The Q&A Archives: Growing Giant Pumpkins

Question: For 3 staight years I have grown Atlantic pumpkins which claim the world record for weight. I follow their directions to the letter, and never been able to grow one more than 60 pounds. They claim 200 pounds and higher is common. What can I do to at least break 100 pounds.

Answer: You've got the right seeds, so if the weather cooperates, you stand a good chance of growing a giant pumpkin. There are a few tricks of the trade: After the vines are established and you've got a few smallish pumpkins, cut back all the vines except one. Remove all but the one pumpkin that you want to grow to gigantic proportions so the plant will put all of its energy into ripening just that one fruit. Then water, water, water. Pumpkins are heavy feeders, so plant your potential prize-winners in rich organic soil amended with LOTS of aged manure. As the pumpkin grows, put a piece of plywood under it so it won't rot where it touches the earth. Just to hedge your bet, plant several pumpkin seeds a few yards apart and grow one pumpkin per plant.From this collection, you can choose the biggest to enter in the fair.

If you want to pursue this in earnest, there's a book on the subject - "How to Grow World-Class Giant Pumpkins", by Don Langevin (Annedawn Publishing, PO Box 247, Norton, MA 02766; ISBN# 0-9632793-4-3). Good luck!

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