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Here’s how Miracle Grow and 10-10-10 gets you a blue ribbon

A Chapin-grown 411 pound pumpkin wins first premium in agriculture at the SC State Fair.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Giant pumpkins are a main stay of the South Carolina State Fair. 

This year, the 251-plus pound category winner is right in our backyard, here in the Midlands.

It’s on a decorative display for all to see and this Chapin-grown pumpkin is receiving a lot of attention and for good reason. It's a big 'un weighing 411 pounds.

“Everyone loves the pumpkin. That's the first thing they come to see. Which is, where is the largest pumpkin? In previous years we've had them from 600-700 pounds,” said Frances Koon the superintendent of the Ellison building.

Local grower Matthew Bodiford says it takes a whole lot of love and dedication to grow something like this, including a shade cloth, hefty amounts of miracle grow and 10-10-10 and even a fan to keep it from getting too hot.

RELATED: Miniatures a big hit at the South Carolina State Fair

“I took seeds from mine last year and rolled those over to this year. And then really it's just a lot of space and then laying out the vine so you get as much ground coverage as you can. You want to let the vine grow for two or three months just to have a lot of leaves to feed the pumpkin once you get it started,” Bodiford said.

It was his first year entering and locals are glad he did.

“Really just found the giant pumpkin stuff randomly online, random YouTube videos and thought it'd be fun to give it a try,” Bodiford said.

RELATED: Interactive topographic maps and hydroponic growing: How the Clemson Extension is educating about agriculture at the South Carolina State Fair

“Whoever did this has a lot of love and time and it is a mega pumpkin so they did do well. 411 is bigger than both of us combined, so  if that gives you any ratio of how big this pumpkin is,” Forrest Ryan a Columbia resident said.

“Well first we thought it was fake until we walked up and saw that the sign said it was a real pumpkin,” said Philip Mullis who was attending the fair. 

Bodiford says it grew for 80 some days. His three month pumpkin would expand 15 or so pounds a day for a week or two, then tapered off.

 According to Bodiford, the pumpkin grower, he'll drop that winning pumpkin off at the Riverbanks Zoo  Monday to live there for a bit.

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