Giant Pumpkin Facts and Questions

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Hi, I was wondering if you could help me with the fertilizer. Our pumpkin is currently 110 cm in circumference. Its growth in this is between 2-3 cm per day. I got some of the nitrophos fertilizer and I was wondering how often and how much I should give

Hiya, thanks for the question. To promote good fruit growth, it is best to wait until the pumpkin has fully set, this is around when the pumpkin reached the size of a basketball. I would apply the Nitrophos about once a week at the most.

Once the pumpkin is this size you can change your fertilser to a good potassium-rich fertilser. This will promote pumpkin growth, and is best used with other types of fertilisers. It is also best to be careful when using this, as it may make the pumpkin grow faster then it can cope with, making the pumpkin split open.

I’m growing four giant pumpkins.But I wonder to know if it can be eaten and how to make to it.

Giant pumpkins don’t make the best eating pumpkin, they are very watery and not very tasty at all. Plus if you have been using fertiliser on them, they may have some of this inside of them.

Cows and pigs really like to eat them though.

Hi, my pumpkin puts on a good 4cm circumference in a day if sunny.Is this good?Its 120cm at the moment. I don,t know if this is good or not. Would potassium food make a difference?. Thanks, Johnathon in ChCh

That’s pretty good growth, when the pumpkin is around 70-90 days old you should switch to potassium-based fertiliser, which will promote pumpkin growth.

Hi, my pumpkin seedling has started to go mad and is growing fast ( although still a long way from setting a pumpkin), But it has these small bright yellow dots on some of its leaves. what could they be and should be worried? also at this early stage what should I be feeding/ doing with it to get the best out of my pumpkin? Also FYI I have it on a mound with black polythene, ice been making sure it doesn’t cook in the full sun recently but it seems to be loving it. Cheers

If it is just a small amount of yellow on some of the leaves, this is usually just a natural thing that occurs. Looking at my pumpkins I have small patches of yellow on some of the leaves, while the rest are a nice green colour. At the early stages you should be applying a good Nitrogen based fertiliser, I recommend and use a product called Nitrophoska Blue, its small blue pellets, and is produced by a few different suppliers, the cheapest one is usually at Bunnings, and is made by Egmont. The nitrogen fertiliser helps with root, vine and leaf growth. And will make your plant a nice green colour (could help with the yellow spots) but……… it can also damage the plant if too much is used, try to avoid any getting on the leaves or vine as it can burn them. Also too much, and it can slow down the development of the flowers. So finding that fine line is a balancing act.

For a bit more info on fertiliser and at what stage to use them, check out the how-to page, and click on fertilising. As for the polythene, if you have a small amount on the mound that should be OK, but as the vines travel out, you really want to bury them, this allows the small vines to get a few more nutrients in the soil and help with evaporation loss from the sun, once your fruit is set and growing, this is when you should look at providing some sort of shelter for it.

Hi, I was wondering would it be OK / a good idea to grow your pumpkin on top of a tarp or on a crate so when you do want to move it to the competition you can easily? or would the pumpkin hate it ?cheers

This is a totally personal preference. To me, it makes sense to have something underneath it to raise it up off the ground, where it may rot, or an animal might easily attack it. Last year mine grew on a paving stone, this year I might use some polystyrene sheeting. Which will be more flexible as the pumpkin grows. It’s really up to you as there is no best practice for it. Let me know what you decide, and how it works for you.

I know you have answered a couple of questions regarding eating the giant pumpkin, I was just wondering if you harvest them before they get too big do they make good eating?

Hiya, I’ve heard stories of them being used in hospital meals in Australia. And I guess the only way to find out is to try, the only thing I would suggest is to only use one grown organically without the use of chemicals or fertilisers. If you do try it, let me know how it tastes.

My pumpkin plants are young and growing strong, they don’t have any pumpkins or flowers yet. However, they have been getting tiny holes surrounded by a slight yellow patch. What could be causing this and what can I do to prevent it?

This could be a lack of water or any number of things. It’s a hard one to pinpoint to one problem, the best idea is to keep an eye on it, and hope it doesn’t get worse.

Hi My pumpkins are only getting to about 60cm Dia and then drying off is there something I can do to stop this, and do I just let them creep all over the ground or should I prune them back. Just new at this

Unfortunately, they can be a bit like that, and stop growing for no apparent reason. Once they get to the size of a basketball, they are usually “set” and will grow until maturity, there isn’t too much you can do, as a lot of it comes down to pure luck. With the vines, you can either let them grow if you have the room, letting them pick up any water and nutrients they may find. Or once the pumpkin is set, trim them back a little bit, so the plant puts its energy in the pumpkin, and not into growing more vines.

HI, I was wondering how big should a good sized pumpkin be by early January? mines currently 170cm in circumference and putting on 4-6cm a day. is this OK?

Every single person will have a different size and idea where they want their pumpkin to be at. To me, that sounds like a good size, and if it putting on that much, it is doing really well.

What causes giant pumpkins to rot underneath once they get to the size of a basketball.

The most usual cause of this would be they are continually damp underneath, so taking care when watering is helpful. Also placing something underneath, like a piece of plywood, polystyrene or something similar will help keep it off the ground.

At what stage do you start trimming the vines back and how far do you trim them back

Once your pumpkins have set, and you have decided on which one, or ones you want to grow to maturity, you can start thinking about trimming back vines. There is a lot of opinion on what to do and what not to do. I personally don’t trim back much of the vine but do trim off all flowers that appear after my pumpkins are growing. Growing vines use energy that may be used to grow a pumpkin, but the vines are also a place where nutrients can be collected. Anything over 3 – 4m may be a waste, so pruning back should be fine.

Hi there, We have been growing pumpkins on our own until now, where I have discovered the 1st of two has rotted underneath (due to dampness as stated above I’m guessing) and the other has unfortunately been snapped completely off! I’m now trying to figure out what to do with it? Do I put it somewhere to mature or dry or something?

Depending on how big the pumpkin was when it snapped off if it was still little and yellowish, there probably isn’t much you can do. It wouldn’t have formed properly on the inside. If it was near maturity, and quite big, you might be able to store it in a cool dark place. All depending on what you want to do with it. If it is no longer connected to the vine at all, it will not mature anymore.

My pumpkin is around 40kg at the moment. It is growing at around 2kg a day. Will the pumpkin have exponential growth from now on? ie. 3kgs a day then 5kgs etc…? Or will it remain constant?

Generally, pumpkins have a big growth period, and yours might still have that period to come. As it grows, the weight increases will decrease, and slowly taper off.

As with anything pumpkin related, everyone is different, and anything can happen, so while there is general ideas of what will happen, you just have to wait and see.

Hello, I have three main vines with one growing a pumpkin on it. Would you suggest removing the other two main vines? Or do they aid in the growth of the pumpkin on the other vine?

Personally, I would leave the three vines, as any small vines they put out can help pick up nutrients. Trim them when they get to the 2.5 – 3m length, and burying what is left can help.

We planted the normal crown pumpkins (not giant ones) The strangest thing has happened. Amongst the crown ones, we have giant yellowy orange ones growing. Four of them, the biggest is about 12kg. We do not know where it came from as the seeds are our own crowns from last year. How this happened we are at a loss. have you heard of anything like this happening?

This is the first time someone has told me that this has happened, but I do know that it can occur. Pumpkins can self-pollinate from the male to the female, or you can cross plants to produce the fruit (pumpkin). So what has probably happened, is that a bee has taken pollen from a different strain of pumpkin somewhere else, and deposited onto your pumpkin resulting in the different pumpkins, a very nice surprise indeed.

Hi, we are growing a giant pumpkin for a primary school competition, and until now it has been growing well, we have trimmed off any other sprouting pumpkins to allow this one to grow to its ‘biggest’ potential. The pumpkin is now showing signs of black mould, the top quarter of it is soft and significantly black. Reading your other F&Q’s it appears to be suffering from dampness (we do water in the evening) or similarly sunburn (we are in Nelson and it is in the sun most of the day, wish we had read up on both of these potential issues before now). The bottom is clear and healthy. Is there anything we can do to avoid it spreading or further damaging the pumpkin in the hope that it will grow bigger and survive for the competition in April? The rest of the plant is thriving and continues to overrun the veggie patch! Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated!

Hiya, unfortunately from what you have described you might not be able to do anything 🙁 the sun shouldn’t cause it, as the sun will just slow its growth, or may contribute to a split. Pumpkins are a very fickle plant and can easily start to rot at any time. I would wait and see how it goes, but I don’t think there is a solution, and I’m not sure if it would last until April. Hopefully, it can hold together, good luck.

We are growing two giant pumpkin plants for our local A and P show competition. Both plants have three pumpkins each. Do we take off the smaller pumpkins and let the biggest one on each plant grow?

This is a personal choice, most people will take off the smaller ones and let one big one, but the new thinking is the plant can support multiple pumpkins.

Hi there. My pumpkin had been doing well, but now has two issues! Firstly it hasn’t been growing in a good spot and has grown onto its own stem on the side away from the main root. The pumpkin is still connected to the main stem by a small segment. It seems to be growing still, so I’m hoping to keep it going a bit longer. The main problem though is that it has developed a white patch on the top where it had contacted the black shade cloth. I’ve raised the cloth, but some mould spots have developed. The white patch is otherwise firm. Can I treat the mould at all? The pumpkin is around 60kg, by far the biggest I’ve ever grown. I don’t want to give up on it if I can keep it going. Thanks, Pete.

Hopefully, the mould spots haven’t become too bad, you can gently brush out the mould with a soft toothbrush. And then apply a fungicide, hopefully, it can help.

Hi Sam, Help our stem started to go soggy so we have just cut off the pumpkin but the underside of the pumpkin is slightly soggy. My 9 yr old son the owner of the pumpkins is devastated can we do anything to it to make it last to our local comp. he so wanted to enter it. I have the soggy side lying face to the sun now. perhaps we could wash it with something. Thanks

Hiya, I think the best option is leaving it in the sun, and hopefully, it will dry out. If it was just the stem I would say gently brush it with a soft toothbrush and then apply some fungicide/sulphur Hope everything goes ok for you guys if not, there is always next year.

Hi! Some of our pumpkins when cut open have very hard white patches in them. On the outside of the skin where this is happening there is a blotch also. What is this from do you think? Thanks

Interesting question, off the top of my head I’m not too sure, it might just be something genetic specific to that plant.

Its the start of sept and I have just planted a seed for our family competition I hope to plant out into prepared sites mid to the end of October we are just north of Christchurch , what do you think of my timing ?? our last years best was 97 kg.


Your timing might be a little bit early, but it shouldn’t cause too many problems. Once the plant emerges, two weeks from that date is usually around when it is time to move to the planting location. Make sure the seedling has 3 fully developed leaves formed when transplanting the look for the first fully formed leaf, usually the 2nd or 3rd one, the vine will travel in the opposite direction of this. My two concerns would be leaving the seedlings in the pots too long where they might get root bound, which would cause problems as they wouldn’t have the best start to growing, so once they looking good, put them in the ground. The other thing you need to watch, especially due to your location. Is the temperature of the soil, and the potential of frost. As they might be in the ground a little earlier than expected, make sure you have something to help protect them during the nights. It can be a simple home made greenhouse, or as something as simple as a cardboard box, which I used a couple of years ago.

Hi there, just getting my seeds started now and aim to have them in the ground by labour weekend. My question for you is, last year I had some of them vines split along the length. My biggest pumpkin grew on this vine so it wasn’t terminal, but I would like to know why it would have done that so I can avoid it this time. Thanks Tahl

Hi Tahl, thanks for getting in touch. I too have had a split vine, so have tried finding answers, this is what I have found.

The three main causes are from too much fertiliser, inconsistent watering, or genetics. It’s not an exact science, and it just seems to happen randomly. The main thing to do is make sure it stays dry, and heals up. As to how much this can effect the growth on a pumpkin is unsure, with various theories. I think if you have it happen again, you will just have to live with it, and make sure you don’t get any stem split, as this can be fatal.

How big will my pumpkin get if it is half giant pumpkin and half-crown pumpkin?

Hi there, that is an interesting question and a problem which the top growers try and minimise by pollinating the plants themselves and making sure other types are not near by. It all comes down to genetics, and it will be almost unknown until it has grown fully, hopefully it has more giant traits than normal pumpkin.

Hey, my giant pumpkin vine is growing like crazy, the main vine is at least 5 or 6m long. I’ve had a few female flowers come and go but still no male ones open yet. Can you help? Also, I just noticed today that the last half a metre of the main vine and leaves have shrivelled and gone soggy. Any answers? Thanks.

Hmm, interesting, sometimes the male and female parts don’t always appear at the same time, and sometimes it is just a waiting game. For the end parts of the vine, I am wondering if it is dead, or got an infection. I would cut it off at the next good bit, and see how it goes.

Hi, my giant pumpkin has a main vine around 6 metres, with a couple of secondary vines branching off about 3 metres long. The pumpkins are growing to around twice the size of a golf ball then the ribbing distorts and then goes soft after a couple of days. The first time there were two growing and 1 did this. Immediately after that 3 more started to grow. Now 1 has done this but 2 still seem okay for now. All the pumpkins have grown on the main vine. Is there something lacking in nutrients, an insect problem or something else. I try not to over water the plants and have some plants providing natural shade. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks

Hi there, thanks for the questions. The usual way of truing to eliminate the problem you have is to make sure the watering you are doing is very even across the whole plant, and making sure there is an adequate supply of calcium for the plant to uptake.

This is a very common problem with all pumpkins, and plants from the same family, and it is something I have experienced on all of my plants.

Hi Sam. I have just filed my seeds, put them in wet paper towels and into zip lock plastic bags. They are now sitting in the bay window of my kitchen enjoying the sunshine and have plenty of light. When is the best time to plant them after germinating? Should they be planted into pots of seed raising mix or should they be planted directly into the prepared soil? Leanne

That is an awesome start for them, as soon as they stat showing signs of growth I would put them in pots of seed raising mix. Letting them grow to a seedling has a huge advantage, and that is once you have a seedling with 3 grown leaves, the plant will grow in the direction the middle leaf faces. Which lets you place it the way you want it.

Hi Sam. I am curious to know how many usable seeds there would be inside a “typical” giant pumpkin.

Hi there, that is a good question.

It really can vary between pumpkins. From my experience, I have removed 500 – 600 from a giant pumpkin before, and from what I have read the longer the pumpkin is left on the vine, then the more viable the seeds are from it. Some estimate only 10 – 20% will grow, so it is very much like a lottery. Also, some of the really big pumpkins overseas only have around 100 seeds inside, all comes down to genetics. The only way to find out is to try and grow some.

Need help…. My pumpkins are as big as golf balls and they are rotting off, I really thought they looked healthy … Is it all the rain we have been getting making them rot or does this happen?

Hello, this happens some of the time. Pumpkins can rot very easily, the extra rain may be contributing to the problem but I have had it happen randomly as well. Hopefully, some grow through to full size for you.

Hi! I am trying to grow a giant pumpkin. I have a plant that is healthy with large green leaves, but I have a pumpkin that grew to about the size of a coke can and it has started to rot. I wasn’t sure if it is best to leave it alone or to cut it off the vine. I have another pumpkin that I pollinated 10 days ago. It is about a foot away from the rotting one.

Hi there, I would cut that off to make sure the plant isn’t putting any unneeded growth into that rotting piece. Hopefully, your new pumpkin grows to a “set” size and carries on producing a great pumpkin.

Hi we live on a dairy farm and have some seeds germinating to hopefully grow a giant pumpkin or 10.we have a few warm moist sunny spots where I plan to plant them, in cow effluent eg at edge of effluent ponds etc.will they thrive in this type of soil do you think.thanks

Hello, plants love well matured compost so being near the effluent pond may be beneficial to the plant, but it could also be too many nutrients all at once, I would plant some there and then plant somewhere further away and see which plants do better, only way to find out is to try.

Hi I am growing a giant pumpkin plant and it looks healthy and really green has about 6 leaves and is getting bigger every day. I do however notice that some off the leaves have ting wee pin holes in them do you think something could be eating the leaves? I have hand picked the aphids off and do that most weeks any ideas please help. Thanks

It could be anything from small bugs to something like a deficiency in magnesium in the soil. It does happen, but as long as the leaves are mainly healthy, they should be fine.

Hi my daughters pumpkin is finally making a pumpkin that is now about the size of a softball. We planted the seed a few months back, wondering if 3 months will be long enough for it to grow really big. What kind of growth can happen in 3 months? Thanks

A pumpkins lifecycle is around 160 days, if you have a pumpkin that is around that size, that should be around at least 60 – 70 days already. So by my calculations you have roughly 90-100 days of time to do all the growing, so 3 months will be just about right.

Hi there this is regarding a pumpkin that was rotting underneath it is 46cms round but I don’t think it will survive another one has started growing not far away from it so I will leave it a few days then take it off I thought it was going to be a really good one!!!!

Even the best-looking pumpkins can sometimes still fail, luckily they grow a few pumpkins so there is always a back up one.

Hi there I have a pumpkin that was growing really well but we have had lots of rain and not a lot of sun so I noticed it has a rotten patch underneath am I best too take it off and hope another one grows or leave it alone I have put straw under it Thanks

Hi there, thanks for the question. If I was in that position I would remove it, as any rotten patch underneath don’t recover too well, I’d be interested in knowing what size the pumpkin is, feel free to send me an email any time.


Hi there, all you can really do is leave it and hope for the best, hopefully the crack stays intact, but due to the rapid growth of the pumpkin it will probably split open, if it does split open cut it off the vine straight away, and let another one grow.

Hi, I have a pumpkin that is about 120kg and 30 days old and have noticed that the blossom end has started to rot so I cut it back to clean tissue and applied a sulfur dust. should it heal? ALSO, have a smaller one that has grown onto the stem and the stem has split..can it still mature to a giant size only using half the stem tissue to take up water and nutrients, tHANKS

Hi there, the sulphur dust should hopefully help. Hopefully it heals up and the pumpkin carries on growing. As for the stem split, it sometimes happens, but the pumpkin will still get some nutrients and keep growing, the question of how much it effects the pumpkin can sometimes be a bit unknown.

Hey, Sam, my giant pumpkin fruit is 3 weeks old weighing 40 Kgs but the tip of the main vine was broken after growing 2 meters beyond the fruit. Would that affect it’s growth? Knowing that it has many secondary vines!

Hi there, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Instead of putting its energy into growing vine, it will now convert that into the pumpkin. Most people will stop the vine growing at a predetermined length anyways. This might just be a bit premature. I hope your pumpkin continues to grow well for you.

Where would I get some seeds from, please? First-time grower and keen to give it ago. I am based in Oratia Auckland and would the conditions be ok

Just ask a local grower, I have emailed you back and have some seeds I can send you if you give me your address.

If you grow a giant pumpkin-like one that won this year, 2015. Do the seeds inside also grow bigger or stay the normal size? Always wondered, never seen any shown. Thanks.

The seeds pretty much stay the same size amongst most of the giant pumpkins.  Sure there are slight variations, but nothing major.  I had a seed from a 2008lb pumpkin and it was the same size as all the other giant pumpkin seeds.

Hi, I put a shade cover over my pumpkin and it has been growing well. Our weigh in is April 9 and when dop I take the cover off?

If it’s still growing well and you don’t mind that it is whatever color it is, I’d leave the cover on the pumpkin.  There is no guarantee it will orange up at all or in time for your weigh off.

How deep does the pumpkin need to be?

I’m going to assume this refers to when you plant your seedling out into your pumpkin patch.

If you have kept your seedling nice and stocky while germinating your seed, you should plant it up until the leaves on your seedling.

If you have ended up with a leggy and long seedling, you will probably have to plant just the bottom part of the seedling, planting the long stem into the soil could lead to it rotting, and the plant dying.

How much sunlight does an Atlantic giant pumpkin need?

The plant itself really benefits from having exposure to a lot of sun. The leaves of the plant turn all the sun into growth via photosynthesis.

The pumpkins and the growing tip of the main vine will need protection from the sun, too much sun can cause problems, from burning the tip and stopping growth to drying out the skin of the pumpkin and causing splits later on in the season.

Picking a spot that has full day sun is much better than an area that only gets partial sun.

We had a 300 lb pumpkin for decoration, now season is over we took all the giant seeds out, can we eat those seeds?

There is no reason you can’t roast up the pumpkin seeds, they will just be bigger than normal pumpkin seeds. Here is a great how to on roasting pumpkin seeds.

What is the best fertilizer for a giant pumpkin? How often should I fertilize?

Fertilsing is such a big topic with so many answers, but here is a general layout for you.

If you have had soil tests done,you will need to amend your soil to get your patch into the best condition possible. Talking to other growers is the best way to get advice on this. Head on over to and look at their message board.

If you haven’t had a soil test, then my suggestion for a good all round fertiliser that can help your plant would be a fish and seaweed based product. There are a lot to choose from. Follow the directions on the bottle for application rates.

For more information around fertilisers check out the how to page.

I have one acre sloping land how do I start growing these giant pumpkins?

The first step will be patch prep. If you can soil test do that, if not, lots of organic material in the off season to break down before the season starts.

My giant pumpkins clasped when they were the size of a basket ball. Organic Everything fans circulation, followed all the instructions.covered green house top. Plz help.

Giant pumpkins can sometime collapse or rot for no apparent reason. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, was it genetic? Environmental? Something else?

This is where keeping detailed notes during the growing season can really help you out in the future.

Must giant pumpkins be Pollinated by hand ?how do i do it ? Thanks

Giant pumpkins don’t have to be pollinated by hand. But it is the better option, it’s quite easy to do and can lead to better results and you’ll know exactly what your pumpkin was pollinated with. Check out this section of the website for more information.

Ive been told to prune off some blossoms Are the best chances for a successful giant close to the main stump or further down the vine?

Most people try and get a giant pumpkin to set around 12-15 feet down from the stump on the main vine. This isn’t always possible and you might need to have it closer or on a secondary vine.

Giant pumpkins are “set” when they reach the size of a basketball, so it is is best to wait until you have pumpkins that size before committing to the best one and cutting off other blossoms, or pumpkins that aren’t in the best location.

I grew a giant pumpkin seed from the Circleville giant pumpkin growers at the pumpkin show and got squash and did not plant any squash why did i get squash.

Hi there, that’s a bummer about ending up with a squash and not a giant pumpkin. There are two reasons I could see this happening.

The seed was accidentally given out as a giant pumpkin seed but was actually a squash seed. It might pay to check if they were also giving out squash seed as well, or if anyone else has had the same problem.

The other possibility is that the pumpkin was either pollinated from a squash, and the squash is more dominant, or the pumpkin the seed came from had a parent that was squash.

Can I bleach wash my pumpkin while it’s on the vine or will this hurt its growth?

Thanks for your question

I haven’t come across too many people wiping down a pumpkin while it is on the vine if everything is looking good.

If there are soft spots people usually scoop those out, use peroxide to kill any bugs, and then use sulphur and a fan to dry out that soft spot.

If you were to use bleach to wipe down your pumpkin, it’s best to use a 9 part water to 1 part bleach.

If a giant pumpkin fell on your head would it kill you?

Hiya, thanks for the question.

I think there is a very high probability of being killed if a giant pumpkin fell on your head. Of course it would depend on the size of the pumpkin and the height it fell from.

If it didn’t kill you, I’m sure it would do some serious damage to you.

How soon can I fertilize after my giant pumpkin has germinated and and what kind of fertilizer to use thanks.

I don’t think there is much of a need to have a waiting period after pollination. I would stick to your current fertlising application times if you have one. If you don’t I’d just work with once a week application to start with.

As for the type of fertiliser to apply, you will want to move from a more Nitrogen heavy fertiliser which is great for root and vine development over to one that has a bit more phosphorous as this helps with the flowering and fruit setting stage.  Then onto more potassium for the fruit growing stage.

For new growers it’s easy to go overboard with fertiliser, a little frequently is best, otherwise you are either throwing money away.

If you don’t have a soil test to know exactly what to target, I’d go with a balanced fish or seaweed fertiliser. It will give your plant nutrients, it’s easy to apply without overdoing it.

Hi there, I am organising a pumpkin festival for next year and I am wanting to know what the biggest pumpkin variety there is that is tasty and edible, the smallest variety that is also edible and any other suggestions you might have for a pumpkin growing festival?

Great to hear you are organising an event, they are a lot of fun.

For the pumpkins the small ones are easy, any of them can be eaten. Even the baby miniatures which a lot of people don’t realise, can be a great individual serving and can even be used a a bowl.

I’ve got a bunch of seeds that fit that on the website here.

Kings Seeds is the other place to check out, I’d look at this section on their website for other small pumpkins

These are the easier ones to grow, especially ones like the Baby Jack size, you get multiple pumpkins on a plant and the failure rate is very low, ideal for new growers.

As for the large pumpkins, I guess technically they are all edible, just when they are really large they are very tasteless and very watery.

I know of a private event held every year where they grow the Show Winner variety, not for eating, but more for ease of weighing and transporting.

If I was just going for an eating one, I’d probably go with one of the Heirloom ones that Kings has, some of them look really cool and are good eating from what I have heard.

I have random yellow spots developing on several leafs on my atlantic giant pumkin plant. evetually these yellow spots penetrate through the leaf and cause edge browning of that area. There is no downey fluffy material underneath.
Help in identifying please.

Thanks for getting in touch, bit hard to figure out what’s going on without any photos, but it could be fungus issue, heat stress, over or under watering.

If your on Facebook, have a look at the group backyard giant pumpkin growers, lots of great people on there, and people in your area that will be able to help you out.

After three months of healthy plant growth and 23 days after pollination, our dill Atlantic giant pumpkin had stagnated at 72lbs (Sorry we are in the US). The fruit itself has been mostly shaded but may have gotten too much late afternoon sun and caused early ripening. Or, is it normal for the fruit to start ripening just 23 days after pollination? Is there anything we can do to slow the ripening and continue growth, or is it just done? Thanks!

Thanks for getting in touch, that doesn’t sound too normal. For whatever reason it seems to have stopped growing. There isn’t a way to slow down ripening as far as I am aware. When something similar happened to myself, the pumpkin was rotting in the inside. I’d keep it shaded as much as you can.

Giant pumpkins can do things for any number of reasons. Genetics to environment, or something else.

What is a good name of a potassium base fertilizer that I can pick up at my local store?
Should I be clipping all the flowers off at this time?
Any other good hints are very welcome…
My pumpkin is growing fine getting bigger every day. Im impressed This is my third year at trying my hand at growing BIG pumpkins. Thank You

I’m unsure of what products will be available to you, as I’m based in New Zealand. But I definitely recommend going to your local store and checking out what they have available to you.

The clipping of flowers thing I feel is a personal choice, no one around here really bothers with it, as we don’t get pests like vine bore beetle here. So I’m not sure if that is one reason people do it.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, if you are on Facebook check out the group Backyard Giant Pumpkin Growers, it’s a large group with a lot of experts in there that will be able to give you more detailed answers.

Will my partially pollinated giant pumpkin still grow giant?

Thanks for the question, The more pollen the better as it improves the chances of pollination occurring. But the only way to know is to see if the pumpkin starts growing. It is important to have backup pumpkins ready, just in case these one’s don’t grow.

My Pumpkin has set and is now about 25 days DAP. The Pumpkin is growing very slowly compared to my previous efforts and is also has slightly wrinkly skin. The Pumpkin is not going soft at all so it’s definitely set. Is it likely to grow any bigger? I normally would have it football sized by now. It’s probably about the size of a mango at the moment.

Thanks for getting in touch, that doesn’t sound good about the wrinkly skin, and with the slow growth I think the pumpkin isn’t actually going to grow. They can stay solid for quite a while before rotting, and can sometimes have problems underneath before showing more obvious signs.

Hopefully you have another pumpkin on your plant that will do better

I too was wondering about the opinions on eating giant pumpkins. I grew my 1st last year, huge beautiful plant that produced 1 large 70-ish lb pumpkin.

I did cut out About 10 lbs of it, roasted it, purée and made the most delicious soup.
Roasting the slices sealed in the juices that turned to sweet sugar. It was like honeydew juice once you boiled it down. Then of course a Jamaican smoked turkey neck pumpkin soup was fantastic. I only wished I had used the whole pumpkin for food or brought it to a soup kitchen.

Thanks for the comment on eating giant pumpkins. Really interesting to know, I need to try using more of the pumpkin this upcoming season and see what I can come up with.

I am growing a giant pumpkin for the first time and it is going really good so far. I have a pumpkin about 300 LBS now. But the leaves around the stump are all turning yellow and getting crispy. The rest of the plant lookd great. Is this normal for this far into the season? Or what should I be doing differently? Thank you!

Awesome to hear about your pumpkin. The leaves around the stump will be the oldest ones on the plant. Yup, totally normal for these very old leaves to die off over time.

If I live in Alabama, do I need to plant it in a peat pot indoors or would it be better to wait a week or two until it is warmer so that the plant doesn’t experience the few days of “transplant stress” where it grows slowly?

Sorry for asking another, but as far as vines go, how far away from the pumpkin should they be allowed? If I start my pumpkin around 12 feet down the vine, then turn it, should I stop the main vine once it goes back close to the original roots, and should secondary vines be stopped after 10 or 12 feet as well?

I’m not sure if you are starting with your seedling in a small pot, and then are thinking of going to a peat pot, then going outside.

I would suggest the least amount of movement as possible when it comes to transplanting. So just use the one pot to begin with.

The trick will be to try not to let them get root bound if it is still cold outside and you aren’t using any heating cables out in the patch. I’m unsure of what the temps are like in Alabama.

Make sure you harden the seedlings off though when you are ready to transplant, this helps a lot.

As for the vine question. A lot of this comes down to personal preference.

There is a balance of getting as many vines and leaves grown early on, then getting the plant to shift to growing the pumpkin.

I myself would stop the main vine when it gets back close to the original roots.

For secondary vines, these were the answers given by top growers at the GPC Convention a couple of years ago.

  • Ideal situation for Andy is having 10 secondary’s on each side of the vine. Then pollinating.
  • Doesn’t measure the distance. Just checks it after the season when tidying up the vines.
  • His patch size was: 900 square feet. Either 30 x 30 or 29 x 31 or something similar.

This is his cone termination strategy.

By the 1st weekend in August 90% of all vines have been terminated

  • Main vine will be left right up until the first weekend in September if there is space for it
  • Maybe one other vine left to grow until then as well

Hope that helps, I know I don’t have a definitive answer, but there are different options out there to try.

I have a massive vine, probably 25 foot long with about 40 secondary vines ranging 5-10 foot long and still growing fast, but the pumpkins are getting softball size then stop growing. There are still some female blooms, but im not sure if any more will form on the main vine. Do you have any advice for me and is it okay to grow one on a secondary vine if I am forced to? Thank you for your help

Sounds like a great growing plant. Bummer the pumpkins are aborting on the vine. I’d make sure to use a well rounded fertiliser. Something with Phosphorous which helps with fruit setting, then using something that has potassium in it which can help with fruit growth.

The plant could be stressed as well. Make sure to bury as many of your vines as well and have consistent watering.

Yes it is fine to grow on a secondary vine. Some people have grown massive pumpkins on a secondary.

I have a pumpkin that set kinda late (July 12th) due to all the rain we got in June. It weighs about 65lbs at 40 days. My questions are when does the pumpkin typically stop growing? Is 65lbs at 40 days typical or really low? Is it still possible to get 150+lbs? I bought the seed from Ron Wallace so i know it has good genetics. Ive been fertilizing but i dont think enough. Ron recently told me to fertilize heavily with potassium 3 times a week because the plant was showing signs of potassium deficiency. Ive just started. Im using RAW 0-0-50 plus humic/folic acid 0-0-19. Im growing in 80sqft so my plant isnt huge but its a good size.

A pumpkin will slow down and stop growing around 90 – 110 days after pollination. Around days 30 – 55 is where most of the growth will occur.

But the harsh reality is a pumpkin can stop growing at any time. For almost any reason.

To answer your question is 65lbs at day 40 typical or really low, well it depends on who is growing it and where they are growing it. I’d be happy just to have a pumpkin at the end of the season.

I’m not sure if you had soil tests done and know what’s going on with your soil. But it could be out of whack with all of the rain you had. Nutrients could have washed away.

Potassium is what the plant needs to grow the pumpkin as big as it can. I’d expect to see some movement after you’ve applied that. So see how it goes.

I’ve grown in crazy small areas with really good genetics and without the soil being the best it could be, didn’t get the results I was hoping for.

I hope your season improves, make sure to take notes on what you’ve done this season and when things have occurred. You can build upon this knowledge each season.

I want to cook pumpkin & zuccini flowers. But I dont want to hinder the growth of the fruits from it. Since there are a lot of male flowers I was wondering if I could limit to plucking only some male flowers and leave the rest to pollinate the female flowers. Could I also pluck the female flowers too once the fruit has formed below them?

If you were to pollinate the female flowers yourself by hand, you could pick most of the male flowers off and just leave the couple you need to do that.

Yes you can also pluck the female flowers off after they have been pollinated.

We have a giant pumpkin that deer have taken a bite out of. I wonder if filling the hole with beeswax would work well or cauterizing the wound would be best.

That’s no good about the deer taking a bite. Anytime there is a piece of pumpkin missing while it is growing this is the general steps people take to help heal it.

Apply some hydrogen peroxide to the wound. This helps kill any bacteria that might be found on it.

Apply sulfur to the area. This will help dry it out.

Lots of growers will also point a fan at the area. This helps dry it out faster and keep it dry.

The only concern after doing these steps is the amount of growth the pumpkin still has to do. The area depending on the size of the problem might split open as the pumpkin grows.

Hi. Im in the northeast. PA.
I had grown a Park Seed giant pumpkin last year. Maybe 75 lbs. my pumpkin does not double in size daily or grow significantly. It grows slowly.

How or what should i use to cause it to increase in size significantly. Is it a combo of fertilizer and water.

We are having hot weather without much precipitation.

I noticed last year when i watered my plant it may have caused the vine to split. I mounded some soil over it and that kept it growing. Is that a good idea before any splits in the vine.

Thanks for any advice.
Im growing one pumpkin. Got a couple vines but only one is doing well.

A lot of time when pumpkins aren’t growing the plant is under stress, so the growth part isn’t really happening.

Consistent watering can help. If the plant goes from completely dry to over watered it can stress the plant out as well.

You want to bury as much of the vine as you can. When buried a small root will appear underneath each leaf, this helps the plant take up more nutrients and can help anchor the plant.

Vines to sometimes split, but the vine will still work as intended, so I don’t worry too much about it if it happens.

A fertilizer with a higher potassium content will help promote fruit growth.

Hope the rest of your season goes well.

General Facts about Giant Pumpkins

Where does the word pumpkin come from?
The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, ‘pepon’, which means a ‘large melon.’

What’s the world record for heaviest pumpkin?
As of 2016, the heaviest pumpkin weighs in at 1190kg’s or 2323 pounds and was grown by Mathias Willemijns from Belgium

Should I protect my pumpkin from the sun?

Just like us, pumpkins don’t like it if they are in the sun all the time. It can toughen the skin at the top of the pumpkin, and cause splitting if the growth is too fast for the pumpkin to handle. Shade cloth or something similar will help with this. I have previously used an old sun umbrella to provide some shade. Check out the Shade section in the How To page to learn more

Can you eat a giant pumpkin?
Technically yes you can eat them, but they are made of mainly water and are very bland in taste, also with the pumpkins growing so fast and sucking up nutrients and fertilisers it might contain some nasty things you may not want to eat.

What colour will my pumpkin be?
Your pumpkin can range in colour from a pale green/white colour through to a shade of orange. It doesn’t really matter what colour it is, as long as it grows large.

I’ve heard of something called Mycorrhizae, what is it?
Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungus that is added to the ground and makes ultra fine roots come out off the plant increasing nutrient uptake of the plant.

Can big max pumpkin and jack-o-lantern pumpkin can be eaten?

While most people won’t eat these pumpkins I think they would be OK to eat. Much better than the really big giant pumpkins.

Hi! I’m starting pumpkin seeds indoors. Do I need to fertilize them at all while planted in the seedling mix or are they ok until transplant? Thanks!

No I wouldn’t give them anything in the early stages. The seed contains everything it needs to get started, and the seedling mix will be helpful as well.

I’d just make sure to not over water them, but also don’t let them dry out. Then transplant them out, and watch them grow.

If you did want to give them something, I would give them a light dose of liquid seaweed.

What type of seeds do I need?
The type of seed you need to grow a giant pumpkin is the Atlantic Giant variety, botanical name Cucurbita maxima.

Where do I get my giant pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds can be bought from a few different places, TrademeKings Seeds, or maybe you know someone that has some seeds from a giant pumpkin. Check out the Sourcing Giant Pumpkin Seeds Page for more info.

Where do I get giant pumpkins seedlings from?
You can either grow them yourself from seeds, or you can get these from garden centres.

Is there anything I can do to help the seed?
Pumpkin seeds are very hard, some people file the edges of the seed to help it grow faster, also soaking them in water overnight is said to soften them up. Check out the Seed Starting page for more information.

How come some of my seeds haven’t germinated?
Pumpkin seeds can rot very easily, so it is best to make sure you don’t over-water them in the early stages. Because of this, it is best to plant more than one seed to have a backup. You can easily get rid of the weaker looking plants once they are growing.

Can I use the seeds from this year’s giant pumpkin for growing next year? If so how do I prepare and store them?
You can use your seeds from this year for next year. Read about saving them on this page

When is the best time to plant?
The best time to plant here in New Zealand is around the end of October.

How deep does the pumpkin need to be?
I’m going to assume this refers to when you plant your seedling out into your pumpkin patch.

If you have kept your seedling nice and stocky while germinating your seed, you should plant it up until the leaves on your seedling.

If you have ended up with a leggy and long seedling, you will probably have to plant just the bottom part of the seedling, planting the long stem into the soil could lead to it rotting, and the plant dying.

How long does germination take?
Germination of your seed can take from 3 to 10 days.

How long does it take to grow a giant pumpkin?
On average it should take around 160 days to grow a giant pumpkin. Check out the growth cycle page to see when growth occurs.

How come I don’t have any female flowers on my plant?
Female flowers always come to the party later than the male flowers so be patient and they will appear soon.

Do I need to keep weeding my garden?
In the very early stages, while you are waiting for your seed or seedling to grow, weeding the garden is very important as it removes any competition for nutrients with the pumpkin.

Which way will my vines grow?
Your vine will grow opposite the first true leaf, which is the middle leaf once the two that were in the seed have spread open.

How much sunlight does an Atlantic giant pumpkin need?
The plant itself really benefits from having exposure to a lot of sun. The leaves of the plant turn all the sun into growth via photosynthesis.

The pumpkins and the growing tip of the main vine will need protection from the sun, too much sun can cause problems, from burning the tip and stopping growth to drying out the skin of the pumpkin and causing splits later on in the season.

Picking a spot that has full day sun is much better than an area that only gets partial sun.

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