Packet Content (approx.): 7
Hokkaido type squash, with distinctive teardrop shaped fruit weighting an average 1,5 kg, and deep orange-red skin. Orange butter-coloured flesh that is smoother than butternut squash, excellent distinctive chestnut flavour. They are very early to mature and have superb storage characteristics.
Uchiki Kuri Squash is known by a variety of names. It is commonly known as Potimarron or Onion Squash because of its shape, and is also known as Japanese squash, Orange Hokkaido or Red Kuri squash. Once again we have the Japanese to thank for its development.
Sow indoors in pots April to June or sow direct from mid May to the end of June.
A minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F) will be needed for germination, which can be supplied in the greenhouse, glazed porch, or cold frame.
If grown entirely in a heated greenhouse seed can be sown in situ in late winter, or early spring for transplanting to a cloche or cold frame. If you do not have any glass, then delay sowing until late spring to avoid damage from heavy frost.
Fill 7.5cm (3in) pots with compost and firm gently. Sow seed on its side, not flat to ensure reliable germination. Sow 12mm (½in) deep and cover. (You may choose to sow two seeds per pot, and remove the weaker seedling later; the strongest plants are kept.) Label, water and put in a propagator or on a windowsill.
Germination should take place 10 to 14 days later. If temperatures are higher it may only be 4 to 6 days. After germination the young plants will grow very quickly and will need repotting almost at once. When roots begin to show through the bottom of the pot, transplant to a 12.5cm (5in) container. Keep barely moist to prevent stems from rotting and protect from strong sunlight with a sheet of newspaper.
Hardened off before planting outside, around late May/early June and all danger of frost has passed. Plant out with 120cm (48in) between plants, providing good air circulation to avoid mildew. Protect seedlings from slugs
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Plant in the greenhouse in individual large pots, or 3 plants per grow bag when 20cm (8in) high. Can be planted outdoors, 45cm (18in) apart once all frost risk has passed
Be prepared to water well and supplement feed with high-potash feed during season. Regular feeding is recommended.