Botanical Name: Cucurbita pepo
Days to Maturity: 80 Days
Native: United States and Northern Mexico
Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
Plant Dimensions: 4' vine
Variety Information: 2 pound, glossy, dark green/gray fruits with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh.
Attributes: Good for Containers
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 transplanting. Roots are sensitive to disturbance; sow in 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: ½" – 1"
Seed Spacing: 2 – 3 seeds per mound
Row Spacing: 3' – 4'
Thinning: When 3 leaves, thin to 1 – 2 plants 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.
Look for pollen-producing flowers that have long stems and harvest just before use (fruit-producing flowers have a very small, developing squash at the base of the flower and shorter stems).