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Worth man’s prize pumpkin at 325 pounds ... and growing

There are pumpkins, and then there are pumpkins.

George Rebersky, of Worth, has grown one of the latter.

A giant pumpkin he has been tending to in his backyard patch is tipping the scales at 325 pounds — and it’s not done growing.

Credit his green thumb, attention to detail and his love of gardening, inherited from his father.

In his back yard, in the shadows Illinois 294, Rebersky tends to two pumpkin plants that have long vines snaking their way through the garden. One of those vines produced the mammoth pumpkin as heavy as a pro football lineman.

“You have vines that act as feeders, and a certain amount of leaves that provide photosynthesis and help the plant grow,” he said.

His late father, also named George, would be proud of his son’s gardening prowess. Rebersky also grows prize-winning dahlias in his back yard, and placed second at a recent contest in Grand Rapids, Mich., for amateur growers.

He fondly recalled his father and his gardening.

“We lived at 102nd and Harlem starting in 1955, and my father had 2.5 acres,” said Rebersky, 60. “He had a garden at least a half-acre, and he’d grow vegetables and pumpkins.

“Three years ago, we saw a 600-pound pumpkin at a county fair, and I thought, ‘I can do this,’ ” he said.

Rebersky did his research about giant pumpkins, bought some seeds and started.

“You learn more every year,” he said.

He prepares his own special solution to feed the plant “to get it going” and he’s careful to not expose it to sunshine. That’s why the pumpkin is white. They don’t turn orange until they receive enough sunshine, but the orange exterior is harder and the pumpkin can’t expand, he said.

He grew a 275-pounder two years ago.

“See what you can do in your back yard,” said Rebersky, a plant maintenance mechanic for VCNA Prairie Materials, based in Bridgeview.

His job is a stressful one. Gardening offers him a relaxing pastime.

His wife of nearly four years, Theresa, is proud of him and the fruits of his labor.

He expects the pumpkin may pack on another 100 pounds this autumn.

“Anyone can grow a pumpkin like this,” he said. “You only need an area that’s 20-by-20 feet, get the proper seed, good soil, the proper fertilizer, give it enough water, give it tender loving care — not as much care as you’d think — and you can end up with a pumpkin like this.”



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