Therecentenary pumpkin belongs tobotanical familyof theCucurbits and is also known in Italy asthorny pumpkin, pumpkin or Mexican marrow or even,chayote. Therecentenary pumpkinit is an unusual vegetable to grow but due to its flavor and the shape of its fruits, it is gradually spreading in family gardens.
Therecentenary pumpkin(Sechium edule), produces typical pear-shaped fruits, 10 to 18 cm long, which have furrows and skin covered with rather pronounced spines. Everythorny skullcapit weighs an average of 200 grams and has a light green color, although some varieties are characterized by an ivory-yellow tint.
How to grow the centenary squash
Therethorny pumpkinit adapts well to different types of soil, even if it prefers the more loose and well endowed with organic substance. It cancultivatethroughout Italy, except in the mountain areas because it does not tolerate cold climates: to vegetate the plant needs temperatures between 18 and 24 ° C.
When to grow the centenary squash
There cultivation of the centenary pumpkinit can be started in the North when there is no longer any danger of frost: between late April and early May. In the Center-South, theMexican skullcapit is already planted at the end of March.
How to proceed for the planting
Who has availablefruits of the previous season, you can bury them slightly. In case you don't have them availablezucchettefrom a previous harvest, these can be purchased from fruit and vegetable retailers. Planting must ensure a lot of space for each plant: thethorny pumpkingrows abundantly, the plants must be placed at a distance of 2 meters between the rows and 2-3 meters on the same row.
Since the vegetation is lush and each plant bears numerous fruits, thethorny pumpkinrequires support structures: prepare a net (both plastic and electro-welded such as those used in construction) at least 2 meters high. The ideal iscultivate the centenary pumpkinnear a dividing network or pre-existing reviews.
Therecentenary skullcapYescollectsfrom August until September-October, in southern Italy the harvest can last until late November. Forcollect the thorny zucchiniit will be necessary to have scissors with which to cut the stalk, to handle these vegetables it is advisable to wear a pair of gloves. When thezucchettethey are well ripe, they come off on their own (if you find any on the ground, don't discard it, it could be good) or when just touched.
Therecultivation of the centenary pumpkinit is also very convenient in small gardens or for those who grow in pots: from a single plant it is possible to harvest up to 100 fruits. If stored at a temperature of around 10 ° C, the zucchettethey can also be kept for a few months. In the kitchen, thecentenary pumpkinit is prepared like other types of pumpkin.
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