How to Grow a Gigantic Pumpkin
The Peaceful Valley store was graced by the presence of California’s Champion Giant Pumpkin Growers recently. Hailing from Napa Valley, four World Famous growers, Gary Miller, Leonardo Urena, Pete Glasier, and Jose Ceja came to purchase our products for this year’s endeavor.
It was so fun to talk with these down to earth, easy going guys! Since they are in (friendly) competition with each other, I think they all came in together to keep an eye on each other (keep your friends close and your enemies closer!).
Growing secrets from the pros
Gary Miller was so kind as to let me pick his brain about growing a Giant; here are some of his tips (don’t worry—he said it’s okay for me to share):
- Prepare the seed by putting it in water with a fish bubbler and Maxicrop kelp. Aerate 4 hours.
- Sprout the seed in warmth and light (he uses a cooler with a 10 Watt bulb in it).
- Before the tap root begins to bend, plant out (sometime around May 1 in Napa).
- Soil should be prepared with a rich compost such as Arctic Humus, as well as Kelp Meal and Earthworm Castings.
- As the stem grows, provide support because it grows up then down and will be thick and heavy.
- Allow 12 feet from the base of the plant to the pumpkin so that there are plenty of leaves to photosynthesize food for the fruit.
- From the pumpkin, the vine can continue about 15 feet.
- Allow side branches to grow from the main vine, but cut off any other branching coming off of the side branches.
- Cut off any other blossoms before the flower opens, hand pollinate the flower to keep.
- As the pumpkin begins to grow, put sand under it as well as Agribon so the tissue isn’t damaged.
There are a lot more tips and tricks about growing a giant - www.bigpumpkins.com is a fun website to visit.
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