Â One of the easiest squash to grow in Hawaiâ€™i is the Kabocha because unlike â€˜summer squashesâ€™ which may be prone to be affected by fruit flies, the kabocha have a tougher rind to protect it.Â
The worst predator for this squash is the pickleworm, which is almost transparent clear with black spots.Â If spotted, remove and squish them immediately.Â Be sure to check under leaves and blooms as the pickleworms like to feed on them.Â
Kabochas, originally cultivated in Japan, are sweeter than the regular large American type pumpkins and lend themselves to delicious preparations; whether boiled, roasted, pureed, and stuffed or in soups, the sweetness of the kabochas will always shine through.Â
If planted in full sun, kabocha seeds will take off and be ready to harvest in just 75 to 80 daysâ€¦or by mid August or early September if planted right after the last cold snap in most northern climes.Â Be sure to wait until the outer shell is smooth and hard before harvesting.
To cut the pumpkin from the vine, clip at least one inch above the top of where stem joins the fruit.
Kabocha can grow in dry soil and will spread fast, even on rocky ground but will be grateful and reward you if you mulch the soil heavily before you plant the seeds.Â There is no need to fertilize them heavily when well mulched.Â
When planting the seeds, make three holes about an inch deep and an inch apart and place a seed in each.Â When they sprout, you must thin them out to a single seedling, keeping the healthiest one, but by planting in one inch clusters you are assured that at least one of the seeds will come up.Â Plant each little cluster about eight feet apart from each other so that they donâ€™t become too crowded as they spread.Â
Water the seeds and keep the bed moist during germination, sprouting and growing cyclesâ€¦or mulch heavily around them when watering often is not practical.Â
By the way, not only the pumpkins are edible.Â The squash blossoms and the stems can also be cooked.Â Â For the stem; cut the hollow stem section between leaves at an angle and sautÃ© or steam.Â Season them to taste with your favorite seasonings...and of course, you know you can also roast the seeds...but save some for your next crop!
Click on link for a delicious recipe on how to stuff your little pumpkin - Â Stuff It! - Picadillo stuffed Calabazita
PS....the Home Farming icon below is supposed to be a live link to the Triscuit Home Farming site, but for some reason, sometimes the link does not want to work, so I'm posting it separately just in case... http://www.homefarming.com/