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Brothers bid for pumpkin glory
6:17pm Monday 1st October 2012 in New Forest
TWO green-fingered brothers have grown a huge pumpkin weighing more than 1,100 pounds.
Twins Ian and Stuart Paton, 51, have spent the last six months nurturing the giant orange squash to make it the largest for miles around.
Toddler Bailey Martin, nearly two, had fun clambering over the massive gourd, which is over a metre high, at their nursery near Lymington.
Ian, from Pennington, has been growing pumpkins for 40 years and holds the national record for a 1,300 pound specimen.
The ambitious gardener hopes this year's offering will retain the winning title at the Jubilee Sailing Trust's pumpkin festival next month.
He said: "This year was not very good because of the weather. We got three good pumpkins after planting out six.
"Our secret is just very good feeds and keeping them topped up with a balanced diet of waters and fertilisers.
"That's really important. But there are a couple of other good growers around that we need to watch out for."
Last week an American grower set a new world record of 1,846 pounds.
Mr Paton aims to beat this next year.
He added: "We're going to put the flowers under a shade and put buckets of ice with the plants to keep them nice and cool.
"Because we grow flowers for a living we have a bit of an advantage.
"We're definitely going to go after that world record next year - we want to be remembered in the books.
"It's a costly hobby, keeping a 650 square foot greenhouse going, but its worth it to see the kids' faces at the show."
The brothers will use a small truck and a forklift to carry the pumpkin, plus its 800 and 900 pound neighbours, to the show.
Money raised will go to charity. In previous years, the pumpkins have been carved into miniature boats with motors and massive jack-o-lanterns.