Sourcing Giant Pumpkin Seeds

What type of seed do you need to grow a giant pumpkin?

Atlantic Giant is the type of seed you need

Atlantic giant, known by the botanical name of Cucurbita maxima has been bred over many years to produce the biggest pumpkins in the world.

Giant pumpkin seeds drying

Does it matter where the seeds come from?

If your 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.

What is the benefit of knowing what family the giant pumpkin seeds came from?

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.

They can be traced back with the use of family trees.

I’ll talk more about that later on down the page, but for now lets have a look at suppliers of giant pumpkin seeds.

Where can you get giant pumpkin seeds from:

There are many different places you can get Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds from, these include:

Locally
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.

How to get seeds from overseas sellers – NEW RULES AND REGULATIONS
There has been a lot of changes in how we can get seeds in from overseas, the rules changing a lot this is the current method as of 01/09/2016.

Seeds coming into NZ MUST accompanied with 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 onto you.

The biggest thing to remember is this takes time, so plan well in advance.

As for places to get seeds from overseas:

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.

For buying online, check out these websites:

howarddill.com
hollandsgiants.com
giantpumpkin.com
worldclassgardening.com

How many pumpkin seeds do 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.  So 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.

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 are the information about that seed.

Here is an example of a packet with numbers on it.  Not all packets will have as many numbers they may only refer to the first two.

An example of seed packaging

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.

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.

A similar website to check out is:

http://www.giant-pumpkin-genetics.org/

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.

As I have found out the information on the seeds I have, I have been recording this into a simple spreadsheet like this one here:

Spread Sheet Image

I can add more info when I find it and use this for following years or if I give the seeds away to someone else give them the data.  You can check out the spreadsheet by clicking on this link.

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.

Traits to look out 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.

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