Crown prince is rightly named. A regular favourite amongst allotmenteers it’s delightful duck egg blue colour stands out and it is often regarded as on of the best squash in the kitchen. It has a RHS Award Of Garden Merit at the time of writing with the RHS describing it as “Large fruits, with blue-grey skin and excellent storage quality. Popular, reliable variety. Fruits have high flesh content, of deep orange colour and excellent flavour.”
Whilst crown prince doesn’t have quite the same intensity of flavour as Uchiki Kuri or Sweet Dumpling its much larger size means it is perfect for soups, stews, pies mash and curry and it is also delicious roasted.
Unlike butternut squash it thrives in our cooler climate and this year produced its first ripe pumpkin for me in August. You will also get plenty of squash blossoms which you can also cook.
In the kitchen
Crown prince is a large squash, around 25 cm in diameter and 3kg in weight. It will serve upwards of 16 people from one squash but what you do not cook immediately can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen.
To cut it you will need a large sharp knife. Cut from top to bottom along the slight ridges the remove seeds and peel.
Perfect for soups, stews, curry and pumpkin pie or roasted. Try this recipe for Roasted Pumpkin and chorizo Soup
Crown prince can be stored in a cool dark place for up to three months.
Health and plant yield
Crown prince is well suited to British climates and if you keep it well watered and fed you should get 2-4 decent sized pumpkins per plant, each being over 3kg. Like most squash it will tend to get mildew later in the season but this doesn’t affect the fruit. Watering and feeding will help the plant to fight it as much as possible. Some people have also suggested spraying leaves with milk may help.
To save space I have been able to grow crown prince up trellis with no additional support. even though it is a chunky sized squash.
Many suppliers of the F1 variety but not so many of the original variety. The seeds of the original if grown in isolation will breed true, the F1 will not.
Sow in April undercover. I like to sow in root trainers which are long thin pots which split open to release the plant for planting. They are ideal for big seeds or plants that don’t like having their roots disturbed. Fill the root trainer with compost. Push one to two seeds per root trainer about 1.5 cm deep. Water and top up with compost if needed. Keep moist but not damp. If the squash gets too big for the root trainer before you can plant in the ground you will need to plant in to a larger pot. You will probably have to pot on at least once before planting out. The addition of heat in the form of a propagator or warm room when sowing will increase success.
Plant out after all risk of frost has passed, with each plant at least 1 meter apart. Squash are sprawling plants that like to grow in full sun, in a very fertile but well drained soil, enriched with copious amounts of well rotted manure. Water well at the base of the plant during warmer weather. A stick placed at the base of the plant on planting out can be a useful way of finding the base again once your squash plant has turned in to a monster. Just as it is hard to over water your squash, it is almost impossible to overfeed it. These are hungry plants and will relish weekly feeding