How To Grow Giant Pumpkins

Giant Pumpkin Secret Growing Instructions and Tips

Selecting a Planting Site
Select a sunny place in your garden. Giant pumpkins thrive best in strong sunshine. The larger the area, the better (500-1000 sq. ft.), but smaller areas have been successfully planted too. An area that receives eight to twelve hours of sunlight per day is ideal.

Preparing the Soil and Mound
1.) The best pumpkins come from the best-prepared soil. Dig a hole, 40”-48” deep, 3′-5′ in diameter, and mix the soil well with 6-8 bags (8-12 cubic feet) of soil amendments such as Dr. Earth Planting Mix. More is better!
2.) You should have a mound, 3′-5′ in diameter, 16”-18” high at its center.
3.) Allow 15′-25′ between individual mounds if you are planning on more than one vine

Germinating Giant Gumpkin Seeds
1.) Soak seeds overnight in warm water (8-12 hours.) This softens the pumpkins seed’s shell and accelerates germination. Start germinating seeds early May to late May.
2.) Plant seeds in a 4” or larger peat pot, in a seed germinating mix, laid flat, 1”-1.5” deep.
3.) Keep seeds moist and warm, 75-80 degrees F., is ideal.
4.) Under these conditions, seeds should sprout in 5-10 days, sometimes even sooner.
5.) After the seedling has developed 2-3 true leaves, it is ready to be transplanted into the mound.
6.) Allow the seedling to ”harden-off” for 1-2 days, or get used to being outside by placing it outdoors for 6-10 hours each day, prior to transplanting.
7.) Or, you may sow your seeds directly into the mound. Competitive giant pumpkin growers have successfully used both methods.

Transplanting Seedlings
1.) Plant the seedling, peat pot and all, in the center of the mound. Peat pot should be well below the top surface of the mound. Transplanting late afternoon/early evening will help reduce initial sun and wind damage. Water the seedling thoroughly.
2.) Protect the seedling from winds, strong sunlight, insects & other potential damage by placing an open cardboard box around the seedling until it gets fully established, usually, 7-10 days.

Watering, Fertilizing and General Care
1.) Pumpkins are 90% water. Soil should be kept moist. Water once a day, or up to once every 4-5 days, depending on the weather and your soil conditions. Watering times should be consistent. Early mornings, late afternoons, and early evenings, in this order, are the best times to water.
2.) Be sure to use Dr. Earth® Organic 5™ Vegetable Fertilizer at the time of transplanting. Then use Dr. Earth® Liquid Solution™ fertilizer every 10 days for maximum size and production.
3.) Mulch around the main stem with compost, straw, or well-aged manure spread 4”-5” deep. Leave 9”-12” of clearance around the stem. Mulching will help regulate the temperature and retain moisture around the main stem and root system.
4.) Cover the pumpkin with shade cloth once it reaches 24”-36” in diameter to help keep the pumpkin’s skin from hardening and cracking from the hot, late summer/early fall sun.
5.) Place a wooden pallet underneath the pumpkin before it gets difficult to move (25-30 pounds) to keep the pumpkin’s bottom from rotting, and to facilitate lifting and transporting it later.

The most important tip of all: have fun and good luck!

Stuart Shin
Giant Pumpkin Expert

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