|Jay Brandon, of 2110 Grubb Ferry Road, grew a 26 pound Carolina Giant cantaloupe. He got the seed from Garden Greehhouse. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, Salisbury Post
By Kathy Chaffin
Jay Brandon attributed his 26-pound cantaloupe to a special compost pile.
"I have a pet pig that I've had for 17 years," he said. "All of her droppings go on the pile, and we mix it all together. Her name is Pearl, so we call it Pearl Poop.
"It makes a hot compost."
Of course, the fact that the cantaloupe variety is called "Carolina Giant" might have a little something to do with it, he added.
The half-acre garden at 66-year-old Brandon's homeplace on Grubb Ferry Road is a joint effort between Brandon, his sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Rick Garner of Mount Gilead, and his daughter and son-in-law, Tammy and John Billings of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Though he watered the garden regularly, Brandon said, "if we'd had some rain, it's hard telling how big that cantaloupe would have gotten. It's the biggest cantaloupe I've ever grown."
The 26-pounder wasn't the only big cantaloupe in the garden. The next biggest one weighed in at 24.5 pounds, and several were in the low 20s.
Overall, it was a great year for the Brandon and Family Garden.
"We've had bushels of tomatoes and cucumbers and squash and peas," he said, "okras galore and green peppers, hot peppers."
Brandon and his family canned and froze many of the vegetables. "We also gave a lot of stuff away," he said.
A native of Rowan, Brandon moved to Ormond Beach, Fla., 26 years ago, making a living as a cabinetmaker. After selling his business and retiring, he came back to his homeplace.
When asked when he plans to eat the big cantaloupe, Brandon said "get all the staff together and we'll eat it."
Seriously? Ears perked up across the newsroom.
"I don't know when we'll eat it," he continued. "We've been eating so many of them."
It's big enough to feed everybody at a wheat thrashing, Brandon said.
If you have something for the Garden Game, call Wayne Hinshaw at 704-797-4296 to make sure a photographer is available to take your picture.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.