

The world record for a giant pumpkin is 2,624.6 pounds, grown by a man in Europe.

Last year's Wisconsin champion tipped the scale at 2,106 pounds.

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