How tall is the tallest sunflower? How heavy is the biggest pumpkin? This summer you could have a go at growing your own giant pumpkin or sky-scraping sunflowers. Maybe you could organise a contest between you and your siblings or your classmates? All you need is a patch of sunny ground and some seed. November is the time to get started. Ready set go!
The tallest flower
Sunflowers grow super fast and can have flowers as big as dinner plates! There are lots of different varieties. For a really tall sunflower, try Yates Sunflower ‘Ginormous FlowerZilla’, which can grow up to 5 metres tall. That’s tall!
How to grow sunflowers
Choose a sunny weed-free patch of soil and give it a good water the day before you plant.
You might have a wall or fence you can grow sunflowers against. If not get help to bang some stakes firmly in the ground, about 40cm apart.
Sow seeds about 1cm deep. Hint: If you have plenty of seeds, sow in pairs and pull out the weakest seedlings when they start to grow. Water gently after sowing.
Feed and water your sunflowers as they grow and tie them gently to their stakes with stretchy ties. Water to keep the soil just moist.
Because they grow so fast sunflowers need plenty of food.
Mix some compost into the soil before planting.
When they start to grow, feed them with liquid fertiliser.
Sunflower seedlings don’t like being moved. If you sow the seed in pots use biodegradable pots so you can plant them in the ground pot-and-all.
Sunflowers turn to face the sun. Scientists call this heliotropism!
The biggest pumpkin
Pumpkins come in loads of different colours shapes, and sizes. Giant pumpkins are a special variety that are not great for eating but they sure are fun to grow!
How to grow a giant pumpkin
Choose a warm, sunny spot with shelter from the wind. Pumpkin vines need plenty of space.
Mix a bucket load of compost into the soil plus a spoonful of slow-release fertiliser per plant.
Gently remove the little plant from its pot, being careful not to disturb the roots too much, and plant it.
Water to keep the soil moist. Once the fruit appears, water less often but soak thoroughly so that the water goes deep into the soil.
Basically, giant pumpkins grow in the same way as any other pumpkin, but if you want to grow the biggest here’s the trick: You must choose one pumpkin and cut off the others. The pumpkin that gets the whole plant to itself gets all the energy that the plant makes in its leaves. So it grows like crazy!
Feed it lots. Try liquid fish and seaweed fertilisers as your pumpkin grows.
Lay some newspaper around your plant and then add a layer of straw. This will protect your pumpkins from being spoiled by damp soil.
Pumpkins need plenty of sun to grow but for super bright colour, give it a little shade from the hottest afternoon sun.