The Q&A Archives: Tips for Growing Giant Pumpkins -- Preparing the Site

Question: I have plans to start a pumpkin patch this spring. I have been experimenting with pumpkins the past two years and feel ready to go for it with some different varieties. I want to grow the large, prize-winner hybrids for my children. Can you outline howto prepare a site for these large fruits? Our soil is decent, sandy and acidic. Also, would you recommend starting the seeds indoors and transplanting? These are basic questions, but I'm looking for the best way to start to ensure success. Thank you for your consideration. Chuck Neild Litchfield, NH

Answer: First start with the soil. To grow big pumpkins, you need to amend the soil heavily with compost and composted manure. Cover the area with black plastic about 2 weeks before planting to heat up the soil. Then 4 weeks before your last frost date, start the seed indoor, under lights. When ready to set them outside, cover the young seedling with a floating row cover to protect them from the might cold and wind. Keep the row cover on until the vines begin to run. Water well, and fertilize weekly with a complete fertilizer such as Miracle Grow. Let only 2 pumpkins set per vine and prune off all the others. By fall you should have some real prizewinners in your garden.

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