Growing Species Maxima squash in Hawaii has its share of complications, which is why I do not give up. I am looking for solutions. In the islands, Maxima pumpkins are rare, usually only showing themselves in giant pumpkin contests. also, they are usually not grown organically, even though chemicals are of little help when it comes to the two big island foes of the squash family: Pickle worm and Melon Fly. Throw in three other varieties of tropical fruit fly, endless powdery mildew, and seed digging, fruit munching rodents, and cheap low-end hybrid squash arriving on our shores in hundreds of tons, there is a reason or two why the state of Hawaii lost this crop commercially.
…but it is tasty…and beautiful, so I continue on with my quest
(Sorry to the kind people of Georgia. I’ve used the outdated name “Republic of Georgia” in the video, and also noted that it was in Asia rather than Europe. I should have consulted the atlas first!)
That is a little background so that you understand why a success with a pumpkin is a success in a much larger sense. Take the Gori Blue Mottled pumpkin of Gori, Georgia (Europe.) The seeds have been in my possession after Joe Simcox the Seed Explorer wanted to see if I could grow them out for more seed. I cringed at the thought of struggling with yet another nearly sure to fail Maxima, but I agreed, and I am happy that I did. You see, as it happened, I learned a lot from this pumpkin. It dodged a very critical bullet in that it managed to avoid detection of the oh so sneaky Melon Fly. It did not avoid the gaze and destruction of the Pickle Worm
/moth. But one out of two isn’t so bad, it is somewhat manageable as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. Both predators come in cycles, related to seasons, heat, moisture…the usual. If you give your plants enough nutrition, these long season growers are sure to have a few fruits that manage to avoid the moth/worm cycle. Pickle worm attacks stem, bloom, pollinated fruit, un pollinated fruit….yes, everything. They were the last straw for our commercial pumpkin industry. The ornamental Maximas are much easier to grow
(think Halloween) the bland, non sweet fruits tempt no one, human nor Melon fly. It does make a great treat for livestock and pets who don’t care that it is tasteless and watery.
So featured here in the video is a roughed up 2nd generation specimen that fell out of a tall shrub. The robust vine got a bit carried away and climbed high, only to have the 15 lb fruit crash down during a windstorm. In the quick video, I make a few mistakes, one being that I say it is small for it’s size, I meant to say it has a small seed cavity for it’s size, a great point for culinary varieties. I infer that it is small…but only small for me (15 vs 30 pounders) I also note that I am going to plant them in the kitchen…oh well, I would re-shoot, but it is already prepped and a good quantity was eaten by me. So bear with me. I also would like to recommend Hawaii growers to break off the thick stem of all Maxima variety, due to a multitude of reasons that I will cover later. Just trust me on that one, and I hope all will be inspired by a little “squash success.”