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Pumpkin 'Atlantic Giant'

Giant Pumpkin, Competition & Exhibition variety

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Pumpkin 'Atlantic Giant'

Giant Pumpkin, Competition & Exhibition variety

Availability: In stock

Average Seed Count:6 Seeds


Imagine, You’re reading the paper and suddenly your eye is drawn to a picture of this giant orange thing about the size of a truck with a guy half its size standing next to it grinning like a lunatic. “I’d like to grow one of those,” you think.
The 'Atlantic Giant' pumpkin was bred by Canadian pumpkin breeder Howard Dill. He grew several varieties of pumpkins in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and was called 'The Pumpkin King' after his earliest hybrids won at the International Pumpkin Association’s weigh-off in 1979. Dill then patented the Atlantic Giant seeds in 1979.
Let’s not quibble over whether this is called a squash or a pumpkin - if it’s going to take up half your garden it can have a name of its own. The point is, it’s big.

The ultimate variety for giant pumpkin contests, the 'Atlantic Giant' held the world record at 1689lb (766kg). It requires plenty of space and a warm long summer to reach its full potential, but with care it still produces exceptional sized pumpkins.
Realistically with average care and a good summer, fruit of up to 300lbs (130kg) are achievable, so if you want to win the local pumpkin growing competition or just grow a huge one for Halloween then this is the one to grow.

To grow giant pumpkins sow directly outdoors, after the last frosts when soil reaches at least 20°C (68°F). Restrict the plant to one fruit and feed regularly with high potassium fertiliser, every 12 to 14 days.
Make sure that no weeds are growing near your plant as they may eat up the soil’s nutrients, and prune your plant regularly so that your competition-level pumpkin gets all the nutrients it needs. The Atlantic giant also requires more water, mulch and supply adequate water, at least 2.5cm (1in) per week for optimum growth.

'Atlantic Giant' mature in around 125 days from germination, they are also of excellent texture and flavour. The vines will turn brown and wither once it reaches maturity, while the skin of the pumpkin will harden. Once your pumpkin matures, you’ll hear a hollow sound when the hard, outer skin is thumped. This is the time to harvest your fruit.
Leave a few inches of the stem on for best storage potential.

Prepare the Site:
Choose a sunny, sheltered spot with moisture retentive, humus rich soil. Improve the soil by digging in some well-rotted manure or compost. The simplest way is to dig a hole 30cm (12in) deep and 45cm (18in) across and fill it with well rotted compost or manure. Cover with a 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) layer of soil to make a raised mound that will provide drainage along with a rich source of nutrients. To get the best results ensure you have good, nutritious growing compost and that you feed them through the season.

Sowing: Sow indoors in pots April to June or sow direct from mid May to early July.
A minimum temperature of 20°C (68°F) will be needed for germination. If grown entirely in a heated greenhouse seed can be sown in situ in late winter, or early spring for transplanting to a cloche or cold frame. If you do not have any glass, then delay sowing until late spring to avoid damage from heavy frost.

Sowing indoors:
Fill 7.5cm (3in) pots with compost and firm gently. Sow seed on its side, not flat to ensure reliable germination. Sow 12mm (½in) deep and cover. (You may choose to sow two seeds per pot, and remove the weaker seedling later; the strongest plants are kept.) Label, water and put in a propagator or on a windowsill.
Germination should take place 10 to 14 days later. If temperatures are higher it may only be 4 to 6 days. After germination the young plants will grow very quickly and will need repotting almost at once. When roots begin to show through the bottom of the pot, transplant to a 12.5cm (5in) container. Keep barely moist to prevent stems from rotting and protect from strong sunlight with a sheet of newspaper.
Hardened off before planting outside, around late May/early June and all danger of frost has passed. Plant out with 120cm (48in) between plants, providing good air circulation to avoid mildew. Protect seedlings from slugs.

Sowing directly outdoors:
Early sowing outdoors is rarely of much benefit as the seeds may not germinate if the soil is too cold, or cold temperatures may damage young plants. Sow two or three seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep on their edges under cloches or glass jars with 90cm (36in) between plants. Remove the weaker seedlings later.

Companion Planting:
Planting flowers nearby to attract bees can help with squash pollination. Marigolds and nasturtiums may help to repel many common squash plant pests.
Companion plants include sweetcorn, beans, lettuce, peas, pumpkin, radish and melons. Avoid planting potatoes or any Brassica species near your squash. These vegetables are heavy feeders. They will compete with your squash for nutrients making it difficult for them to grow well.

Hoe gently to keep the weeds down and do not let the plants dry out. Plenty of water is essential, especially when the plants are in flower and when the fruits have started to swell. Avoid splashing water on the stems of the young plants. Apply a mulch of about 12mm (1in) deep of grass cuttings or compost after watering. This helps conserve soil moisture and keeps the weeds down.
If you dig in plenty of manure before planting, additional feeding is unnecessary on heavy, fertile soil. On sandy or light soil, regular liquid feed will help boost production.
Plants under glass should be hand pollinated. The female flowers are distinguished by the swelling below the bloom. Male flowers have a prominent central core, bearing yellow pollen. The male flower is first to appear and the female flowers will follow. To hand pollinate, remove the petals from a male flower; push the core into the centre of the female flower. For a high success rate, use a different male for each female flower.

Harvesting: Harvest August through October. Around 120 days.
Winter squashes need as much as three to five months of frost-free conditions after sowing to reach maturity. They can be harvested whenever they are a deep, solid colour and the rind is hard enough to resist being punctured by a thumbnail. Harvest in late September or early October, before heavy frosts. Fruits subjected to a hard frost will not keep, so harvest should be completed before cold weather. Store them in a moderately warm, dry place until Halloween.
Cut the pumpkins from the vines carefully, using pruning shears or a sharp knife and leave 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) of stem attached. Snapping the stems from the vines results in many broken or missing 'handles'. Pumpkins without stems usually do not keep well. Wear gloves when harvesting fruit because many varieties have prickles on their stems.

Leave the fruits as long as possible to ripen in situ, wait until the mottled green skin has begun to turn burnt orange before cutting them free and place them on a table or stand in the warmth of the polytunnel or similar for a good month so the skins can harden.
Cut the fruit from the vine and place it in a well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight. Clean the squash in a very week, (10 percent) chlorine-bleach solution to reduce the chances of mould ruining the fruit.
Handle with care, and avoid damaging the stem, because if it breaks off, disease can move in and cause spoilage. After curing for two to three weeks, store at 10 to 15°C (50 to 60°F) with a relative humidity of 50 to 70 percent (dry basements work well) until you are ready to use them.

Store only fruit that are free of cuts, wounds, and insect or disease damage. Immediately after harvest, the fruit should undergo a ripening or curing process to harden the shell.
A curing period of about two weeks at 24 to 30°C (75 to 85°F) with good circulation is desirable. They can then be stored at temperatures of around 10 to 20°C (50 to 70°F).

Seed Saving:
Varieties within the Cucurbita pepo species will crossbreed easily, so if planning on saving seed from any of the squash included in this species, be sure to only grow one variety within this species, at a time.
When growing different squash varieties within a species, a separation distance of 1.5 to 2 miles (2.4 to 3.2 km) needs to be maintained, in order to prevent cross-pollination and seed contamination. If there are landscape barriers in place, this distance may be shortened a little.
By the time the fruit has been cured, the seeds are mature. Cut open, remove the pulp and seeds, and rinse off the pulp. Put the mixture in a bowl of water to remove the remaining pulp, the good seeds will sink. Remove the good seeds and spread them out to dry for 2 to 3 weeks, stirring them at times to make sure they dry completely. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place, they will remain viable for up to 4 years.

Winter squashes belong to the genus Cucurbita, they fall into four domesticated species groups: C. maxima, C. moschata, C. argyrosperma, and C. pepo.
Native to Central America and northern South America where it was first domesticated, Cucurbita moschata is a monoecious, creeping, vine-like annual that trails along the ground or climbs by tendrils. It produces a variety of fruits which vary considerably in size and shape due to large genetic variation within this species. Young leaves, flowers, shoot tips, fruits and seeds are edible. However, the fruits are usually not harvested when young, but are left on the plant to mature for eventual autumn harvest as winter squashes.

The genus name Cucurbita comes from the Latin name for a gourd.
The specific epithet moschata means musky, it is given to a number of classes of plants that give off a mild scent (ie some rose species).
References to 'pumpkins' date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for 'large melon' which is 'pepon', which was nasalised by the French into 'pompon'. The English changed pompon to 'Pumpion'. Shakespeare referred to the 'pumpion' in his Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed 'pumpion' into 'pumpkin'. The 'pumpkin' is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.
The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.

The 'Atlantic Giant' pumpkin was bred by Canadian pumpkin breeder Howard Dill. He grew several varieties of pumpkins in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and was called 'The Pumpkin King' after his earliest hybrids won at the International Pumpkin Association’s weigh-off in 1979. Dill then patented the Atlantic Giant seeds in 1979.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Average Seed Count 6 Seeds
Common Name Giant Pumpkin, Competition & Exhibition variety
Other Language Names Fr: citrouille, potiron
Family Cucurbitaceae
Genus Cucurbita
Species maxima
Cultivar Atlantic Giant
Synonym Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
Hardiness Half Hardy Annual
Flowers Yellow flowers
Natural Flower Time Summer
Position Choose a sunny, sheltered spot
Soil Moisture retentive, humus rich soil.
Time to Sow Sow indoors in pots April to June or sow direct from mid May to early July.
Germination Germination of pumpkin seeds is about 2 weeks
Harvest Use pruning shears or a sharp knife and leave 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) of stem
Time to Harvest Harvest August through October. Around 95 days.

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