Turban squash is a beautiful, heirloom winter squash that dates before 1820. It is a cultivar of Cucurbita Maxima and very closely related to the buttercup squash. Turban squash varieties include Turk’s Turban, French Turban, or Mexican Hat.
The beautiful colors and unique shape of Turban squash lend very well to ornamental usage. It comes in vibrant shades of orange, green and white. Turban squash is fairly large and grows to about 12 inches in diameter, so it can be used in place of pumpkins for fall displays.
Turban squash is also used as a vegetable. It tastes similar to other Curcurbita Maxima varieties. Some describe its flavor as reminiscent of hazelnut, but coarse and watery. It is commonly used in soups and roasted.
For even more squash varieties, make sure to check out this list of 54 types of squash too.
Turban squash love the heat and are easy to grow. Historically, squash has been combined with the three sister’s garden - corn, beans, and squash by the native Americans. The squash provides ground cover and tends to discourage weeds while the beans fix nitrogen into the soil and the corn provides support for the vines.
Squash can be directly sown into the ground or started indoors 3-4 weeks prior to frost. The seeds should be sown 1 inch deep and transplanted outdoors when there is no threat of frost.
Directly sown seeds should be planted when the soil has warmed up and there is no danger of frost. Seeds planted when the weather is too cool may rot before germination.
Turban squash is very hardy and tolerant of all types of soils. It grows best in soils that are slightly acidic or slightly basic.
If the soil is clay, seeds should be planted on hills 6 feet apart. For sandy soil, plant the seeds in depressions about one inch deep in well-amended soil. Feed with compost tea.
Turban squash is a vining plant and will spread throughout your garden. The leaves are the size of large lily pads. Thus, they are not well suited for small gardens.
Due to the vining nature of the Turban squash plant, you can experiment with growing them in unusual places, such as on a compost heap or up trellises. However, supports are not necessary as they can vine on the ground.
Turban squash will grow very large and need about 6 feet or 2 meters of spacing between each plant.
Turk’s Turban squash does best in full sun. It requires a minimum of six hours of sun per day, but eight to ten hours is ideal.
Where to grow
Squash grows best in the growing zones 3-10.
Growing and Caring for Turban Squash
Once you’ve selected a sunny place with enough space for your squash and sown the seeds or transplanted the plants, you’ll want to provide them with great care.
Turk’s Turban squash are heavy feeders and need ample fertilizer. You will want to provide a weekly side dressing of fertilizer or compost tea.
Keep Them Watered
Water regularly, especially during droughts or dry periods and during the fruit growth stage. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
Irregular watering can result in premature ripening of the fruit.
Weed and Mulch
Weed regularly during the growth stage. A layer of mulch or compost will keep the weeds down and nourish the squash plant.
Train the Vines
Train the vines to go in the direction that you want them to go. This can be directed up a trellis or towards a certain area of your garden. Trim vines and remove tertiary vines to promote larger fruit growth.
Harvesting Turban Squash
Turk’s Turban squash variety takes roughly 80-100 days from seed to harvest.
Turban squash should be harvested when the rind is tough and the colors are deep. You should plan on harvesting the squash before a frost if possible. If it has already frosted, then harvest after a light frost has killed the vine.
Trim the stem two inches above the squash with a sharp knife or hand clippers. A two-inch stem will help to prevent the fruit from rotting too quickly.
Carefully handle the turban squash to ensure that you don’t bruise it or damage it. You should leave the squash to cure in the garden for 10-14 days. If there is danger of frost, cover it with burlap or bring it indoors to a dry area.
The turban squash can be stored between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit until use. It can be stored for up to three months before the flavor and texture are compromised.
Growing Turban Squash Step By Step
- Select a sunny location with ample space.
- Direct sow the seeds after all chance of frost is gone.
- Fertilize the soil with compost.
- Water daily to keep the soil moist
- Train the vines in the direction that you want them to grow.
- Harvest when the plants reach about 12 inches in diameter and 5 pounds.
- Cure the plants by leaving them in place for 10-14 days.
- Store in a cool, dry place about 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
What to do with Turban Squash?
The Turk’s Turban variety of squash is excellent for fall displays. They look great paired with other pumpkins and gourds. These squash are brightly colored with a bottom half that is usually a solid color in shades of dark to reddish orange. The top tends to be beige with streaks of reddish orange and dark green, so they fit in well with autumn displays.
Turban squash is great in any squash recipe. It is tasty roasted, baked, steamed, in soups or on the grill. Find delicious squash recipes here.
Turk’s Turban Squash Picture Gallery
Bright and Colorful
The multi-hued colors and patterns are unique and vibrant, ranging from dark greens to orange to yellow.
Grow the Vertically
Turban squashes can be trained to grow up a trellis or garden tower to help you maximize your garden space.
The lovely two-toned color of this squash can add interest to any decorative display in the home or garden.
Use in Recipes
Turban squash is great for stuffing, as the cooked flesh can be easily removed from the outer shell.