Piena Di Napoli Winter Squash (125 Days)
The Piena Di Napoli Winter Squash is an old and interesting Italian vegetable the shape of a butternut squash but much larger, up to 25 pounds. It has some of the same characteristics of the American - Neck pumpkin, primarily that it is big and very sweet. The grey/greenish smooth skin encloses a very hard yellow-orange flesh. In Italy Piena di Napoli Winter Squash is stuffed, sliced, fried, roasted and sautéed. It is used in slightly sweet pasta, gnocchi, and the delectable zucca da marmaletta - pumpkin jam.
Germination: 7-10 days
Germination Temperature: Optimum soil temperatures 70-85ºF
Seed Sowing Depth: 1/2-1" deep
Sowing Indoors: 3-4 weeks before last frost. Provide 70-85ºF soil temperature. Sow 2-3 seeds per cell/pot. Sowing into individual biodegradable peat/cow pots reduces root damage when transplanting. Transplant after last frost, 36-48" apart.
Sowing Outdoors: Sow after last frost when soil temperature is over 70ºF. Sow a few seeds every 36-48".
How much does a packet plant: 12-15 foot single row, 3-5 hills
Harvest: Before heavy frost. Determine ripeness when the skin has turned color and becomes dull dry. You will be unable to create a dent when pressing your thumbnail into it. Leave two inches of the stem on the squash and manage carefully so there is no damage which can shorten storage life. Cure for 7-10 days in the sun to harden the rind and increase storage quality. Wipe any debris off skin before storing in a cool dark place with 50-55ºF temperatures and 50-65% humidity.
Tips: Plant Piena Di Napoli Winter Squash in fertile soil, amended with compost or well rotted manure and keep well watered. They benefit from growing on black plastic and by using row covers for weed, insect control, and more rapid growth.