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How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin for Halloween

Updated on September 28, 2013
That is one BIGGGG pumpkin!
That is one BIGGGG pumpkin! | Source

You KNOW You Want One!!

  • Admit it. Every year at Halloween when you go to the grocery store to buy a pumpkin or two to carve, you say to yourself: "Next year, I'm going to grow my own." Well, this is next year and it's time to grow your own.
  • Giant pumpkins are not grown by accident - growers nurture their pumpkins in order to grow the biggest and best every year. You can do it, too, because luckily pumpkin seeds will grow for people without green thumbs. Heck, plant them in the ground and forget them and they'll still grow pumpkins! But, here's some tips on how to grow those giant ones that will make you the envy of all the neighbors.
  • Don't do anything with your pumpkin seeds until all threat of frost has passed. There's no need to start your pumpkin seeds in a container outside if the frost is just going to kill them. After frost is gone, pick yourself a bright, sunny location because pumpkins love sunshine! If you are in a colder climate, you could start your pumpkins indoors in containers and really get a jump on the growing season.
  • Remember, you only have until October 31 to grow the perfect one! When it comes to pumpkins, their size can be affected by a number of things, including but not limited to temperature, water, plant population, level of diseases, weeds and fertilization. As a rule, however, a single plant will likely produce two pumpkins and any good, well-drained soil should work just fine. Pumpkins tolerate acidic soil pretty well and their pH should be somewhere around 6.5.

Grow One Big Enough to Use as a Boat!

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Seeds Are the Best!

  • I suggest you start by buying a package of only one type of pumpkin seed - Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds. These babies could grow up to 100 pounds! Mammoth Gold is another of my favorites and both are available online and in most nurseries. So, if you buy the right seeds (which will put genetics on your side) and you plant them in well-drained soil that has been cultivated just enough to keep your pumpkin patch weed free, I predict that your local supermarket will have completely lost a pumpkin customer. Once you grow your own and see how much fun it is, you'll want to do it every year. Kids LOVE growing pumpkins!
  • Unfortunately, there are certain bugs who love to eat them just as much as you will love growing them. Be on the lookout for the cucumber beetle, which carries a plant disease in the form of a powdery mildew that will thrive in climates that have higher humidity. In the late summer, when your pumpkins are big, bright and beautiful, don't think that they are safe. The mildew could spread fast and wipe our your whole crop. If you find an infected plant, get it out of your garden! You can't save that plant, but you can keep your other ones from becoming infected. DON'T put the infected plants in your compost pile!
  • Another problem to look for in your pumpkin patch is overly-wet leaves. If you find leaves that are drooping, brown and look wilted, you should adjust your watering method (more than likely). If leaves don't have time to dry out during the day the wet leaves can lead to mildew which can kill your plant. To keep this from happening, I water my pumpkins only in the early morning so that they have all day to dry out, yet still get the moisture they need.
  • Bacterial wilt is another problem, but there is a way to test your leaves to determine if they have this problem. With a sharp, sterile knife, cut a leaf and let the sap drain out of it. If the sap that comes out is yellow and stringy-looking, your plant is suffering from bacterial wilt and it WILL DIE (sorry, no cure yet), so get rid of it.

Isn't This Cucumber Beetle Cute?


Tips and Warnings

  • Pumpkin rows should be about 3-4 feet apart and each hill should be about three feet apart.
  • Pumpkins are 85-95% water and they contain potassium and Vitamin A, so they are very good for you!
  • Don't throw diseased plants into your compost!
  • Don't start your pumpkin seeds outside until after all danger of frost has passed. If you do, the first frost will kill them and you'll hate yourself.


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