Grow a Giant Pumpkin and enter it into the Cairns Show
• Easy to grow and great fun
• Open to all High School and Primary Schools as a group project
• Takes approximately 4-5 months to grow
• Why not compete with other schools – Whose pumpkin is the biggest?
How to grow a Giant Pumpkin
Sow the seeds: Start seeds indoors in small pots. Make sure the pointed end of the seed is face down with only one seed planted in each pot. Place in a warm sunny spot.
Move outside (Transplant seedlings): You will need to move the seeds outside either when the leaves appear or when the roots begin to grow through the peat pots (normally 7 to 10 days)
The soil needs to be of good quality, use lots of manure, the Ph needs to be between 6.5 - 6.8. Add sulfur to lower the Ph and lime to raise it.
Tip: As a general rule the area should be well drained, spacious and sunny but in a wind protected area.
Watering: Do not over water, too much water will rot the pumpkin. Keep it damp not drenched!
Flower Pollination: Bees will pollinate the plants for you, but if you want to get a head start you can hand pollinate which can have the ability to help your pumpkin gain 25 - 30 pounds a days.
Hand Pollination: Two months after planting your seed you should see female flowers beginning to appear. The females will have a tiny pumpkin at their base. Choose a male flower (one without the tiny pumpkin), pick it and remove the flower petals from the outside of it. Use the male to gently swab the female to begin the process.
Growing: It will take 70 to 90 days before any fruit appears. You could get several pumpkins on one bush. It is recommended that 1 to 3 fruits be left on any one bush and only 1 fruit on any main vine. The more fruit on a vine the more competition there is for food. With only one fruit the idea is that the plant will concentrate all its efforts on feeding this one fruit. Pick the best shaped Pumpkins and remove the rest.
Tip: Pumpkins that are tall and round tend to grow the best.
Adjust the pumpkins position: The pumpkins position on the vine is important, try to keep the stem of the pumpkin at a 90 degrees angle to the vine by gently coaxing to this angle. Be careful as the stems are very fragile at this stage
Sunshine: Pumpkin leaves need lots of sunshine but pumpkin themselves do not. Too much sunlight on the pumpkin will harden its skin and limit the pumpkins growth. To protect the fruit you can use a shade cloth.
Vine Pruning: Prune each vine when they grow to around 10 - 12 feet. To prevent water loss, bury the ends of the cut vines
Fertilization: A 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer formula is ideal for your pumpkins to maintain healthy growth. Never over-fertilize as pumpkins have and will explode from too rapid growth.
Tip: The best method to grow a pumpkin is slow and steady.
Maturity: It takes 70 to 90 days before any fruit will appear on the vine and a further 60 days before the fruit is matured. A pumpkin is mature when the skin hardens and falls off, sometimes the colour fades. A giant pumpkin will only last for about 2 months once it is cut from the vine. So try not to cut the pumpkin from the vine until it's near competition time.
Competitions: Deliver your pumpkin to the Cairns Youth Centre before Showtime.
Cairns Show Giant Pumpkin Competition is proudly sponsored by About Scales