That’s a nice-sized calabaza, clocking in at 6.5lbs (though it looks bigger than that thanks to the long neck).
The seeds for this guy came from a squash I purchased at a local Hispanic market. The country of origin was somewhere in tropical South America so I figured it would be perfect for growing in Florida. I was right – the vines are vigorous and the squash really look great. This is the first one to mature this year, but the plants are doing so well that I can gladly report that growing calabaza in Florida is easy. They take a bit longer to get going than Seminole pumpkins; however, they’re tough and do great with little care.
Plus, they just look cool.
There is at least one more fruit ripening at the moment on that vine – check it out:
I believe these calabazas are C. mixta, which means they won’t cross with my Seminole pumpkins (C. moschata) and I can grow them in the same beds without worrying about getting strange pumpkins from the seeds I save.
If you haven’t tried growing calabazas, I highly recommend them. The flavor isn’t as rich as butternuts but I still find it better than acorn squashes, plus the texture is different and gives us a change of pace from our regularly scheduled consumption of piles and piles of Seminole pumpkins.
I have a cool trick for growing squash with very little care that I describe in my book Compost Everything: The Good Guide To Extreme Composting. Pick up a copy (it’s now available in paperback and Kindle versions) and support my experiments.
Where can I get seeds for the Calabaza on your picture?
I tried once 5-years ago but seeds now are not any longer true to the original fruit….perhaps it was a hybrid..?
I got mine from the “world market.” Try hitting any Hispanic market – you’ll find some.
I just ordered some on Ebay from a company Puerto Rico.
Calabaza is what Cuban’s use in their dishes. when I was a kid in Miami, I literally grabbed some seeds while my mom was cooking, and threw them on the ground. It instantly grew. I recently did the same thing BUT unlike the huge yard I had growing up, I only have a small patch of grass in the back. I don’t know the best way to control it. It’s attaching itself to everything and spreading onto the concrete patio. Not sure what to do 🙁
Just keep turning the vines around and let it run as far as you can. It needs lots of leaves to feed the upcoming fruit and give you big ones. Good luck.
I have sprouted many seeds from a calabaza I purchased at a local market. I live on the Indian River which has brackish water & spray. Any suggestions on how to grow my calabaza plants?
I would keep them watered with rainwater – they can take some salt spray. I’ve seen pumpkins growing quite near the ocean.
I started my Calabaza from seed outside in dappled shade. Once they were 5 inches tall I placed them behind my house in my future banana circle, but they have wilted and almost died. Should I move it to the shade for now?
They really don’t like transplanting – I would string up a little shade of some sort over them, but don’t move them again.
I wondered… bummer. I’ve put up a few larger plant pot to give it shade. Thx!