Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Grow a Monster Pumpkin; Weekender Columnist Neil Fisher Is from Fisher's Nursery, North Rockhampton. You Can Chat with Neil on Radio 4ro's Gardening Hour after the 6am News on Tuesdays

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Grow a Monster Pumpkin; Weekender Columnist Neil Fisher Is from Fisher's Nursery, North Rockhampton. You Can Chat with Neil on Radio 4ro's Gardening Hour after the 6am News on Tuesdays

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL FISHER

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Did you know that the largest pumpkin ever recorded was 480kg?

OVER the next couple of months just about every community will hold their own Agricultural Show.

For gardeners the Agricultural Shows offer an array of unusual flowers and plants to observe and with the warmest autumn in nearly 40 years the displays of cut flowers like gerberas and roses should be better than ever.

As well as the beauty of flowers our country shows also have interesting produce like the giant pumpkins.

Some years ago while viewing the produce display at the Rockhampton Show I had the opportunity to meet a giant pumpkin expert.

John and Elaine Smith were past champion giant pumpkin growers from New South Wales.

In our discussion, he began to tell me about the 180 to 200kg monster pumpkins that he had grown many years ago.

Being very keen to share his years of knowledge, I listened to him for the next hour and took notes on what he had to say. So here, in the true spirit of passing down gardening experience, are John Smith's 'words of giant pumpkin wisdom'.

He always recommends planting your pumpkin seeds at the very end of spring, just as the season is changing to summer.

Always germinate the seeds in small pots first, but never over water them as the seeds might rot. Once the seeds have germinated, keep them in a warm sunny area until they have formed three leaves.

This is now the time to transplant them into a freshly prepared garden bed.

John described the perfect garden bed for transplanting as rather like a group of turkey nests, with each mound being 30cm or 1 foot in height and 45cm or 18 inches wide and no closer than 3m apart.

Place one pumpkin seedling in the centre of each mound. It is always best to water the ground around the mound, rather than watering the plant, as it is establishing, as he said that "pumpkins are a real mongrel for getting mildew" which is a fungus disease. He did say that this would be even harder for Central Queensland gardeners, due to our high humidity. …

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