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Giant Compost Pumpkins!
Annual Great Pumpkin Growing Contest

So you want to get ready for the Annual Great Pumpkin Growing Contest 2007?

Now is the time to start planning. Just remember for this contest you can't use chemical fertilizers or supplements and No force feeding of nutrients through the vine. The pumpkin must be grown outdoors but seeds can be germinated inside and transplanted. (See official 2006 rules)

How to get started: Pumpkins like lots of organic matter and will send their roots in the direction of your compost pile. Many of the gardeners growing these gigantic pumpkins place compost around their pumpkin mounds. Many growers have a secret compost recipe they swear by to produce these gargantuan pumpkins and their secret starts with compost being worked into the soil ahead of planting, followed by continued feeding and even a splash of compost tea.

There are plenty of websites out there dedicated to growing giant pumpkins. One does not have to look far to find plenty of secret websites with information on how to grow a giant pumpkin, but in the end it is down to mother nature, gardening skills and plain old fashioned luck. One key mention in all of the articles I've read is Compost; it is almost always a key ingredient in the preparation and growing process.

Step One - Soil Preparation: All pumpkins like their soil their feet rich in organic matter like manure and compost. So always remember when you are planting pumpkins make sure there is plenty of organic matter in the soil before you plant your pumpkin plant. Pick a spot and turn in some compost now to get ready for Spring.

Step Two - Buy quality seed:
Plenty of websites out there with good seeds - Check out Howard Dill's website where you can find Dill's Atlantic Giant pvp variety - "The grand-daddy of all giant pumpkins. The present day record for this amazing variety is now over 1,300 lbs"

Step Three -Propagation: Propagating the seeds indoors and transferring them to a cold frame outdoors. Many growers add heaters and glass walls to keep in the heat and protect the young plants. Be ready for frost! In order to grow the monster pumpkin you better be prepared to start early and keep your prize plants safe and warm.

Step four - Pollination: Once the plant reaches maturity start by selecting the female plant and pollinating it.(The female has the fruit under the flower and the male is long slender stem with a flower on top). Once pollinated make sure you position the your main and secondary vines to provide proper use of your growing area and reduce vine stress. If you’re going for the record you may need to shade the pumpkin to prevent cracks.

So you didn't win this year's Prize: It will always be a lot of fun to try? But when the seasons over what do you do with a 500 pound pumpkin? You can make a lot of pumpkin pies or recycle it. What better way to feed your compost pile then to toss it back in and try again for next year! Check out our forum for more information about this topic and others.

Trevor Barton
City of Guelph, ON

182 kg / 401.2 lbs

David McCallum
Hanover, ON

272 kg / 600 lbs