Once you try these teardrop-shaped 3-4 pound fruits, they'll become an essential part of your fall and winter cooking. Kuri is Japanese for chestnut, a tribute to its nutty flavor. Also known as 'Orange Hokkaido', its smooth consistency and deep color make it a favorite for any traditional squash or pumpkin dish, although it's terrific simply sliced, steamed, or baked. Compact 4'-6' vines produce well even in cool or short-season climates.
• Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
• Days to Maturity: 95 days
• Family: Cucurbitaceae
• Native: Argentina and Uruguay
• Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
• Plant Dimensions: 4'–6' long vines
• Variety Information: 3–4 pound, teardrop-shaped, reddish-orange fruits; 2-3 fruits per plant. Other names include 'Baby Red Hubbard', 'Orange Hokkaido', and 'Uchiki Kuri'.
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 1 to 2 weeks after your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is 70°–85°F.
• When to Start Inside: Not recommended except in very short growing seasons, 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date. Roots sensitive to disturbance; sow in 4" biodegradable pots that can be planted directly into the ground. Transplant when soil temperature is at least 60°F.
• Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
• Seed Depth: 1"
• Seed Spacing: 2–3 seeds per mound
• Row Spacing: 4'–6'
• Thinning: When 3" leaves, thin to 1–2 per mound
• Harvesting: Harvest when the squash's rind is hard enough that you can't dent it with your fingernail and before first frost. Cut stem, (don't break it off) leaving 2" of stem attached, which keeps the squash whole, leaving no opening for infection. Though fruits are hard and may seem indestructible, treat them gently; bruising can spoil squash.