W. C. Giant Pumpkin
60 days to summer squash, 100 days to pumpkin. This giant, edible pumpkin is fun to grow and children love it! Plants have large, prolific rambling vines that, at maturity, produce huge (up to 2’ diameter), round, bright orange pumpkins weighing up to 90lbs. Mike is always experimenting in the kitchen for farm lunches so he sliced and browned young squashes in the oven with olive oil and salt, and our interns couldn’t stop raving about it - it tastes, looks and has a texture reminiscent of mozzarella cheese. Janice Leach of Why Not Pie says that mature squash make excellent pumpkin pie. This pumpkin is easy to grow just be sure to give it enough space! When growing we like to let one or two pumpkins stay on the vine to get big and we pick the rest of the squash immature (when 3 – 12” diameter) to enjoy roasted. This squash had a case of mistaken identity. We have changed its name from “Wisconsin Cheese” to “W.C. Giant Pumpkin” because of a mix-up with the seeds that were originally given to us and mislabeled “Wisconsin Cheese.” This squash is not in fact the “Wisconsin Cheese” variety but is some sort of giant pumpkin possibly “Week’s North Carolina Giant” but there is no way to know for sure. We love it anyways and know that you will love it too! (Formerly known as Wisconsin Cheese). HOJ[[end tab]] [[start tab]]
Growing Instructions (for USDA Zone 5b):
Winter squashes are grown during the summer, harvested in the fall and stored during the winter. This variety requires lots of space, as the vines will grow 6 feet or more. Direct sow seeds outdoors (1/2-1” deep) around June 1st (plant 2-3 seeds together in patches with each patch spaced 2’ apart in rows 3-4’ apart). Days to germination: 4-10. Thin seeds to one plant per “patch”. As with all cucurbits, squash plants do not like their roots disturbed during transplanting so if you are starting seeds indoors, use biodegradable pots. Start seeds indoors May 1st – ideal temperature for germination is 85°- 95° (use heating mat). Squash seedlings are sensitive to damping off fungus so keep germinating seeds on the drier side and use a fan (set to low) to provide air circulation. Once 2 leaves appear, grow plants at 72°. Do not let plants become potbound. Transplant (pot and all) outdoors around 6/1, spaced 2’ apart in rows 3-4’ apart. Squash plants like soil with a lot of organic matter so add compost and/or decomposed manure to soil prior to planting. Protect seedlings from cucumber beetles and squash bugs by covering seeds/seedlings with row cover fabric at planting and leave it on until plants are flowering. Protect squash plants from deer and groundhogs.
Allow pumpkins to mature as much as possible on the vine. The skin should be so hard that you can’t push a fingernail into it.
Seed Saving Instructions (for gardeners):
WC Giant Pumpkin belongs to the species Cucurbita maxima and will cross (by insect) with all other Cucurbita maxima squashes. Isolation distance is ½ mile (or you can save seed and see what you get!). Minimum population size: 6-25 plants but you can save seed from fewer plants if the seeds are for your own use. Always select seeds from the best plants. Scoop out seeds from mature fruit, rinse and dry seeds.[[end tab]]