Giant pumpkin varieties like Yates Behemoth are super fun to grow! Find a plant in the garden centre or start your own from seed.
Basically, giant pumpkins grow in the same way as any other pumpkin, but if you want to grow the biggest, here’s the trick - 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 that one pumpkin will just keep on getting bigger until it's time to enter it in a giant pumpkin contest in autumn.
Seek out a giant pumpkin competition near you or gather family and friends together to plan your own. Save a date in autumn for your a weigh-in party. In Hamilton, The Great Pumpkin Carnival is an annual event, held in March at Hamilton Gardens.
When the soil warms up for summer, pumpkin, zucchini and cucumber plants are super easy to grow from seed.
TIP: Make a little mound about as high as your hand to sow your seeds in. This makes the soil warmer, especially if your soil is quite wet.
You can also grow your seedlings in little pots filled with seed raising mix. If you grow them in biodegradable pots you can plant them pot and all without disturbing their roots. The pots will rot away into compost - but don’t let them dry out.
Meet the Cucurbit family. It’s time to grow pumpkins and all their cousins: squash, water melons, cucumbers, gherkins, zucchini, fabulous flying saucer shaped scallopini and fancy gourds. Gourds are colourful cool-looking cucurbits to grow just for show.
Vegetable or a fruit? We might call it a vegetable, but if it comes from a flower it’s actually a fruit. So scientifically speaking, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and capsicums are all fruits!
Pumpkins (and other cucurbits) have two kinds of flowers. On female flowers you can see a small fruit forming at their base below the petals. A male flower does not. If you think there are not enough bees around you can help out by picking a male flower and lightly touching it onto the centre of a female flower.
Pumpkin seedling growing in a 'pot' made from newspaper.
Pumpkins nearly ready for picking.