Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
Days to Maturity: 85 Days
Family: Organic, Heirloom
Hardiness: Argentina and Uruguay
Plant Dimensions: Bush type plant with about 36" spread
Variety Information: 1- to 3-pound fruit resembles a small pumpkin, with an orange, lightly ribbed exterior, and bright orange or salmon flesh. 'Gold Nugget' was developed in 1966 at the North Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station as a fast-maturing storage vegetable for northern areas; a substitute for the southern-grown sweet potato.
Attributes: Good for Containers, Long Storage
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: 36"–48"
Thinning: When 2" tall, thin to 1 – 2 per mound
Special Instructions: To help protect plants against common pests like squash vine borer and cucumber beetles, use floating row covers, and remove covers when plants begin flowering. To further protect against vine borers, you can also cover the base of the stems near the ground with mulch, foil, or fabric material, as the base of the stem is where insect eggs are laid. Squash plants are susceptible to fungal disease, too, so make sure plants have ample space for air circulation. Sowing pollinator-attracting plants near squash can assist in proper pollination, resulting in a bigger harvest and well-shaped fruit.
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.