The Hokkaido pumpkin is one of the most well-known types of pumpkin. The rather small pumpkins, weighing only 0.5 to 2 kg, are very popular, which is not only due to their good taste, but also because you don’t have to peel them. Hokkaido squash is ideal for soups, but it can also be used as a vegetable and even in desserts. He’s absolutely versatile. Its nutty taste is unique. Its high carotene and vitamin content and its low calorie content are also beneficial. Cultivation is easy, the harvest time is long.


  • squash
  • Round shape and typical orange-red color
  • Originally from the Japanese island of Hokkaido
  • Offspring of the rice nut squash introduced there by the Americans
  • Harvest from early to late autumn
  • Lasts up to a year if stored properly
  • 0.5 to 1.5 kg in weight
  • Thin shell that softens when cooked and can be eaten
  • Nussiges Aroma
  • Ideal for soups, as vegetables and for casseroles
  • Also edible raw
  • Seeds can be dried and eaten
  • Very high nutrient density
  • Contains less water than other types of squash

Interesting Varieties

  • Red Hokkaido Red Kuri – the most common Hokkaido, orange-colored flesh, distinctive orange-red outer skin, teardrop-shaped, nutty-sweet taste, slightly floury, weighs between 1.5 and 2 kg. Can be stored for about 5 months
  • Maina di chioggia – can weigh up to 8 kg, can be stored between 4 and 8 months
  • Green Hokkaido Kuri Kabocha – slightly ribbed surface, rather flat fruits, light stripes from the base of the flower to the base of the stem, bright yellow flesh, weighs 2 to 3 kg
  • Well-known varieties are Sweet Mama, Nutty Delicia and Meruhen
  • Gray Hokkaido Yukigeshou – gray marbled skin, aromatic, firm flesh

Sow Hokkaido pumpkins

Sowing is not complicated. The easiest way to do this is in a greenhouse or on a windowsill. You can get the seeds from a pumpkin or buy them in stores. In any case, the seeds must be dried.
Sowing soil is best used. Since minerals are important, compost can be mixed in. However, this should first be sterilized in the oven to kill germs and pests. Alternatively, horn shavings can also be used. The sowing itself takes place from around the beginning to mid-March. If you want to sow directly outdoors, you should wait until after the ice saints. The seeds are placed on the ground and loosely covered with it. It is ideal to sow directly on the manure heap or right next to it. The soil conditions there are very good and the tendrils of the pumpkin plant cover the optically not so great pile.

  • Use seed soil and minerals
  • Sterilize compost in the oven
  • Sow from mid-March on the window sill or in the greenhouse
  • When sowing outdoors, wait until after the ice saints
  • Cover the seeds only about 1 cm with soil
  • It is best to sow individually, this prevents the roots from growing into one another and there are no failures when pricking out
  • It is best to sow directly on the manure heap
  • Alternatively right next to it
  • Don’t sow too densely

It is important to keep the soil evenly slightly moist, but never wet. However, it must not dry out either. It is best to attach a trellis at the same time.

The young plants may only be planted outdoors when no more night frosts are to be expected. Cold is badly tolerated. If you don’t want to rely on natural pollination, you can do it yourself. When the first female flowers with ovary appear after about 60 days (after germination), the pollen from the male flowers can be transferred to the female flowers with a brush.

  • Keep the soil slightly moist evenly
  • Only plant out after the ice saints
  • Can be pollinated by hand
Note: The seeds of the Hokkaido pumpkin are considered varietal. With purchased bags, however, you have to be careful whether they say F1 or F1 hybrids. The pumpkins grown from them usually contain sterile seeds and so you cannot grow new fruit from the seeds obtained from the previous year. Even dried seeds often result in smaller pumpkins, but they are often more aromatic.

The care of the Hokkaido pumpkin

Caring for the Hokkaido pumpkin is not complicated. The plants need sufficient space and also a lot of warmth, sun, water and sufficient nutrients. They thrive best on the compost. Above all, the plant substrate must be loose and deep. It is important to prepare it well, preferably in autumn before planting. When planting, the distances between the young plants are particularly important. They must be large enough, a distance of at least 1 m is recommended. Water is expected regularly, albeit moderately. The soil should neither dry out nor be permanently wet. Nutrients are also important. You don’t have to cut. But if there are too many climbing shoots without flowers, they can be removed. Diseases rarely occur, with the exception of powdery mildew. However, it usually appears quite late and thus causes hardly any damage. The main pests are snails, they love the young plants and can cause a lot of damage.


Hokkaido pumpkins need a lot of light and warmth. A location that is too dark produces a lot of flowers and leaves, but usually only small fruits. Sun is important and enough space. The best place is directly on or near a compost heap.

  • As sunny as it gets
  • Needs space to get enough sun
  • Ideal on compost

plant substrate

It is important for the plant substrate that it is loose and deep. It is best to start preparing the soil in the autumn of the previous year. Nutrients are important, especially nitrogen.

  • Easy and deep
  • Nutrient-rich, especially nitrogen-rich
  • Work the manure into the soil in the previous year
  • Work in some clay if the soil is sandy

Dig the soil deeply about 3 to 4 weeks before planting


When planting, the planting distances are particularly important. At first the seedlings are small, but they develop quickly and grow very large. The leaf mass is considerable. One plant per normal-sized compost heap is usually sufficient. It shouldn’t be more than two.

  • Planting distance about 60 cm
  • A larger distance is better, as a lot of foliage is formed.
  • Alternatively, regularly cut back the long shoots
  • Also suitable for growing in pots if you use good enough soil
  • Place the young plants in the planting hole up to the upper root neck
  • Water vigorously after planting
  • Don’t forget snail protection
Note: There are conflicting opinions on Hokkaido varietal purity. Some recommend not mixing the pumpkin plants with other varieties when planting to avoid mixing, others are of the opinion that this is not possible with Hokkido. Vine beans and corn go better with Hokkaidos.

watering and fertilizing

All gourds require sufficient water. Hokkaido is no different. It is important not to wet the leaves when watering, because they can rot if they are too wet. Sufficient nutrients are also necessary for the plants and fruits to develop well.

  • Water regularly, but rather moderately
  • Especially important when the fruit begins to grow
  • The soil should stay evenly moist
  • No dryness and no standing wetness
  • Sufficient supply of minerals and nutrients is important for the crop yield
  • Nettle manure is ideal for the pumpkins
  • It is best to work manure and compost into the soil as early as the previous year, in autumn.
  • If necessary, you can improve the soil shortly before sowing with humus and horn shavings
  • Use vegetable fertilizers from June to August
  • If you put the pumpkins directly on the manure heap, you don’t have to fertilize additionally
Tip: A self-made irrigation helps to avoid rot. To do this, bury a slightly larger clay pot, like that used for plants, halfway into the ground, preferably right next to the plant. It is favorable that the water drainage hole should be enlarged a little. When watering, the water is then poured directly into the vessel, the leaves remain dry and the water arrives exactly where it is needed, at the root.

To cut

In order to give the pumpkins enough sun and warmth, large leaves can be cut off towards the end of the growing season. This leaves the plant with enough strength to ripen the fruit.

  • Large leaves can be cut off towards the end of the growing season
  • It is also advisable to shorten excessively long tendrils, especially those that are not in bloom

Harvesting the Hokkaido pumpkin

Can be harvested from September until frost. They don’t tolerate cold well. The pumpkins are ripe when you hear a hollow sound when you tap them. It can also be recognized by the death of parts of the plant. When harvesting, be sure to leave 5 centimeters of stalk on the fruit. It is cut with a sharp knife.

diseases and pests

Illnesses are rare and mostly due to care errors. Pests, on the other hand, occur more regularly, above all snails, which can ruin all the work.

  • Snails love young pumpkin plants. It is therefore best to put a glass bell over the plants
  • Alternatively, a snail fence helps
  • You can also try sawdust around the plants, or ash or grit
  • Mildew infestation – mainly when it is wet, the leaves are covered with a gray haze, usually only occurs in late summer and is therefore hardly relevant for the fruit

Frequently Asked Questions

At what temperatures can Hokkaido pumpkins be stored?
The fruits are best stored at 10 to 15°C. They can be kept for several months. Storage often even improves the taste, making it more intense. It is important that the fruits are not damaged, as this reduces their shelf life.

How to prevent pumpkins still on the plant from rotting?
If the fruit begins to rot due to moisture before harvest, this is of course extremely unfavourable. This can be prevented by a layer of straw, which is spread under the pumpkin. Alternatively, a board is sufficient.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *