Lisa Daniels

Lisa Daniels and her big pumpkin

I had always wanted a “giant pumpkin” as a kid, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was fun to watch it grow, once I could see I was going to have a keeper.

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You need a good amount of space to grow a big pumpkin. The vines get pretty long with big leaves. I was careful with all the vines and made sure that I watered near the pumpkin. I really just let it happen, so I can’t say there was any one thing that I did that made it grow so large. One thing to note, I did not use any fertilizers, but, I do have a beehive that I started this year. The bees loved my garden! The variety I planted was Big Max.  (If you’re really serious about growing a giant pumpkin, read this article from National Gardening: How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin.)

We estimate that the pumpkin weighed about 100 pounds, with a girth of 63″. I figured I could enjoy it longer if it was not carved, so I chose not to carve it.

scarred pumpkins

Lisa used a nail to “engrave” these pumpkins for her kids.

Another fun thing to try with pumpkins is scarring, where you scrape the pumpkin skin with a nail while the pumpkin is still somewhat green and growing. I grew pumpkins for my kids with their names in them. I thought about doing something to my big pumpkin, but it looked so perfect, I did not want to mess with it.

In addition to the pumpkins, I have a small garden near our house and have just grown a few things, such as tomatoes, peppers and cukes. What stirred up more of my gardening passion was that my husband and I purchased some land where we plan to build. I made sure I got a big garden there. This year was my third year growing things in it. Because we are out there primarily on weekends, I only plant things that need little attention: gourds, squash, sunflowers, potatoes and a variety of pumpkins.

Lisa Daniels

Lisa gardens in Wisconsin. She plans to grow an even bigger pumpkin this year.