UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties

Plant Profiles: Red Kuri Squash

Red kuri squash. Picture from seedaholic.com.
Red kuri squash, also known as uchiki kuri squash or orange Hokkaido squash, is an early maturing winter squash that can be grown in a garden or large container. The flavor is described as smooth, sweet and nutty, far superior to pumpkin or butternut squash.

The site:

Kuri squash likes rich, fertile soil and plenty of water while growing on a raised mound to provide drainage. Each plant needs about 4 square feet to spread out and avoid competing with other plants.

Sowing:

Sow seeds indoors from April to June or direct sow from mid-May to the end of June or as soon as soil temperatures exceed 65 oF. Germination takes 10-14 days and seedlings are particularly attractive to snails and slugs (as the author has discovered. A healthy dose of Sluggo or rigorous picking off of critters is recommended). Each plant should bear three to five 3-10 pound teardrop shaped squashes.

Cultivation:

Keep weeds down and do not let plants dry out. Plenty of water is necessary when plants are in flower and early fruiting. Apply mulch around the plants to conserve soil moisture. Feed regularly in sandy soil. Plant some pollinator-attracting flowers nearby to increase pollination of the squash flowers.

Pests & Diseases:

Common insects include spotted and striped cucumber beetles and squash bugs. Seedlings are also susceptible to damping off. Use row covers or insecticidal soaps to treat. For more information, see the following resources:

Harvesting:

80 to 95 days. Harvest once the rind of the vegetable has hardened and the stem is about 2 inches long. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to sever the fruit from the plant.

Storing:

Cure the squash before storing by allowing them to remain in the sunshine for about 10 days. Store in a dark, cool area of less than 65% humidity after curing and they will last for several months.

Seed & Information Sources:

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Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 3:00 PM

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