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Vine types of Cucurbita maxima spread rapidly in summer, covering the ground with large leaves.
Cucurbita maxima requires warmth for successful germination. Sow in a rich soil at temperatures above 20ºC (?ºF). Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.
A frost-tender annual plant, it is widely cultivated in tropical and temperate zones for its edible fruit, there are very many named varieties differing considerably in their fruits. Most of the winter squashes derive from this species, including Hubbard, Butternut, Acorn, Argentine and Boston. Many forms require a temperature range of 20 - 27°c during the growing season, but there are some forms that tolerate cooler conditions and these succeed outdoors most years in Britain[200, K]. Most cultivars are relatively insensitive to day-length. Squashes and pumpkins can be differentiated from each other by their fruit stalk, it is angular and polygonal in pumpkins but thick, soft and round in squashes. This species hybridizes readily with C. andreana but can only be crossed with other species under controlled conditions. Some modern works see C. andreana as being no more than a subspecies of this species, classifying it as C. maxima andreana (Naudin.)Filov.Grows well with sweetcorn and thornapple but dislikes potatoes.
Problems, pests & diseases
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Polycultures & Guilds
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