The Q&A Archives: Growing Giant Pumpkins

Question: I am trying to grow the Atlantic Giant pumpkin in Middle Georgia (Zone 7, near Macon) and have read a lot of advice for growing them in mostly northern areas. Has anyone grown this variety in my area and had success reaching 500-800 pounds or larger? What commercially prepared soils and/or soil additives work n=best? What fertilizers (solid or liquid) work best at what stages of growth? Which is better--Miracle-Gro or Peters liquid?

Answer: You've got the right seeds, so here are some suggestions for growing giant pumpkins: 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. Either Peter's or Miracle-Gro liquid fertilizer can be used. 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. 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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