Peyton Martin - Dec. 10th 2020
How To Grow Big Max Pumpkins
There’s nothing that says fall is coming more than to see a field of orange pumpkins waiting to be picked. Pumpkins are fun to grow and come in many sizes and are used for many purposes. The information and tips we share will help you have a lovely, large pumpkins for your fall harvest. Depending on the type of pumpkin, seeds make healthy snacks, and their flesh and pulp are a wonderful ingredient for all types of savory and sweet dishes, including pies, muffins, and soups. You can even eat mashed pumpkin, much like you would potatoes. Our Large Big Max pumpkins would be best for your fall décor or carving.
You can successfully grow a patch in your very own backyard. Before you consider growing them, however, it’s important to make sure that you have enough space in your garden to accommodate them. If you don’t have a lot of space and want pumpkins that can be consumed, opt for sugar pumpkins like our Country Creek Acres Small Sugar Pumpkins. They grow to about 4 to 6 pounds, their flesh is sweet. Our Large Max Pumpkins grow on long vines that can reach 20-30 feet in length or longer. So choose a location where the vines will have plenty of space to spread out. You can direct the vines where you want them to go when the plants are young. Once they become established and begin to flower, however, the vines should be left alone, so plan your garden space with lots of room to spare.
Let's get started...
Picking the Right Soil
Different types of soils have varied PH levels. If you chose, you can purchase a soil test kit, the test will let you know exactly what nutrients are in the soil. Your soil should fall between 6.5 and 6.8 on the pH scale for our pumpkins. You can then determine what nutrients need to be added. The right kind of soil will grow vigorous, healthy vines. It is best to start preparations in fall to add any needed amendments to your soil, but you may choose to prepare the soil in early spring when the ground begins to warm. Enhance your soil with the proper fertilizer. If your soil doesn’t have the proper amount of nutrients, fertilizers can help to create the perfect environment in which to grow your pumpkins. Even if your soil is nutrient rich, adding a granular fertilizer, composted manure, or mature garden compost will feed the soil while improving its structure. Incorporate any fertilizer into the soil several days before you intend to plant your pumpkins. Organic matter will help your pumpkins grow strong and healthy. And LARGE! Giant pumpkins generally need 2 pounds nitrogen (N), 3 pounds phosphorous (P2O2) and 6 pounds potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet of growing space. Your pumpkin plot should be located in a sunny location as they need a fair amount of sunshine to grow large and robust. They also need to be protected from any intense wind as they are sensitive to their environment.
When to Plant
Pumpkins are heat-loving plants. As such, they should not be planted in the ground until the soil is warm enough and the risk of frost has ended. Typically, early June is the ideal time to plant pumpkins in most locations.
Pumpkins have a long growing season (110 days). If you live in a location where the soil will not be warm enough to support the plants throughout their entire growing season, you can begin your pumpkins indoors and transplant them when the ground has warmed enough and the risk of frost has passed.
If you live in a place that might get frost in late April or May, start by planting your seeds in pots and keeping them indoors. If you think your pumpkins will be safe from frost, plant your seeds outside. It’s recommended that you begin growing pumpkins indoors about 3-4 weeks before the weather outdoors is suitable for their outdoor growing.
Germinating your seeds inside:
Plant your seeds in peat pots that have four to six inches of soil in each pot. Plant the seeds one inch deep in the soil that is moist and keep the pots at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). You should begin to see sprouts within 5-10 days. Look for the seeds that sprout first. They will be your strongest plants producing the strongest pumpkins.
Germinating seeds outdoors:
The pumpkin seeds should be planted in a sunny area away from anything that will shade them. If possible, you can create a greenhouse where you intend to plant the seeds and begin warming the soil several weeks in advance. Typically, early June is the ideal time to plant pumpkins in most locations. Before planting the seeds, soak them in warm water for four hours. To increase their success, consider growing the seeds in hills of dirt that are slightly raised off of the ground as hills warm up a lot faster than flat ground. They drain water away a lot faster to help prevent rot. Planting in hills will also allow the vines to flow downward. Plant 4-5 seeds in each hill keeping your hills at least 10 feet apart as you are planting as they will spread! After the seeds have sprouted and grown a bit larger, choose the strongest 3 and pick out the others. If possible, continue the greenhouse cover to keep the seeds protected for several weeks after the seeds have sprouted. Doing this will keep your tender sprouts warm as they start their growth and help to create those large pumpkins. If you happen to get a warm day, be sure to uncover your plants so they do not overheat.
Transplanting your Sprouts
Only do this if you have chosen to germinate your seeds inside. Your sprouts will be ready to transplant when you see the first true (not seed leaves) leaves appear. The true leaves will be green and full looking.
Pumpkins, as mentioned, are heat-loving plants, so make sure to choose a spot that receives plenty of sunlight. To increase their success, consider growing the seeds in hills of dirt that are slightly raised off of the ground as hills warm up a lot faster than flat ground. Just like when you are planting seeds into the garden, you can transplant your young seedlings into small hills with at least 10 feet between each hill. If the seedlings are quite large, just put 2 or 3 in each hill. For smaller ones, plant 4 or 5. Once they start to grow larger, pluck out the two weakest ones to leave 2 or 3 strong plants in the hill. Planting in hills will also allow the vines to flow downward. Your mounds will drain water a lot faster helping to prevent rot. If possible, place a small greenhouse type cover on top of each mound. Doing this will keep your tender sprouts warm as they start their growth and help to create those large pumpkins. If you happen to get a warm day, be sure to uncover your plants so they do not overheat.
Pumpkins should receive deep, yet gentle watering once a week. Apply about 1 inch of water to the plants at a time. Some sources recommend 15 to 20 gallons twice a week. However, do adjust your watering according to the rain your area is receiving. If pumpkins are overwatered, they will rot. Don’t be worried if your pumpkin leaves look wilted in the heat of the day, even when their soil is still moist. As long as the leaves perk up again when the heat fades or when the sun goes under a cloud, you shouldn’t need to apply more water. Applying mulch to your beds will help to retain moisture in the soil. Additionally, mulch will help to keep weeds away that could draw water away from your plants. When watering your pumpkins, try to keep the foliage as dry as possible, unless it’s a very dry, sunny day. Dampness can lead to rot and can promote the development of disease. Pumpkins do most of their growing at night so if watering in the early evening be sure the leaves will dry out are not wet overnight. This is to help prevent leaf diseases.
Pumpkins are very heavy feeders, so you’ll want to make sure that you fertilize your plants. You can use an all-purpose fertilizer that is specifically formulated for vegetable gardens. For the best results, feed your pumpkin plants every two weeks. You can also mix manure or compost into the soil regularly.
Unfortunately, pumpkins are prone to some types of pests and diseases. Cucumber beetles are the most common pest problem. They love to eat the foliage and small seedings will not be able to survive an attack. Other problematic pests for pumpkins include squash-vine borers, aphids, cutworms, leafminers, and thrips. Covering the plants with a garden fabric until they begin to flower will help to keep these pests at bay. Planting companion plants with your pumpkins – leeks, onion, and dill, for example – can help to keep pests at away, as they deter them from your pumpkins. Growing flowers and herbs near your pumpkin patch can attract predator insects that naturally keep your pumpkin loving pests down.
While the pumpkins are small and soft, they can be vulnerable to snails and slugs as well. Pouring sand around the pumpkin can keep them away, as would a ring of diatomaceous earth on the ground around each fruit. Once the pumpkins have grown a bit and the shells start to harden, they are usually safe.
In humid and wet locations, powdery mildew, downy mildew, gummy stem blight, white speck, and anthracnose can affect pumpkin plants. To help prevent these diseases, keep your patch well-weeded.
"Great seeds! After planting three, I had hoped for even one to sprout. All three did! It's a hot humid start to fall here in California, but the guys may be ready around Christmas time!"
"I would recommend these these to anyone seeking healthy pumpkin seeds."
By Wendy S Ward
"The packet received was a bonus (10) count. Germination event has occurred with a 30% success rate. Granting 4th Star. Plants are vigorous and require full sun going into the flowering stage. Granting 5th star pending any disease sitings. None! Five-star product!"
By Master and Commander
Our products in life - Sent from customers!
FAQ & Tips
Consider ground supports for your pumpkins as they grow on the vines. This will prevent rot and ensure a more even coloring of your pumpkin. You might also want to rotate the pumpkin once a week or so to help your plant have a rounder shape as well as help its coloring and prevent rot.
Bees are vital for pollination, so be sure that you aren’t using an insecticide that will kill off bees. If you must apply any insecticide, only do so in the later afternoon or early evening hours when the blossoms have closed up for the day. You can attract more bees to your pumpkins by adding a bee house to your garden or bee loving flowers nearby.
While pumpkin vines can be obstinate, they are actually quite delicate. Make sure that you use caution so that you don’t damage the vines. Damaged vines reduces the quality of the pumpkins that will grow.
Pinch off the fuzzy ends of the vines after a few pumpkins have formed to prevent vine growth so that the plant can focus its energy on forming the fruit.
To prevent decay and damage from insects, place a coffee can lid, a piece of heavy cardboard or a thin board underneath your pumpkins as they ripen. .
Your pumpkins will be ready to harvest when they are a solid, deep color. You’ll want to harvest them before the first heavy frost, as heavy frost damages pumpkins. The rind should be hard. The vines will usually be dying back at this time. When harvesting, use pruning shears to cut the pumpkin from the vine several inches from where it is attached to the stem and enjoy your success!