you want to Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins?
Detailed instructions for people who want to grow 500lbs (and bigger)
By Bill Foss
Too much information? Start here: basic
So how do you really grow a giant pumpkin anyway? Well if you ask
10 experienced growers this question you will probably get a variety
of answers. However, the four things most of them would include
are (1) Good Seeds, (2) Good
Soil, (3) Hard work and (4) Good Luck! Here are some basic steps
but BigPumpkins.com is
dedicated to teaching techniques to all growers including beginners.
If your interested on how to do any of these steps or want to see
how I do them your are welcome to send me a message at billf(at)bwig(dot)net
or give me a call (I'm in the phone book) and come visit my patch.
Did you know that last year's world record pumpkin weighed a whopping
1469 pounds? Most of the world record pumpkins in the last twenty
years have been produced in backyard gardens like yours. Here are
several steps for you to try growing a giant of your own.
1. Site/Soil Preparation - The site should be
level, well drained and located in full sun. The best soil type
is loam. It is good to have your soil tested and apply necessary
lime and fertilizers per test recommendations. Contact the Local
County Extension service for soil test information. Also add organic
matter such as manure or compost to establish good soil structure.
It's best to work soil in the fall. If that's not possible, do so
as soon as weather permits in the spring. For these giants to grow
to maximize size each plant will require at least a 25x25x25 triangle
area, you can squeeze in two in a 35x 35 area.
2. Seeds - if you plan on growing world-class
pumpkins you will need to get seeds from world class growers, you
can find them on BigPumkins.com, Seedoutlet.com or contact
Option 1 Prior to planting soak the seeds in
warm water for 4 hours and plant directly outside about May 20
in Zone four or a few days after your last average frost date..
When planting outside, make a two-foot circle, remove the top
inch of soil, place five seeds flat in the circle, and cover one
inch deep. It is extremely helpful to create a small greenhouse
over the planting area for several weeks' prior to planting and
several weeks after seedlings appear. This will warn the soil
and protect the seedling. Then select the strongest plant and
remove the others.
Option 2 Seeds may also be planted indoors in
four to six-inch peat pots around April 30. Plant flat one inch
deep in lightly moistened lightly soil and keep at 85 degrees
and until it sprouts. (Usually 3-5 days) Place under (6 inches)
a florescent light and transplant into the garden when the first
true leaves appear (usually 3-5 days after germination) and handle
with care, as they are easily set back during transplanting. You
stand a better chance of getting a jump on the season when planting
indoors. The main wine will grow to the opposite side of the first
true leaf, position the first true leave to the back of the garden.
3. Protect seedlings - Protect the plants from
frost and wind until they are well established. To secure the young
vines and plants provide stakes in an X fashion over them to keep
them from twisting. Covering the vines with soil to secure and to
promote secondary root growth works extremely well. Creating windbreaks
or selecting a site with natural windbreaks helps protect the plant.
4. Pruning – The idea is to have the plant
grow in a triangle. To do this will let the main vine grow straight
for 25 ft and the secondary vines will be pruned at 12ft, 10ft,
9ft etc from the main vine. Every other secondary on each side will
be removed by just pinching it off and allow no vines to grow off
of the secondary. This is easily said but very hard to accomplish.
If the vine gets to big you can cut off the end of the vine, and
bury them (deep) in the ground.
5. Adjusting the vine - Turning the vine is usually
necessary to get it growing in the correct direction. You can easily
make the vine go where you want it to by using sticks to slowly
turn it by applying light pressure. I would suggest that you adjust
the vine to get the pumpkin perpendicular and as a last resort move
the pumpkin. And if moving the pumpkin is your only option do it
a little each day.
6. Water/Fertilizing - Pumpkins are shallow rooted
and need at least one inch of water per week or more during hot
dry periods. Each pumpkin is ninety percent water. It's best to
water in early evening, but allow the plant time to dry before night.
Add water-soluble plant food during watering; 15- 30-15 plant food
during May and June to promote root growth: 20- 20 -20 during July:
and 15-10-30 to the end of the growing season. Your soil test will
determine how often to fertilize, I usually do it weekly but only
at half strength and I mix it with other natural products, like
seaweed and fish oil.
7. Weeding - Weed control is essential for seedlings
to become established. However, once the plant has grown the large
leaves they will block out the sun and keep the weeds under control.
It is important not to use a tiller in the patch once the plants
are growing, as the shallow roots travel a long way in the loose
8. The Giant Starts - Pollination may occur naturally
through bees and other insects or through assisted pollination.
Around the first of July select two or three pumpkins on the main
vine 10 to 12 feet from the main root. Around July 20 select the
fastest growing pumpkin and remove all other pumpkins from the plant.
Select a pumpkin with a good round tall shape and positioned perpendicular
to the vine with plenty of room to grow on all sides. You can put
something under your pumpkin; many just use sand, I used siding
installation that has many holes. The object here is to keep the
pumpkin dry, don't let it sit in the mud.
9. Watch Them Grow - Check vines every two days
and remove any new pumpkins that have started. It is very important
to remove the roots on the underside of the vines four feet in both
directions of the pumpkin. This should allow room for the vine to
move without breaking the stem as the pumpkin grows to giant status.
If the vine starts to tighten it may be necessary to carefully move
the vine. I support my vines leading to the pumpkin stem with Styrofoam.
10. Covering - It is a common to cover pumpkins
to protect them from the sun. The sun will harden the skin and reduce
the growth and increases the splitting potential. Use a tarp on
posts and go over the top, which allows very little rain or sun
to get to the pumpkin. Some top growers just use a white sheet and
put it on the pumpkin.
11. Diseases and Pests - Growing "the big
one" requires a proactive and preventative approach to problems.
DO NOT water in the evening with an overhead watering system as
this will cause mildew problems on the leaves and greatly reduce
their capacity to feed the pumpkin. Insects such as vine borers,
squash bugs and cucumber beetle larva will greatly harm the chances
for success. Dust a two-foot area around the main root with an insecticide
such as rotenone at the start of the growing season. I usually start
to spray insecticides on all foliage every two weeks in early June
and switch types of insecticides every month. Follow label directions
when applying any pesticide, insecticide, fungicide or herbicide.
12. Harvest - When the weather
turns cold protect "the big one" from freezing. Moving
these giants is fairly simple with the help of a few friends. Roll
"the big one" onto several blankets or tarps. Lift the
corners of blanket or tarp and move to a new area. The bigger the
pumpkin the more blankets and friends needed. Sound advice up to
500 lbs but after that start looking for a friend with a loader.
13. Information - There are many
little tricks that I’ve learned over the years but they are
all covered and then some on growing these garden giants, read Don
Langevin's How to Grow World-Class Giant Pumpkins or go to www.bigpumpkins.com and read featured growers information. Or ask some of the other
growers in the area or contact me, we all want you to be successful.
If this is your first year of growing Atlantic Giants I would strongly
advise that you try to take care of only two plants. You can plant more but focus on two. Believe me, come mid July these plants really
grow, and by the end of July you will already have your favorites
to focus on.
these numbers mean 576
Foss 06 576=Weight of pumpkin (lbs), Foss=Grower, 06=Year grown Female
= Growers Seed that
produced the plant/pumpkin Male = Growers seed
that produced the male flowers that pollinated the pumpkin.
Each of these seeds has the potential of producing
1000+ lbs pumpkins. If you order seeds
from me, you'll be getting these seeds. I will make every attempt to verify each order recieves seeds from all the pumpkins below.
WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!
WOW!!! Look at these
crosses; those are some mighty big parents.
Foss 06 #1
Foss 06 #2
Foss 06 dmg #3
Foss 06 #4
= damaged (split) est= weight is estimated to ott table
#1 MN State Fair Winner
#2. Took 5th place at Southern MN Weigh off in Austin, MN
#3 Largest Pumpkin at Delano weigh off
#4 1st place at Lake Elmo Weigh off and largest pumpkin ever grown in Minnesota
this document in Word format.