About the Recipe
Kabocha is one of my favourite "grow your own" vegetables. The plant spreads out its stems across the ground like an octopus and then the gourds begin to grow just beneath the pretty kabocha flowers. That's when you have to give the gourds a little love and raise them off the ground (I use little plastic plant pots to do this) to stop them getting wet and rotting. Then just put the plants moistened and day by day your your gourds will grow and...well, they just keep on growing into autumn - all in all a very satisfying project for your garden! I usually grow the Uchi-Kiri variety which is widely available and just about bullet proof when it coms to pests.
a pack of kabocha seeds
20 cm pots
plant one seed per pot at about 1 cm / 1/2 inch depth and mist wellwith water
the seeds should germinate in 5- 7 days. if they don’t, just keep the earth damp and they will come!
plant out in full sun when there is no chance of frost and the plants have sprouted at least 2 main leaves
keep kabocha well watered and feed with tomato feed every 2 weeks
now, let Mother Nature play here part. kabocha produce male and female blossoms and the female blossom must be fertilised by the male. (you can eat the blossoms but I don't advise it, otherwise you will end up with no kabocha!)
the kabocha will begin to develop just below the female blossom. when each kabocha has grown big enough to sag and sit on the earth, keep it supported off the ground to prevent rot in wet weather. (an upturned plastic plant pot is a good way to do this)
the kabocha will change colour from yellow to a deep orange as it matures. your kabocha will be ready to harvest when the skins are hard and the stalk is about 6 cms / 3 inches long - this should take about 100 days - in the meantime, just enjoy the handsome sight of the gourds illuminating your garden!