Pumpkin growers all want to grow a giant pumpkin, at least once. Whether you’re looking to break the current world record pumpkin weight of 1,689 pounds, or just see how big of a jack-o-lantern you can make this Halloween, growing a giant pumpkin is definitely an exciting obsession!
First, you have to purchase some Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds. This pumpkin is known to grow the biggest of any variety. Plant them in early spring when the chance of frost has past. Build up a mound about three feet across and a foot high. Plant your seed in the center. Pumpkins need a lot of sun and a lot of water. This is especially true of giant pumpkins. Dig out a three or four inch deep trench around the bottom of the mound to hold extra water where the roots can reach it.
When your pumpkin vines start to travel, build the mound out even further. You may want to put a series of concentric ring trenches for water so that all of the root systems get plenty of water. As vines travel, bury them in the soil about every foot. This will encourage them to take root from the vines and suck up more water and more nutrients than they ever could from one central root system. This is one of the giant pumpkin grower’s big secrets. You can wrap a little bit of newspaper around the vine, just where it enters and just where it exits the dirt to keep pests like ants from crawling up. Don’t wrap it too tight. When your pumpkin starts getting big, you can slide a piece of cardboard underneath it to keep pests from entering it.
Measure your pumpkin about once a week to see if it is still growing. When it is done, it will be at full color and hardened. Leave the pumpkin on the vine as long as possible. Many pumpkins will be ready for harvest around August or September. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem when it’s ready. So, what if you want to store your pumpkin until a contest date, Halloween or Thanksgiving?
Take these measures to ensure that your giant pumpkin doesn’t rot. First, wash it with one gallon of water mixed with a cup of chlorine. Many people simply wash their pumpkins in the pool. This will kill off bacteria that may be trying to make its way into your pumpkin. Let it dry completely before storing it. Then, place it on a board or cardboard, not concrete, and store in a cool, dry, dark place, like under your house, in a closet or in the garage. You really want to keep it around seventy degrees or less without freezing.
Remember to water, water, water. Serious giant pumpkin growers keep their pumpkins watered with a programmable automatic hose reel. This way, the pumpkin gets water, even if they are not at home, and the hose puts itself away when it’s done. With enough water, proper storage, vine burying and proper care, you could grow the pumpkin of your dreams! Good luck beating that record!
Stacy Pessoney is an award winning author and writer of web content for many different web sites. She is well versed in many different areas, including gardening, hose reel, lawn care and landscaping.
Photo. Jill Wellington