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Producing a pumpkin bumper crop

Staff writer

Several stories lie behind the fall scene displayed at the Alfred and Donna Beneke farm along U.S.56/77 at 320th Rd. A scarecrow of a man riding an old bicycle is pulling two carts filled with large pumpkins.

The display was created by Donna Beneke’s son, Troy Peterson of Lincolnville.

He said a volunteer pumpkin plant grew up at the Beneke farm in 2015 and produced several large pumpkins. He harvested the pumpkins and kept seeds from the largest one.

This year, he planted seven hills of pumpkin seeds in a cattle lot on his father’s farm that had been vacant for several years. He never watered the plants after they emerged, but they produced a bountiful harvest.

He estimated the 30-by-100-foot patch has produced more than 50 large pumpkins, with many weighing 100 pounds or more. At last count, 19 pumpkins still could be seen growing on the vines.

Many of Peterson’s pumpkins can be seen scattered throughout Lincolnville. Some have been given to friends, and some have gone as far as western Kansas.

The bicycle is another story. Peterson said he and his brothers used to ride it while visiting his late Uncle Paul and Aunt Verna at Herington.

He purchased the bicycle at their yard sale several years ago and keeps it as a memento.

“It holds good memories for me,” he said.

Peterson plans to harvest pumpkin seeds again this year to plant in the spring.

“My goal is to grow a giant pumpkin, but I don’t know if I can,” he said. “The largest one at the state fair was 650 pounds.”

Last modified Oct. 27, 2016

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