Sarah Ebeling | Editor
For the Marsh family, if they are going to grow it, they are going to grow it big. And for Kevin Marsh, this year was no exception. The local man has a state record for his enormous pumpkin, set a few years ago, at 1674 pounds. And his son Taran has the state watermelon record too, weighing in at 223 pounds.
However, this year, Marsh took the year off of growing pumpkins due to soil disease problems. But, he said, he wasn’t willing to give up on his giant growing passion. And so, armed with years of giant gourd growing information, Marsh set out to grow some bushel gourds.
He explained that bushel gourds are a totally different family and aren’t as susceptible to diseases as pumpkins are. And once he started growing them, Marsh said he got hooked on them too.
All of Marsh’s hard work and green thumb experience paid off too — he now holds the state bushel gourd record with a massive weight of 369 pounds, missing the world record by just over 15 pounds. Marsh said his bushel gourd is the third largest on record.
And it wasn’t just one giant gourd that Marsh grew either. He grew three gourds that totaled almost 1000 pounds worth of gourds from one seed.
He explained he went to his first weigh-off in Rapid City and got first place. He then went to the local weigh off in Harrisburg and placed first with his second gourd. Marsh then traveled to his final weigh-off in Stillwater, Minn. and won first place there too. His watermelons were just as successful, earning him first place at all three weigh-offs.
Marsh said he doesn’t have any secrets when it comes to growing giant gourds. He said good soil, good seeds, good luck and hard work is what it takes. He doesn’t just plant a seed and let it go. The vines must be pruned and buried and he said he spends about an hour or two a day on average in his patch. Each plant in his patch gets about 1200 square feet of space to grow in he said.
“This year was my first year in five or six years that hail didn’t wipe me out,” said Marsh. “I will try bushel gourds next year! I’m not sure yet about pumpkins.”