growing MONSTER pumpkins... need advice! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My daughter (and I) would like to grow pumkins for the local (semi-rural) kids that live nearby. She'd also like to enter the county fair this fall with a grand-daddy-monster-huge pumkin. After doing a bit of research I found out the following: to grow large pumkins you need lots of sunlight, plenty of water, plenty of compost, and a good variety to start with. I also learned that you sould pinch off younger flowers on the vine after the first pumkin sets... I gues the idea is that the remaining pumkins gets all the nutrients etc.

So any other advice? What type of pH soils are better for the squash family in general? Anybody have experience in growing huge, +100 lb orange beauties? What about anit fungal or rotting preventatives?

Lets hear the stories! My daughter thanks you in advance... Otter

-- otter360 (, April 01, 2002


Trim ALL the blossoms/pumpkins to just one per plant and one plant per hill to get the biggest. Make sure it "takes" though.

-- Mike in Pa (, April 01, 2002.

I grew some really big pumpkins one year, and in a growing season of about 100 days, too. Get the Dill's Atlantic Giant seeds. They are available through Pinetree Garden Seeds, and also from Howard Dill, there may e other places too. But remember, you want Dill's Atlantic Giant, not just Atlantic Giant. There is a (big!) difference, because Howard Dill saves seeds only from the biggest prizewinning pumpkins every year, not all the seeds from a whole field full of pumpkins.

Compost- what I do is to build a huge pile of goat manure and bedding, it is not composted, well, not any more than what it has done on the floor of the barn. The pile gets hot, and I plant several seeds. Because of the warmth of the pile, I can plant earlier than usual, while there is still the chance of frost. When planting the seeds, I scoop out a hole in the pile, and put a handful of good soil or compost in the hole, and plant the seed in that. The hole is about the size of a soup can. When all the seeds come up, select the two best plants and pinch off all the others, do not pull them out. As the plants grow, and get a good start, I then can pinch off the smaller one.

About the flowers- hand pollinate the female blossom that you want fruit from. Hand pollination is more thorough, and results in a larger fruit. When the fruit has set, you do not need to pinch off all blossoms, only the females- they have a baby pumpkin at the base of the flower, and are usually situated closer to the vine, whereas the male flowers have long stems amd are more numerous.

I've not had trouble with fungus, but our summers are dry. I leave the hose running for long periods of time, sometimes trickling overnight. Mice and voles caused problems, they will chew on the rind and make the fruit rot if they eat enough of it, chickens will do the same.

Oh yeah, make sure to grow the pumpkins in a good place, where you can drive to the spot. Because it will be too heavy to carry anyplace or to move easily! And keep in mind that the vines really spread far and wide, ours had at least a 20 foot spread. So plant it where nothing else will be, maybe in a place where you'd like a nice rich garden bed next year.

-- Rebekah (, April 01, 2002.

I've not grown the huge pumpkins myself, but I've seen where people who do this get heavy duty pallets and get the pumpkin to rest on that as it grows. This is to move the pumpkin when it matures, some people use farm tractors to lift the pallet and pumpkin onto the back of a truck or onto a trailer. A 300 lb. pumpkin can break from its own weight if not moved properly.

Good luck with the project!


-- Chelsea (, April 01, 2002.

You can lay a tarp or shower curtain on the ground around the plant...this will prevent weeds & will give a clean place for the pumpkins to rest.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, April 01, 2002.

I grew mine on the compost heap. For "big uns" , 1 pumpkin and leave set per vine. I also grew some laying in "Jason" masks with screen aeration panels to form grotesque faces.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 01, 2002.

There is an outfit that sells the seeds of the pumpkins that break the world records (or come in second place for slightly less). I think it is P&P seeds. If you cannot find them, let me know and I'll see if I can dig up their info. (I tried google and struck out)

The above adviced is accurate. I have heard of people having an enormous compost pile, or aged manure pile and putting the pumpkin seed in that and getting excellent results.

-- Paul Wheaton (, April 01, 2002.

Rupp seed catalog has a book about growing Dill's Giant Pumpkin. In fact I think he wrote the book! It's worth the money for the book! You need to start the plants ahead of time as they take 120 days to grow. Also poultry litter is the best fertilizer according to the book.

Hope this helps!

-- Katie S. (, April 01, 2002.

Hi; I have only grown a few big/not huge pumpkins.I briefly searched for huge pumpkins and thought that this link may help. giant pumpkins


-- ourfarm (, April 01, 2002.

Somewhere in all my older gardening mags, I have an article about someone who grows them, and they advised to be sure you give them tons of water--also that they grow so fast they can literally explode in the garden, so you needed to shade the pumpkin itself to prevent that...I'll look for the article and get back to you as soon as I can. I'd like to grow some myself! One year, when my children were about 9 or 10, I bought one of the reject pumpkins from someone growing a big one for the fair. The one I bought, which wasn't as large as the one they entered, weighed 142 pounds, and the kids LOVED it! Took Dad all night to carve the thing, but they thought it was really neat. Best $5 I ever spent, I think! Jan

-- Jan in Co (, April 01, 2002.

I haven't done it myself, so I don't know if the information is accurate or not. I saw on a gardening show back in the fall where they were interviewing someone who raised giant pumpkins. The guy said to pinch all but one on each vine and bury the vine along it's growing path. This is supposed to provide even more nutrients to the plant. Good luck.

-- Robin Downing (, April 02, 2002.

I haven't done it myself, but I bought a book entitled 'How To Grow GIANT Vegetables' by Bernard Lavery, who holds 15 World Records for various giant vegetables such as Pumpkins, leeks, carrots, cabbages, onions, daikon, cucumbers, runner beans, rutabagas, and so on, including a 14 foot long carrot. It was published by HarperCollins, and covers many facets of raising each one and quite a lot on giant pumpkins, some of which other people have already covered in their posts above.

There is one on eBay right now starting at $2 and ending today with no bids on it -- target=ebay_query&search_string=%28%22How+To+Grow+Giant+Vegetables%22% 29

-- julie f. (, April 02, 2002.

thanks to all... I'll let everyone know how things turn out!


-- otter360 (, April 02, 2002.

well we've grown pumpkins for the last 6 years semi-commercially i guess and my dad could really tell you more than i can. BUT! we live where there's a lot of red clay, and they seem to do fairly well! but they do like nitrogen!! lots of water, all i can say, is get some irrigation on those puppies cause water will fatten them up like nobody's business!! plus, of course it makes them heavier (water-weight hehe). ermmm what else, well obviously don't over water them (don't wanna drown the plants_, as fungus lovvvvvvvvves moist conditions, so for that reason you should spray a fugicide. powdery mildew is what you really have to worry about, nothing else if you've never grown pumpkins on that plot before. a simply spray will take care of powdery , more or less, but you'll wanna plant early june i'm guessing if you wanna enter the fair. check out your local co-op of course. good luck!!!! hope you do well at the fair!

-- C (, April 02, 2002.

another thing, if someone else didn't say it.

groundhogs LOVE pumpkins and the actual plants themselves. thot you should know, in case there's a rascal in your area. :)

-- C (, April 02, 2002.

doesn't Laura Ingall's Wilder's book 'FARMER BOY' have instructions on growing monster pumpkins? I think it talks about him feeding it milk every day or something like that.

-- marcee (, April 03, 2002.

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