Wheaton man grows largest pumpkin in Illinois

Go big or "gourd" home.

One Wheaton man has successfully grown the largest pumpkin in the state.

Weighing in at 1,760 pounds, the giant pumpkin stands at over 5-feet tall.

"This is the pride of the display right here," said its grower, Joe Adkins.

Adkins planted it in April. In June, the pumpkin was only the size of a golf ball.

"Just the fact that they’re almost magical the way that they grow. They grow pretty much 40 to 50 pounds a day at their peak," said Adkins. "To see something like that in the morning and then in the afternoon, and then in the evening again and it's even larger, just something about it that keeps me going every single year."


Adkins has been growing massive pumpkins competitively for over 10 years.

It takes patience and persistence – and the right kind of seeds: Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds.

For Adkins, it is also a labor of love.

"We planted in indoors in April, it sprouted, we had it in the ground two weeks later, we put heated soil cables in and a tent, we had a heater out there too so we’d shake the snow off whenever it would snow," said Adkins.

Adkins harvested his prize-winning pumpkin last month, and right away, it took first place at the Illinois Giant Pumpkin Growers Association annual weigh-in.

That's not all. His giant squash is one for the Illinois history books.

"This one over here, a little something special about our nice green one. This green one is the biggest squash that Illinois has ever seen," said Adkins.

This year, Adkins' pumpkins also placed in Iowa and Wisconsin.

If you'd like to carve out some time to see the colossal gourds for yourself, Adkins lives near Pierce Avenue and Childs Street in Wheaton. The giant pumpkins will be on display through Halloween.

Adkins says after that, he will take out the seeds and compost them for nutrients to help with next season's pumpkins.