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Old September 26, 2016   #1
gorbelly
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Default Anyone grown Kikuza?

How long did vines get for you? What was the average productivity per vine?

I'm a huge fan of Japanese squash and want to grow my own. I have space for one or two vines. I'm not looking for a huge harvest but just the experience of growing and harvesting a few of my own. I'm really the only person in my family who is a gourmand about winter squash--others are perfectly happy with good butternuts. Had a disappointing experience with "not black futsu" seed from Baker Creek this year. I may try one again next year with seed from a different source that is hopefully not crossed.

Would love to hear from anyone who has tried kikuza. Finding some scarce but weird info about them on the Internet.

For example, Sustainable Seed Co. tell people to "pick at 4-7 pounds". When I asked customer service for clarificaiton, they said the fruit can get to 3 feet long (!) and that they are "eaten when young". I don't understand. This would make it behave really oddly for an Asian moschata grown as winter squash. Normally, I'd expect one to leave the fruit on until the vines die or as long as possible and then cure for storage?!
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Old September 26, 2016   #2
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I did find this older post from a gardener in Maui. It seems to indicate that the growth is expected for a Japanese moschata: vines about 15' long, several fruit per plant, small fruit in the <5 # range.

Of course, Maui is wildly different in growing conditions from me, so I would love personal accounts from anyone who has grown it in a less different location.

Also, the blogger calls it "Sweet Kikuza", but it seems that it's the same variety as what is being sold as "Kikuza" today, both tracing back to Oriental Seed Co. of SF in the early 1900s.

The reviews at Baker Creek are all over the place and not very helpful.
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Old September 26, 2016   #3
carolyn137
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I used to grow about a 250 ft row of winter squash every year. No way can I remember all the details you ask for,but rows on each side were 5 ft away and they were never taken over by Kikuza.

Several decades ago it wasn't easy to find seeds for it and I remember I got seeds from some place in I think Oregon,can't remember the name.And there are two Japanese compnaies on the W coast that also sell seeds,last I knew. Maybe their names are in the link below,I didn't check.

All to say that it was always one of my favorite squashes and I'd grow it every year. Not as good for storing as many other ones I grew,but who cares.

https://www.google.com/search?q=kiku..._AUIBygA&dpr=1

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Old September 26, 2016   #4
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Thanks, Carolyn!

Would you say that it should be treated like any other moschata grown for winter use? i.e., let it stay on the vine as long as possible, cure for a couple of weeks, then store in a cool, dry spot?

I take it from your comments about storage that this isn't the kind of squash that will keep until March or anything, but since I have limited space and will probably only have a few mature kikuzas at the end of the season, I can certainly manage to eat them in time, I think. I love winter squash so much that I could easily eat it in some form every day. If I didn't worry about upsetting the neighbors, I'd turn my front lawn into a squash patch!

Baker Creek has it, but I'm feeling a little gun shy on them after the "not Black Futsu" (obviously crossed seed) I got from them this year.

Sustainable Seed Co. has it, but they don't seem to know anything about what they're selling. After some e-mail back and forth because of the strange advice they were giving me, the exasperated rep told me all the growing info was on the website and sent me a link to Cucuzza, LOL. I guess they thought I didn't know how to spell "Cucuzza" and didn't bother to check whether they sell something called "Kikuza". So not a lot of confidence in what they're selling, either.

Unfortunately, the two companies I usually buy Asian seed from, Evergreen (which has had declining service lately and sent me some really old, bad seed last time I ordered) and Kitazawa don't sell it. Maybe if I request it, Kitazawa might consider stocking it.
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Old September 26, 2016   #5
Zeedman
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Seed Savers Exchange also carries Kikuza.
http://www.seedsavers.org/kikuza-squash

I tried to grow it once from traded seed, but it turned out to be dead.
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Old September 26, 2016   #6
gorbelly
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Oh, BTW, Carolyn--

I noticed that all the sellers (the few there are) print the same story, that it was introduced in 1927 by the Oriental Seed Co. of San Francisco.

I actually found it in a 1919 catalog from that company. Now, I personally don't care about a difference of a few years, but I figure the folks at SSE are interested in accurate history. And I bet all the other folks selling it got it from someone at SSE at some point, which is probably why everyone quotes the 1927 introduction date.

Link: 1919 Annual catalog of oriental novelties, Oriental Seed Co. Kikuza (and a few other squash) are on page 6.

I figured you might want to know and that, if interested in updating the history, you would know best how to do that/whom to contact.
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Old September 27, 2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorbelly View Post
For example, Sustainable Seed Co. tell people to "pick at 4-7 pounds". When I asked customer service for clarificaiton, they said the fruit can get to 3 feet long (!) and that they are "eaten when young".
It sounds like they were speaking of cucuzza (Lagenaria siceraria), a member of the bottle gourd family, which fits that description to a T.
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Old September 27, 2016   #8
Fred Hempel
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I like Kikuza. Got consistent results from seeds bought from Kitazawa. Doesn't keep very long.
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Old September 27, 2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeedman View Post
Seed Savers Exchange also carries Kikuza.
http://www.seedsavers.org/kikuza-squash

I tried to grow it once from traded seed, but it turned out to be dead.
I was going to check my Public SSE catalog, but you did it for me,so thanks.

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Old September 27, 2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorbelly View Post
Thanks, Carolyn!

Would you say that it should be treated like any other moschata grown for winter use? i.e., let it stay on the vine as long as possible, cure for a couple of weeks, then store in a cool, dry spot?

I take it from your comments about storage that this isn't the kind of squash that will keep until March or anything, but since I have limited space and will probably only have a few mature kikuzas at the end of the season, I can certainly manage to eat them in time, I think. I love winter squash so much that I could easily eat it in some form every day. If I didn't worry about upsetting the neighbors, I'd turn my front lawn into a squash patch!

Baker Creek has it, but I'm feeling a little gun shy on them after the "not Black Futsu" (obviously crossed seed) I got from them this year.

Sustainable Seed Co. has it, but they don't seem to know anything about what they're selling. After some e-mail back and forth because of the strange advice they were giving me, the exasperated rep told me all the growing info was on the website and sent me a link to Cucuzza, LOL. I guess they thought I didn't know how to spell "Cucuzza" and didn't bother to check whether they sell something called "Kikuza". So not a lot of confidence in what they're selling, either.

Unfortunately, the two companies I usually buy Asian seed from, Evergreen (which has had declining service lately and sent me some really old, bad seed last time I ordered) and Kitazawa don't sell it. Maybe if I request it, Kitazawa might consider stocking it.
Sorry I'm late to the K party but I couldn't remember where this thread was at first.

Yes, treat it as you would a winter squash,I let it stay on the vine until the first light frost occurred, but the important part is letting it cure correctly.

No,it doesn't last as long in strorage as the hubbards or butternuts, buttercups, etc ,more like a Delicata which also don't store that long.

IMO the person who knows THE most about squash varieties is Glenn Drowns of Sand Hill Preservation

http://sandhillpreservation.com/

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...k1.QXx9nC3MpD0

For many years Glenn was the Curator of Cucurbits for SSE and it was his responsibility to keep those varieties going, thousands of them squash,melons,cukes, h20 melons, etc.

He is also adedicated person re heirloom poultry, and has been asked to jury such meets and also served on the National Council of Heirloom birdies..I love reading the poultry section,lots of genetics and who wouldn't like a variety called Shmoo.

His real day job is as a teacher at a local HS and he hires some of those students in the summer b'c he also lists over 400 tomato varieties and sells no seeds over 2 yo,remarkable. I thumbed through his catalog last night,he no longer sends out catalogs now,just too expensive,just the website, gets a limited number of catalogs and sends them to folks who send him seeds or help in other ways, and this year I sent him seeds for 22 new tomato varieties and he came back and asked for 20 more.

Look at his squash section, and for me it was memory lane recognizing varieties I used to grow.And yes Futsu was there.

If you want to order anything from him,there are no baskets,no e-mail or phone ordering,you just send in your order and note when he and his wife Linda do accept orders.

When Jere Gettle started Baker Creek,he knew where to go,and yes to Glenn who sent him starter seeds for I don 't know how many varieties of various cucurbits. One main difference is that Jere actually his manager, subcontracts out for seed production and Glenn grows all his own so knows if all is right.Jere also got his first heirloom birdies from Glenn that I guess still run around his place,or baby birdies from same.

Lastly, Glenn and Linda are two of the most out standing individuals I've known in terms of honesty and compassion and about everything in nature.

If you want to you can go to the Seed and Plant Forum here at Tville and read the thread that was put up by someone for Sandhill.

Carolyn
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Old September 27, 2016   #11
gorbelly
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Thx, Carolyn. I'll definitely consider Sand Hill for future seed orders. I know they have a stellar reputation, but their old-school ordering system and sparse descriptions with no pictures was difficult when I was new to the heirloom game. But now that I know well in advance what I want to grow the following season and research those varieties thoroughly in advance of purchase, their mail order system shouldn't be a problem.
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