A British seed company has purchased a single pumpkin pip that comes from the biggest specimen ever grown after beating off fierce competition from around the world.
Seed supplier Thompson and Morgan paid £170 for the inch-long seed on an online auction – about 400 times higher than what is normally paid by specialist growers for giant pumpkin seeds.
Bosses at the seed company hope that because the pip comes from ‘good stock’ it will also produce record-breaking offspring. The seed was sold by American pumpkin grower Ron Wallace who last year claimed a world record for his enormous pumpkin that weighed 2,009lbs.
Suffolk-based Thompson and Morgan saw off 67 rival bids and paid over the odds for the seed because it hopes to use it to grow an even bigger pumpkin. The record-breaking pip is now being sent by air-mail to the UK from Mr Wallace’s home in Rhode Island. Thompson and Morgan are currently speaking with a number of British growers before choosing one they will work with on the pumpkin project.
Paul Hansord, managing director of Thompson and Morgan, said: ‘If you want to grow a really huge pumpkin you need to start with record-breaking, genetically proven, premium seed. The price for a giant pumpkin seed is usually around 46p so this seems quite extortionate compared to that but we are paying for the pedigree. It was a frenzied bidding war but we are happy we managed to clinch it.’
Bidding on the European Giant Vegetable Grower’s Association auction lasted for four hours.
The average pumpkin has around 350 seeds and the size of the individual fruit has no bearing on how many it has inside.
Michael Perry, new product development manager at Thompson and Morgan, said they had big hopes for their seed. He said: ‘The seed is about three times the size as your average pumpkin seed and obviously it has a good pedigree and comes from good stock. The hybridisation has already been formed in the seed so it will be ready to grow. We are hoping to look for a grower who will work with us, probably off-site, to beat the world record. It will need lots of space, lots of heat, lots of water and lots feed, lots of everything really. But we are going to give it every chance to become a record.’
If successful, Thompson and Morgan hope to mass-produce seeds from the pumpkin which they will then sell. The average packet of 20 giant pumpkin seeds sells for approximately £5.