How to grow kabocha pumpkin vines

Written by eulalia palomo
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How to grow kabocha pumpkin vines
Kabocha pumpkins, also called Japanese pumpkins, have sweet orange flesh. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The winter squash harvest comes late in the season. Winter squash have hard exterior skin that makes them well-suited for winter storage. The sweet flesh is ideal for pies, stew and winter vegetable dishes. Kabocha pumpkin, also called Japanese pumpkin, is very sweet and dense, according to Purdue University. Plant kabocha pumpkin vines in late spring and early summer to prepare the pantry for winter's cold days. Some varieties to try are Uchiki Kuri, Delica, Crown Prince and Sweet Mama.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Garden fork
  • Compost
  • Trowel
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Till or turn over the soil in the garden bed. Add 2 inches of compost and dig it into the soil. Prepare to plant in May or early June. Kabocha pumpkins require 75 to 80 days of warm, frost-free weather to develop from seed to harvest.

  2. 2

    Make three holes 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep with your index finger. Drop one seed into each hole and cover with 1 inch of soil. Only one plant will remain after thinning, but it's a good idea to plant extras and select the strongest plant.

  3. 3

    Plant additional groups of three seeds 8 feet apart along the garden bed. Kabocha pumpkins spread out along the ground and require a large growing area.

  4. 4

    Water the kabocha pumpkin seeds after planting. Keep the soil damp during germination and through the growing season. Water the soil when the top inch starts to dry out.

  5. 5

    Remove the two weaker plants from each group, keeping the strongest one when the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall.

  6. 6

    Clear weeds from the pumpkin patch by hand. Winter squash plants have shallow root systems that can be damaged by hoes or other weeding tools.

  7. 7

    Harvest kabocha pumpkins 75 to 80 days after planting. The tough outer shell should harden completely before harvesting. Clip the fruit from the vine 1 inch above the top of the pumpkin.

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