Growing Giant Pumpkins:
How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Growing giant pumpkins is fun for the whole family. Everyone will love watching the pumpkins grow larger and larger just as much as carving and eating them. Who knows…maybe you can even win a pumpkin growing contest!

Pumpkins are easy to grow in full sun, but they need a lot of room and well-drained, fertile soil to become giants.

Growing Giant Pumpkins: Plant Snapshot (Curcurbita pepo)

Growing Giant Pumpkins
  • Family: Cucurbitaceae (Gourd family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Annual – 90 to 120 days to maturity
  • Recommended varieties: Gladiator, Big Max, Mammoth Gold
  • Cold tolerance: Warm Season – Will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil. Plant them at about the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Do not rotate with other winter squash.
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Corn, eggplant, marigold, nasturtium, onion family, radish
    • Avoid: Potato
Back to top of Growing Giant Pumpkins - How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Growing Giant Pumpkins: Planting the Seed

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

The following resources offer effective, healthy and/or well-rounded options. Click the links to go there now...

Giant pumpkins are typically grown for Halloween and tend to come from specific varieties of giant pumpkin seed that have the potential to grow large. Since pumpkins take up to 120 days to mature, it's best to wait until June to plant the seeds if you want them for that time of year.

Giant pumpkins also need room to grow, and lots of it. Successful giant pumpkin growers often give each plant up to 2,500 square feet of growing space. You can still grow nice-sized pumpkins with less, but the more room you can give them, the bigger they’ll grow.

They can be planted as soon as the soil has warmed if you want to harvest early. Pumpkins are easily grown from seeds sown directly in the ground (as long as they are planted after all danger of frost has passed), but plant them in very well-composted soil to give these hungry plants the nutrients they need.

Add organic garden fertilizer monthly to keep them well-fed.

Snapshot: Planting Giant Pumpkins

  • Planting depth: about ½ inch deep for seed (1.5 cm)
  • Spacing in rows: about 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 70 to 90 degrees F (21 to 32 degrees C) -
  • Days to germination: 5 to 8 days
Back to top of How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Growing Giant Pumpkins: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

For effectice, healthy and/or well-rounded options, click the following links...

Pumpkins will do best if they are placed in an area that gets full sun and shelter from wind.

Since you are shooting for a giant, do all you can from the beginning to focus nutrients into no more than a few pumpkins. Keep the pumpkin patch well-weeded, and prune any vine “off-shoots” and smaller pumpkins in order to keep nutrients focused on your largest pumpkin potentials. If you’re shooting for just one monster, trim off all pumpkins except the largest after the remaining few pumpkins are about a foot and a half (46 cm) in diameter.

Keep pumpkins well-watered throughout their growth without soaking the soil, but try to keep the leaves dry in order to prevent fungal disease. This may be difficult given the sprawling nature of the vines, so water in the morning to give leaves the chance to dry out during the day.

As your pumpkins grow, it may be necessary to place a plate or layer of straw underneath them so that the bottoms do not rot.

Snapshot: Growing Giant Pumpkins

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5.5 to 7.5
  • Growing soil temperature: 70 to 90 degrees F (21 to 32 degrees C)
Back to top of How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Growing Giant Pumpkins: Harvesting Time

Pumpkins should be harvested when they have reached their full size and final color and have a hollow sound when thumped. Leave a little of the stem on the pumpkin when cutting them off, and be sure to harvest all pumpkins before the first frost.

If you don't plan to use the pumpkins right away, leave them in the sun for a few days so that the skins can harden before storing.

Snapshot: Harvesting Giant Pumpkins

  • Time to harvest: 90 to 120 days, depending upon variety
Back to top of How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Storing Giant Pumpkins and Freezing Giant Pumpkins

Whole pumpkins can be stored in a cool dry place for several months as long as air can circulate around them. Pumpkins can be frozen after being boiled or baked until tender.

Snapshot: Storing Giant Pumpkins & Freezing Giant Pumpkins

  • Storage temperature: 55 to 60 degrees F (12 to 15 degrees C)
  • Humidity: 90 to 70% relative humidity
  • Storage life: 3 months
  • Storage life (frozen): 3 months
  • Seed longevity: About 4 years
Back to top of Growing Giant Pumpkins - How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Growing Giant Pumpkins: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Giant Pumpkins. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Armyworms
  • Crickets
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Darkling Beetles
  • Dried Fruit Beetles
  • Earwigs
  • Flea Beetles
  • Grasshoppers
  • Leafhoppers
  • Leafminers
  • Nematodes
  • Seed corn maggots
  • Snails/slugs
  • Spider mites
  • Squash Bugs
  • Stink bugs
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Wireworms

Diseases

  • Curly Top
  • Damping off
  • Downy mildew
  • Fusarium crown and foot rot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root rot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Virus diseases
  • White mold
Back to top of Growing Giant Pumpkins - How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Giant Pumpkins

growing vegetables Yep - He grew these himself!
Click here to share your photo
or experience
.

Figured out a unique and effective way to grow them in your region?

Solved a problem that's been plaguing you?

Want to show off a picture of your perfect harvest?

Click here to share your advice, experiences and/or photos.

Back to top of Growing Giant Pumpkins - How to Grow Giant Pumpkins Organically

Was this page helpful?  If so, please tell your friends about it with a Facebook like or via Twitter, Pinterest, email or good old fashioned word of mouth. Thank you for supporting our efforts!

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.

Also see...

Giant Pumpkins photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

ask a vet

What Visitors Are Saying...

Share your thoughts!
[?] Subscribe To This Site

XML RSS
follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines