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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 08:55 GMT
Giant pumpkin fed on beer
Terry Walton and the pumpkin
Terry Walton fed his pumpkin beer to make it grow
A gardener familiar to millions of radio listeners has created a whopper pumpkin in time for Halloween with the help of a drop or two of the hard stuff.

Green-fingered Terry Walton, 57, a regular on the BBC's Jeremy Vine Show, started giving his pumpkin plants real ale after hearing it would encourage them to grow.

Using the slops saved from a local pub, Terry gave his plants a weekly cocktail of the finest real ale found in south Wales.

The plants soon responded, one growing to a massive 32 lb - the weight of the average two-year-old child.

This week, he picked the biggest of three huge pumpkins from his vegetable patch in Tonypandy, Rhondda and donated it to the Bobath charity which helps children across Wales with cerebral palsy.

"This is the first time I have ever tried growing pumpkins and I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results," said Terry.

Baby pumpkin
From small acorns: Terry grew the giant pumpkin from this seed

"The secret is definitely feeding them beer, but not any old beer - real ale is the best.

"I've been collecting the slops from a local pub a couple of times a week since I started growing them.

"And it seems to have worked wonders. I have had this one and I've got another two at home which are the size of footballs."

Earlier this year, Terry's allotment was "adopted" by BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine show and he has become a regular on the lunchtime programme talking about the progress of his garden.

The retired company director has been gardening at the plot since he was 13.

"When I started on Jeremy's show, someone told me that pumpkins like beer so I thought I would try it," he said.

"I've never grown pumpkins before but last year my daughter-in-law bought me some pumpkin seeds so I thought I would try it.

"And as this one turned out so well, I think I will try it again next year, but I'm going to try and grow an even bigger one."

Terry decided to donate the biggest pumpkin to the Bobath children's therapy centre based in Cardiff which helps children across Wales with cerebral palsy who are running a name-the-pumpkin competition.

"We were thrilled when Terry decided to give us his giant pumpkin," said Linda Nash of Bobath.

"Every penny we raise goes to the therapy of children with cerebral palsy across Wales," she added.

Allotment becomes radio star
30 Jul 03  |  South East Wales


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