Sourcing Giant Pumpkin SeedsLearn about the types of seeds you need and where to get them from
What type of seed do you need to grow a giant pumpkin?
Atlantic Giant is the type of seed you need, known by the botanical name of Cucurbita maxima it has been bred over many years to produce the biggest pumpkins in the world.
Does it matter where the seeds come from?
If you’re a first-time grower then no not really. As you get more into growing giant pumpkins then you will seek out seeds you want to grow.
Wherever you get them from, just make sure they are Atlantic Giant Cucurbita maxima seeds.
Where can you get giant pumpkin seeds from:
There are many different places you can get giant pumpkin seeds from, both locally and internationally.
- Kings Seeds – A great local seed company who has a wide variety of seeds for all sorts of pumpkins as well as every other fruit, vegetable or ornamental you can think of. If you need bulk seeds for an event these are the suppliers I recommend.
- Garden Centres – Most garden centres usually have a packet of Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds for sale.
- Trademe – There always seems to be someone selling giant pumpkins seeds on Trademe
- Other growers – Most growers will have seeds from previous pumpkins and a lot of them are willing to give you the seeds for free, you just need to ask nicely. Getting them from a grower gives you a strong chance of knowing what the genetics of that seed is. Make contact or say hi at a giant pumpkin event.
- Other growers – The best and biggest website in the world to connect with other growers is BigPumpkins.com check it out, everyone is really helpful there, the message boards is the place to look and become involved. Also keep an eye out for seed auctions, a great way to get good seeds and help out giant pumpkin growing clubs.
SEEDS FROM OVERSEAS – NEW RULES and REGULATIONS
There has been a lot of changes in how we can get seeds in from overseas, the rules changed a lot and this is the current method as of 01/09/2016.
Seeds coming into NZ MUST be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. A certificate that states the seeds are free from disease. The current process is to send the seeds you want to a super awesome guy in Canada name Eddy who will organise the certificate and then send the seeds to you. Get in touch if you want to know more about this process.
The biggest thing to remember is this takes time, so plan well in advance.
How many pumpkin seeds will you need?
Well, it is always better to have too many than not enough, the seeds may not grow, get wiped out by frost or something else unforeseen may happen.
Even if you are only wanting to grow one plant make sure you have backups or have a strategy to get some seeds in a hurry if you need to.
The Benefit of Knowing the Pumpkin Seeds History
When talking to people about this, I always liken it to horses and horse racing. Great thoroughbred horses have been bred from other great horses, inheriting the genes of previous generations.
Giant pumpkin seeds are similar, with the best seeds coming from other great seeds. This history can be viewed with the use of family trees.
Before buying any seeds or planting any if you already have been given some seeds you can do some research and there are a couple of different ways of doing that.
http://tools.pumpkinfanatic.com/ is a website that will show you the genetics of a seed in a family tree type of diagram like this:
Just put in your pumpkins weight and wait a sec and it will show you the results, click on the one you want and check out the results.
Bigpumpkins.com – use the search box to search for your seeds weight, you may get results from mentions in the message board or diary entries from people that have been growing that exact same seed.
Google – Can help you find mentions of that seed from other sources, maybe just enough information to help your decision-making process.
Other growers – Ask people that have grown that seed before how it went for them, and if they would grow it again or recommend it. Keep in mind that everyone’s conditions are different but it should give you a good indication about the seed.
What do the numbers mean?
When talking about giant pumpkin seeds with growers or looking at them online to buy you may be wondering what all the numbers often referred to are. Well, they contain the information about that seed.
- 955 – This is the weight of the pumpkin the seed was removed from, remember the weight is in pounds not kilograms.
- Conley – This is the surname of the person that grew the pumpkin
- 2004 – Unsurprisingly this is the year the pumpkin was grown
- 1016 Daletas – This is the female plant, that was planted to begin with
- 846 Calai – This is the male plant that was used to pollinate the female plant (1016 Daletas)
With the female and male plant both crossed, you ended up with the 955 Conley 2004
If it only had 1016 Daletas and not the 846 Calai mentioned, then I would assume that it had been self pollinated by itself.
What to do with all of this information?
With this information, you have found you can make an informed decision on what you would like to grow. You can see how it has grown for other people, the colour the pumpkin is and the weights it has achieved.
I like to keep track of seeds I have by putting all this info into a spreadsheet, allowing me an easy way to compare all of the seeds.
Traits to Look For
- Very heavy growing pumpkins
- Pumpkins that weighed heavier than predicted using charts, usually represented by a percentage eg. +20%
- A nice orange colour (if that’s what you want)
- Ones that are prone to stem split (not good)
A lot of research early on can have big benefits later on. It could give you an advantage over other growers.