Cucuzza (Lagenaria siceraria) is a long, club-shaped summer squash native to Italy. The tender warm-season vegetable grows in the United States from June until frost. Typically gardeners pick and consume the light green squash before it matures, while its sweet, mild, vitamin-packed flesh that is still soft. Include the versatile and easy-grow cucuzza squash in your vegetable garden. Care for the plants during the growing season so you harvest a healthy and abundant crop.
Select a planting site with well-draining soil and exposure to full sunlight. Summer squash are vining plants that require plenty of room to spread and grow. Break compacted mounds of dirt into small pieces to aerate the soil. You can add 2 inches of organic compost or rotted manure to the site to enrich it. Prepare the soil in spring, after the danger of frost has passed and the soil is workable.
Plant two to three seeds every 24 to 36 inches along a row. Push each seed 1 inch deep in the soil. Alternatively, plant five to six seeds per hill, with multiple hills spaced 48 inches apart. When seedlings grow 2 to 3 inches tall, thin them out to two to three plants per hill.
Provide cucuzza squash plants 1 inch of water per week. Irrigate the plants at their bases in the morning to prevent wetting the foliage. Cucuzza plants with wet foliage are prone to fungal diseases.
Feed cucuzza squash after the plants bloom. Spread 1/4 lb. 10-10-10 fertilizer every 10 feet of row three to four weeks after blossoms emerge. However, skip this step if you enriched the soil with compost or manure before planting.
Spread a light layer of organic mulch such as wood chips or straw over the plants to conserve soil moisture, retain weeds and keep the roots cool. Maintain the level of mulch throughout the year.
Inspect the growing area frequently for weeds, removing seedlings immediately by hand or with a hoe, before they have a chance to mature and develop. If you're cultivating with a hoe, work carefully so you do not damage the roots of nearby cucuzza squash plants.
Things You Will Need
- Compost or manure, optional
- 10-10-10 fertilizer
- Organic mulch
- Hoe, optional
- Cucuzza squash is susceptible to fungal diseases that occur during periods of high humidity and frequent rain, such as anthracnose, powdery mildew and fusarium wilt. Treat infected parts with neem oil or a copper-based fungicide.
- University of Illinois Extension; Summer Squash; Ron Wolford, et al.
- Oregon State University; Zucchini and Summer Squash; August 2004
- Cucuzza Squash: Cucuzza Squash Trivia
- University of Maryland Extension; Summer Squash; Jon Traunfeld, et al.; April 2010
- University of Minnesota Extension; Diseases of Cucurbits; Michelle Grabowski; 2009
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