Things You'll Need
Pumpkins are a popular vegetable for a reason: they are delicious, fun and easy to grow. It doesn't take all that much to cultivate pumpkins in your yard: soil, space, water and sunlight. But if you want to grow big pumpkins, the kind you might see winning the blue ribbon at a county fair, it takes a little extra effort, and some good old fashioned tricks. Feeding sugar to your pumpkins, for instance, can make them grow much bigger than just sun and water alone will.
Choose a spot in your yard or garden with at least six hours of full sun per day, an even pH balance and well-draining soil.
Buy a bag of compost, and mix two or three trowel-fulls into each square foot of growing space.
Place a group of two to three seedlings 2 or 3 inches apart from each other and cover their roots with soil. If you want to grow more than one pumpkin, place another patch of one or two seedlings at least 5 feet away.
Water your pumpkin plants between four and seven times a week, so that they are always damp, and get about 2 inches of water per week.
Wait until a pumpkin develops, and has grown to be about 6 inches across.
Fill a bowl with 50 percent water and 50 percent white granulated sugar. If you want to use milk instead of water, this will work well too. Dunk your cotton string into this mixture.
Make a small slit with your knife in the base of the pumpkin's stem, about 4 inches above the pumpkin. Insert one end of your cotton string into the slit, and keep the other end in your sugar water mixture. The pumpkin will slowly suck up the sugar mixture, helping it grow bigger.
Keep an eye on the sugar mixture, and replenish the bowl when it is empty. Keep this up for at least two weeks, or until you are ready to harvest your large pumpkin.
Keep your bowl covered with cellophane or foil if you have pets, children, or too many bugs around.
For extra big pumpkins, only leave one growing on each vine.
Handle your knife with care.
Cam Middour has an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University, and has worked for "The New Yorker," "Narrative Magazine," and the Poetry Society of America. Her work is forthcoming, or has appeared in "New England Review," "Western Humanities Review," "Sarah Lawrence Review" and others. She has been writing professionally for seven years.