Pumpkin Terminology

Giant Pumpkins

Learn the Language Grower's Pumpkin Terminology

If you want to “Walk the Walk, you’ve gotta “Talk the Talk”. Here is the pumpkin terminology terminology to do just that.

The terms below will prove highly useful, when asking pumpkin questions, and seeking tips from giant pumpkin growers.  They speak a different language. You might call it “pumpkin speak”! 


Atlantic GiantThis is the variety of pumpkin that has consistently produced the largest pumpkins and are used in competition.
BlowoutWhen a pumpkin grows so fast that it outgrows it’s skin and literally explodes, splits or breaks apart.
CocktailA liquid mixture of foliar fertilizer(I.e.. MiracleGro), insecticide and fungicide. Pumpkins enjoy this mixture in mid-summer as all three items are essential.
Cold FrameA small glass or plastic enclosed structure which allows plants and seedlings to grow out doors prior to the last day of frost.
Crop RotationThe process of rotating the crops in your garden each year to reduce the risk of disease and replenish the soil.
Foliar FeedingSpraying liquid fertilizer onto the leaves which will absorb the fertilizer. More on foliar feeding plants.
Fruit SetA fruit which has been properly pollinated and successfully begins to grow.
GeneticsThe genetic quality and potential of a seed.
Hardening OffTo prepare a seedling(any vegetable) for planting outdoors by leaving outside during the anytime for several days.
Heavy HittersAtlantic Giant Pumpkin growers who have grown the largest of the largest pumpkins.
Hills/HillingA mounding of soil at the site where your seedling will be planted.
Jack-o-LanternA pumpkin turns into a Jack O’Lantern, when it is carved.
Root NodulesBeneath each leave, a root node or nodule exists. This can easily develop into a secondary root system. Promote this growth by covering the vines with soil and watering.
Secondary RootsRoots that can form on the main vine and side shoots below each leaf stem.
ShouldersThis is the top of the pumpkin around the stem. As it grows the shoulders extend outward.
Side DressingIn large-scale farming this term refers to the practice of applying fertilizer on either side of a row of planted seed. Usually a couple inches to 1/2 foot from the seed row. As the roots grow, the, they reach this food source.
Suck-UpA pumpkin that is growing extremely fast and is absorbing all the nutrients that the vine provides, robbing other pumpkins and leaves located beyond the fruit of nutrients.
Squash Vine BorersAbbreviated “SVB”. A grub like insect that bores into the vine, usually at the base and can fatally chew your vine.
Weigh-offA fall festival where pumpkins are officially weighed.
Went DownA large pumpkin which has rotted or been damaged by animals in the field… how sad!


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