Squash, botanically known as Cucurbita maxima L., is commonly grown the Philippines throughout the year. It is usually grown in home gardens and in commercial scale for its fruits, young shoots, flowers and seeds. In some places, intercropping squash with other crops such as corn, sugarcane, and coconut is practiced. Like other cucurbits, squash is recognized as an important source of vitamins and minerals. For best yield and profit, planting months must be from October to December, and May to July in hilly areas.
(Source: PhilRice- Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank, Date Accessed 27 March 2014)
- Squash Seeds
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Plow and harrow the field alternately 2-3 times. Furrow the field at a row spacing of 2 meters. Prepare hills at 1 meter apart. Incorporate organic fertilizer and complete fertilizer thoroughly with the soil at planting.
Planting and Cultivation
Plant 2-3 seeds per hill. Remove weak seedlings and leave two
plants per hill when the first true leaf has developed.
Squash can be grown with minimum tillage but for best result, plowing and harrowing the field two to three times is recommended. One to two seed are planted per hill and applied with rice straw or plastic mulch is recommended to maintain soil moisture and minimize growth of weeds. Squash can tolerate drought but regular irrigation, especially during dry season enhances crop performance.
When pollinators are few, hand-pollinate the female flower between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning to increase fruit setting.
Fertilizer Application and Irrigation
Irrigate once week with one liter/hill every other day. Irrigate also every after fertilizer application. Do not irrigate when the fruits have reached the matured green stage
Weed Control and Training of Vines
Weed in between plants at 7 to 14 days after emergence. Weeds may be controlled by hand pulling or by shallow cultivation.
Train the vines to crawl on the plot and be evenly distributed over the area for the ease of irrigation, spraying of insecticide and hand pollination.
Pest and Disease Management
Cutworms and beetles can be controlled by spreading ash on the leaves while fruit fly can be controlled with the use of attractants. Disease is commonly infecting squash are mosaic virus, downy and powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt.
Harvest just before fruits are fully ripe or when the penduncle starts to dry up. It is best to harvest the fruits with a portion of the peduncle attached to prolong storage life.
For seed purposes, squash can be harvested 40 to 100 days after planting.
For best yield and profit, planting months must be from October to December, and May to July in hilly areas.
- Seasonality of squash is based on the demand variability as shown in seasonal price index.
- Peaks of production are in the months where prices are low and these are in the months of August to September.
- Lean production months are observed from April to June where prices are high.
- Since squash can be planted throughout the year, farmers based their planting schedule on the current market price of the commodity.
- They will decide to plant if the price is high then, majority of the farmers will do the same thus, there will be an influx of supply during harvest time.
Source: PhilRice- Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank and Department of Agriculture- Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System, Date Accessed 27 March 2014