If you are growing a giant pumpkin, then hand pollination is a critical step.  Hand pollination is the only way to keep track of the parents (genetic composition) of the pumpkin.  I like to pollinate any Fruit that is 6 feet and beyond the main stem.

 

You will notice that usually the first flowers that start on the pumpkin plant are male flowers.  There are two easy ways to distinguish the male flowers from the female flowers.  The female flowers will have a little pumpkin at the base of the flower.  The female flower will also have lobes and not a single stem.  The male flowers will have a single stem in the middle of the flower.

 

You will want to enter your pumpkin patch early in the morning and check on a daily basis for female flowers that need to be pollinated.  As soon as you see a small pumpkin at the base of the flower, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready to pollinate.  Do not force the flower open.  Even when you first see the Fruit, it might take up to 5 days before the flower actually opens.  However, make sure you pollinate the pumpkin as soon as the flower opens.

 

As soon as you have identified the female flower that is ready to pollinate, I take two male flowers from a different plant.  I pick all the flower petals off so just the stem is exposed.  I touch all of the lobes of the flower with the pumpkin stem.  I then take another male flower and do the same thing.  After this is done, I leave the male stem in the female flower and gently tie up the female flower so nothing will accidentally pollinate the pumpkin.

 

That’s it, hopefully you will have a giant pumpkin growing in the near future!