It’s the Great Pumpkin, Wyoming

Pumpkin enthusiast says no sorcery is needed to grow giant pumpkins
Published: Oct. 15, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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WORLAND, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Every October, giant pumpkins begin to rise out of Jay Richard’s garden in Worland, Wyoming. These are not your average pumpkins, his pumpkins are of monstrous proportion.

Richard says, “There is no secret sauce, there is no magic. Here’s some MythBusters for you: We don’t feed them milk, we don’t feed them steroids, it’s not Miracle-Gro. It comes down to a good seed, good soil, and good work.”

You won’t grow a pumpkin this big with seeds you might find at the grocery store, growing giant pumpkins is a science.

So, how exactly do his pumpkins grow to be this large? Perhaps he uses giant seeds or uses a witches curse. Turns out, it’s far more complicated. Richard plants pumpkins in his custom built greenhouse. He credits the combination of heat and special seeds to his gigantic success.

Richard explains, “These seeds are called Atlantic Giant seeds. They are a specific kind of seed. Everything about them is big. The stump is big, the plant is big, the vines are big, and obviously the pumpkins are big… These two were grown on 850 square feet per plant, consuming about 150 gallons of water per day. The peak of the pumpkin when it really gets going is somewhere around 50 pounds a day. About two pounds an hour they will grow.”

It takes about 92 days for Richard’s seeds to grow into these gigantic pumpkins. His heaviest pumpkin this year is one of the largest to have ever been grown in Wyoming, weighing in at nearly 1800 pounds.

As the owner of Jay’s Giants, Richard says he has adopted the pumpkin growing lifestyle. He jokes that he has pumpkin fever and that there is no cure.

When Richard is out and about with his pumpkins, he is often met with laughter and smiles. He says the enthusiasm is contagious.

“It makes me smile too, but when I see others smiling, that’s where the real victory in this is,” he says.

The giant pumpkins will spend the next several weeks touring the Northern and central regions of the state before they are carved for Halloween.