How do I grow a giant pumpkin?
Unlike Linus, championship pumpkin growers don’t wait around hoping to spy the Great Pumpkin rise out of the pumpkin patch; they know how to cultivate one.
But for those who don’t wish to grow a record breaker, which can literally weigh a ton (Connecticut’s 2016 prizewinner weighed 1,948-and-a-half pounds), it’s still fun to grow a giant pumpkin in excess of 200 pounds. Competitive growers recommend seed varieties such as Goliath Pumpkin Seeds or Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin, both of which are available at Ganim’s Garden Center or via online ordering. Pumpkins require major soil nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but they also need calcium, magnesium, and other trace elements. Somewhat sensitive, pumpkins need protection from wind, frost, and heavy downpours. They also need shade during heat waves.
Lastly, pumpkins require patience. It takes between 140 and 160 days to grow a giant. As this is New England where a spring cold snap is not uncommon, start growing seedlings indoors at least two weeks before planting outside.