Black Futs(z)u, a Japanese pumpkin.
Seed catalog spelling is not consistent. There’s is some argument about the correct spelling. I have been in the habit of using a Z. An alert-reader friend has just told me that the Z spelling properly refers to aconite, to Aconitum napellus. So I went and dug online… Uh-oh…
Aconite goes by a lot of other names. Here’s a rabelasian roster of handles. “Aconit, Aconiti Tuber, Acónito, Aconitum, Aconitum Angustifolium, Aconitum napellus, Aconitum carmichaeli, Aconitum kusnezoffi, Atis, Ativisha, Autumn Monkshood, Bachnag, Bikhma, Blue Monkshood Root, Caowu, Chuanwu, Chuan-wu, Fu Zi, Futzu, Helmet Flower, Monkshood, Monkshood Tuber, Prativisha, Radix Aconiti, Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii, Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata, Vachnag, Vatsnabh, Visha, Wild Aconitum, Wolfsbane, Wutou.”.
Looks like I’m going to have to switch to the S spelling. This is a mighty fine winter squash. No one should get confused between the two!
I can’t remember when Futsu originally came to the Wishetwurra Farm garden, but we’ve grown it almost every year since then. We were a little late getting it started this year, but right now we’ve four or five strong and healthy plants, spreading out and setting fruit. We’re hoping for a nice yield. But we have to remember that a garden is only hope until the crop is actually harvested.
The plants asked me to take some “baby pictures”. So I did. They were happy with them, so they asked that they be shared with you, dear readers…
Futau begins its embryonic journey…
The flower bud enlarges.
Tomorrow this one’s opening bud will bloom.
Bees will visit. Pollen will be spread. The day after tomorrow, its work done, a blossom will slump, and a new squashlet will begin to grow.
After a few more days the blossom is dwarfed by the new fruit.
The spent flower will fall.
From above, the ribbed fluting shows clearly.
As days pass, the squash swells.
Its green darkens as the skin thickens and toughens.
As August advances, more and more futzus hang under the leaves.
In six weeks or so, the futsus will be gathered and brought inside to cure, and will be stored in the pantry. The mature futsus develop a downy “blush”.
During winter storage, the skin will turn a rich orange. Their downy blush will persist.
You don’t often see this squash for sale in the markets.
If you want some, you’ll have to grow some.
And you’ll be glad you did.