This gorgeous squash is much more than a decoration. A superior baking variety, it has fine-grained flesh with an enticing, sweet, nutty flavor. Once a staple variety of the Lakota Sioux, it has not been widely available until recently. This adaptable winter squash stores well and, like all squash, is easy to grow from seed. 10- to 20-foot vines.
• Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
• Days to Maturity: 85–100 days
• Family: Cucurbitaceae
• Native: Argentina and Uruguay
• Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
• Plant Dimensions: 10'–20' vines
• Variety Information: 8"–10" long, 6"–8" in diameter and 4–8 lbs. Outer shell color most often is crimson flecked with deep green radiating from the blossom end, but can vary with growing conditions, and be mostly orange, or mostly green; flesh is deep orange. It is widely adaptable and tolerant to many conditions.
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 1 to 2 weeks after your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is 70°–85°F.
• When to Start Inside: Not recommended except in very short growing seasons, 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date. Roots sensitive to disturbance; sow in 4" biodegradable pots that can be planted directly into the ground. Transplant when soil temperature is at least 60°F.
• Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
• Seed Depth: 1"
• Seed Spacing: 2–3 seeds per mound
• Row Spacing: 8'
• Thinning: When 3" leaves, thin to 1–2 per mound
• Harvesting: Harvest when the squash's rind is hard enough that you can't dent it with your fingernail and before first frost. Cut stem, (don't break it off) leaving 2" of stem attached, which keeps the squash whole, leaving no opening for infection. Though fruits are hard and may seem indestructible, treat them gently; bruising can spoil squash.