Growing a Cucuzza Squash
Growing a Cucuzza Squash
What Is A Cucuzza Squash?
Grown in the summers, cucuzza is vegetable which falls into the category of gourds. It is a slender, long Italian vegetable which is harvested and eaten in the summer season. This Italian native veggie is best suited for Mediterranean climates. The cucuzza squash needs warm soil to begin germination and develop into a fully grown plant. The normal gestation period is usually about 55 days after sowing the seeds of the plant. The cucuzza squash vine can easily grow about two feet a day – that’s quite speedy for a plant! And even more interesting, the fruit itself can grow about 10 inches every day.
The vegetable is usually peeled and then the seeds are removed before cooking or consuming it. Just like any other summer squash, the cucuzza can be roasted, stuffed, fried, stewed and grilled.
The cucuzza squash contains absolutely no fat or sodium. Something extremely beneficial for people suffering heart problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. It is also packed with nutrients and minerals like vitamin C. The vegetable has tons of fiber to help your digestive system and one serving weighing about 3 and a half ounces has only 25 calories. Consuming this squash regularly on a term basis has been found to lower blood pressure and the risk of cancer in people.
Tools You Will Need:
Tiller or spade
Aged manure or compost
Support structures like fences or trellis
Mulch materials like straw or shaved wood
Watering system like a garden hose or a drip irrigation system
How To Grow A Cucuzza Squash?
After reading all the intriguing information above, you’re probably wondering how to grow this amazing veggie. And to your benefit, it’s not as difficult. In fact, it is very easy to grow at home. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
Find a suitable and fertile place near a trellis, fence or any other support you can use to allow the vines of the squash plant to grow on (old dead trees work great with thick strings). You need to loosen the soil using a tiller or a spade before planting in any seeds. Once the soil is loosened mix in some aged manure or compost to improve the fertility and texture of the soil. Make sure to add at least 1 pound of garden amendments after every 5 sq. ft. of your growing space.
Once the soil and growing space has been prepared, place the seeds at least 1 inch below the ground level and make sure that each seed is placed about 9 to 12 inches apart. The best time to plant the seed is spring to avoid any sort of frost – this could kill the plant or even stop it from growing. The temperature of the plants surroundings must be consistent and above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have sown in the seeds, you need to water the whole area adequately.
When the thin seedlings are about 3 inches high, you need to place them at least 36 inches apart in order to ensure enough room for the growth of the vines and their long fruit (yes you can see I did not do that and it is insanely crowded, but my soil/compost goes down to 3 feet under the bed).
It is also important to mulch the seedlings in order to minimize weeds and save as much water as possible. You can easily lay down a layer of mulch material with no more than 2 inches of thickness (you can also use newspaper, lay it down around the holes. Worms love this with some eggshells under it).
Throughout the growing season i.e. summer; you need to keep the soil moist and damp in order to provide the perfect environment for the cucuzza squash to grow in. Water the bed at least once every week with ample water. Cucuzza squash needs a perfect balance between too dry and too wet so try your best not to over water or under water your crop.
When the cucuzza squash seedlings are thinned out and at least three inches tall, you need to lay down a complete layer of compost or aged manure along the whole row of you cucuzza squash plants.
Repeat step 6 after every three weeks especially during the growing season.
Once the vines reach a suitable height, start training them to grow on the trellis, fence or whichever support you have decided to go with. You can use garden twine to tie the vines lightly against the support. Make sure you leave in a lot of slack and the most preferable tie is the figure 8 loop. Try to avoid tying the vines next to nodes or other hindrances which can affect the squash’s room to develop.
When the cucuzza squash is about 4 to 5 inches long and the skin of the gourd is tender and light green in color, cut the squash off the vine (to save seeds wait till full length then it will turn to a hard woody guard, then save for next year). If you leave the cucuzza on the vine at this stage, the squash will become extremely bitter, not to mention tough skinned as well. Continue the harvesting of the cucuzza squash throughout the growing season of the vine.
Some Extra Tips For Growing The Cucuzza Squash
If the area you live in is prone wait until all the danger has passed before planting the seeds. If an unexpected cold blast is predicted, immediately pick out the squash to avoid running the crop.
Before you cook the cucuzza squash, make sure the vegetable has been peeled and seeded. If the squash is still young, you can cook it just like you would cook a zucchini. However, if the squash is a bit harder and older, you can prepare it like any other winter squash.
If you do not have a support structure in your yard, you can tie up three bamboo poles which are roughly 6 inches apart from the tops. The formation should look like a teepee trellis and you can easily plant 3-4 seed around each pole until they reach three inches, after which you must dedicate one pole to each seedling.