By Vina Medenilla

Another vegetable that is widely consumed by Filipinos is kalabasa or squash (Cucurbita maxima). It contains vitamins and minerals that the body needs such as vitamins A, C, B1, B6, and B3, as well as potassium. It also has beta carotene that serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. 

Kalabasa thrives in any soil type and must be kept in an area with a temperature of 18 to 30 degrees Celsius. 

Photo screen captured from AgriTalk’s Easy 2 Learning episode 29.

Keep these things in mind when growing squash in the garden: 

Materials for kalabasa cultivation include vermicast, carbonized rice hull (CRH), compost, kalabasa seeds, shovel, sprayer, polybag, sack, trellis, and fertilizer. 

Submerge the kalabasa seeds in water for 30 minutes. While waiting, create the soil media by mixing a 1:1:1 ratio of vermicast, CRH, and compost. 

The seeds must be planted downward, with their pointy side (also referred to as radicle) at the bottom since this is the part where the roots will grow.

Moisten the seeds with water after planting, then place the planter in a shady area. Transplant the kalabasa seedlings into a sack after 15 days or so. Water the plant once a week. This can be supplemented with fertilizer after several days. 

Provide extra support to the squash by building a trellis where they can climb and grow. Use 15-meter woods as poles and sturdy wires or straw as stakes. 

Aphids and 28-spotted lady beetles are common pests, while powdery mildew and mosaic virus are diseases that kalabasa growers must be aware of to prevent possible damage to plants.    

To combat these, keep the growing area clean at all times and regularly check the plants to see any signs of pests and diseases. 

Watch the AgriTalk: 2 Easy learning video series episodes 29 and 30

For more information, contact the farmers’ contact center at 09209462474.

The procedure was demonstrated in AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series that presents instructional guides on organic fertilizers and pesticides, urban agriculture technologies, and the production of fast-growing crops. The online series is made possible in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Center and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.