How to Grow the World's Largest Pumpkin

By Jesse Guyer , last updated April 12, 2011

Really big pumpkins can be grown relatively easily. Adults and children alike still flock to state fairs across our country to see large animals, eat funnel cake, and marvel at the giant pumpkin that seems otherworldly. To grow one of these behemoths, you'll need to consider a bunch of growing tips and strategies from the professionals. This is not easy, and if you think you can just inject that orange orb on your front step, you've got another thing coming.

Pumpkins are a type of squash. Squash come in two varieties, summer, and winter squash. You might then ask, why do pumpkins represent Halloween, a traditional fall holiday. The answer is that most of the growing of a pumpkin occurs during the summer. Pumpkins LOVE sun. The more sun, the better they will grow. The reason we see so many pumpkins come October, is the change of the seasons. Pumpkins would rot in the winter and wouldn't be able to thrive under the lovely sunshine of the summer. The Native American's used squash as one of their "Three Sisters of Life" crops.

To grow a really big pumpkin, you need really great seeds. You can of course order seeds online at or Another option is to go to your local farmers market and ask the farmers themselves. Farmers know seeds, crops, and can offer you more tips than any online article. That said, you do need to keep a few things in mind.

Bill Foss is a prized winning pumpkin grower hailing from Minnesota. He has certifiably grown the largest female pumpkin in Minnesota state history. An amazing 1314 lbs., it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about making them big, and he'll even sell you his award winning seeds! Bill lays out four main points, and a bunch of maintenance tips to grow big pumpkins.

Good seeds, good soil, hard work, and good luck. Prepare the site of your giant pumpkin by making sure it's level. It should be well drained, and get plenty of sun. Next comes soil. Pumpkins need very rich soil, which is best "worked" in the fall. If there are a lot of weeds growing, that's a good sign for once. But the soil could be enriched even further by aged manure or compost.

Before planting, soak your seeds for four hours in warm water. A good day to plant is May 20th, right before the summer months' sun. Make a two-foot circle prior to planting and take off the top inch of soil. Take five seeds and lay them flat in the circle. Cover them with the topsoil so they are an inch from the surface.

Next, you will need to protect the seedlings. Bill recommends building a small greenhouse. The idea being to keep the seedlings warm and protect them from wind and other incidentals. Weed! Absolutely help your seedlings by pulling weeds. Next is pruning. You need to help the plant grow into a triangle. Bill lays out the specifics on his site for technique.

Food and water are also crucial to growing the biggest pumpkin ever. Water-soluble plant food is best, and add during watering. Water your pumpkin in the early evening, allowing it to dry before night.

Good luck is the last component; there are a lot of folks gunning for the world's largest pumpkin. But with a lot of hard work, you can do it!

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