Growing and storing Hokkaido pumpkins
You can grow favourite Hokkaido pumpkin in your garden. If you are lucky enough and your harvest is rich, you can store pumpkins without any problem for a long time and you can use them through the whole year. Then you can have them even in the winter, when it is hard to buy Hokkaido pumpkins in the store. This will guarantee you the constant supply of vitamins and important nutrients.
How to grow Hokkaido pumpkins
Growing Hokkaido pumpkins is not difficult. Besides, it is only an annual plant, so the results of your work will come very soon.
Tips for growing Hokkaido pumpkins
The soil in which will Hokkaido pumpkins grows must be medium-heavy, but rich in nutrients. Before you start planting, add compost to the soil or other sources of nutrients.
Pumpkin Hokkaido needs around itself a sufficient amount of space. Because it grows widely, the seeds should be more than a meter apart. Pumpkins will be most contended when you leave between them gaps greater than 1.3 m. Be prepare that the creeping rhizomes will constantly grow. If you prune them when they grow to much you may get a better crop. Especially at the beginning the patches with the Hokkaido pumpkins need to be watered thoroughly.
Planting Hokkaido pumpkins is not complicated. It is possible to plant seeds straight to the soil, but it is much better to pre-plant seedlings at home, preferably in April. Pre-planting seeds is not difficult at all. Just plant two seeds in sandy soil and keep it sufficiently moist. Seedlings will grow very quickly.
If you have seedlings of Hokkaido pumpkin at home in pots or window boxes, transplant them out in May after the last frosts. When you transplant the seedlings out to the patch, abide the same rules as for the seeds. Make sure that there is enough distance between them.
Hokkaido pumpkin needs for proper growth sufficient amount of water. They are thermopile gourds and hence they need a location with enough heat and sun. If the soil freezes through, the pumpkin Hokkaido will be irreversibly damaged. Hokkaido pumpkins grows very quickly. Flowering begins in late May, but rather in June. August is usually harvested time.
Beware of the presence of other types of gourds, such as zucchini. Because could hybridize if the pollen from these relatives will transfer on blossoms of Hokkaido pumpkin and fruits may not correspond to the expected quality.
Harvesting Hokkaido pumpkins
The most awaited moment of the growing Hokkaido pumpkins is undoubtedly a time of harvest. In the Czech Republic, it takes place at the end of August. Detect whether the pumpkin Hokkaido is already mature is not difficult at all. It must be solid with firm and smooth skin and rich in colour. In most cases, the skin has dark orange colour. The stem shall be drier and woody. If the Hokkaido pumpkin is not mature enough, it will have a blander taste, but it also must not be grown too long. Old pumpkins are fibrous and pale and thus, they are losing carotene - one of the most important substances.
Storage Hokkaido pumpkins
The stumbling block after the cultivating and harvesting Hokkaido pumpkins is its storage. At this point, even a lot of experienced gardeners make the mistake and then they have to, unfortunately, say goodbye to a big part of their harvest. When selecting the place where you plan to store Hokkaido pumpkin, you need to keep some important principles. Pumpkins accommodate cold, but in any case it can’t be stored in damp conditions. Therefore think twice if you can use your basement or rather drier place. If you have in your basement problems with mould and moisture, find for a Hokkaido pumpkin better room.
Do not tear the stem, but let it dry and remove it just before use. If you want to try another method of storage, you can dry out individual slices of pumpkin and thus you can preserve it for later use. If you want to make from the Hokkaido pumpkin, for example, a popular soup, you can grate it before drying. Of course, you can keep the seeds, either prepares them as food or you can store them and the following year you can plant them.
Whether you keep the pumpkin, it is very good idea to check them from time to time if it does not go bad. Discard the rotten fruit otherwise the rot could spread. If the Hokkaido pumpkin is stored correctly, it can last until the next harvest, or at least until February. Important substances from pumpkin do not vanish. Over the time, the sugar content and vitamins in the pumpkin will increases. But thanks to its wonderful nutty flavour it probably will be gone soon anyway.