Started growing Atlantic Giant pumpkins for the first time and placed ninth at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield Ma.
Won first place at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield Ma. with a winning weight of 929 pounds. This would be a New England record weight and would go uncontested for 3 consecutive years. It was also the third largest weight recorded by the Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth that year.
Founding member of the newly formed New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. Served as the very first President from 1999 thru 2006.
Produced the very first New Hampshire grown Atlantic Giant pumpkin to weigh over 1000 pounds. It weighed 1,020 pounds and placed second at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield Ma.
Placed third in the Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth with 1,177 pounds.
2001 – current
Appointed to the board of directors for the New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Association.
Awarded a Lifetime ?Honorable Membership? to the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association
Produced the very first New Hampshire grown Atlantic Giant Green Squash to weigh over 1000 pounds. It weighed 1,014 pounds and placed first at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield Ma.
Raising Honey Bees, hunting whitetail deer, moose, turkey and fishing for stripers. Have been awarded a Lifetime “Honorable Membership” to the local Bee Club and served as President for one year.
Bill Greer (posthumously)
A Tribute to Bill Greer
By John Vincent
Bill Greer is a true icon in the annals of Giant pumpkin growing. With only two years experience, Bill achieved what was then the unimaginable; Bill grew the 1st 1000 lb pumpkin in the world weighing in a 1006 lb giant, at the Ottawa St Lawrence growers weigh off in Ottawa, Ontario.
I have been told that everyone was in total disbelief when the scales settled on 1006 lbs, including Bill. In fact, there were 4 other pumpkins that were larger and weighed after the 1006. I can only imagine the euphoria Bill must have felt that October morning and then the disappointment that must have followed when he learned later that day his record was beaten by Paula and Nathan Zehr. Nevertheless, Bill goes down in history as the first grower to breach the 1000 lb barrier.
Bill was born and raised in Hillier Township near Wellington in Prince Edward County. Born into a farming family Bill carried on with the family business, operating the family canning factory for many years. Later as the canning industry consolidated, the Greer’s ceased their canning operations but continued to grow crops for the local canning industry, including tomatoes and of course pumpkin.
Bill was always active in the community and in local politics. He was elected to the Council of the Village of Wellington in 1962 and with the exception of 2 terms, served for 30 years, 13 of which he served as Reeve. In 1982 he was appointed Warden of Prince Edward County, the highest office in Municipal politics.
In 1994, having retired from active farming, Bill became interested in giant pumpkin growing. Having perfected his skills growing pie pumpkins, in the adverse soil conditions of Hillier Township, Bill was a natural as a giant pumpkin grower.
Bill started growing giants more as a curiosity at first. Bill advocated using sound farming practices, including soil testing, the use of manures and composts, controlling insects and weeds and good crop rotation. Armed with his farming experience, Bill new to be competitive, he must find the very best genetics available. Using his contacts at the Ottawa St. Lawrence Growers club Bill acquired seed from the 697 Ciliberto-04. Many of today’s top pumpkins trace back to the 1006 Greer and the 697 Ciliberto.
I have been told by many growers, that Bill had a passion for this hobby that is seldom seen. Bill was one of the early members of the Ottawa St. Lawrence growers association. After participating in the Ottawa weigh off’s Bill decided to organize an event right here in Prince Edward County. Bill’s vision was to organize an event, especially for the local growers. He organized a local club, set up beginning grower’s seminars and provided plants and seeds to aspiring growers.
Bill made many personal visits to local patches, always offering advice when asked. One, now experienced grower, remembers a talk with Bill when he was just starting to grow. He said that when he talked to Bill, it was like he was telling him secrets he was telling no one else.
In 2002 Bill reached his personal best weight of 1172 lbs, grown on the now famous 846 Calai. The pumpkin was the fifth largest in the world that year and ranked 10th of all time. The pumpkin was Bill’s second Canadian record and Bill received the prestigious Orange Jacket award for his achievement.
Early the next year Bill was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Bill started his plants in the spring of 2003, but unfortunately he was unable to complete the season and succumbed to the disease in the summer of that year.
At the spring 2007 International Growers Seminar in Niagara Falls, Bill was recognized for his contribution to the sport of Giant pumpkin growing by being inducted into the International Pumpkin Growers Hall of Fame. Bill’s wife Marguerite was in attendance to accept the award.
The fact that the Pacific Northwest is a great place to grow pumpkins came as a surprise to this transplanted Indiana farm girl. We always had a vegetable garden on the farm and I wanted to continue that experience with our children. Although ripe tomatoes proved elusive we did succeed in growing impressive pumpkins. A picture in the local paper of Joel Holland and his Atlantic Giant pumpkin plus seeds from Howard Dill started our hobby/addiction. Growing big pumpkins bring happiness to a lot of people.
Howard Dill said it best, There’s something about pumpkins, especially when they?re big, that makes people happy. The bigger the pumpkin, the happier it seems to make them feel.? It is also a great teaching tool and I suspect every grower has their own list of life?s lessons learned. Growing big pumpkins has brought contact with so many wonderful people and (for me) that is the greatest reward of all. The success for which I have received credit was due to teamwork. Don and I do not compete but collaborate and work to each our strengths. The Pumpkin Power Wagon lifting machine (which our son John built) enables the safe and easy loading of pumpkins. We are convinced that organic growing is best for the environment and blessed to grow in an area with few pests to manage. The growing plan that we use is as follows: A cover crop of rye and crimson clover, compost, manure, compost tea (KIS ?Simplici-tea), mycorrhizae, fish fertilizer, soluble kelp and organic controls for disease and pests. My favorite quote:
All you need is good seed,
good soil, good weather and good luck!
George was the winner of many weigh offs, not only for his pumpkins, but also for his watermelons. George was always available to help younger growers with any questions they had & was willing to share his seeds with anyone who wanted to try to grow an Atlantic Giant. He is one of our sport’s forefathers & his famous 935 seed is in just about every AG seed line there is today.
From George Lloyd May 2017:
Deanna and I have been married for 55 years.
We have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.
I worked as a roads construction foreman for twenty-seven years, and ten years as maintenance superintendent for the county of Norfolk.
After thirty seven years I retired in 1994. During those years one of my hobbies was gardening. This is how I came to try to grow giant pumpkins.
My first one in 1994 weighed 275 pounds. To me that was big.
In the spring of 1995 I bought 3 seeds from Norm Craven for $5 each and 5 seeds from Will Neilly for $3 each. Deanna thought I had lost my mind.
In 1995 I grew a 675 pounder.
In 1996 I grew a 909.5 pounder.
In 1997 I grew a 935 pounder which won the weigh-off in Ottawa Canada. Deanna placed second with her 880.
The 935 produced two world records, but I could not get anything out of it.
As part of winning in Ottawa the 935 & 880 had to be shipped to Japan. They were placed on display in several food fairs over two weeks.
The shipping was handled by a food export company who sponsored the Ottawa weigh-off. They returned half of the seeds from each of the pumpkins. I was able to give out over 300 seeds from the 935.
What was pure dumb luck sure gave me a lot of enjoyment and Deanna got her $30.00 back.
Who would have ever thought back then that a pumpkin could be grown over 2500 pounds!
I wish you all the best, and God Bless.