Growing giant pumpkins in Australia and the world is quite popular. Giant pumpkins are very similar to small varieties of pumpkins, but they grow a lot larger than any normal variety.

Preparation: Your pumpkin patch should be well drained, and in a sunny wind protected area of your garden. The soil should be fertilised with manure or a green crop and then turned over, at least 6 weeks before planting.

Planting: The three options when planting giant pumpkins are:-

      1) The seeds can be planted into a good seed raising mixture, until 2-3" high. Then carefully planted into gardenbed when threat of frosts has past.

      2) Germinate the seeds in a heated mini hothouse, then transfer the germinated seed to a growing pot, until 2-3" high, then plant out after frosts.

OR 3) Plant the seeds directly into the ground after frosts have past.

Most important point to remember is DO NOT OVERWATER the soil until the seed has germinated. Too much water will rot the seed, the soil should be kept no more than DAMP until the seed has germinated.

When to Plant: Giant pumpkins are planted around the same time of year as smaller variety pumpkins . Care should be taken to protect the young plant in the first weeks to avoid damage from frosts. In Southern Australia, the best time to plant is October/November.  In Northern Australia, growing seasons are different, so check locally for best growing times.

Basic Requirements: Pumpkin seedlings should be watered regularly, throughout the growing season. In humid conditions do not to over-water the plants, as Giant pumpkins can rot very easily. The plants should receive plenty of sun, but lightly cover the plants when temperatures are too high, making sure there is air movement around plant.                                      

Growing Time: A Giant Pumpkin takes approx. 5 months to grow and approx. 70-90 days before fruit appear on the vine. It takes 60 days or so for the fruit to reach maturity.  Only 1-2 fruit should be left on the pumpkin plant and only one per main vine because more fruit, means more competition for food.

 Pollination: Pollination is a key factor in growing giant pumpkins. If a pumpkin grows and only reaches the size of a basketball and then dies off, it means the fruit was not pollinated correctly. Another option is to hand pollinate the male flowers with the female flowers. The best time for this is early in the morning.

 Maturity: A pumpkin is mature when the skin of the pumpkin hardens off and begins to look a bit rough. The colour sometimes fades when this occurs. A giant pumpkin will only last about 2 months once cut off the vine. You should never cut a giant pumpkin off the vine until it is ready for competition, or if you think rot or disease may kill the fruit early if left on the vine.