Dill’s Atlantic Giant is the best variety for growing giant pumpkins…..producing world record size pumpkins. Howard Dill, from Windsor, Nova Scotia, was a giant among giant pumpkin growers. He won four consecutive world championships from 1979 to 1982, a feat unmatched by any other grower. He missed winning his fifth title by a mere 5 pounds. The present day world record for the Dill’s Atlantic Giant is 1,689 lbs grown by a man from Rhode Island. The current (October 2008) California, British Columbia and Canadian record holder is Jake van Kooten from Port Alberni, B.C. whose Atlantic Giant weighed in at a staggering 1,536.5 lbs. Even if you don’t want to grow a ‘record breaker’, it is excellent for pies, carving Jack O’Lanterns, etc. Fruit colour varies from yellow to orange to pink orange.
If you want to try your green thumb at growing a giant pumpkin, these are Howard Dill’s recommendations:
- Cool growing climates such as Washington, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, northern California, and of course, Canada
- Soil pH ranging from 6.5 – 7.0 with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or manure
- Allow plenty of space between plants (the more the better)
- Provide shade cover for vine and pumpkin to reduce stress, if the summer temperatures are above 90°F (32°C)
- Plenty of water (did you know a giant pumpkin can gain 10-20 pounds a day?)
Nutrition: Pumpkin is full of an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. It is also a good source of zinc, iron, and fiber. One cup cooked pumpkin is about 49 calories.
|Spacing||8 ft (2.5m)|
|Soil||Deep, organic, compost rich and well draining|
|pH Range||6.5 – 7.0|
|Watering||Water regularly & evenly to produce large pumpkins.|
|Fertilizing||Balanced fertilizer at time of planting; work in manure/compost|
|Nutrients Required||The initial stage of fertilizing should be based on maximizing phosphorus for root development. Once roots are established then shift to a well balanced fertilizer with more nitrogen. Prior to setting the fruit, switch to a higher potassium formulation for development of the set fruit.|
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