Harkening to the call of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, Quentin Martin, a freshman at Foothill High School, planted a quarter-sized seed earlier this year then protected and nurtured the gourd as it grew -- and grew and grew.
He received the seed from his pumpkin-growing uncle in Castro Valley, who is a 10-veteran of the Pumpkin Fest, and when the plant was in its infancy Quentin placed it into specially prepared ground on property behind his home on May 23.
"I went up there one morning and it was this small little plant. Then the next morning it was overgrowing the box," he recalled. By September it was gaining 25-30 pounds a day.
Quentin protected it in a makeshift greenhouse until Saturday when he and his dad Paul used a tractor and a harness to hoist it into the back of a pickup truck to travel to Half Moon Bay at 7 a.m. Monday for the weigh-in with about 50 others.
Quentin's pumpkin tipped the scales at 823 pounds. His uncle's pumpkin, a sibling to Quentin's, weighed 868. The winning pumpkin, from Citrus Heights, was 1,535 pounds.
"I will definitely do it again next year," said Quentin. "I figured out some tricks from the guys that grew the big giants."