Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heavyweights

Last year we grew some Giant Max pumpkins just to see how big we could get them. We came close to the 80 pound mark but this year we want at least a 500 pounder!! In the pic is a Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin I started a couple of weeks ago. These guys are the heavyweights of all pumpkins and they are often used in the large pumpkin growing competitions....In fact, you may remember recently reading about Christy Harp of Ohio...she has the world record pumpkin weight so far....1725 lbs!!! That's all good Christy...but watch out ....you've got competition now :)

According to many pumpkin growing experts there are 5 key issues that determine the success of growing these giants: They are variety, space, water, food, selection, and even shade. There are several large pumpkin varieties on the market but Dill's Atlantic Giant consistently wins many competitions. Pumpkins need lots of space to spread out....most experts suggest 25 feet in all directions. Pumpkins need lots of water....at least 1 inch of water per week. When you water is just as critical. It's never a good idea to water in the evening and this is true for all vegetables....you invite the possibility of mildew and bugs. Instead, early morning watering is the best time. Regular doses of fertilizer are also needed to get these guys pumped up...the experts often use a compost tea made of cow manure. They should be fed weekly as pumpkins are very heavy feeders. This part is hard for me: you must choose to keep only 1 or 2 pumpkins on the vine and the rest must go...decisions, decisions.....You will also have to keep plucking new blossoms as they will take away energy from the main pumpkin. One thing I did not realize is that the actual pumpkin should be shaded from direct sunlight to prevent premature hardening of the outer skin. We can't have a blemished pumpkin after all....I guess the bigger dilemma will be how to actually move the pumpkin once it gets to be 500 lbs....

6 comments:

  1. Gosh, I didn't know they required fertilization every week, and also that the "pumpkin" should be shaded....Thanks for the info!

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  2. EG: After I read up on it I realized that I fell short on the fertilization last season...I was thinking maybe an umbrella would work for the shade.

    Thanks Sheila

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  3. Can't wait to see the big boys develop. If I had room I would grow the "Max" variety since that's also my little guy's name. Love your site. Looks like you have tons of fun. Very cool greenhouse, too. Envious!

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  4. Thanks Gardeness...we try to have fun and lots of it :)

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  5. thanks for thinking of me...

    it means alot

    sending love,
    kary
    xxx

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