Third in a short series about Curcurbits.
The British record for the heaviest pumpkin weighing 1,725 pounds can be beaten and you can win local shows next year by striving for this level of achievement.
Growing Tips for Giant Pumpkins
- Start in February with a large hole filled with up to a ton of well rotted horse manure
- Buy ‘giant seed’ via the internet or use Atlantic Giant seed.
- In March sow the flat seeds, edge downwards not flat, in good sized pots in the greenhouse.
- Plant out on top of the compost or manure pile when the risk of frost has gone. Keep a cardboard box to cover the plant on nights when frost is a danger.
- Remove all but one (the chosen one) of the pumpkin fruits. If there are several, choose one that is about 8 feet from the roots.
- Cull all further fruit regularly.
- When your pumpkin is the size of a football set it on a bed of straw to protect the skin and spread the weight.
- Bend the stem so the fruit has room to grow.
- No surprise that Giant Pumkins need lots of space plus they are gross feeders and drinkers.
Watering and Feeding Tips
- Keeping the roots hydrated is the key to Pumpkin growing
- During dry weather the leaves can syphon water back out of the fruit!
- Drip water alongside the main stem or use a soaker hose. Water for at least an hour a day and more in hot weather.
- Avoid wetting the leaves which can get powdery mildew.
- A balanced diet is what you aim for. Feed with nitrogen rich chicken pellets or similar, in spring, to encourage leafy growth.
- From July you can change to a high potash feed to help the fruit develop.
- A can of Tomato feed every other day and an occasional seaweed feed with all the trace elements will provide a bit more of a boost
- Pumpkins get most food from the soil and root at intersections where stems and side shoots join. Cover with compost and bonemeal.
- Pumpkin skin is thin, soft and delicate when growing. Take care not to damage the skin.
- If the skin is damaged and the pumpkin starts to bleed sprinkle the wound with sulphur fungicide to cauterise and prevent infection.
- Shade the skin from hot sun during the day.
- Trap as much warmth around the pumpkin during the night when growth is fastest.
- A polytunnel will give added protection but is not essential.
Other Tips from other Posts
- Plants can be trained up frames or arches.
- Tie in until the tendrils can take some weight.
- Pumpkins can trail over 4 square yards unless growing tips are pinched out when plants are large enough.
- See Growing Pumpkins and Squash