Growing giant pumpkins in Australia and throughout the World is becoming increasingly popular. Giant pumpkins are very similar to grow as the smaller varieties of pumpkins, but they grow a lot larger than any normal variety.
Preparation: To prepare the soil for your pumpkin patch, care should be first taken to select the correct piece of land. It should be well drained, sunny but in a wind protected area. The ground should be turned as early as possible, with manure or some other type of food (i.e. a legume such as oats or chick peas) added to give the ground nourishment and compost.
Planting: There are three options when planting giant pumpkins. Firstly, the seeds can be planted into a good seed raising mixture, until 2-3" high. Care must be taken when transferring
the small plant and its roots into the ground. The second option is
germinate the seeds in a humidifier
(heated fishtank or similar device) then transfer the germinated seed
to a growing pot. The third option is to plant the seeds directly into the ground.
The most important thing when planting a giant pumpkin seed is DO NOT OVERWATER the ground/pot until the seed has germinated. Too much water will rot the seed. The soil should be kept no more than DAMP until the seed has germinated.
When to Plant: Giant pumpkins are usually planted around the same time of year that smaller variety pumpkins are planted in your area. They do not like frost, so care should be taken to avoid the last frost, if you must plant before frosts are finished for the year, protect the young plant. In Southern Australia, the best time to plant is October/November. In Northern Australia, growing seasons are often different and can be grown through the Australian winter, check locally best growing times.
Basic Requirements: The pumpkin seedlings should be watered regularly, as should the more mature plants. Great care should be taken in humid conditions not to over-water the plants. Giant pumpkins can rot very easily. The plants should receive plenty of sun, but again they get sunburn, so you may need to lightly cover the plants, but make sure there is room for air movement underneath.
Growing Time: A Giant Pumpkin takes approximately 5 months to grow. It takes approximately 70-90 days before any fruit appear on the vine. It then takes another 60 days or so for the fruit to reach maturity. It is recommended that only 1-3 fruit be left on any one pumpkin bush and only one per main vine. The more fruit, the more competition for food.
Pollination: Pollination is a key factor in growing giant pumpkins. If a pumpkin grows and only reaches the size of a basketball and then dies off, it means the fruit was not pollinated correctly. Another option is to hand pollinate the male flowers with the female flowers. The best time for this is early in the morning.
Maturity: A pumpkin is mature when the skin of the pumpkin hardens off and begins to look a bit rough. The colour sometimes fades when this occurs. A giant pumpkin will only last about 2 months once cut off the vine. You should never cut a giant pumpkin off the vine until it is ready for competition, or if you think
rot or disease may kill the fruit early if left on the vine.
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