Potash-fed pumpkin that keeps growing

Charlotte, 8, of Sleights with the giiant Pumpkin she and her Dad grew. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

Charlotte, 8, of Sleights with the giiant Pumpkin she and her Dad grew. Picture Kathryn Bulmer.

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A fisherman who was sceptical about the benefits of potash has conducted his own experiment with his eight year-old daughter - and the result is a 25 stone pumpkin which keeps on growing.

After reading about the proposed potash mine for Whitby, Matthew Cutts wondered if the fertiliser it would be producing was as good as bosses claimed.

So he got hold of some polyhalite -which is crushed to fine particles - and used it along with water to feed the pumpkin seeds he planted six months ago as a bit of fun with Charlotte.

It started off in a fish tray and over the weeks it has grown and grown.

He had to move it into another fish box and then a bigger one and now it is on the drive of their home in Spring Close at Sleights.

It is still getting bigger and is increasing in size at a rate of around 10lbs per week.

There is some way to go before reaching the record for the biggest pumpkin - which stands at 700 pounds, or 25 stone.

However, it is already five times bigger than the pumpkin he grew with the kids last year using fertiliser from a local garden centre. That only reached a meagre 70lb.

Lobster fisherman, Matthew said: “There has been so much talk about potash and the mine being built just up the road.

“It has been in the Gazette and I thought it would be good to give it a try and see how good it really is.”

The potash came from nearby and unlike the mass processing plant that the mine will need for crushing the mineral, Matthew smashed it up with a metal hammer.

Every ten to 14 days he and Charlotte, a pupil at Sleights C of E School, would sprinkle acouple of handfuls of potash over the pumpkin as well as watering it every night.

It is now too big and heavy to be weighed so he measures it with a tape measure and uses an online calculator to work out the weight.

He added: “It has really swelled because it has been so mild and really going for it now.

“It is so big it just doesn’t look real. It is a fantastic colour - bright orange. I would think it is a good advert for the mine.”

Matthew and Charlotte are hoping to sell the pumpkin to a local business that would use it for Halloween and will donate the proceeds to charity.

And, they are planning to grow another one next year.

He added: “Charlotte has absolutely loved it and has taken her pictures to school.

“She is over the moon, we never expected it to be as big as that.

“We have a little bit of a fruit and veg plot but it is just a tiny spot.

“The pumpkin last year we thought was quite good with food from the garden centre but we never expected this to be as bis as it is.”

New planning application – page 4.