So here we are, it’s the end of the 2017 giant pumpkin growing season here in NZ and you probably fall into one of the following groups.

  • I’m so glad that is over, I don’t think we will grow a giant next year
  • I’ll start thinking about it again in October
  • I’m already planning for next season

If you want the biggest and best giant pumpkin, you should be in the very last group of people.

But what things are there to think about?

Everything

That may be a very broad answer, but everything is what you should be thinking about, from start to finish, what can you improve upon.

Patch

Was the location you grew in good? Or was it just OK?

  • Did you know the soil condition? Is it time to get a soil test done, or even a simpler do a PH Level test.
  • How was it with the weather? Did your plants get hammered by wind?
  • Was water drainage good or bad?
  • Did your giant pumpkin plant take over other parts of the garden or patch and annoy other people?
  • How easy was it to get your pumpkin out? Would it still be easy if the pumpkin was double, triple or even bigger than this seasons efforts?

Seeds

Did you just grow some random seed, or did you know where it came from?

  • Seeds from other giant pumpkin growers typically perform a lot better than unknown store bought seeds. Reach out and talk to other growers
  • Did you waste any seeds this season? Did germination work well for you, or is this an area you can improve upon?
Seeds

Seeds drying on a sheet of plywood

Watering

Could your pumpkin size be increased if only you had watered more?

  • Are you only on tank supply? Could you get other containers/tanks to help collect rainwater for your pumpkin?
  • Are you ready to upgrade your watering setup and use drip tape, micro irrigation or even timers?

Simple watering system

Fertilising

How well did you feed your pumpkins?

  • Did you have a fertilising programme in place for different stages of growth?
  • Would different products produce better results?

Plant protection

How well did you protect not only your pumpkin but the plant itself from the elements?

  • Think about the effect of excessive wind, can you put windbreak up or something to help stop strong wind
  • Did you provide shelter for your pumpkin too late?

Vine Positioning

  • Could your pumpkin have grown better if it was on a different position on the vine
  • What shape did you use for vine layout?

Moving

  • Was moving your pumpkin a pain in the ass? Does this come down to patch location, or do you just need to rope more people / machinery in to make things easier
  • How easy was it to transport your pumpkin to a weigh off /competition? What would you do if your pumpkin was over 500kg’s?

Weigh-Offs

Did you have somewhere to take your pumpkin to?

  • Was the turnout at your event good or bad, what could you do to get more people to it?
  • Would you want to go to a different event? Or event create your own one?

Other Growers and Information

  • Did you connect with any other growers this year? Do you want to talk to other growers and get more information and advice?
  • What resources did you use? What resources are there?
  • What do you want to know more about?

Hopefully, this gives you something to think about and reflect upon for the upcoming growing season.

For myself, I stopped and had a good look at what I have done over this past year, and what I wanted to focus on for the next one. While I’ll still be growing something in the very small area I have at my place, and that is really the only downside to living where I currently do, I don’t feel I am offering much value with my own updates of my patch.

For the upcoming season, I am wanting to talk to other growers and show what they are up to, show what can be achieved in different parts of the country and to show what other giant pumpkin growers are up to through their season, not just when they reach the scales.

Let me know what you are wanting to improve in the upcoming season by leaving a comment below.

Pumpkin Post

I’m also sorting out the pumpkin post newsletter, if you aren’t already signed up you can do that below. I’m already working on the next 2 issues, due out in July and October. If there is something you’d like to see, or share with the giant pumpkin growers on NZ, then please get in touch.