Introduction: Grow a Giant Pumpkin (Atlantic Giant) From Seed
The world record for giant pumpkins is 2323.7 pounds, set by Beni Meier in 2014. Growing a normal size pumpkin is easy. Growing a giant pumpkin needs a little bit of practice, commitment and luck, but after reading this instructable, you will be able to get this done.
I have learned to grow giant pumpkins and want to share it with you. Growing normal size vegetables is kind of boring. So I decided to grow big ones and the biggest vegetable of all is a giant pumpkin.
Impress your neighbours and win shows! This is my first instructable and I hope you enjoy it.
Don`t forget to vote please =)
Step 1: Materials
To get started, make sure you have got the necessary materials
1 The right seed with good genetics http://www.ebay.de/itm/-/272011622097?
2 Good quality potting soil http://goo.gl/0RrQEL (test every soil with cheap seeds before trying your expensive ones)
3 Buckets for the seed start
4 A lot of free garden space with good soil
5 Cow (horse, chicken) manure (ask a local farmer to get it a lot cheaper)
6 Coldframe or a realy big greenhouse http://goo.gl/2QjJT
7 A ton of luck, rain and sunshine
Step 2: The Right Seed
To grow a giant pumpkin, you have to choose the right seed. Atlantic giant is the best variety and all world records of the past 20 years were grown with it. The very best genetics are not available in stores, they are traded on auctions with prices up to 500 Dollar each. The seeds also have names. For example: 2009 Wallace 2012 (first is the weight, second is the name of the grower and 2012 is the year it was grown). If you are interested in, I can sell you some seeds of my 800 lbs pumpkin with genetics of over 2000 lbs pumpkin. This seeds have the potential to grow very big pumpkins if you care enough. Let me know in the comments below and I will put some on ebay after I harvested them.
Step 3: Prepare Your Soil
First, you have to analyze your soil. The Ph – level should be around 7 and there should be sufficient nutrients. If the soil is not good enough (soil is never good enough in the beginning) add compost, cow, chicken or horse manure as well as different fertilizer like epson salt. The best time you do that is in the fall. To grow a giant pumpkin, you need at least 200 square feet – more is better.
Step 4: Start Your Seeds Indoors
Giant pumpkin plants require 150 days or more from the time you plant a seed, to the time you harvest the fruit. The normal growing season is from April to October. Because pumpkins are very vulnerable to frost, start indoors and plant them out after the last frost. You need empty buckets with at least 5 liters and special potting soil with less nutrients to enhance root development. Press the seed the right way under the ground until you can not see it anymore – not to deep. Keep the soil moist but not too wet with a temperature between 76 and 86 degrees to improve your germination rate.
Step 5: Planting Out
After the last frost (or earlier if you own a big green house) you have to plant your seedlings out. You have to do this very carefully, because the plants are very fragile and vulnerable to damage on this stage. Protect them from wind and frost with a cold frame and fleece and remember to give them enough space. From this time you have to keep your soil moist but not to wet! A lot of professional growers also add mycorrhizal fungi (http://goo.gl/WGY8EC) before planting. This should help your plant to perform better in stress situations.
Step 6: Fertilizers
If your soil is not good enough you have to add fertilizers. Start with a high nitrogen formula for plant growth in the spring than give a high phosphorous fertilizer to get better blossoms and finally, switch to a high potassium formula, for fruit growth. There are a lot of fertilizers on the market. If you want to eat your pumpkin I recommend an organic fertilizer.
Step 7: Pruning and Burying Vines
Grow the vines in a Christmas tree shape. What comes first and goes in one direction is the main vine. Let secondary vines grow out of and away from the main vine. Burry the vines with good soil to promote secondary root growth. This is very important. Secondary roots will form at the point where the leaf stem meets the vine. Keep this soil moist too. Prune all tertiary vines ( vines coming out of the secondary vines).
Step 8: Selecting the Right Fruit
To get the biggest pumpkin, you have to choose a fruit on the main vine, at least 10 feet away from your planting point. Let all fruits grow until they have the size of a basketball, choose your favourite and cut all other fruits ( but only one a day). Don’t bury the vine in front of the pumpkin and behind it and move your fruit slightly in a position 90 degrees to your main vine. Raise the level of the main vine where the fruit is to protect the stem from splitting.
Step 9: Disease Control
There are a lot of diseases and insects which can destroy your pumpkin so you have to protect your plant. Please remember, if you want to eat your pumpkin, do not use any chemical pestizides.
Step 10: Shadowing
Young leaves are vulnerable to sun burn. So protect them from too much sun light. As soon as a fruit appears, protect it from sun light too, because with too much direct light, your pumpkin will ripen earlier.
Step 11: Luck
You are not able to control everything. Make the best out of a season and don`t give up! Enjoy watching your plant growing because that is it all about.
For further information read a book (http://goo.gl/AkQ7Mi), check bigpumpkins.com, especially the grower diaries are very interesting.
I hope you have enjoyed this instructable
If you have any question feel free to ask me. I will answer you as soon as I can.
Grow `em BIG!