Souped-up Sheffield gardener harvests six stone pumpkin

Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 7
Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 7
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Proud Sheffield gardener Sam Squires is plotting to cook up a gigantic batch of soup – after harvesting a mammoth pumpkin weighing almost six stone.

The treasurer of Parson Cross Community Gardens was stunned when he measured his bumper Big Max pumpkin, which weighs in at 80lbs and measures 21 inches around.

The 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown by Sam Squires on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 6

The 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown by Sam Squires on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 6

“Everyone who sees it can’t believe how big it is”, said the 34-year-old plasterer and dad.

“This is the first pumpkin I have ever grown and it’s only my second year of growing vegetables.

“It’s wider than my body. I shouldn’t pick it up but I can just about.

“I didn’t really realise how large it was, but I have spoken to the Sheffield Allotment Society and they said it was a big one.

Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 2

Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 2

“People just want to touch it and I’m saying ‘I’ve got to eat that!’.

“I’m going to use most of it for soups and stews, I’ve worked out that I can make 240 servings of soup from it. I’ll be turning orange!”

Sam’s harvest is some way off the biggest pumpkin on record – which weighed in at a whopping 1,50lbs, and was grown in Switzerland. Big Max pumpkins can swell to 100lbs in the right conditions.

The huge pumpkins comes after Sheffield grandad Austin Grant successfully grew bananas, bringing a flavour of Jamaica to his garden at Sheffield Lane Top.

Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 1

Sam Squires, pictured with his 80lb Big Max Pumpkin, grown on his Parson Cross allotment patch. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Pumpkin MC 1

And Sam hopes it could encourage more people to start growing their own fruit and vegetables at his allotments on Parson Cross Park, off Buchanan Road.

He said: “It is being neglected and isn’t being used by the community.

“There are lots of plots available, it would be good if more people would give it a go. My pumpkin was a surprise to me, who knows what else could be grown there?”

Volunteers took over the running of the community gardens in 2012 and want to encourage families to grow their own food.

n To discuss available plots, or for more details, call Sam on 07957 462577 or search for Parson Cross Community Gardens on Facebook.

n Have you grown a large or unusual shaped fruit or veg? Email news@thestar.co.uk or visit facebook.com/sheffieldstar