Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
Days to Maturity: 95–110 days
Native: Argentina and Uruguay
Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
Plant Dimensions: 10′ vines
Variety Information: 10–15-pound slate gray, slightly flattened, round fruits with dense, orange, sweet, fine-grained flesh. ‘Sweet Meat’ was introduced by Gill Brothers Seed Company of Portland, Oregon, in 1947.
Attributes: Long Storage
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 1 to 2 weeks after your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is 70°–85°.
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: 6′
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.