Very popular in Japan, this unique winter squash is commonly called a Japanese pumpkin, it develops only a small blossom-end scar. The nearly round, dark green fruit has deep yellow flesh that is so sweet and nutty and smooth and creamy, it's just like custard. It is well-suited for any pumpkin or winter squash recipe, but is especially delicious simply baked and served by itself. Tetsukabuto requires a pollinator, so plant a Hubbard, buttercup, or butternut variety nearby. Tolerant to powdery mildew and vine borers.
Cucurbita maxima x moschata
Germination: 7-10 days
Germination Temperature: Optimum soil temperatures 70-85ºF
Seed Sowing Depth: 1/2-1" deep
Sowing Indoors: 3-4 weeks before last frost. Provide 70-85ºF soil temperature. Sow 2-3 seeds per cell/pot. Sowing into individual biodegradable peat/cow pots reduces root damage when transplanting. Transplant after last frost, 36-48" apart.
Sowing Outdoors: Sow after last frost when soil temperature is over 70ºF. Sow a few seeds every 36-48".
How much does a packet plant: 12-15 foot single row, 3-5 hills
Harvest: Before heavy frost. Determine ripeness when the skin has turned color and becomes dull dry. You will be unable to create a dent when pressing your thumbnail into it. Leave two inches of the stem on the squash and manage carefully so there is no damage which can shorten storage life. Cure for 7-10 days in the sun to harden the rind and increase storage quality. Wipe any debris off skin before storing in a cool dark place with 50-55ºF temperatures and 50-65% humidity.
Tips: Plant in fertile soil, amended with compost or well rotted manure and keep well watered. They benefit from growing on black plastic and by using row covers for weed, insect control, and more rapid growth.