How long does it take to grow a giant pumpkin?
It can take anywhere from 140 – 160 days to grow a giant pumpkin, and this can vary between sites due to climate, aspect, soil condition, seed genetics and a whole bunch of different factors. But planting in late October (Labour weekend here in NZ) will give you a pumpkin ready in March/April the following year.
To help work backwards to make sure you have enough time to grow for your event check out www.timeanddate.com, a great tool to help you work out dates in the future or in the past.
While it may take over 4 months to get a giant pumpkin, the actual pumpkin itself grows in a much shorter time frame, sometimes putting on as much as 20 + Kg’s a day at its peak. This is pretty mind-blowing when you think about it, one seed that only weighs a few grams can grow and produce a fruit that is in the hundreds of kilos.
Here is a rough timeline of what happens during a growing season.
By using this as a guide you can work backwards from your competition date to work out the best time to plant your giant pumpkin seeds.
|1||Plant seeds indoors|
|5||Plant some extra seeds just in case|
|9-10||Seeds should be appearing from the soil|
|20||First leaves start appearing|
|22-25||Transplant to garden|
|25-36||Covering of plants to protect from cold nights might be needed|
|51||Bugs that want to eat the plants start appearing|
|70||Time to pollinate|
|73||Pollination should be successful|
|75||Time to switch to higher phosphate fertiliser|
|80||Think about shade to cover your giant pumpkin|
|81||Water, lots of water and fertiliser|
|82||Fungicides may need to be applied|
|96||Pumpkin should be around the 50kg mark if all is going well|
|100||Skin starts getting harder, and ribs start forming in the fruit|
|111||Skin will start to darken|
|126||Growth starts slowing down|
|156||Pumpkin is mature|
|160||Time to work out how to move it|