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RESEDA : This Pumpkin Is Not Your Garden-Variety

August 20, 1994|ANTONIO OLIVO

While Doris Matthews' giant pumpkin is a mere cucumber in the eyes of the Guinness Book of Records folks, at 74 inches in circumference this is not a squash to sneeze at.

In a tone worthy of a supermarket tabloid headline, Matthews tells the story of how the half-dead seedling that fell into her brother's kitchen sink during the earthquake was tenderly replanted in the soil of her Reseda back yard. And it just keeps growing.

After the shaking stopped on Jan. 17, Leland Fry of Northridge surveyed his home for damages. He walked into his kitchen to find a mess of dishes strewn across the floor--which didn't bother him.

What did worry Fry was that his two prize pumpkin seedlings had spilled from the window sill into his kitchen sink. One was too far gone to save; the other was just barely hanging on.

"We had to nurse it for several months until it was healthy enough to go into my sister's garden," Fry said. "We planted the seedling in May and it was 5 inches tall, but afterward it seemed to grow an inch or two every day."

The pumpkin now weighs in at 150 pounds.

"That's a big pumpkin," said Randy Mineo of Chatsworth Nursery. "It is unusual for one that size to grow in someone's back yard. I certainly tip my hat to them, but it's nowhere near record size."

Mineo, who once had a 285-pound pumpkin on display in his store, was moved to find out that the largest pumpkin ever recorded weighed in at 816 pounds and was grown in Wrightstown, N. J.

So what is Matthews going to do with her sizable squash?

Well, she hopes it lasts on the vine until Halloween and then there may be pumpkin pies in store for the whole neighborhood.

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