Butternut Squash

blujen_gwJune 9, 2008

So I'm growing my second garden at my new house, and i took requests back in january, and am growing everything anyone asked for - anything i hadnt grown before i researched and bought varieties suited for my location and things are growing well. Two weeks ago grandma came over to visit and said "where is the butternut squash i asked for?" - ALL she had asked me for was zuccini, i know nothing about butternut squash. I dutifully ran off to the store and bought the only seeds left - a burpee "bush" butternut squash variety. It's growing up nicely, already about 6" tall, but I dont know what to do with it or what it needs - can anyone clue me in on the basics of how to grow this stuff?

Thanks!

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jimster(z7a MA)

Butternut squash requires nothing out of the ordinary. Water well when weather is dry. Side dress once or twice with garden fertilizer during the summer or use whatever fertilizer you feed to your other veggies. It should reward you with a good crop of delicious winter squash.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 9:30PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Jim - does it grow better on a trellis? I've never grown it before either, but plan on growing it when summer ends.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 9:54PM
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gardenwren

You've got a bush butternut. I've only grown the old fashion sprawl all over the place ones, and they were very easy to grow, no fuss types. I would feed them the same as your regular summer squash. Since they will be on the plant longer, use a light hay mulch to keep them from rotting if it gets too wet. They should be fine.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 7:57AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I've never seen anyone trellis butternuts. Just let them sprawl.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:13AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Jim, I'm doing sfg,and hope that the variety of seeds I bought is the vining type - because otherwise,there won't be room for them.I need to check this evening,when I get in from work - to see what the seed packet says.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:28AM
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susaneden(5)

Butternut (vining) will just trail everywhere on its own. You can plant it near a fence and it will probably climb up and over it, but the fruits are heavy and then you would have to sling them to the trellis with something. Much easier to do as Jim says and just let it run all over the place. If you have the bush variety (never grown it--I like the vining types) even easier. The question, though, is how compact is it. If that is your concern, you can plant it on the edge of your garden or raised bed and train the plant to run on the lawn.

I planted my butternut (vining) between 2 rows of peas that I will be yanking in about a month, so there should be no concern about space there, and the squash gets all the nitrogen in the soil the peas will have fixed.

My intention is to mulch beneath the vines and let them do whatever they want, as long as they do not attack my parked car LOL!

The best way to grow them, IMHO, is to plant them, manure/fertilize them, and then forget them :D They do all the rest.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:28AM
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tcstoehr

I think your BBB (Burpee Bush Butternut) is not really a bush type squash, but will have shorter vines than a standard Butternut which runs rampantly all over the place. Likely a good choice, although I doubt it will produce as many fruits as a larger plant, it also won't cover your whole garden. I'd surely stick with that planting if I were you. Cuz the other thing that Butternut Squashes need is time. Although Burpee's web site says 75 days and 4' vines. A standard Butternut takes more like 100 days.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:40AM
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macmex

I once grew Burpee's Bush Butternut. If I recall the vine was about 6' long; pretty contained. The fruit were not very large. But they had the same good quality of a regular butternut. I preferred Ponca. It's vines were a bit longer, but the fruit was also a bit larger.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:07PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I wouldn't think squash is a particularly good candidate for sfg because it is such a large plant, whether bush type or not, and it won't stay in those little squares. But then, I have no experience with sfg, so who am I to say?

Jim

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:52PM
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susaneden(5)

I would ask on the SFG forum--they could tell you how/if to trellis it :D

I do some SFG, but also have 2 large areas I reserve for sprawly things I love (like butternut and spaghetti squash).

You could Maybe--and I don't know if this will work or not--just grow it in a bushel basket.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 3:28PM
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blujen_gw

Thank you all for the help - i planted it on the edge of the melonpatch, not knowing how big it would grow, so I think even if its not a very bushy bush, i should be okay. Its growing pretty well now, about 2 x 2 x 2, and looking pretty happy.

I have the garden mulched in hay, and up to the hills, but not on the hills themselves - would you mulch right up to the base of the plant?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:07AM
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oasis_226(z7b Atlanta GA)

Hello again engineered ...

I've got it, but I don't know what to do with it!

A butternut in SFG, and it's going up a trellis great. I've got it in a single corner square, but it's gone all the way up my 7 foot trellis already. I've got half a dozen large fruits so far (6-8 inches), and you can see one peeking out in the middle in this pick. I just let 'me hang, no slings or anything, and they seem fine.

My newbie question is ... how can you tell they're ready to harvest and how best do I harvest them? I planted mine as plants on 5/2, so I've got weeks to go yet, but how can I tell? Thump 'em? Color? Hardness? And can I just cut them off one at a time instead of taking out the whole vine?

Thanks in advance for the great advice.

Here's the pic of the monster (and it truly is).

David

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 10:32AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Thanks for your input David, how long did it take to get this big from seed? The reason I ask, is because I have seedlings growing - and must wait for my other vegetables to finish producing before I transplant. I have room for one of them now, but don't want to put it there yet, because i'm afraid it'll take over my tomato plants.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:09AM
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tcstoehr

You harvest them when the vine and leaves have shriveled. Harvest by cutting the stem with a pair of snippers. Keep the stem attached. Store in a cool dry place. Some recommend curing at 70F degrees for a week. I just put them in a closet and they seem to keep forever.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:54AM
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susaneden(5)

I have seen them get to 15'.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 12:36PM
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oasis_226(z7b Atlanta GA)

Engineered ... I started at 3 inches on 5/2. Impulse buy from the HD. It actually wanted to get wider on the trellis, so I've had to trim (well, hack really) a few side branches to keep it out of the cantaloupe. It didn't seem to mind the prune, so you can probably keep in under control.

tcstoehr ... will the vine shrivel mid-summer when the fruit is ripe, or am I going to have to wait until October or so and a frost? Is there such a thing as a summer harvest? Is this something that should be planted 90 days before frost, or is it OK as a spring plant?

Livin' and Learnin' - Thanks for the info.
David

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 5:21PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Thanks David

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 5:39PM
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gking9_sbcglobal_net

I have about 5 Butternuts in my garden, planted in one corner...about 310 sq. ft. of total space. They are completely out of control as of just this week. They have overtaken the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Longest vines are about 6ft. growing new roots every foot. I'm already getting fruit from about 2-3 feet from the root. Do I just start cutting the vines back, and if so, how far from the root? Any tips for doing so?
I don't have a trellis but will be putting chicken wire on my fence this weekend, so that may help if new vines grow, or the trimmed ones will sprout new growth...will they?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:51PM
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one_lawn_at_a_time

Last year I grew transplant butternut squash in my 12" raised bed (a SFG) and up the 5' trellis recommended in the SFG book. Aside from being a bit late, I think this was not nearly enough space for the butternut squash.

As only a second year gardener, I'm still feeling things out and I see that some grow butternut in these big soil mounds/hills, others say trellis. I have a big yard and could do either, but reading a lot online, I've wondered:
1. Is there really that much of a difference in productivity between mounds or a trellis?
2. If grown up a trellis, approximately how many square feet of trellis (not soil!) space is enough for 1 butternut plant growing on it?

I thought I read somewhere that 50 square feet of trellis is needed for a butternut which seems awfully large. But if it means tonnes more fruit, maybe it's worth doing.

Thanks

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 4:41PM
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clumsygrdner

Another way to contain the vines is to pin them. I don't have a picture, but I used a wire hanger bent into a U shape to gently contain the vines into a single row. It worked very well!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:21AM
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