How to Grow Turk's Turban
Botanical Name: Cucurbita Maxima
If you're looking for a confusing plant, Turk's Turban is it. First of all,
it looks like it came from somewhere in outer space. Secondly, it goes by
several names. Perhaps most confusing of all, it is referred to as a squash,
a pumpkin or a gourd.
As a member of the Cucurbita family, Turk's Turban is related to pumpkins,
squash and gourds. So, it's no wonder pumpkin growers call it a pumpkin,
gourd lovers consider it an ornamental gourd, and squash growers commonly
refer to it as a winter squash. We will leave it to you, to decide where
this festive vegetable (actually, it is a fruit) should be categorized.
Turk's Turban are perfect for decorating in fall displays. They look great
among other pumpkins and gourds.
Turk's Turban fruit colors vary, and are brightly colored. The bottom half
is usually a solid color in shades of dark orange to reddish orange. The
top is generally beige with streaks of reddish orange and dark green. Fruits
grow to about 12 inches in diameter and average about 5 pounds.
You can use Turk's Turban in any of your favorite squash recipes. It
is good roasted, baked, steamed, in soups, or on the grill.
Origin: Turk's Turban is an Heirloom, as it has been around
since at least the 1820's. While it may look like it comes from outer space,
tasty Turks Turban actually originated on good old planet Earth. It is native
to Central and North America.
Other Names: Mexican Hat, French Turban, Turk's Cap, Turk's
(a common misspelling)
Don't Get Confused: Turk's Turban is also the name of Clerodendrum
Indicum, a flower plant. They are not related
Days to Maturity:
95 - 120 days.
In areas with a short growing season, start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before
the last frost. Use big pots and do not let the plants get root bound.
Plant seeds in rows or hills, planting seeds one half inch deep.
Space plant at least 6 feet apart in all directions.
Ideal soil temperature for sowing seeds: 55 degrees.
Days to Germination: 10-20
Garden Tip: Nick the seeds, then soak them in water for up to 24 hours,
prior to planting.
How to Grow Turk's Turban Winter Squash:
Grow plants in full sun.
Like other Cucurbits, Turk's Turban are heavy feeders. Plant them in a rich
garden soil. The soil should be well drained. Provide ample fertilizer on
a regular basis. A side dressing of fertilizer and regular feedings of fertilizer
will significantly help the health of the plant and the size of the harvest.
Water regularly, especially during dry periods and the fruit growth stage.
Water deeply. Like other garden vegetables, keep soil moist, not wet. Irregular
watering, can result in pre-mature ripening of the fruit.
Weed regularly, especially during the early growth stage. Adding a layer
of mulch or compost, will keep the weeds down, and feed the plant.
Train vines to go in the direction you want them to go. Carefully, and slowly,
turn vines as needed. Move them a little each day. Trim vines, removing tertiary
vines to promote larger fruit growth.
Garden Tip: Bury vines with an inch or two of garden soil, to encourage
secondary root growth.
Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable
pH - by vegetable
Insects and Pests:
A wide variety of insects can infest the plants during the growing season.
It is important to have an insect control plan in place, before insects invade
The most common insect pests include:
A variety of other pests can also cause problems, depending upon where you
live. Apply insecticides as needed, following the directions on the label.
Deer and rabbits can also be a problem. We recommend fencing to keep them
Diseases Affecting Turk's Turban:
As a member of the Cucurbita family, most squash are susceptible variety
of bacteria and fungus diseases. Among the most common, are powdery mildew
and bacterial wilt.
Plant disease problems are most common in hot and humid weather. A strong,
healthy plant, and fungicide treatment will help avoid these problems. Don't
wait for plant disease to get a foothold on your plants. Treat with fungicides
at the first sign of problems.
Plant Problems - Diagnosis,
causes and cures for many common plant problems.
Turk's Turban plants are not hardy. The plants are susceptible to frost in
the spring and fall.
Harvesting Turk's Turban Squash:
Allow the fruit to ripen, and the shell to harden, prior to harvesting. However,
harvest them before frost.
Recipes: May we suggest:
Varieties of Squash - there are many varieties to