hokkaido squash or pumpkin

order: cucurbitales
family: cucurbitaceae
genus: cucurbita
species: maxima

A squash or a pumpkin is very easy to grow. Save some of the seeds from the pumpkin you get from the supermarket and just sow them where you want. You should start them in Spring indoor or in a cold frame. Move them out when the temperature is constantly above 10°C during the day and after the danger of late frost is over. Transplant them into bigger pots with organic potting soil, if you want to have an organic fruit at the end of the season. Otherwise just plant it into the ground in the garden.

I have a Hokkaido squash here that I started in April. The seeds germinated within the first week itself. Although, only three out of seven seeds did germinate. You want to keep more than just one plant because, in order for an individual plant to bear fruits and keep them till ripe, it needs a partner plant. In order to avoid self-pollination, the plant produces male flowers and female flowers alternately, and not at the same time. To coincide the flower of a gender on a plant with the flower of the other gender on another plant, I kept all of the three plants that germinated.

The first pair of leaves are the cotyledons. Afterwards, huge rounded true leaves emerge. Only after a week, the plants have become too big for me to keep in my studies. So they had to move out earlier than planned.

Yesterday we finally harvested a first pumpkin. Each of the three plants has managed to keep one pumpkin. The rest were dropped. So there was delicious pumpkin curry for dinner yesterday and for lunch today. The pumpkin was more delicious than ever!

For this year, there are two more pumpkins. So we'll need to learn more recipes. This whole thing is so fun I think I'll do it again next year.

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