How to Grow Kalabasa Philippine Squash

"Kalabasa" is the Philippine word for squash and is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to both summer and winter squash (Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita moschata). The Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry refers to kalabasa as "Cucurbita moschata Duch," which includes several varieties of winter squash. All require a sunny location and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8. These plants produce long vines that range in length from 3 feet to 15 feet or more, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Assortment of squash
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Harvest winter squash when the rind is hard and color has developed.

Step 1

Plant squash seedlings two weeks after the last spring frost when the soil has warmed to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Plant two to three seedlings in hills spaced 4 to 8 feet apart, depending on the cultivar. Bush or dwarf varieties do well when spaced 4 feet apart, while those that produce larger fruit and vines need more space for the vines to grow.

Step 3

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as straw or grass clippings, around the squash plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Black plastic mulch applied at planting is an effective mulch and keeps the soil warm as well.

Step 4

Water squash deeply to moisten the soil to a depth of 6 inches once or twice a week or whenever the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface. Squash prefers evenly moist soil, especially during blooming and fruit formation.

Step 5

Work 1 to 2 tablespoons of urea (45-0-0) into the soil near the base of your squash plants approximately three weeks after planting. This gives them a boost of nitrogen to promote healthy growth. Apply high potash fertilizer, such as 0-0-60, at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoon per plant when the vines are approximately 3 feet long.