How to: Grow giant pumpkins, part 2

by Lala

The Dill’s Atlantic Giants continue to do well. Our two main ones are about the size of soccerballs right now. We had to set up a protective barrier around one of them after the dogs scratched it. I used the leftover galvanised mesh from the chicken run, until we can put a more elegant solution in place, similar to the trellis barrier around the hazelnuts. The pumpkin (Pumpkin A) looks alright and the scratches have closed up, so it doesnt look like rot will set into it.

Pumpkin A survived a couple of scratches from one of the dogs.

Pumpkin A survived a couple of scratches from one of the dogs.

I decided to cull the smaller pumpkin that was next to it, firstly to allow the bigger one to get more nutrients and grow larger, and because the smaller one was no longer growing as fast and had started to shrivel up.

Pumpkin B did not look like it would do much, two weeks ago. However it suddenly expanded so I’ve started to pay it some more attention. It was lying on its side, so I corrected it to place it on its base. This has to be done very carefully while the vine and the pumpkin are young. If you wait too long to correct it, the vine may be too tough or the roots too well established, and thus cause that section to snap off and put an end to the pumpkin’s growth.

Pumpkin B on 22 December 2014 and on 4 January 2015. Amazing growth. Pumpkin C is at the back.

Pumpkin B on 22 December 2014 and on 4 January 2015. Amazing growth. Pumpkin C is at the back.

We also had to expand the pumpkin patch edging on New Year’s eve, because both A & B had grown so quickly that they we in contact with the wooden border. The wooden stumps had made slight, but visible, indents on both. In the five days since making more room for them, the indents seem to have filled out and faded away.

There is a smaller pumpkin (Pumpkin C), that I had not corrected for a while. It developed before Pumpkin B, but has been recently overtaken. It started to grow oblong, like a rugby ball. I don’t want that shape.

The rest of the vines are going wild, trying to climb a hedge and a wild plum tree outside. There are at least three pumpkins growing on top of the hedge, two on the grass outside the pumpkin patch and a couple may grow in the hazelnut enclosure.

These are on a section of vine that escaped the patch and are growing on a chest height hedge.

These are on a section of vine that escaped the patch and grew on a chest height hedge.

Two pumpkins, including C have got a small hole in them from some sort of borrer insect. I haven’t been spraying them between all the rains we’ve had in the past week. That will be my task for today.

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