If you were crazy enough try to grow giant pumpkins this year, here is some advice from this obsessive giant pumpkin grower!
To grow a giant pumpkin, you must BABY them. They need a lot of CARE. It’s like RAISING A VERY LARGE CHILD or more like JABBA THE HUT. You don’t go out and just throw some seeds in the ground and expect to grow a record pumpkin. You wouldn’t be able to go out and become a world boxing champ without training, lots of proper food and working up for it and so it is with giant pumpkins. A person asked me last year at the GPC (Great Pumpkin Commonwealth) weigh-off in Colorado Springs, Co how do I grow them? I asked him if he planted some and he said, “Yes, but they didn’t do anything”. So I asked him if he amended the soil, had them on a fertilizer program, used organic fungicides for diseases, did any preventative insect control or hand pollinated them just for starters. He said, “No, I didn’t do any of that. I just put the seeds in the ground”. I told him that’s probably why he wasn’t successful. Then he asked me, “What do you feed these big pumpkins?” For which I responded looking at his kid, “Small children”! Then he grabbed his child and ran off! The point being you must be some kind of nut to want to grow these behemoths!
Today I fertilized the pumpkin plants, greenie and marrows with Seaweed and Fish emulsion and added Super Thrive since I took off the shade cloth and they have to adjust again. Mind you they still have a low tunnel over them and another layer of row cover directly on them but I am now weaning them off so much protection since they have gone through their first adjustment well and I see new growth. I also started them on ‘Companion’, an organic fungicide, which helps ward off fungal diseases. All these things go in a bucket of water so it’s easy to apply. They are still taking 1/2 gallon of water a day. I also put chop sticks over the stem (see photo), making an ‘x’ with them, gently pushing the vine down towards the ground. Push the sticks with the plant a little farther towards the ground every few days until the plant is lying on the ground. If you let them stay tall, they could snap off in the wind so I must train them to lay low! This pumpkin plant in the picture comes from the same one that last year grew the 2010 NM State Record. I also have it’s cousin plant (who comes from a bigger pumpkin), but this plant is already much bigger than it’s cousin. I love this seed!