El cultivo de la calabaza

Por José Herminio Zayas Bermúdez, MBA


La calabaza es una hortaliza que puede comenzar a sembrar en su patio. Esta semana continuamos con el tema del cultivo de esta hortaliza.

La germinación de la calabaza tarda de seis a ocho días en un buen semillero. Procuren sembrarlas a una distancia de seis pies de una a otra y a seis pies de distancia cada una. La cosecha demora entre tres meses y medio a cuatro meses.

El abono dependerá del análisis que se le haga al suelo, si lo necesita aplique 10-10-8 a la semana de germinar la semilla y repetir al mes y medio. Entre las variedades de calabaza se encuentran: Borinquen, Soler, Taína dorada y Verde luz.

Las flores abren temprano en la mañana y están receptivas solamente por ese día. La polinización de las flores femeninas depende de las abejas. El control de plagas debe hacerse cuando las abejas no están en el predio.

Recolecte las semillas de frutos maduros, grandes, saludables y que sean de cáscara firme y dura. Tome las semillas del centro del fruto, éstas son más saludables. Lávelas con agua limpia y póngalas a secar en un lugar seco y fresco. Guárdelas en una bolsa de papel, en un lugar libre de humedad hasta el momento de la siembra. Las semillas pueden almacenarse hasta por 2 años.

La calabaza se cosecha cuando la parte que da al suelo se torna color amarillo.  Elimine el riego siete a 10 días antes para que el fruto concentre su sabor. Al momento de cosechar, recorte la calabaza del tallo, dejando un pedazo de tallo de 2 pulgadas sobre el fruto. Esto ayudará para almacenarla por un periodo de hasta 6 meses.

Una de las enfermedades de esta hortaliza es el añublo lanoso, el cual se manifiesta con manchas color verde pálido a amarillo brillante que comienzan en las hojas más viejas. También puede observar el crecimiento lanoso color gris púrpura en el envés de las hojas. En infecciones severas el follaje muere y quedan expuestos frutos que se dañan por escaldadura.

El añublo polvoriento se manifiesta como un polvillo blanco en el envés de las hojas más viejas, pecíolos y tallos.  Las hojas severamente afectadas se tornan amarillas, se secan y eventualmente mueren. Lo favorecen condiciones secas y de alta densidad de plantas. En infecciones tempranas, la pérdida de hojas, frutos de baja calidad y reducción en el rendimiento.

Si decide sembrar calabaza escoja una variedad resistente. También identifique y eliminar plantas que sirvan de hospederas del hongo en los alrededores de la siembra. No manipule las plantas cuando están húmedas por el rocío o por lluvia. Siembre a la distancia recomendada y use fungicidas. En el caso que necesite aspersión comience con la aplicación de fungicidas como el cobre. Aplique productos más específicos cuando se haya establecido que la enfermedad es un problema en la siembra.

Si tiene alguna pregunta o recomendación para AgroConversemos no dude en comunicarse a: jose.zayas5@upr.edu

¡Hasta la próxima!


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