I need to grow a 100 pound pumpkin.
March 22, 2021 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I was at the gardening store this week and grabbed some "Big Moon" pumpkin seeds by Burpee. The packaging claims that if you leave one pumpkin on a vine, it could grow "up to" 200 pounds. I told my wife that we'd have a few hundred pounders later this year, and she immediately bet that this wouldn't happen.

So - did I fall prey to fancy advertising? Can I win this bet? Do I need fancy soil or fertilizer? I'm in the midwest, zone 5B, and have started half the seeds in those plastic seed starters since we might still get frost over the coming weeks. If that's the wrong way to kick things off I still have a handful to plant differently, and am 100% on board with being told I need to obtain different seeds.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This was my first clickbait result for growing prize-winning pumpkins, looks like it has some pretty decent tips.
posted by aniola at 1:15 PM on March 22, 2021

There's a number of giant vegetables youtube channels (or specific videos on non-giant-specific channels), and I prefer youtube for gardening info because it's often easier to understand instructions/methodology with visual aids.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have watched a movie about growing giant pumpkins which was super interesting. Basically the way to grow one 100 lb pumpkin is grow a lot of them and then focus on the one that seems to be a good grower. Join this community.
posted by jessamyn at 1:24 PM on March 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

Big Moon can be used for pies (includes Big Moon overview). If you win the bet, your wife has to make a LOT of pumpkin pie.
posted by aniola at 1:24 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm sure this is duly covered in the links, but I think it's very important to have the roots in, and base of the stem atop, a hill with the green parts trailing down the side of hill with the chosen blossom at the bottom in order to get the maximum advantage from the fluid pressure differential due to elevation -- think of the pumpkin as a giant water balloon, essentially.
posted by jamjam at 1:42 PM on March 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

btw you can also cook with the squash blossoms you pinch off.
posted by aniola at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

The TikTok account @gourdheadz followed the process of growing a 2000lb pumpkin, and explained the process. It was really interesting!
posted by kimdog at 1:58 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I love this. Can you please report back with how you went?
posted by Jubey at 2:33 PM on March 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Can you please report back with how you went?

Yeah, she doubled down when I showed her that our local Giant Pumpkin Growers' Association just had a convention last week, that's how it's going.

Honestly I had no clue this was so much of a thing, even though one of our preschooler's favorite stories is about a pumpkin contest, and I'm sure I've seen big plants at our state fair. I guess I never put 2 & 2 together.
I've got a lot of reading to do but a giant pumpkin generally seems achievable. Lot of great resources in the answers here so far, thank you! Please add more if you have them 🎃
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:50 PM on March 22, 2021 [13 favorites]

I grew a 700 lb giant pumpkin about 10 years ago (my second attempt) and there is a lot of luck and skill in growing a giant pumpkin. If I remember correctly, once the pumpkin flowered, I spent about an hour a day tending my pumpkin that summer.

You can find a ton of information online and also in local giant pumpkin groups (link to Wisconsin's, I'm more familiar with groups in NH and Maine).

On the Wisconsin Giant Pumpkin Growers page, they have a beginner's growing guide that has all the information I used to grow my pumpkin (prune vines into Christmas tree shape, watering/fertilizer tips, bugs/disease identification).

Good Luck!
posted by bCat at 3:57 PM on March 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

Please keep us posted on your (and your pumpkin’s) progress.
posted by notyou at 5:33 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have always wondered whether the formation of the flat side of a giant pumpkin could be avoided (and thus, result in a rounder, heavier pumpkin) by putting it on a waterbed as it grows. The flat side forms because of the pumpkin's great weight pressing on the ground (versus 'normal' size pumpkins that are lightweight enough not to have much of a flat side). But the same as a large person avoids bedsores and feels much more comfortable lying on a waterbed versus on a hard floor, the pumpkin could grow in a downward direction because of the 'give' of the waterbed, and so, gain more weight than it would on the hard ground. Also, the waterbed could be kept at an optimal temperature for pumpkin growth, whatever that may be. I'm never going to try it myself, so you're welcome to this free idea.
posted by beagle at 6:04 PM on March 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

Oh, please grow your giant pumpkin on a waterbed and then write a children's book about it. Your preschooler will have a new favorite story! I promise to buy one.
posted by BoscosMom at 6:52 PM on March 22, 2021 [13 favorites]

Squash have sensitive roots, so you might run into some issues with transplanting. Be as careful as you can. I'd plan to sow some outside in a mound too, when the soil is warm enough, to hedge your bets. Look up wall-o-waters or other season extenders to get your seeds and/or transplants started outside a little earlier. I also use them for hail protection, if that's an issue where you live.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:46 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

No tips, but I really, really want an update on this project when you’ve put some time into it. Fingers crossed for a big pumpkin!
posted by studioaudience at 9:40 PM on March 22, 2021

You’ll need to post to MeFi projects so we can keep track of your efforts now that we are all invested. 🎃🎃
posted by hilaryjade at 6:06 AM on March 23, 2021 [8 favorites]

You might try feeding it milk.
posted by JanetLand at 6:50 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

You need some WOW!
posted by hannahelastic at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is all fantastic advice, thank you! It's back to 30° F today, so while I have some pumpkin sprouts inside I can't do much with them at the moment. I'm gonna see what I can do about posting updates. More to come if I can work that out!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:33 PM on April 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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