Has anyone grown Eastern Rise winter squash? Questions...
I grew three Eastern Rise winter squash this year, three plants produced only four little squash, but I am happy since this is my first shot at doing this and it could have been much worse. Eastern Rise is similar in size and shape to Kabocha, but orange.
So I was wondering:
1) Is poor sunlight what might have limited fruit set and production? I didn't realize it at the time, but it turns out that the spot where the pumpkins are growing does not get much sunlight before around noon. Are there nutrition issues that affect this? Perhaps trimming the lead vines to get more female flowers, or hand pollination would have increased yield? These plants had been very healthy and vigorous though, until the last week or so.
2) I planted these squash out in around May 1 in Seattle, zone 8, pretty early, and now I think the squash are looking fairly ripe. The plants are started to go yellow on me and die, but I don't know if it is because they are just getting old, or what. There is some mildew on the leaves, but I think that is natural around here, and doesn't kill things usually. Is it too early for the squash to have actually ripened? They are a very dark orange right now, ~2 lbs each, and the rind seems pretty tough. The stems on the squash are still a little green, but they are starting to turn yellow. The Fedco catalog I bought this from says 95 DTM, so I guess this means it is kind more or less on time? Should I wait a while?
It would be best for me to harvest them as soon as they are ripe, since I am in an urban plot and the longer something stays outside the more chance it gets stolen or vandalized. (this does happen to other people's plots, not mine yet...)
Thanks for the advice!