Growing Pumpkins: Q&A With 4-H'ers Violet Stockton and Benjamin Brock

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Q&A: Violet Stockton

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Violet Stockton had too much free time on her hands. So, the Lincoln Parish 4-H’er grew a prize-winning pumpkin.

“I was very bored,” she said. “And I was just like, ‘I might as well grow something.’ And they were doing a vegetable growing contest, so I grew a pumpkin.”

The pumpkin was of the Cinderella variety, which usually grows to 25 to 35 pounds, according to Kathryn “Kiki” Fontenot, an LSU AgCenter extension horticulturist and researcher. Violet’s was 68.5 pounds.

Violet, who is now 13, discussed the gigantic pumpkin.

How did your pumpkin get so big?

I honestly don't know. It just kept on growing and growing. I watered it and took care of it like a regular pumpkin and fertilized it, and it just kept on growing. I couldn't pick it up. I was shocked. And I didn't know it could get to be that big.

What was the coolest part of growing pumpkins?

It was really cool to watch it grow and how quick it grew. And it's just so fascinating because I didn't realize how quick plants grew.

What were the most important lessons you learned from growing pumpkins?

Patience and responsibility. I had to be really patient because I had to wait for it to grow. And it kind of went quickly, but I had to remember to water it every day.

What is your favorite thing to do with a pumpkin?

Carve it. Carving pumpkins for Halloween — it's so fun. I did a cat once, and that was extremely fun to do.

Q&A: Benjamin Brock

When Benjamin Brock’s dad gave him pumpkin seeds last summer, the 11-year-old wasn’t too surprised.

My dad has gotten me to plant stuff before,” Benjamin said. I started working with him in the garden when I was a baby.

His father, Andre Brock, an LSU AgCenter extension agent in St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes, had recruited Benjamin to a pumpkin growing contest. Benjamin won the award for best record-keeping after taking the advice of his father.

This summer, Benjamin answered a few questions about his pumpkin patch.

What was the coolest part of growing pumpkins?

The fact that they got destroyed in Hurricane Ida, but they still came back with a bunch of leaves and stuff. Afterward when they climbed up the fence and started tearing the fence down and we had to put a chair under it so it wouldn’t tear the fence down.

You took very detailed records. Was that your idea?

So, I was fine with taking records. I didn’t really feel like it, but my dad said all the other kids, most of their parents weren’t going to make them do it. So, it was a little more of an incentive.

What is your favorite thing to do with a pumpkin?

The pumpkins that we had, I took a small one, and me and my brother, we each had a pellet gun. We put the pumpkin maybe 10 feet away and shot it with our pellet guns. On the Fourth of July we got those dynamite firecrackers and put it in a pumpkin and blew off a piece of it.

Interviews by Kyle Peveto

These interviews appeared in the summer 2022 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.

A girl poses with a pumpkin.

Violet Stockton

A boy poses with a pumpkin.

Benjamin Brock

9/16/2022 3:32:34 PM
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