Growing Giant Pumpkins – Planting the Seeds

This year I’ve decided that I’m going to grow some more giant pumpkins. After the spectacular failure last year where they just refused to grow, which I’m putting down to poor soil and a bad location, this year I am in a new location with much better soil and a regular supply of manure.

I have two lots of seeds. The first are Dills Atlantic Giant, which are a favourite for growing large pumpkins. They are easy to get hold of and will reliably produce good sized pumpkins. It is easy to grow one over 100 pounds without too much effort.

The second set of seeds are much more precious. I bought four seeds from a 1367 pound giant pumpkin. They were not cheap, a single seed costing more than a packet of Atlantic Giant, but well worth it I think.

giant pumpkins seeds

You can see from the above picture the difference in size between the seeds. On the left is the Atlantic Giant and on the right the Giant pumpkin. The latter seed is much larger and much thicker than the Atlantic Giant, so it is looking promising!

I have planted all four of the giant pumpkins as well as a couple of Atlantic Giant seeds too as a backup. They are quite late planting here because the weather has been extremely cold and wet over the last few weeks. Today we’ve had snow, hail and frost, so it is probably just as well the seeds weren’t planted early.

The seeds have been put in a high quality seed compost. Last year I used cheap seed compost and germination rates were terrible. This year I’ve bought a more expensive compost and, so far, germination rates have been very high. This compost has perlite mixed in with it, which will help with drainage and moisture retention.

giant pumpkin seed planted

The seeds have been put in to reasonably large pots (5 inches across) rather than planting in smaller pots and then transferring them. Every time you transfer your plants you run the risk of damaging them or them being unhappy with the transfer and their growth being stunted. These are special pots which have plastic covers on them, which turn them into mini greenhouses.

I’ve planted the seeds on their side because I discovered last year that pumpkin seeds have a top and a bottom. My children helped me plant last year and after a couple of weeks I wondered why no seeds had germinated so dug around in the pots. I discovered that the seeds had germinated and the leaves were going down into the soil and the roots had bent round to try to get into the soil. Turns out the pumpkin seeds had been put in with the pointy end down, which is where the leaves come from! I did rescue the plants and they all survived, but I had since decided that planting all squash seeds on their side is desirable.

Once covered and watered in, the pots, with their covers, have been put in a plastic greenhouse to germinate. I’m hoping for good things and will keep you updated on their progress over the year!


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