How To Grow A Giant Pumpkin

Would you like to know how to grow a giant pumpkin, like the one in the photo? It doesn't just happen. It takes purposeful planning. The seeds are not magic, promising everyone a pumpkin that weighs 1275 pounds. The seeds are not meant to grow a pumpkin that big, but sometimes, when everything is done just right, it will happen.

The problem is, most people don't read the fine print. They see the photo and think, I can grow a gigantic pumpkin. I'll be on the six o'clock news and I'll be famous. All I have to do is plant this seed, pour a little water on it and Voila! By October, people from all over the country will be driving by to see my pumpkin! Not quite...

Some of our customers who think that way have been very disappointed. Below is a quote from one.

"The pumpkins are not as big as they promised.
The pumpkins are normal size, I didn't get the giant fruit they show in the pictures. Maybe the seeds are not enough and I need some other trick."

So what does it take in knowing how to grow a giant pumpkin? I did a little research and the Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds come from Nova Scotia. They were grown by a man named Howard Dill who grew giant pumpkins. The current record belongs to Ron Wallace from Rhode Island. Ron grew a pumpkin that weighed 2009 pounds in 2012. This is amazing! Ron Wallace also holds the record for growing the second largest pumpkin, weighing in at 1873.5 pounds. Third place goes to Steve Geddes from New Hampshire with a 1843.5 pound pumpkin. The fourth place pumpkin was grown by Carl Graham of Nova Scotia that weighed 1811.5. Fifth and sixth place pumpkin records are held by Gerard Ansems, also of Nova Scotia, with weights of 1727 and 1616 pounds. Wow!

The Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds are supposed to grow pumpkins that average 200 to 500 pound pumpkins when the vines are cared for correctly in optimal conditions, but people have grown pumpkins of over 1000 pounds and now one has been grown that weighs over 2000 pounds! How?

First, you should know that it takes 130 days on average to grow this variety of pumpkin. The giant pumpkins have been grown near the Atlantic coast of North America, where the climate is just right, not too hot, not too cold, with the right amount of sun and the right soil. According to a list of giant growers, they have been grown in countries all over the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, so it has to be more than the northeastern Atlantic climate. The growers of the giant award winning pumpkins know what it takes. They know to grow a giant pumpkin.

So what does it take in knowing how to grow a giant pumpkin? First, you have to plan your pumpkin patch ahead of time. Choose a location that gets constant sun, lots of it because that is what pumpkins like. They will not grow well in the shade.

How to grow a giant pumpkin is making sure there is lots of space for each vine to grow one pumpkin only. Spread them out. Each vine should have only one pumpkin growing on it so the vine can give everything it has to just one. Pinch off any other pumpkin that starts to grow on the same vine.

You will need to protect your vines from extreme heat, wind, and heavy rain by putting up some sort of shelter when these extreme conditions occur, like a shade tent or other barrier. Pumpkins do not grow well in extreme heat.

Heavy rains can cause pumpkins to mold. However, pumpkins love and need a lot of water. Make sure you plant your pumpkins in well-draining soil and water often. In spring, dig the soil by hand and fertilize it with rotting cow manure before you plant. Pumpkin roots do not go down deep like a tree so do not worry about getting your holes too deep. Mix it into your well-draining pumpkin patch soil. Your soil should be neutral or slightly acidic for best growing conditions for pumpkins.

Start your pumpkin seeds indoors in the spring so that late frost does not kill your seedlings. Put them in CowPots and keep them continually wet in the house. Do not allow them to dry out. The best way is to place your CowPots in a tray that has water in it so the CowPots absorb the water as they need it. This is what we do with all of the plants we start indoors.

When your seedlings have four to five leaves on them, it is time to plant in your pumpkin patch. Each hill should be about the size of a pitcher's mound and should be 20 feet away from the next hill to give each vine the best chance at growing a large pumpkin. Just dig a hole big enough for your CowPot to fit into. Place the entire CowPot with the pumpkin seedling in the hole and cover with dirt. Place mulch around the seedling. You should cover each seedling with a plastic covered frame to protect them for several weeks after planting outdoors.

How To Grow a Giant Pumpkin Continues

In how to grow a giant pumpkin it is important to know that pumpkins produce male and female flowers. The male flowers grow first. The female flowers will have a baby pumpkin at the base and only one should be allowed to grow on each vine. If a female flower appears before the vine is ten feet long, pinch it off and wait for the next one to grow. The vine needs to be large enough to support the pumpkin so do not allow the pumpkin to start until it is at least ten feet long.

Okay, so now you have a vine at least ten feet long, a male flower, and a female flower about to open. Cover the female flower with a cheesecloth bag to protect it from insects during the night. Early in the morning when the female flower has opened, cut off a male flower and rub its stamen in the center of the female flower. You have just hand-pollinated your baby pumpkin! 

As the pumpkin and vine grow, each leaf on the vine will put out roots. You need to keep these roots away from the pumpkin so the pumpkin will stay attached to the vine. Any roots growing near the actual pumpkin will need to be ripped out of the ground so the pumpkin will not get crushed by the vines.

Knowing how to grow a giant pumpkin, means one pumpkin per vine. As stated above, when new female flowers appear, pinch them off so the vine can give all of its resources to your pumpkin.

Once the main vine is 20 feet long, start pinching off the tip of the vine and the side shoots that grow off of the main vine so all of the vine's resources can go to the pumpkin and not other parts of the plant.

Pumpkins grow the most at night. Some increase in diameter by two inches each night!

Water plays a very important part in how to grow a giant pumpkin. As your pumpkin grows, and you live in a drier climate that does not get a ton of rain each week, make sure to give your pumpkin between 15 and 20 gallons of water twice a week, only in the evening, and only at the base of the vine (where the vine grows out of the ground.) Keep the leaves dry to prevent disease. If your soil stays wetter than it should, place a small piece of plywood under your developing pumpkin so that it will not rot.

Chances are now that you know how to grow a giant pumpkin, you will grow a pumpkin that is 100 to 200 pounds or more if you follow the instructions and if your pumpkin vine does not get attacked by insects or disease. This is not a guarantee that you will grow a 2000 pound pumpkin because so far, only one man has done that. Not very many people have grown pumpkins weighing more than 1000 pounds. Keep that in mind and you should be happy with your results.

These giant pumpkins are not for eating. They are for fun, for showing at Halloween and at fall harvest festivals and parties, not to mention those pumpkin competitions.

Can you imagine even trying to carve one of them?

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