Heirloom Organic Lakota Winter Squash Seeds (5)
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.
Lakota Squash is pear shaped and reddish-orange with green streaks. It gets its name from the Lakota Tribe of the Sioux Indians who grew the hardy winter squash. It’s prized for its fine-grained orange flesh and nutty taste in cooking and baking. Ornamental as well as edible, the Lakota squash produces yellow-gold flowers during the summer and rich autumn hues by fall, offering seasonal interest. This squash readily adapts to U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 10.
Locate an area where the plants will be exposed to full sun. Till the soil about 10 to 12 inches deep. Remove all rocks and debris from the area and rake smooth. Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic compost or aged manure on top of the soil. Work organic matter into the soil.
Plant seeds after all danger of frost has past and the soil has warmed to at least 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 4 inches. Plant 2 to 4 seeds at least 1 inch deep in a small mound of soil. Space mounds at least 3 to 5 feet apart down the row. Make rows at least 6 feet apart because Lakota squash spreads 4 to 6 feet.
Water regularly, keeping the soil moist until seedlings come up in about 10 days. Water once or twice a week when seedlings are established. Water when soil feels dry to the touch and soak about 1 inch below the surface of the soil.
Fertilize one week after squash blooms and true leaves appear. Repeat again in three weeks. Spread a band of fertilizer along a row, about 4 inches from the plants and work it into the soil.
Allow squash to fully mature on the vine before harvesting. Depending on growing conditions, Lakota squash matures between 80 and 140 days. It’s best to harvest during cooler fall weather.
Make sure the Lakota squash is ready to pick by pressing your fingernail into the skin. If the skin resists puncture, then it’s ripe enough to pick. As the squash matures, the outer shell hardens and the color deepens. Using a sharp knife or pruners, cut squash from the vine. Make sure to leave at least an inch of stem to discourage rot.
Garden tiller, shovel or hoe
Organic compost or aged manure
Avoid unnecessary wetting of vine stems and leaves to reduce the risk of fungal problems.
Keep an eye out for leaf bugs and beetles. Regularly inspect the bases of the vines for stem borers.
As squash matures birds, deer and rodents may pose a problem.