When I was a kid, I looked forward to going to the state fair at the end of the summer. I loved the food, the rides, all the animals, but the thing I most clamored about seeing was the blue ribbon winning giant pumpkin. They were amazing (and still are). The winning grower of these leviathans often stated that to attain such great size, they fed the pumpkin milk. Is this true? Does using milk to grow pumpkins work? If so, how do you grow giant milk fed pumpkins?
If you do a search regarding feeding pumpkins with milk, you will find quite a bit of information with about a 50/50 split on the veracity of using milk to grow pumpkins. Milk does have vitamins and minerals, with calcium being the most touted. Most kids are given milk to drink with the idea that it will make them grow up strong and healthy. Of course, there is some dissention over whether cow’s milk is really very good for kids, but I digress.
Given that pumpkins need calcium and other micronutrients, it seems to be a no brainer that growing pumpkins with milk will definitely boost their size. In this case, there are some problems with the idea of feeding pumpkins with milk.
First of all, although I don’t have any kids in the house, I do have a rabid milk drinker. Therefore, I am very much aware of how much milk costs. Liquid fertilizers such as fish emulsion, seaweed fertilizer, compost or manure tea, or even Miracle-Grow will all add calcium and micronutrients into the pumpkin vine and at a significantly lower cost.
Secondly, when feeding milk to a pumpkin, one of the most common methods is by making a slit in the vine and feeding a wicking material from a container of milk into this slit. The problem here is that you have just injured the vine and, like any injury, it is now open to disease and pests.
Lastly, have you ever smelled spoiled milk? Try putting a container of milk out in the late summer in the hot sun. I’m betting it won’t take long to spoil. Ugh.
Since I have read both positive and negative reviews on feeding giant pumpkins milk, I suppose if you have the means and an inquisitive mind, it might be fun to try growing a pumpkin goliath by milk feeding. So, here’s how to grow a giant milk fed pumpkin.
First, select the variety of pumpkin you want to grow. It makes sense to plant a giant variety like “Atlantic Giant” or “Big Max.” If you are growing pumpkins from seed, choose a spot in full sun that has been amended with compost or composted manure. Make a hill that is 18 inches (45 cm.) across and 4 inches (10 cm.) tall. Sow four seeds to a depth of one inch in the hill. Keep the soil moist. When the seedlings are around 4 inches (10 cm.) tall, thin out to the most vigorous plant.
When the fruit is the size of a grapefruit, remove all branches but the one which the healthiest specimen is growing. Also, remove any other blossoms or fruit from your remaining vine. Now you are ready to milk feed the pumpkin.
It doesn’t seem to matter what type of milk you use, whole or 2% should work equally. Sometimes, people don’t use milk at all but a mixture of water and sugar and still refer to milk feeding their pumpkin. Some people add sugar to the milk. Use a lidded container, like a milk jug or Mason jar. Select a wicking material, either actual wick or a cotton fabric that will absorb the milk and filter it into the pumpkin stem. Punch a hole the width of the wicking material into the lid of the container. Fill the container with milk and feed the wick through the hole.
Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow slit on the underside of the chosen pumpkin vine. Very carefully and gently, ease the wick that is in the container of milk into the slit. Wrap the slit with gauze to hold the wick in place. That’s it! You are now feeding the pumpkin with milk. Refill the container with milk as needed and also give the pumpkin one inch (2.5 cm.) of regular irrigation per week.
An even easier method is to just “water” the pumpkin each day with a cup of milk.
The best of luck to those of you milk feeding pumpkins. For the doubters amongst us, there’s always liquid chelated calcium, which I hear is a guaranteed blue ribbon winner!
Whether you use them for carving or cooking, pumpkins do not disappoint. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest pumpkins!
Did you know pumpkins have been grown in North America for almost 5,000 years? It’s a lot of fun to grow this American native. However, note that pumpkins do require a long growing season (generally from 75 to 100 frost-free days) so you need to plant them by late May in northern locations to early July in extremely southern states.
Wait until ALL danger of frost has passed and the soil is warmed, as the seedlings of this tender crop will be injured or rot. Find your local frost dates here.
That said, pumpkins are easy to maintain if you have the space.
Of autumn’s wine, now drink your fill
The frost’s on the pumpkin, and snow’s on the hill.
–The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1993
Check out this video to learn how to plant pumpkins.
Photo Credits: National Garden Bureau. On the left, ‘Munchkin’ miniature pumpkins. On the right, ‘Wee-B-Little’ miniature pumpkins.
Photo Credits: National Garden Bureau. On the left, ‘Cinderella’s Carriage’ pumpkins. On the right, ‘Peanut Pumpkin’.
Photo Credits: National Garden Bureau. On the left, a ‘Jarrahdale’ pumpkin. On the right, a ‘Pepitas Pumpkin’.
It is possible but I’ve found no evidence of the hobbyists that spend a significant amount of time devoted to growing huge pumpkins backing this method.
In this hour long video master pumpkin grower Jamie Johnson goes over everything you need to know to grow a 1,000 lb. pumpkin. Here are some of the tips.
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Pumpkins, the source of many a young girl’s daydreams. Turns into a carriage, takes you to the ball, something about glass slippers and a happy ending! As a young girl, and even as a not so young girl, I was never one for the whole Cinderella thing, but I too had dreams of pumpkins! Well, more specifically, my Mum’s pumpkin soup! The secret ingredient to this oft imitated, never duplicated soup, was home grown pumpkinney goodness (or ginger, I can’t quite remember). So now you too can grow your own giant orange balls of tastiness!
Warm Areas: All Year Round!
Temperate Areas: After last frost in winter
Cool to Cold Areas: After last frost in winter
The biggest thing to remember about pumpkins is that they LOVE space, and I reckon that each vine needs about 1m². So, here’s a hot tip: find a sunny spot out of the way a bit (like the forgotten side of the house or shed), pile up some compost, whack in two vines and walk away. Pumpkins like their privacy, and can suffer a bit if they are trod on, cut or damaged.
Growing pumpkins is so easy, even my evil stepsisters can manage it (that’s a joke by the way!). Pumpkins love compost, I mean they really love compost. That’s why you’ll often find a pumpkin vine growing out of old compost piles. So, the more compost the better! Pumpkins vines will root where they come into contact with the ground, and this should be encouraged as it produces more pumpkins and stronger plants.
If you have planted your pumpkins in a nice, rich, compost filled Yummy Yard, there is absolutely no need to feed!
The other thing that pumpkins love, in addition to compost and space, is a moist, well-drained soil. Soil with a high compost content will retain moisture, as will a nice mulch layer. Now, before you go nuts on the end of the hose, use your moisture sensor! What do you mean you don’t have one? Your pointer finger is the greatest moisture sensor in the world… and most of us have two of those. Stick your chosen finger in the soil, and remove. Is it damp, and is there dirt stuck to your finger? If yes, it doesn’t need a drink. If no, read on! Water in the morning, to avoid water on the foliage as the temperature cools down, and never, ever, ever water pumpkin with greywater!
Pumpkins, depending on the variety, take between 70 – 120 days to mature, which is a bloody, long time, but totally worth the wait! You can tell when a pumpkin is ripe when you give it a knock on the side, and it sounds hollow. The skin should feel hard and the tendril closest to the fruit should be dead. When removing the pumpkin from the vine, be sure to keep about 5cm of stalk on top.
If you don’t plan on chowing down or carving up your pumpkin straight away, I recommend “curing” it by sitting it in the sun for a while (about a week), and then storing it in a cool, dark (but not damp) place. Well-cured pumpkins can last for up to ten months.
A common problem with pumpkins isn’t so much a pest issue, but a pollination problem. For years I grew pumpkins with magic vines, but no real fruit. The problem was that small fruits would form, go yellow, and fall off. I overcame this with hand-pollination! The trick is to pick the boy flowers (the ones without the tell-tale bump at the base), take the petals off, and lightly rub the pollen on the sticky bits of the female flowers.
As for real pests – well, there’s not much, but keep an eye on fuzzy mildews (like Powdery Mildew or Downy Mildew). Have a read of those two factsheets should these little fungal nasties appear!
Don’t grow pumpkins in the same patch as tomatoes or potatoes, ‘cos they just don’t get along! Also, crop rotation is a big deal, so wait two years after planting other members of the pumpkin family (including cucumbers, melons, squashes and zucchinis) before you whack in your pumpkins. This just helps cut down the risk of disease and bad stuff happening to your pumpkin patch.
This is the ultimate in kinship. This sauce and pumpkin go together so well that you’ll pass this recipe on through the generations.
Preheat oven and bake the pumpkin while the sauce cooks. Wash and cook some jasmine rice too. Cut up and stir fry a few greens to complement it if you so desire.
Pumpkin Curry Sauce
1 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
1 clove garlic
2 cm knob ginger
½ butternut pumpkin or about 500g other pumpkin
1 can coconut cream or milk
1 tsp garam masala
2 chopped chilies
juice of half lemon or lime
1 star anise
1 tsp brown or palm sugar
1 tsp soy or fish sauce
Preheat oven to 200°C
Prepare rice and place it on to cook. (The absorption method is best)
Peel pumpkin. Cut into small chunks. Place pumpkin on greased baking trays and bake until tender. (Will take approximately as long as the rice and the sauce or 25-30 minutes).
Finely dice onion and chilies.
Crush garlic and grate ginger.
Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until soft.
Add garlic, ginger, chilies and garam masala. Stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer gently until rice is cooked and pumpkin tender. However, the sauce will thicken quite a lot, so keep an eye on it.
When sauce is the thickness you desire, or the rest of the meal is ready, turn the sauce off. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
In this time, you could stirfry some greens. A green salad with Asian inspired dressing also goes well with this dish.
Remove star anise from sauce. Taste sauce and season if necessary.
Place pumpkin on top of rice and ladle the curry sauce on top. Serve by itself or alongside your greens.
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I have written extensively on this site about edible flowers, both cultivated and wild. Here 98 previous separate entries about cultivated flowers are in one spot. Garden Fence Netting Aquaculture Netting Indoor Growing and Hydroponics. Liquid Fertilizers. Liquid Fertilizer. Organic style growing - Soil or Coco with plain water and plants hit with a traditional compost tea. maintaining a little veganic ecosystem BASIC PALM TREE CULTURE AND LIMITATIONS. Remember that nature has not provided us with houseplants. Rather, we look for and give a try with species, hoping that they will survive indoors. Growing Vegetable Transplants in Plug Trays. volume so more water and fertilizer are available to the too little nitrogen will have pale-green Potassium Magnesium Sulfate Potassium Magnesium Sulfate organic fertilizer is a source of highly soluble potassium, and has the additional benefit of Case fertilizer application equipment, like the 810 Flex-Air Applicator, ensure uniform granular fertilizer placement. For liquid fertilizer applications, the Titan Series Floaters provides industry-leading performance. Precision Spray Series crop sprayers gives best-in-class application. Nutrients and Fertilizer For Marijuana Plants Marijuana like any other plants needs nutrients and fertilizers to grow and to produce good yields. The nutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) play an important role the development of your cannabis like its root growth buds development flowering and in producing high yields.
If you've got the space and inclination, try growing your own monster pumpkin - for competition of just for fun.( Photo by Jim Myers/OSU Extension Service)
CORVALLIS, Ore. - One small seed is all it takes to produce the gigantic pumpkins entered in fierce competitions around the world, including the record set in 2016 with a 2,624.6-pounder that weighed almost as much as a Volkswagen bug.
Maybe you won't achieve quite that size but plant 'Dill's Atlantic Giant' and you'll grow a whopping pumpkin, said Jim Myers, a vegetable breeder for Oregon State University.
"I've had these types growing in fields and without doing anything special to them I've gotten 400-pounders," he said. "They certainly need plenty of water and lots of space to grow. People who grow them competitively have their own secret formulas that they don't talk about and use different strategies. It's a very small group that does it competitively and they're very fanatical about it."
Modern monster pumpkin genetics go back to grower Howard Dill, a Nova Scotia farmer who spent 30 years selectively breeding giant pumpkins. He came up with 'Dill's Atlantic Giant' - and every world champion since has come from offspring of those seeds.
Dill reinvigorated giant-pumpkin competitions in 1978 by breaking a 75-year-old record set in 1903 by William Warnock, whose 403-pound oddity was then displayed at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Dill's champion 438.5-pound pumpkin sounds wimpy next to those grown today, but it was outlandish enough to gain a spot in "Ripley's Believe It or Not." Dill held the world record four years straight and landed in the Guinness World Records book in 1981 with a 493.5-pounder.
To grow a monster pumpkin, it takes a monster amount of land, water and fertilizer. A single pumpkin can cover 1,200 square feet and the big boys need up to 500 gallons a week. If you'd like to try, Myers offered the following advice:
After you've entered your pumpkin in weigh-off competitions, you might be able to sell it to businesses. Casinos or restaurants will sometimes purchase a champion and contract with a professional pumpkin carver to create a short-lived sculpture, Myers said. Or you can roast the seeds. Be forewarned, though, the flesh is not very palatable.
"It's something that's interesting to do. There's not a lot of practicality. There might be a little prize money and it's good for notoriety," Myers said.
Nothing says Halloween like jack-o’-lanterns, but what good are they if they rot before you can say trick-or-treat? Before you go to the farmers market, read 9 quick tips to make carved pumpkins last longer. From selecting the best to inhibiting moisture, we’ve got ideas you can use, right here on Gardener’s Path.