News Good News Smashing pumpkin records one day, feeding a festival the next

Smashing pumpkin records one day, feeding a festival the next

Shane Newitt with Bumblebee
Farmer Shane Newitt wants to go even bigger next time. Photo: ABC
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It’s called Bumblebee, but it’s hard to see any resemblance between the tiny insect and the largest-ever pumpkin grown in Tasmania.

At 455.5 kilograms, the giant fruit is closer in weight to a grand piano.

Instead, the name comes from the main character in the movie Transformers, and was chosen for the way the pumpkin transformed from the size of a tennis ball to almost the size of a round bale of hay.

Sorell farmer Shane Newitt said his two daughters Bella and Jess named the record fruit, and were also behind his ambition for growing the record-smashing pumpkin.

“My girls started before me, started seven years ago, and they wished to grow them bigger,” he said.

Lifting Bumblebee the pumpkin
Shane Newitt supervises the operation to bring Bumblebee the pumpkin to the Bream Creek Show for judging. Photo: Shane Newitt

“[It] was my way of wishing to teach them and show them how to learn more about the soil, and sort of a nice thing to do together, and [we] just kicked on from there.

“Every year we just get to push ourselves even more to get bigger and bigger and heavier.”

Bumblebee is Mr Newitt’s best effort yet, weighing 30 kilograms more than his previous fruit’s top weight.

It earnt him the title of the heaviest pumpkin at the Bream Creek Show for the third year running.

He said the secret to success was in the soil, and doing “a lot of work”.

“Four hours a day you could put into the patches to keep them straight and in order,” he said.

Tasmanian-grown Bumblebee
Bumblebee in all its greatness. Photo: ABC

“It’s all about balance in the soil, and that’s the real secret. I’m not going to go to in depth with it.

“It’s balancing out all the main nutrients, having them sitting at the right levels, and of course your irrigation is the other part and at times you can be pumping on 400 litres a day onto those professional-sized patches.”

With a new top mark now set in Tasmania, Mr Newitt has turned his attention to beating the Australian pumpkin record of 734 kilograms.

“I think we want to get into the 2000 pound [907kg] club as they call it,” he said.

“This year was the first 1000-pound pumpkin grown outside of New South Wales, and I know we have the capability and the education to get up around that 1500- to 2000-pound mark.”

For Bumblebee, its future lies in soup, with plans for it to be made into 1200 cups for attendees at the five-day Newkind Festival, which starts on Wednesday just outside of Hobart.