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How to Grow Turk's Turban Squash

turk's turban squash pumpkin gourd  seeds grow growing

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.  Find Squash recipes

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 Turban (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.

Sowing Seeds:

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.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil 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 your garden.

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 out.

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. 

Garden Recipes:

Recipes: May we suggest:

More Information:

Varieties of Squash - there are many varieties to grow


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