How to Grow Big Vegetables

Overview

Raising vegetables to grow to great lengths (or heights or widths) can be a labor of love for some people. To produce award-winning giant vegetables means knowing what each plant needs and providing it with just the right amounts of water, nutrients, light, warmth and drainage. The best giant-growing gardeners start months before the planting season making sure that the soil is just right and spend all season long tending to those giant-producing plants.

Step 1

Plan the garden to include 30 percent to 50 percent more room for each vegetable to grow. This will allow the plants to grow and not become crowded. The garden must also be placed where the plants will get more than eight hours a day of sunlight.

Step 2

Prepare the soil by turning it with a shovel or rototiller and clearing any debris to a depth of at least 8 inches.

Step 3

Add a 4- to 6-inch layer of compost to the garden, plus the recommended amounts of a balanced granular fertilizer. Turn the soil, mixing well, using a shovel or garden tiller. Water the garden thoroughly with a garden hose and allow to sit overnight.

Step 4

Contact your local agricultural extension and have the soil tested to make sure it contains the proper nutrients and acidity required for a vegetable garden. Add lime, if recommended by the laboratory.

Step 5

Plant the seeds or transplants according to the directions on the package, except space them farther apart than directed, allowing for extra growing room.

Step 6

Water the new seedlings and growing plants with a gently spray of water until puddles start to form on the top of the soil. Allow the water to drain off and water again until puddles form. This ensures that water is reaching deep enough into the soil to get to the roots. Check the moisture of the soil daily and water when the soil starts to dry out at 2 inches deep.

Step 7

Fertilize plants once a week with a complete and balanced fertilizer--one where the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) numbers are similar in value.

Step 8

Choose two or three of the healthiest-looking babies as the plants start to produce small fruits growing on different shoots. Cut the rest of the pods from the plant using sharp scissors so each remaining fruit will be able to access ample nutrients.

Step 9

Check the plants daily for damaging insects. Remove or spray as necessary using a pesticide or organic neem oil.

Step 10

Support plants and fruits by burying the end of a stake in the ground near the plants. Tie the plant to the stake or suspending a hammock made from cheesecloth or old stockings under larger, heavier fruits.

Step 11

Harvest the vegetables when they reach the desired size or are fully ripe.

Things You'll Need

  • Good quality top soil
  • Composted materials
  • Shovel
  • Garden rake
  • Garden tiller (optional)
  • A water source
  • Seeds or transplants of "Giant" varieties
  • Fertilizer appropriate for each vegetable
  • Mulch
  • Sharp scissors or garden shears

References

  • Iowa State University: Growing Giant Pumpkins
  • Ohio State University: Pumpkins Growing Giant
  • Colorado State University: Plant Growth Factors - Light

Who Can Help

  • Georgeson Botanical Garden: Horticulture in Alaska's Great Interior
  • North Carolina Agriculture: Why and How to Test Soil
  • Agricultural Extension Office Lookup: USDA
Keywords: growing giant vegetables, big vegetable growing, gardening big vegetables

About this Author

Robin Lewis Montanye is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the web. Montanye specializes in gardening articles with information from several universities. She has Internet articles published on Gardenguides.com, eHow.com and Suite101.com.