By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Dr. Christian DiPaolo is a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Worcester who happens to also love gardening. He particularly likes to grow pumpkins. And recently, with the help of his family, he has grown one that he estimates to be over 400 lbs.
“Rambo, as the family has named it, is an Atlantic Giant pumpkin, whose weight is currently unknown.
The family’s home is situated among farms and a winery. They have the perfect setting for a sizable garden including tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and sunflowers galore. They are especially proud of their pumpkin patch.
Dr. DiPaola spends as much time as he can in his garden with his family which includes his wife Cara, an attorney, and their three boys – James, 8, Peter, 5, and Christian (4.) The boys are students at St. Bernadette’s Catholic School in Northborough.
“My goal is to have fun with it and kind of see what nature will do without trying too hard,” he said. “The first year the soil was terrible…the best we did was about 50 lbs.”
Since then, with the help of his neighbors, he has made his land more hospitable to growing large scale pumpkins.
“Three years ago I said I would try to get a bigger pumpkin and the trick is to get one plant doing well and then trim off the other pumpkins that want to grow… I got one that was about 250 pounds,” he remarked.
“This one (Rambo) is what the competitive guys would call small,” Dr. DiPaola noted. “We looked at the Topsfield Fair to figure out how to get it weighed, but this is the best we’ve ever done.”
Logistically, the family just doesn’t have the time to enter it into competition but they do plan to have an official weigh-in sometime in October using a harness (hand-made by his mother) to lift it to be weighed by a specially designed scale attached to a tractor.
Dr. DiPaola said that one of the most fun things about the garden and the pumpkins is that it’s a family thing that they all can do together.