Because we have space, sometimes we’ll raise seeds in our maara beds rather than in seed trays. These kamo are a result of that.
You can see some peruperu we have unearthed and some new sprouts coming through as we alternate the two crops as companions. They are warm season plants and hate the cold, so we recommend to new gardeners and those in the southern climates to hold off raising them until spring after frosts have passed.
Kamokamo is a staple food source for us Māori, and in the 19th century, was spread by trade around New Zealand. It’s a type of squash that is closely related to marrows, courgettes, and gourds.
Like a courgette or marrow, it has a mild taste, but to my mind, it’s far superior because it has a subtle nutty flavor that stands out from its blander relatives. It’s also very versatile. Try it pan-fried as tempura, barbequed, boiled, roasted, added to stir fry, mashed, or made into fritters, chips, or even relish.
The young fruits are best eaten like courgettes while the larger mature fruits are better cooked like marrow and are great roasted or boiled. The male flowers and vine tips can also be eaten. Boiled and mashed kamokamo makes nutritious and safe baby food. It’s rich in potassium, zinc, and dietary fiber and has high levels of fructose and glucose. Mature fruit can also make a storage vessel and traditionally used to hold the pulp of ripe tutu berries.
I found this in the album and had to post again. I so appreciate our kids and their development in the maara. The kamokamo we have in storage now were planted by Hinetaekura. She and Pukepukerau helped to clear the noxious weeds where we are now preparing to plant into. If you are wondering about the shadow in the film, it's our dog Bullet.
We are coming up on two years of growing the maara, and we have a growing knowledge that the maara gives us a renewed understanding of time, Maui's time, to appreciate the days with family. We hope everyone has a blessed day and thank you always for following our journey!
Before planting kamokamo, here are some facts to know about:
- Kamokamo, like pumpkin, grows as a large creeping vine. The main vine can spread up to 2-3 metres from the growing centre, so select a growing site that is large enough for the vine not to interfere with other plants.
- The site should be exposed to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day
- Good airflow is essential to prevent the fungal disease powdery mildew. Avoid growing kamokamo in the same site year after year or where other cucurbits have been previously cropped because the soil may retain powdery mildew spores.
- For ground preparation, ready the seedbed by turning over the ground with a spade or garden fork; this will aerate and loosen the soil.
- Cover the existing weeds with soil to prevent further growth. Turning over the soil in August before the spring frosts will sterilize the soil and reduce the incidence of weeds and soil-borne mounding.