Washington Township man sets state record for largest green squash | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Washington Township man sets state record for largest green squash

Patrick Varine
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Courtesy of Jay Yohe
Tyler, Sherry, Jay and Nicole Yohe of Washington Township pose with the giant gourds they grew this season. The pale-tan Atlantic Giant squash on the right was certified as the largest in the state by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.

It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Or rather, it’s the great green squash!

Whatever it is, it’s officially the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania — and it was grown in Washington Township by the Yohe family.

“This is my fourth year growing them,” Jay Yohe said. “My father was the one who started growing the giants, and I started growing them after he passed away.”

This year, Yohe’s Atlantic Giant — which looks like a pale-brown pumpkin but is actually a variety of squash — weighed in at 1,159 pounds. It was certified as Pennsylvania’s largest by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization dedicated to giant-pumpkin hobbyists.

Yohe starts his seeds in April and harvests them in October.

“It’s all based on what you start with,” he said. “We do soil tests to see what we need to add so it will grow better. It all depends on the what the (soil) nutrients are like when you start.”

Once he gets a few vines going, Yohe chooses one fruit for each and trims away the others so the plant can put all of its energy into producing a giant. The plants pull a lot of nutrients from the soil, so they need a good deal of space to grow properly.

When it’s time to weigh, Yohe has “a big tripod and I put a big chain hoist at the top, with a harness that goes around the pumpkin,” he said.

Eight varieties of giant gourds and pumpkins are recognized by the GPC, which has officially sanctioned weighing stations at events all around the world.

The Yohes brought their Atlantic Giant to an event in Altoona, where it earned the title of record-breaking Pennsylvania State Giant Green Squash.

Yohe also grew an 1,303-pound true pumpkin.

“It was only in seventh place,” he said.

For more on the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, see GPC1.org.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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