How to Grow World Record Giant Pumpkins
Tim Mathison of California with a prior world
record for giant pumpkins is 2624.6 pounds. At the European Weigh-Off
in Germany, German grower Mathia Willemijn brought this behemoth pumpkin
to the weigh-off on October 9, 2016. That's well over one ton!! People who
see these giant pumpkins, want to know "how do they grow them so big?" Growing
pumpkins isn't difficult. Growing a big pumpkin, takes a bit of work and
effort. Growing a giant pumpkin, weighing a ton or more.... now that takes
a lot of effort, and requires a lot of knowledge.
If you already grow pumpkins, you are off to a good start towards producing
a monster this fall. As you enter the world of giant pumpkin growing, plan
to spend much more time, to pamper and nurture your plants, to grow gigantic
pumpkins at a phenomenal speed.
Did you Know? At peak growth, record breaking giant pumpkins
can grow 40-50 pounds a day, or more!
Top Ten Secrets to Growing Record-Breaking Giant Pumpkins:
Super Soil - First, get out your soil tester, to assure that the
soil pH is ideal for growing pumpkins. Average
soil just will not do. Add ample amounts of compost and manure to your soil.
It is best to till it into your soil in the fall, especially if the manure
is raw (not decomposed). Check the pH again, after adding soil amendments.
Great Genetics -To grow a giant pumpkin, find seeds that have the
genetics to grow huge fruit.
Goliath Giant pumpkin seeds and Atlantic Giant pumpkin
seeds are readily available. This will get you started. After a year or two
of learning and attending the giant pumpkin weighoffs, you will come in contact
with growers, who can give you some of the best genetic seeds available.
The very best genetics are not available in stores. The top growers have
them. Armed with good genetic seeds, you have the potential to grow
your first, and hopefully record breaking, giant pumpkin. The rest is up
An early, indoor start - Giant pumpkin plants require 140 days
or more from the time you plant a seed, to the time you harvest the fruit.
Growers seeking to break the world record, start seeds in mid to late April,
and harvest fruit in early October. That means as many as 160 days, from
when the seed was planted! Chances are, you will have to start them indoors.
When you do, the young seedlings will need your attention, and as much sunlight
as you can provide. It also means, you may need to provide cold and frost
protection when you transfer them outdoors. As October nears, you may again
have to protect them from cold and frost.
Lots of Fertilizer, the right stuff, at the right time -
Throw away what you've learned about fertilizing, and re-learn the
art of fertilizing giant pumpkins. It is truly an art form, as giant pumpkins
require huge amounts of fertilizer. Start with a high nitrogen formula in
the spring. Apply a high phosphorous fertilizer in advance of the blooming/fruit
set stage. Finally, switch to a high potassium formula, for fruit growth
and plant health.
Pour on the Water - The top growers have elaborate drip systems, to
deliver the right amount of water (moist, not wet soil), 24/7. They
add liquid fertilizers, fish emulsions, and seaweed fertilizer in their
Liquid Calcium - All the fertilizer and nutrients in the world, can
not be used efficiently, if soluble calcium is not present in your soil.
Liquid calcium significantly increases the ability of plants to take up those
nutrients and use them, to grow big fruit.
Nurturing Plant Growth and Pruning Vines - Prior to flowering and
fruit set, the trick is to get your plant growing fast and furious. But,
that's not enough. Here is how the top growers train and develop their
vines: Grow the vines in a "Christmas tree" shape. Let secondary vines grow
out and away from the main vine, to a length of 10' to 12'. At this point
pinch off the growing tip, and bury it in the ground. Also, prune off any
tertiary vines (those that grow off the secondary vine), as they appear.
Pruning is vital, to maximize growth of the fruit. It encourages, or "trains"
the vine, to focus upon sending nutrients to the fruit.
Promoting Secondary Root Growth - Secondary root growth can have a
HUGE impact upon the final weight of the fruit. Secondary roots will form
at the point where a leaf stem meets the vine. Cover the vine at this point,
with a couple inches of rich garden soil. Keep it well watered, and the roots
will grow deeply. When fertilizing, feed secondary roots,
too. More on Secondary Roots
Insect and Pumpkin Disease Protection - Many growers have had a great
big pumpkin growing strongly on the vine, only to have it slowed, or even
felled, by insect problems or plant disease. Pumpkins are susceptible to
a number of insect and disease problems. Fortunately, there are insecticides
and fungicides that will treat many of the most common pumpkin plant problems.
It is vital to begin a treatment plant early, BEFORE insect or disease problems
can take hold. Begin applying insecticides early in the season. Begin
using fungicides before heat and humidity arrives in your area.
Shading the Fruit - Giant pumpkin fruit begins its life, as a soft
shelled, yellow fruit. The skin is very pliable, allowing it to quickly grow
and expand. Hot, sun and dry wind, can harden the skin, signaling the fruit
to ripen. The trick, is to keep the skin soft, and pliable. Giant pumpkin
growers quickly learn, that a shade cover over the fruit is essential to
growing 'em big. Shade covers can be simple, or elaborate.
Did You Know? Like regular field pumpkins, giant pumpkins are edible.
There are plenty of recipes for cooking with giant pumpkins. But, the bigger
they get, the coarser the texture of the pulp.
You are now armed with the top grower secrets to growing giant pumpkins.
Now, go and plant some seeds, and produce a new, world record giant pumpkin!
More on Giant
the world record giant pumpkin
Learn about Dill's Atlantic Giant
May we suggest:
Pumpkin Nook is the internet authority
on pumpkins. From how to grow, to recipes and history, it's all there.
Pumpkin Carving - After you've grown
'em, it's time to decorate and carve 'em.
to Grow Big Pumpkins -and small ones, too.
Pumpkin On a Stick!? Perhaps.......
Vegetables - armed with the right genetics, you can grow a variety
of giant vegetables.