GROWING GIANT PUMPKINS
NEW WORLD RECORD-1,502 POUNDS
BY GEORGE EDGAR
always competing with each other. They
want to have the greenest lawn, be the first to have a new plant, or the
first on the block to have a ripe tomato.
At Halloween time the competition is for the largest pumpkin.
In order to
settle who has the largest pumpkin, the pumpkin growers have formed The
World Pumpkin Confederation (WPC) that conducts pumpkin growing
contests. There are contest sites all over the world including a few
sites in Australia and New Zealand.
Ron Wallace of
Rhode Island took home this year’s pumpkin growing title with his
1,502 pound pumpkin, setting a new world record. “Atlantic
to be the only variety of pumpkin that will create an enormous pumpkin.
One record pumpkin grower says these giant pumpkins need a minimum of
500 square feet per plant. When the pumpkins are about 30 pounds or the
size of a volleyball, he selects the two best and removes the rest.
During the hot summer he even puts a tent over the pumpkins to keep them
from getting sun scald. He
checks on them daily to make sure that no insects or borers get to them,
and a friendly neighbor and competitor will watch them when he is on
vacation. Both fall soil preparation, and watering during the growing
season on an as-needed basis, is very important.
I did not try
to raise giant pumpkins but did have fun raising mini-pumpkins for my
granddaughter. This is the second year I planted them in my garden. I
had the best luck with “Jack-Be-Little”
variety. I planted some “Wee-Be-Little”
but they didn’t do as well. I also had “Butternut
(variety unknown), “KABOCHA Squash”
(Sunshine variety), and “Swan
Gourds” in the garden. They took over the garden, so if you
grow them make sure you have enough room.
spring I planted my pumpkins, squash, and gourds at the base of my
compost piles and then let the compost feed them all summer long. At
last count I raised over 300 mini-pumpkins thanks to my neighbor who
lets me “farm” his garden space. If you want to see my pumpkin garden before the frost, and
then after the frost, go to www.shopgi.com
. This is Gary Jeurink’s (Gladys’ son) website. He lives in Grand
Island, Nebraska. On the right, click on “Gardening”. When this
comes up you will see at the top “Gardening Tips from George and
Gladys”. He has our last three articles for easy access on the right
side. If you click on the “Tips” you will see archives of some of
our articles and currently at the bottom of the page are the before and
after pictures. Mary
and Gary are really into Halloween. If you want to see their spooky
Halloween Garden, look for “Mary and Gary’s Garden” at the bottom
of the first page of his website. Click on this. It is worth a visit.
I start my
compost piles in the fall as soon as I have the garden cleaned up. I
have two round plastic containers that my wife and I got by attending
compost demonstrations put on by the County Extension Service, and made
the others from woven wire fencing. They are about 3 feet across and 4
feet high. Last fall a friend brought me all the leaves from his lawn
that he had collected with his mower. I like this as the leaves are
chopped up and compost faster. I put a layer of leaves on the bottom,
about 5 or 6 inches, and then a layer of coffee grounds. The coffee
grounds came from one of the coffee houses close to my home. Coffee
grounds have the same nitrogen to carbon ratio as grass clippings so
they really work good to heat up the pile. (Coffee grounds are also good
around hosta to discourage and repel slugs and snails.) I also added
kitchen scraps to my compost piles from time to time during the winter
and summer. One time I put my soil thermometer in the compost pile and
it registered 140 degrees F. If your compost pile gets to 140 degrees F.
it will kill most weed seeds. If it goes on up to 160 degrees F. most of
the fungus pathogens will be killed.
away coffee grounds in 5 pound bags at all of their stores. Just ask for
them. Other coffee houses are usually happy to save them for you. I
collect mine in 5 gallon buckets. If you don’t have coffee grounds or
green grass clippings, add high nitrogen lawn fertilizer to heat up the
don’t make compost piles as they say it is too much work. I am lazy so
I got a tulip planter that fits on my 3/8 inch drill. It is a 2 ˝ inch
auger that is 18 inches long. I use it to turn my compost piles without
shoveling. Just run it up and down and once in a while at an angle in
order to mix up the pile. Don’t forget that your pile also needs water
from time to time. Again, I am lazy so I just hook up my Ross Root
Feeder to the hose and stick it down in the pile at numerous sites. A
Ross Root Feeder
has a long metal rod with holes at the bottom for the water to come out.
For more information about making compost or growing pumpkins,
call your County Extension Service or go on the internet to “http://ianrhome.unl.edu/search”.
In the top box scroll down to “extension publications”. In the
bottom box type in the name of what you want information about such as
“compost” or “pumpkins”. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Extension Service publications will be listed and available to read,
save, and/or print. This web site can be used to get information about
many trees, shrubs, plants, insects, and diseases. A very good resource
for information on growing anything you want to grow or grow better.