Top tips for beginners
How to grow a giant pumpkin
I must say, though, that cutting pumpkins before their prime does go against the grain.
Position so that the pumpkin reclines with the stalk and the stem to one side, then carefully bend the stem into a U shape to give the pumpkin as much growth space as possible.
Moving a pumpkin is a delicate operation, particularly while it is in fast growth: the skin is so thin a fingernail will cause sap to bleed from the wound.
Water is by far the most important influence on a potential prize-winner, accounting for a fluctuating 90 per cent of the weight.
So keeping the roots hydrated is key.
Although the fungus won’t spread to the fruit, it curbs the capacity of affected leaves to photosynthesise, thereby reducing the growth of the pumpkin.