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Growing Giant Pumpkins

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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Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds and Australia’s only book "The Pumpkin Lady Tells" are available from Atlantic Seeds. For a description of the seeds available check out the Seeds page. For information about the book check out the Books page. To order any seeds or the book check out the Order page.

Recipes

Here in Australia, pumpkins are primarily eaten with a main meal or as a Soup Dish, pumpkin deserts are very rare. A few of my favourite Aussie pumpkin recipes are:

Roast Butternut Pumpkin - When roasting your favourite meat, ie. lamb, chicken, beef, cut and peel some pieces of butternut pumpkin, along with the old favourites of potato, carrot and parsnip. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours in a moderate oven, turning frequently for the first half half, and then removing all excess fat, and roasting for the last hour.

Pumpkin Scones - Beat 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon melted butter until sugar is dissolved, add 3/4 cup of cooked mashed pumpkin, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups sifted flour, roll out and cut to desired size. Bake in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.

Barbequed Pumpkin and Pumpkin Wedges are two more yummy recipes. These can be found in the book "The Pumpkin Lady Tells".

THE PUMPKIN LADY by Tony Hickman
(copyright)

There's a lady I know
Who lives far away
She's mad about pumpkins
in everyway
From the time she gets up
Until its time for bed
She has pumpkins running around
inside of her head
She drinks her coffee
from a Pumpkin Mug
And on the floor of her room
is a Pumpkin Rug
She bought a Pumpkin Tie
for her favourite man
He wears it every day
He's her number one fan
She wears Pumpkin Slippers
When the weather is cold
And wears Pumpkin Socks
So I am told
She talks about pumpkins
To all that she meets
And sleeps at night
on her Pumpkin Sheets
She has Pumpkin Books
And Cushions she's sewn
I hear she's writing
A book of her own
She keeps her money
in a Pumpkin Jar
And drives around
in her Pumpkin Shaped Car
Her house is full
of Pumpkin Stuff
It's not hard to tell
She's a pumpkin buff
What is her name
Is it Wendy or Sadie
Around these parts
She's the Pumpkin Lady

The poem which inspired a pumpkin passion.
If you would like to see more pumpkin poetry
written by the famous South Australian
Pumpkin Poet, Tony Hickman, check out his
Pumpkin Poem's.


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Last Updated 26 July 2009