2010-09-16 / Front Page

Young islander grows a giant pumpkin

By Dara Chadwick

Zachary Turillo, 10, poses with “Georgette,” his 450-pound giant pumpkin. Turillo will enter Georgette in the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers’ Annual Weigh-Off at Frerichs Farm in Warren on Oct. 9. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten Zachary Turillo, 10, poses with “Georgette,” his 450-pound giant pumpkin. Turillo will enter Georgette in the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers’ Annual Weigh-Off at Frerichs Farm in Warren on Oct. 9. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten There’s someone – or something, rather – special living in the Turillo family’s yard on Beacon Avenue.

Her name is Georgette, she weighs about 450 pounds and by Halloween, she’ll look pretty scary.

That’s if 10-year-old Zachary Turillo has his way, of course.

“Georgette” is Turillo’s pumpkin – and he’s been watching her grow all summer.

“She was originally named George,” said his mom, Christine. “But then we found out that all pumpkins are female so we changed it to Georgette.”

Zachary decided to grow a pumpkin after his dad, Scott, introduced him to his friend, “Pumpkin Eddie,” who lives on Prudence Island and grows giant pumpkins.

“Pumpkin Eddie gave me the seed,” he said. “I thought it was interesting.”

Zachary planted the seed in their yard in May, according to his mom.

“He had to feed it a special fertilizer made of seaweed and fish that’s all ground up in a blender,” she said. “He gave it about a tablespoon a week.”

Was it smelly?

“Not to me,” Zachary said.

But taking care of Georgette meant more than just feeding her.

“He had to bury the vines under ground,” said Christine. “And he had to wipe her down every week. He takes really good care of it. He worries about her.”

On Oct. 9, Zachary will enter Georgette in the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers’ Annual Weigh-Off on Frerichs Farm in Warren.

But how will he get her there?

“We’ll probably use a regular pick-up truck,” Christine said. “We’ll get a Bobcat to lift it, and then put it on a pallet.”

After the competition, Zachary can either bring his pumpkin home or opt to have it dropped from a crane during the competition’s “pumpkin drop,” Christine said.

“I think he’ll bring it home,” she said. “Anybody who knows Zack knows he’s really into it.”

Will he bring it home?

“Yes,” Zachary said. “I’m going to carve her.”

To do it, he said, he’ll need a hand saw or a chain saw. He might also need some help, he said.

But he’ll be in charge of taking out the guts, he said.

“I’ll probably have to crawl inside of it,” he said.

So will she have a happy face or a scary face for Halloween?

“Definitely scary,” he said.

As for what’s next, Zachary is already looking toward next year.

“I already grow tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and flowers,” he said. “Next year, I’m going to grow onions, garlic and cucumbers.”

And maybe another pumpkin.

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