Students from across Lincolnshire are being encouraged to get outside and grow giant pumpkins - and you could be a winner too!
Bells Gardening Outlet is inviting everyone to go along to the nursery in Lowfields Road, Benington and pick up a free giant pumpkin plant or seeds and take part in the annual Pumpkin Patch weigh-in this autumn.
The weigh-in is a highlight of the outlet's massive Halloween festival, which attracts people from all over the county and features attractions such as a pumpkin cannon, pumpkin carving and a maze, as well of displays of all the different kinds of pumpkins on the market.
Schools entering the pumpkin competition stand to win a first prize of £250 in vouchers, with the grower of the biggest pumpkin in the public class being awarded £250 cash.
Last year's winner of the school's competition was Boston West with a 58kg pumpkin. However achieving a hat-trick with her entry in the public competition was Nancy Pilkington, whose granddad lives in Wainfleet, with a whopping 78kg pumpkin,
Carl,Presgrave, Account Manager, said: "Now is the time to get planting if you want to grow a giant pumpkin and enter the competition.
"We've already had entries confirmed from schools in Sleaford and Lincoln and are looking forward to many more schools in the county getting involved."
Bells Gardening Outlet provides over 500,000 pumpkins for retailers up and down the country, making them one the largest producers of Pumpkins in the UK.
The festival started when Bell’s planted a small patch of pumpkins behind their garden centre and decided to open it for the public to pick their own.
Now thousands of people visit every year to join in the fun and buy pumpkins, as well as take part in the competition.
PUMPKIN GROWING TIPS
1) Get your pumpkin plant used to being outdoors over 3-5 days by leaving outside in the day and bringing it in at night.
2) Planting outsode 3-5m apart, into warm, well-drained soil.
3) Feed regularly with good quality fertiliser.
4) Water your pumpkin regularly. Try not to water it when iy's hot and sunny as this may cause the leaves to scorch.
5 Love your pumpkin - feed regularly with general fertiliser. Water in dry season, but don't leave it sitting in wet soil.
1) A wooden board for your pumpkin to sit on prevents rot
2) Help your pumpkin ripen by removing foliage blocking the sun.
3) Cut pumpkin and ripen in the house for the last two weeks
4) Sing to them and nurture them and watch them grow!
The giant pumpkin weigh-off takes place on Saturday, October 12, at 10am. Pumpkins can be brought in for weighing between Monday, October 7, and Saturday, October 12, at 10am.