An Oklahoma high school student with a major green thumb was memorialized in record books after he managed to grow a massive 215-pound bushel gourd.
Tucker Friend has spent the majority of the 2021 growing season focusing on pumpkins. This year, he had hoped to grow one that weighed 450 pounds so he could win a local contest. And while Tucker was tending to the future jack-o-lanterns, he was experimenting with bushel gourds on the side. Then one day he realized one of those gourds was getting quite large.
“I used to just grow pumpkins, but I decided to do the bushel gourds because it gave me something else to do,” Friend told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “I started doing them and found out they were a little easier to grow than pumpkins.”
By the time the giant bushel gourd was 63 days old, it was 100 lbs. That weight broke the record for the state of Oklahoma. By the time it reached maturity, it was 215 pounds.
Tucker said that the massive fruit grew from a costly seed. And he hopes to collect the seeds from his prize-winning gourd so he can turn a profit.
“The seeds can be expensive,” he said. “You could be paying anywhere from $5 all the way up to $200 a seed. I’ve got all kinds of people that will buy seeds off me for like $5 a seed.”
Tucker’s mother told the TDP that her son has always had a gardening talent. And she credits his grandfather for that. The teenager first started digging when he was only 11-years-old. And when he got older, he asked for a cell phone. But unlike most kids his age, he didn’t use it to call and text his friends. Instead, he used it to research his gardening projects. He also started his own YouTube page called Growing Giants with Tucker.
The Oklahoma High School Student Hopes to Break World Records
As Tucker grew older, he decided he wanted to attend Keys High School because it offered a horticulture program.
“I love to garden,” he said. “I’ve got at least a half-acre garden with okra, cucumbers, and jack-o-lanterns. This year, I harvested probably 50 or 60 jack-o-lanterns. I’ve got giant pumpkins, giant bushel gourds, peppers, tomatoes – a little bit of everything.”
Tucker isn’t going to stop with his record-breaking bushel gourd either. He has his sights set on getting his name in the world record books. And currently, he has a 150 pounder in his garden that’s still growing. And it’s showing no signs of stopping
“This year, I’m going to really try at it and try to grow a world record,” he admitted.
And his grandma has special plans for Tucker’s gourd. Once her grandson harvests its seeds, she’s going to dry the gourd and turn it into a giant basket.