Having read up a bit I found the best variety are Atlantic Giant so this year I got a packet of “Dill’s Atlantic Giant”. I sowed the seeds in containers and started to research more such as soil preparation, feeding etc and then I discovered BigPumpkins.com. This is a website where serious growers from around the world share ideas and progress with like minded individuals. I read a lot and posted a few questions only to be told (in a nice way) my seeds would be rubbish…gutted.
To get the biggest and best pumpkins you need the right genetics and these have been steadily developed via enthusiasts (mostly USA based) over the last decades. You don’t just get these seeds from your local garden centre either its quite a closed group where seeds are mostly given away to friends but where the most sought after seeds from world record holders can auction for several hundreds of dollars each! Needless to say I carried on learning and after more research proved I was somewhat behind the seed auctions held over winter. It was mid May, getting on in the year and my plants should be in the ground not yet seeds....
...And then I got an offer from a UK grower who’s been an enthusiast for a few years. He sent me a collection of seeds two of which I have planted. These are no ordinary seeds and have very credible genetic history each coming from pumpkins over 900lb!! To say I was/still am excited in an understatement! I got both plants going asap using the airing cupboard for warmth and by the end of the first week they had not only germinated but had started to fill the three litre pots they were in. Right now they are in much larger 50 litre tubs but this can’t last for long. And so we come to plot 61 and the big idea.
Originally I reserved the last two beds on Plot62 for squash plants – butternut, courgette and pumpkin. However this is nowhere near enough for one plant let alone two. It became clear I needed a much bigger space of ground and hence the second plot came about. Right now I’ve cleared the weeds and will dig two pits in the next couple of days. Hopefully I’ll have the plants transplanted at the weekend. I recon I need half a plot for each plant - thats 15’x25’ each (yes really!!) and will try to use compost and possibly manure to give nutrients. I’m also trying to build polythene tents to protect my seedlings when transplanted. Its all a bit crazy and manic and possibly why some of the regular veg growing is having a slow start. But its so fascinating and exciting I can’t wait to see how it goes!
By the way the top picture is what I'm aiming for... Its a picture taken from BigPumpkins of the current world record holder. It was grown last year by Joe Jutras and reached a colossal weight of 1689lbs!