The 40 acres of land Andy Scalise owns houses a half-acre pond, gazebo, shed, greenhouse - and four over-sized pumpkins.
"I had a kid ask me once, 'Are you Charlie Brown?' I said, 'No, I'm his cousin,'" the Jamestown man joked.
Scalise has been in the pumpkin-growing industry for 10 years. It's a hobby that he calls an obsession. And, his obsession has, this year, landed him his largest pumpkin yet.
Andy Scalise stands by his 1,200 pound pumpkin, which is growing larger every day. Scalise will be entering his pumpkin in a contest Sept. 30.
P-J photo by
"It's 1,200 pounds and it's gaining real well every day. There's a good gain every day," Scalise said.
Prior to this, Scalise said his largest pumpkin to date weighed in at 1,134 pounds. This year, his next-largest pumpkin currently weighs in at approximately 900 pounds.
Although a 1,200 pound pumpkin would produce many fall-flavored treats, Scalise's pumpkin will be heading to The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence for the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off on Sept. 30.
At last year's World Pumpkin Weigh-Off, the winning pumpkin was grown by Gary Adams from Lafayette, N.Y., weighing in at 1613.5 pounds.
The current world record for pumpkin weight is 1818.5 pounds. The weight was clocked in at the Prince Edward County Pumpkinfest weigh, on October 15, 2011. Jim and Kelsey Bryson from Ormstown, Quebec, Canada were the proud growers.
The weigh-off Scalise will be attending on Sept. 30 offers a prize of $10,000 if someone has a pumpkin breaking the current record.
And, although Scalise isn't quite sure his pumpkin is hefty enough to break the record, he has his sights set on at least the top five.
"This pumpkin here, is a 1,662.5 stelts. It is crossed with the second-heaviest pumpkin in the world, which was an 1,807.5 stelts. I know the genetics are good. People who know this will want that information," Scalise said.
Growing a 1,200 pound pumpkin isn't something that happens by accident. It requires an exact science and knowledge about genetics. Each of Scalise's four pumpkins receive 100 gallons of water per day. They are watered three times a day, receiving just over 33 gallons of water each time.
And, it's not city water that helps the pumpkins grow. Scalise has set up a sophisticated irrigation system using his own half acre pond, which he said has different pH levels than city water does.
Additionally, the pumpkins receive a smorgasbord of treatments each day, including oxygen, manure, carbon dioxide and a variety of other ingredients, based on the pumpkin's daily needs. The pumpkins are also kept covered to help maintain their temperature.
"At night, it cools down. So, we want to keep the temperature within the core of the pumpkin at a more uniform temperature by keeping the heat at night and then warming it up during the day," Scalise said.
Scalise's extreme pumpkin-growing obsession didn't happen overnight. In fact, it began 10 years ago, when Scalise's granddaughter pointed out an article in the newspaper.
"My granddaughter saw a picture in the paper of a pumpkin seminar at Humphrey Fire Department, given by Andy Wolfe. He had the state record at one point, and he was giving seminars," Scalise said.
Following the seminar, he met Tim Bailey, another Jamestown pumpkin-grower, who, along with Wolfe, shared tips and tricks with Scalise.
"Then I got hooked. I am obsessed with it," Scalise said.
So obsessed that Scalise spends between four and six hours with his pumpkins throughout the 150-day growing season. He said the prime time for pumpkin growing is between May 1 and Sept. 30.
Scalise will continue his regimen with his pumpkins until he is ready to enter it in the weigh-off. He said he will receive help from Tim Galbato of Brigiotta's in picking it up and putting the pumpkin on a trailer, before making the journey to Clarence in hopes of winning big with his pumpkin.