Anyone grow BUSH Butternut squash this year?

donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)September 2, 2011

I remember seeing this advertised in the Burpee catalog last year. After another frustrating year with squash vine borers, I am ready to give it a try. However, I simply do not have the space for miles of vines.

Anyone try the bush variety? Were the vines truly shorter and more manageable? Were they productive? Tasty? If you didn't get your seed from Burpees, where did you buy it?

Thank you!

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Not this year but I have grown ButterBush. Grows like a summer squash, with vines slightly small than a standard zucchini. It is a small personal size butternut (1-2 lbs)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 6:09PM
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I trialed two in nearly full sun and I was disappointed. One nut each, smallish. I too have space limitations but I will stick with the long vines and a trellis.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 7:00PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, you two. This gives me something to consider. I appreciate you both for replying. Glib, how do you trellis your vines? Do you have to do alot of tying? Do you have to supply support for the fruit? I will consider the bush too. Two pounds of squash would likely be enough for a meal for my three.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:09PM
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Dan Staley

I grow it too. The fruits are ~smaller and the vine maybe is 3-4' long in a 25-gal container. Taste the same. I also trellis butternut, much better IMHO as the 'Waltham' fruits are bigger.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Dan summarized it well and my data are the same. I use cattle panels and there is no need for support for even large butternuts, which I prefer because we are heavy consumers. I would even recommend Waltham ("classic", 15 ft) over reduced length Waltham (10 ft), they produce better per square foot, or per square yard of panel.

I do have two large mongrels, shape of butternut, skin of Hubbard, weight halfway, flavor to be discovered in November, and I tied them up as a precaution, but not before they resisted for a week or two untied, including a severe storm. For tying, next year I am going to get me 500 tomato clips, and that will be that for both tomatoes and squash. Tying is a bit of a pain (a real pain for tomatoes), and the clips will minimize it, but amazingly, you can do it with two ties per squash. The tendrils grab the panel within a couple of days, so the tie can be reused up the vine.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 1:50PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

This is all great information, fellas. Glad to know about flavor and the tip on clips for trellising is great too. I will check those out. One way or the other, I am going to try them next year.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 7:38PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

One more question if farmerdill looks back in on this thread. Do you plant your winter squash at the beginning of the season or at mid summer? It would appear that most need about 100 days to mature, and our growing season is 7 1/2 months. How do you time them here in the south?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 7:41PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I've grown the bush and I don't know why but I did not find them less subseptable to squash bugs which this year (and in the past) ate right through the rinds and into the flesh of the fruit overnight! GRRRR! I've got longneck butternuts growing now and they seem to be bug free (fingers crossed).

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 1:07AM
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I have done it both ways. Planted around the first of April and again last of July-August. Early plantings are more reliable as heat and drought wreak havoc with late planting. On the other hand it is much easier to cure and store late plantings when they make. Butterbush has a 75 day DTM which is early for a butternut. Mine averaged 3-4 little butternuts per plant. They are small. Resistant to SVB, but squash bugs are indiscriminate. Squash bugs tho are suckers not chewers. If you had something eat through the rind and into the flesh, it was not squash bugs. Probably pickle worms, which do a number on any immature squash between July 4 and August 30 in Georgia.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:41AM
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Dan Staley

I should also say I tried 'Early Butternut' this year and won't plant it again. I'll use the 'Waltham' and put out early enough to avoid early frost (hopefully), which is what the 'Early Butternut' does but the production is not as good. My 'Butterbush' is just a hedge against pests and we get a lot of old tree containers via our jobs, so potting is easy.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:49PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Yes, indeed. I had a lovely late planting of yellow crooknecks that has completely escaped the SVB and is being decimated by pickle worms. ("If it's not something, it's something else!", my grandma used to say.) I am trying to pick them when they are really small, and am at least getting some that are worth eating....

Thanks, farmerdill. That is great to know. And, I am so glad to know that there is a "season" as opposed to the entire season for pickle worms. Duly noted.

Yes, dan, from all I have read here on the forums, it sounds as though Waltham is the one to grow, especially for us beginners. I may try the Butterbush too, just to compare, though. Will make a note to give Early Butternut a pass.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Dan Staley

Donna, yet again I'm reminded of the old adage: 'stick with what works'. I had to try something new to learn it all over again.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Don't give up entirely on the hybrids. I always grow Waltham and get a crop from it, but Avalon greatly outperformed it this year. Fruits were twice the size, more uniform, and prolific; and the vines were more vigorous. It takes up the same amount of space as Waltham as well. Of course, seed is costlier and may be a little harder to find.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 3:47PM
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I was browsing at the burpee website, and burpee seeds are what my local stores sell. Anyways, I was looking at the butternut squash seeds for next year, and I see their Waltham Butternut Squash claim to be 24" long. I am a bit skeptical of this, and wonder how long are the vines in reality. I plan to grow butternuts on a trellis, and am looking for a variety that tastes great, but isn't going to outgrow a trellis. My trellis will be steel, so no support issues, and I can fabricate it to any height I'd like, but I prefer not to have a 10 foot trellis that I can't reach to the top. I currently have two 6 foot trellises, and hope I could even use one of those.

So, with all that mumble jumble out of the way, what can I REALLY expect from a butternut squash vine? I hear that Waltham is the best, and would prefer the best of the best.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:23PM
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6ft is a bit short. At any rate, squash vines grow sideways a lot, so a little creativity can accommodate 20 ft vines.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 7:08PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

So when you say "trellis" do you mean a flat upright structure (a fenced wall or gate, so to speak)? Or do you mean an arch or pergola or something of that sort? I grow in 8 foot long raised beds. Trying to picture what would work for 20 foot long vines....! I had good luck with long cucumber vines climbing my bean tripods this year...

When you say "a little creativity", glib, be specific. Creativity is not my long suit, I think. :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:20PM
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I have two new trellises, mostly for squash. They are two posts separated by 11 ft, and two cattle panels, one on top of another, flat, totaling 8 ft height and 15 ft width (the posts are not at the very end), plus another 1/2 foot from the raised bed.

By creativity I mean, since the squash vines want to go horizontal, even when up a trellis, let them go horizontal. So the 20 ft vine will go up 6 ft, or 8 ft, then sideways. You use your ties and you space management skills, now vastly developed from years of gardening, to fill the trellis with minimal vine overlap.

I also have rebar arches, supported by posts. Mostly for pole beans. Picking was never easier, as you stand under the arches and the goodies hang below the foliage, clearly visible, all you have to do is stretch your arm. I recommend the arches, if you have the space.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 9:42AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Concerning timing winter squash for the South, Donna: You might want to try a Butternut relative with a longer maturity date. I grow Tahitian here. They're very large and very sweet. Taking a break this year because of terrible squash bugs last year, when we had a variety of winter types growing. No late-season cucurbits this year.

Tahitian is listed in different places as having a maturity date of 110 to 120 days, but you can leave it in the field for a while after it seems to be ripe, as long as the plants are in good shape. Sandhill also sells a "Mrs. Amerson's", listed at 120 days. Supposed to be bug and disease-resistant.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:10AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, glib. That is helpful. I think I can picture it in my mind. I love the idea of arches. I saw some arches and trellises (I think I could connect them together) at Lowe's the other day. Maybe they will go on clearance!

Thanks to you too, carolyn. I will check those varieties out. Soooo many squashes.. so little space!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:46PM
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I'd like to save space by trellising squash, but when I watch my squash vines grow, I see them rooting into the ground at every node. On a trellis, they obviously can't do this. Seems to me that all the extra roots are going to make the vines more vigorous and more productive, so I'm reluctant to keep them from doing it by growing them up.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 11:54AM
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I love Ambercup because it tastes like chestnut close to the skin. I read that Black Forest buttercup also tastes like chestnut. This year, I got 3 Ambercups on one plant. Do you know of any other squash that taste like chestnut?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Futsu black

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:10PM
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