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Growing pumpkins in containers

Posted by akowaleski (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 21, 08 at 2:34

While I was surfing the web, I saw on the earthbox forums that someone had grown a "small" Atlantic Giant (70-95 lbs was the estimate) in an earthbox, which has about a 15 gallon capacity.

My question then, is whether it is possible to grow some of the larger varieties of pumpkins (AG, Prizewinner, Wyatt's Wonder, etc) in containers.

The second part of my question is the following: What specific cultivars of pumpkins are most/more suited to growing in containers, and what would a reasonable container size be?

Many thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

The post you saw was probably mine. I had the pic of the Atlantic Giant on a sidewalk next to regular sized pumpkins.

You can grow anything you want in an EB. If you want a large pumpkin go with a variety with the genetics to get big.

I loaded the potting mix with 1 cup of osmocote and fertilized every 2 weeks with fish emulsion and miracle grow full strength.

This year I will be doing the same, but doubling the osmocote and fertilizing every week.

The size of my pumpkin was 1 month too early due to a killing frost that came a month before normal. This year should produce something I can't move by myself (knocks on wood) ;-)

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

Many thanks Justaguy2. Wow, these forums are so prompt and helpful!

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

I just posted a Jack Be Little pumpkin message.
from what you say it sounds like maybe (one of) my mistakes was not fertilizing enough.

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

Did you mix the osmocote in with the mix before you planted, or is there some place in the earthbox to put the fertilizer?

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

The EarthBox and homemade versions of the EarthBox are way too small to sustain a large pumpkin. You would need a much larger container to grow a large pumpkin. Small pumpkins (<10 lbs.) like Jack Be Little, or others would be perfect. The problem with big pumpkins is that they use a LOT of water, an amount that could never be sustained in an EarthBox. In the height of the growing season it can be typical for large pumpkins to grow 30 lbs. per day. Between the massive rate of transpiration from their large leaves and their fast growth you would practically need to fill an EarthBox constantly. A near 100 pound pumpkin is certainly impressive, but it is still rather stunted compared to what they can be. A vine that isn't pruned can take up as much as 2500 square feet, try and imagine that in a tiny EarthBox. As I am sure you know pumpkins send down roots at each of their leaf nodes. So if you let these grow in the ground that would certainly help with the water issue. I definitely feel a self-watering container could really help grow some nice pumpkins however an EarthBox just isn't big enough for the really large ones. Just imagine coming home one day to a large, bone dry, wilted plant. You would be better off growing the big pumpkins in the ground with a lot of compost. Smaller pumpkins can be grown in large pots (half whiskey barrel size) I have done it many times, ornamental gourds work great too.

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

Advice well taken. I have space in my garden to grow a couple large pumpkin plants, so I might as well grow some sort of semi-determinate smaller variety ...which brings me to my next question: What sort of smaller varieties would work well in an earthbox or half-whisky barrel or one of those 10-20 gallon platic storage things?

Again, thanks.

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

I came upon this old post while googling and thought I would add to it since I posted in this thread last year.

Growing pumpkins, including large ones like Atlantic Giant, is completely doable in self watering containers such as Earthboxes and equivalents as well as large, non self watering containers such as whiskey barrel halves.

I can assert this with confidence since I have grown Atlantic Giants in self watering containers for two years now.

I haven't shattered any world records, but I do get pumpkins large enough that I need a wheel barrow to move them to where I wish to display them.

One other point is that the smaller varieties of pumpkin/gourds do not necessarily require less water or fertilizer. The primary point to consider is the size of the vine. Some pumpkins such as Jack B Little produce 10-12' vines (on average) while others will produce 20+' vines if the growing tip isn't pinched off to limit it's length. The vine and it's leaves are what looses water, the size of the fruit is almost immaterial.

Think of it like this: Does a cherry tomato plant use less water/fertilizer than a beefsteak tomato plant? Of course not as the size of the fruits aren't what determines the water/nutrient needs, it is the size of the plant itself.

The moral is that if you have grown a small fruited pumpkin or gourd in a container, you can also grow the larger fruited varieties in the same container assuming the vine size is similar.

Why not give a really large variety a try this year? Even if you don't set any records for weight, you may well end up with a conversation starter when the Trick or Treaters come knocking :)

RE: Growing pumpkins in containers

  • Posted by
    Thu, Aug 11, 11 at 11:48

So far, I have had success growing pumpkins in my containers. Lots of flowers. But either they are wilting and dying on the stems or flowers are falling off. I first thought that pests were getting to the flowers but the top of the stems looks as though there is a clean cut. There are some traces of flowers on the ground...I have been gone on vacation so I cannot yet really tell.

any advise.

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