For some people you may be wondering why would you want to transport a giant pumpkin? Well here’s the most common reasons for doing this.
- You need to take your giant pumpkin to a competition to get weighed
- You want to take your pumpkin somewhere to show it to someone
- You need to transport it to dispose of it (after getting the seeds out of it of course)
This page breaks down the different approaches you could take depending on the size of your giant pumpkin.
When to Move Your Giant Pumpkins
Giant pumpkins can start losing moisture once they are cut from the vine. You want to cut them from the vine as close as possible to the event you are entering.
You’ll need to consider the best time to do this for you. Depending on how much time you have, distance you need to travel and who can help you with moving and what needs to take place to load the pumpkins.
When cutting the pumpkin off the vine you want to leave some of the vine attached. These can be covered in wet towels. Or have containers filled with water attached. This can help slow down the moisture loss. Once arrived at your competition these can be removed and the vines and stem trimmed back to within guidelines (important if you are going to a GPC weigh-off)
Make sure you have good access
Work out where you need to take your pumpkin to. Are you taking it to a vehicle? Or are you just moving it from where it is to another location on the property?
- Make sure there are no tripping hazards
- Is there is enough space to get the pumpkin out of the area, and any vehicles or machinery can make it in
- Remove any vines that are going to be in the way
Communication is key
No matter if it is small giant pumpkins or some of the huge ones, communication is key.
When moving or lifting giant pumpkins if something doesn’t seem right communicate it. If you need to put the pumpkin back down, make sure to say it and get everyone to work together to do it safely.
The grower of the pumpkin has the final say if they are happy for it to be moved. Remember you want to keep the pumpkin intact and make it arrive at it’s destination on one piece.
Lifting Small Giant Pumpkins
For the small end of the giant pumpkin scale you will probably just need people to move your pumpkin. You’ll need enough people to move or lift your pumpkin, more people the better.
Items that can be used to help move or lift a small giant pumpkin:
- A normal tarp
- An old bed sheet
- A purpose built lifting tarp
Whatever you are using make sure it is large enough. If it is too small it makes lifting a pumpkin awkward with a risk of squashing fingers or hands possible. It also leads to people bending in an unnatural way to move pumpkins which could lead to injury.
Custom made tarps can hold heavier weights and also have hand holds around the edges.
How heavy a pumpkin can you lift with just people power?
With strong enough people you’d be surprised how heavy a pumpkin you can lift.
It is a lot easier to move a pumpkin around just off the ground then lifting it in or out of a car, a truck or trailer. Keep that in mind.
For actual weights. I’m going to say that around 180kg / 400lbs is the maximum you’d want to do with people.
Like I said, it’s all doable with enough strong people. But it’s more awkward and there’s potential for the pumpkin to drop, get damaged or someone to get hurt.
Technique for moving a small giant pumpkin
- Tilt your pumpkin to one side
- Slide your tarp/sheet underneath the pumpkin
- Roll your pumpkin back towards the other side, pull the tarp/sheet out
- Centre your pumpkin in the centre of the tarp/sheet
- Spread everyone that is lifting evenly around the tarp/sheet
- Communicate on what you are doing and where you are all moving to
- If anyone start losing their grip make sure they say, everyone stopes and puts the pumpkin down gently
- Move it to where you need to go
- If you need or someone needs to have a rest that’s OK
- Lifting a pumpkin and moving it just off the ground is a lot different than lifting a pumpkin up to or off a trailer
- You might be tempted to just pick up a small pumpkin with your hands, if it slips it can be hard to regain control
Lifting Large Giant Pumpkins
Items that can be used to help move or lift a large giant pumpkin
- Lifting rings
- Tripod setup
- Machinery – Tractors, skid steers, forklifts, Hi-Abs, Tele Handlers etc
When it comes to the really large giant pumpkins, especially those massive ones over 200kg / 400lb you really need to use a lifting ring.
These can come in many different designs. But the concept is always the same. The ring itself has straps evenly spaced out around it hanging down. These straps have a loop at the bottom end. Once draped over the pumpkin another strap or rope is threaded through the loops and tied off. This allows the bottom of the straps to hold the pumpkin.
The top of of the lifting ring has one point in the centre that is used by the lifting mechanism.
Some lifting rings are nice and wide. Others are smaller in width. Do these widths change the amount of force the straps have on he side of the pumpkin? Maybe.
It pays to talk to someone that is experienced in lifting giant pumpkins before if you haven’t done it before.
When tying up the bottom strap and then lifting you will want to make sure all the slack in the straps is taken up. You might need to lower the pumpkin and move the upright straps to a better location on the pumpkin due to their sometimes uneven shape.
If anything doesn’t seem right, stop what you are doing, readjust if needed then try again. You don’t want to drop your giant pumpkin.
If you don’t have access to a lifting ring you can still use this method. Making sure all the straps are attached at the top in the same location will work. I’ve seen this done from the bucket of a tractor once.
The Lifting of the Pumpkins
Once you’ve got the strap situation organised. It’s time to think about the actual way you are going to lift the pumpkin.
This can come down to what you have available / are willing to pay for and what the access to your pumpkin patch is like. It pays to find out how the pumpkin is going to be unloaded at the other end. Some competitions state your pumpkin must be on a pallet, which allows for moving with a forklift.
Other places, like the local event I’ve helped out with will use a lifting ring to move the pumpkin.
This is ideal if you can drive your vehicle into your patch area, or if you want to lift it you put it on a pallet which is then moved by machinery.
The setup is 3 legs made of wood or metal held together at the top. Suspended from the centre is a chain block which attaches to your lifting ring or lifting straps. The pumpkin is lifted to either the height to get a pallet underneath it, or to the height where a trailer can be reversed underneath it.
It is then lowered down.
This is a slower process than using machinery allowing you to easily see if the straps are in the right location. Care must be taken when setting up the tripod and not dropping anything onto the pumpkin.
Depending on your location and access to the patch this could vary. The same principles of lifting apply. Straps are put around the pumpkin with the bottom tied off. The top will either be attached to a lifting ring or part of the machinery.
Machinery will need easy access to the pumpkin patch.
Large pumpkin patches can be very soft and a recipe for getting a vehicle or machinery stuck. The pumpkin may need to be dragged to the edge of the patch. Care has to be taken to not damage the pumpkin.
Machinery give you the advantage of being able to both lift the pumpkin and also move it to a better location.
Make sure the pumpkin is secure in it’s strap and the driver / operator moves carefully to the location to load the pumpkins onto a vehicle or trailer.
Small Giant Pumpkins
Most people will load these into the back of a car or onto the back of a ute.
Do some measurements first and make sure the pumpkin or pumpkins can fit where you want to put them.
Cars are usually OK to load, but are just a bit awkward. For the smaller ones once you have part of the pumpkin resting on the boot you will be able to push, pull or drag the pumpkin into the boot. Be careful of the edge of the car damaging the pumpkin, especially where the boot latch is located.
Utes or pickups give you more room. But are usually a lot higher. Having extra people can help here. People can be on the tray and grab your lifting sheet / tarp from the people on the ground.
Large Giant Pumpkins
Same principles go for the really large giant pumpkins. Take measurements and see if the pumpkin and or the pallet it is on will fit on your truck or trailer.
Sometimes people get caught out with the wheel arches on the back of Utes. In situations like this pumpkins may need to be placed on a stack of pallets to raise it higher.
You want to have your pumpkin or pumpkins weight distributed evenly over the axles if possible. With machinery placing them in the right position is usually easy. Make sure to have enough people spotting as the pumpkin is lowered down. Any potential problems stop immediately and work out a solution.
Securing the Pumpkins
You want to make sure your pumpkins are secure. This goes for the smaller ones and the larger giants. If you have to stop in a hurry will a pumpkin go flying?
Tie down straps are the go to for the large giant pumpkins. You want to make sure you have enough to secure your pumpkin. Pay close attention to where the straps sit against the pumpkin and where the ratchet mechanism ends up. You may need to have some padding under the straps to prevent scratching or cutting into the pumpkin.
For smaller giants you don’t want them to roll around or smash into something else that could cause damage. You might need to pack around them with blankets and other soft materials.
Other things to consider
To help with travelling you could think about padding underneath the pumpkin or under the pallet it is sitting on. This can help cushion the pumpkin more when traveling. Nothing worse than turning up with a pumpkin that has split open.
- Work out the best way to get to your destination, factor in any delays
- If travelling long distances stop and check on the pumpkin and how it’s secured
Check with events
- Find out when you need to be there by
- Learn how they are going to unload it the event and what requirements they have
- Does it have to be on a pallet?
- Are they a GPC weigh off site?
- Do you need to pre register before turning up?