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Butternut squash is one of the many different kinds of winter squash such as pumpkin. Characterized by a distinctive pale yellow color and a pear-shaped fruit, the squash is a valuable crop with high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Butternut squash is relatively easy to grow. Its growing season begins during summer for harvest in autumn.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Avoid Common Squash ProblemsContent:
- Winter Squash Planting Times
- How to Grow Butternut Squash from Seed
- Growing spaghetti squash from seed to harvest
- Beginners Guide to Gardening in Montana
- Know Before You Grow: Squash and Pumpkins
- How to Grow Winter Squash: 9 Tips for Growing Winter Squash
- Pumpkins and Squash
- How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Zucchini and Squash
- What is the best way to plant squash?
- Spacing and Growing Your Indoor Squash Plants: A Simple How-To
Winter Squash Planting Times
Winter squash is so-named because unlike summer squash, which has a soft skin and should be enjoyed right away, the hard-skinned fruit of winter squash can be cured and then stored for several months. Butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash are classic examples, and pumpkins too are a cultivar of winter squash. There are so many options when cooking with winter squash, and nearly all of them fall into the category of comfort food.
The fruit of winter squash can be roasted or stuffed, and some varieties make a great base for soup or pie. They can also be diced to serve as a side or mixed with pasta for an entree, and can even go in salad and casseroles. Well before the fruit are mature, winter squash flowers can be picked and served fried or baked.
Plant seeds 1 inch deep, with two seeds per pot, in sterile seed starting mix. A seedling heat mat is a useful tool to reach the optimal temperature range. Using a grow light will ensure seedlings get the light they require and will prevent the plants from stretching out in search of sunlight.
Running a fan gently over seedlings will reduce damping off disease, which can be fatal. Also, be sure to harden off seedlings before they are planted out. Hardening off is the process of gradually introducing plants to the outdoor environment and the intensity of the sun for a week or so. Winter squash is a heat-loving plant, so wait until the risk of spring frost is long gone before planting seeds or seedlings outdoors. Winter squash have long, sprawling vines, so plan ahead by giving plants several feet of space to grow in all directions, or plant them near a trellis or arbor that the vines can grow up.
Livestock panels are great for this purpose. Growing vining squash on a trellis saves space and it protects the fruit from touching the ground. There are bush and semi-bush varieties to look for if you are limited on space. When planting your own seedlings or seedlings from a nursery, be careful not to damage the sensitive roots. If direct sowing, sow into hills of soil.
After the seeds have sprouted, thin to two or three plants per hill. To keep pests from laying their eggs on squash plants, you can cover the seedlings with floating row cover. This goes a long way toward reducing pest issues, but the row cover will need to be removed once the plants begin to flower so pollinators can reach the blossoms — or you can manually pollinate the plants yourself.
Barriers such as row cover are great for pest control but will deny access to bees that pollinate the female flowers. So make plans to either self-pollinate or remove the cover during flowering so pollinators can access the flowers. Hand-pollinating starts with identifying a female flower to pollinate. It will have a small embryonic fruit between the flower and the plant stem. This embryonic fruit needs to be pollinated before it will grow and mature.
Next, pick a male flower — you can tell it is male because there will be nothing between the flower and the stem — and peel back the petals to reveal the pollen-covered anther.
Brush the anther around the stigma of the female flower, and then close the flower with a clothespin to allow the pollination process to complete. A female squash flower has an embryonic fruit between the stem and the blossom. When the flower opens naturally, it is ready to be pollinated. The range of winter squash is quite wide. The many different varieties can be of the species Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima or Cucurbita argyrosperma.
What varieties to pick out for your garden depends on your goals: Do you want ingredients for delicious recipes, or is your desire to grow giant ornamental pumpkins? Acorn squash Cucurbita pepo are shaped like acorns with deep ridges and weigh up to 2 pounds.
Most are green, orange or a combination of the two, though there are modern varieties in yellow and white. On the inside, the flesh is orange, sweet and nutty. Acorn squash are faster to grow than many other winter squash varieties.
Days-to-harvest is generally 85 days. Bush Table Queen is a bush-type for small-space and container gardens. Autumn Delight is a dark green semi bush hybrid, and Mashed Potatoes has ivory white fruit on productive, compact vines.
Buttercup squash Cucurbita maxima is round and flat with dark green skin and orange, rich, sweet flesh. Butternut squash Cucurbita moschata was created by breeding gooseneck squash and Hubbard squash, and is one of the most popular winter squash types there is. Its dense vines resist the dreaded squash vine borer, and the fruit have a sweet, nutty flavor.
The 3-pound, light tan, bulb-shaped fruit is used in pumpkin pie filling and countless other recipes. Days to harvest is generally — days, but be on the lookout for newer varieties that are quicker to mature. Butterbush is an heirloom bush-type butternut squash.
Puritan is a popular vining hybrid that does not set seed. Butterbaby is a hybrid with short vines that grows mini, approximately 5-inch fruit. Delicata Cucurbita pepo has long, cream-colored fruit with green stripes, sweet flesh and a tender, edible rind.
The fruit generally weigh up to 2 pounds and 9 inches long, but a variety like jester is shorter, rounder and only grows to 1. The fruit are 10—20 pounds each. Hubbard squash Cucurbita maxima varieties come in many shapes and colors and have interesting, sometimes bumpy textures.
Blue hubbard squash, for instance, has pale blue fruit that weigh between 25 and 40 pounds, while the warted green hubbard grows to be only 8—12 pounds. Red Kuri has red teardrop-shaped fruit that are no larger than 5 pounds. North Georgia Candy Roaster has long, bent, bright orange 8—pound fruit with a green tip. Hubbard squash is very attractive to squash vine borers to it is sometimes planted as a trap crop.
Kabocha squash Cucurbita maxima originates from Japan and tastes like a mix of sweet potato and pumpkin. The fruit come in many colors — dark green, light green, pale blue, deep red, etc. Winter Sweet is renowned for dark gray, mottled fruit that stores for an extra long time.
The fruits weigh 4—5 pounds. Cha Cha is green with pale stripes on the ribbing and flaky, sweet orange flesh. The fruit are 4—5 pounds. Sunshine has smaller fruit, from 3—5 pounds, that are deep scarlet. Pumpkin is a term that applies to all different species of winter squash with fruit that are round, smooth or slightly ribbed, usually orange, and often grown for decoration rather than culinary uses.
What one seed company calls a pumpkin the next might call a squash, and vice-versa. Pumpkins are a cultivar of winter squash and come in many sizes, shapes, and colors.
Spaghetti squash Cucurbita pepo is named for its unique flesh. It can actually be served with tomato sauce just like pasta. Traditional spaghetti squash weigh about 3—5 pounds, but the lighter Angel Hair is no more than 2 pounds, and Pinnacle is a semi-bush with fruit weighing in at 3 pounds. Sweet Meat Cucurbita maxima is a Northwest favorite that originated in Oregon. The heirloom fruit are 10—20 pounds with gray skin and orange flesh that is sweet and flavorful.
Squash plants require an inch of water a week, or up to two inches during the hottest stretch of summer. If it is rained any less than an inch in a week, make up the difference with supplemental watering. Avoid watering from overhead.
Apply water at the base of plants, under the foliage, so the leaves remain dry. A layer of organic mulch over the soil and around the vines will retain moisture in the soil and has the added benefits of suppressing weeds and reducing the occurrence of plant diseases. Avoid watering the leaves of squash plants. Apply water at the base of plants to reduce occurrences of fungal diseases. Squash is a heavy feeder. Get plants off to a good start by generously amending the soil with manure prior to planting.
Side dressing established plants with compost will give them an extra boost. For an additional boost to squash plants, use a fertilizer with an NPK that has a lower first number than second number.
Fertilizer containing less nitrogen than phosphates is best because an abundance of nitrogen will result in vigorous vines with less fruit set. More does not equal better and can actually be detrimental.Organic fertilizers are slow-release, while synthetic fertilizers give a quick jolt of nutrients and pose the risk of nutrient burn. Squash vine borer is a squash pest that destroys squash plants from the inside. The life cycle starts when an adult squash vine borer, a moth, lays eggs at the base of a plant on the stem or under the lower leaves.
When larvae hatch from the eggs, they bore their way into the plant and eat the tissue inside stems and vines. The best way to control this pest is to prevent egg-laying.
A physical barrier of floating row cover will keep the adult off the plants. Just be sure to remove the cover when the plant blooms so pollinators can reach the flowers. Aluminum foil wrapped around the first few inches of the stems is another effective barrier. If your plants already have vine borers inside, you can inject liquid Bt , a biological control, into the vines.
The larvae bore into stems and continue to work their way through the plants, hollowing out stems and vines as they eat. Given enough time, squash vine borers can move several feet through vines. Squash bugs are cucurbit pests that damage plant foliage as they feed and cause even more problems by transmitting cucurbit yellow vine disease. They use their mouthparts to suck sap right out of leaves, causing the leaves to wilt, dry up and die.
The adults usually lay their bronze-brown and oval-shaped eggs on the underside of leaves between the veins.
How to Grow Butternut Squash from Seed
From Squash casseroles and stuffed Zucchinis to Pumpkin pies and jack-o'-lanterns, these versatile garden favorites offer something wonderful for everyone! Their history is long and rich, and their potential as a food source as well as a beautiful fall-season decoration is unsurpassed. Pumpkins and Squash offer a wonderful variety of colors, sizes, and shapes , providing you with many options as far as flavors and applications. You can grow Pumpkins that range from small to giant -- anywhere from about 2 pounds to pounds or more! Some are better for eating while others are mainly used for decoration.
When summer squash begins to bear, sidedress each plant with a total of ½ cup of start seeds indoors two to three weeks prior to planting outdoors.
Growing spaghetti squash from seed to harvest
Squash plants are some of the easiest vegetables to grow either in your own home or outside in your garden. However, you might need some tips to help you along the way, because the indoor and outdoor growing processes are different from one another. Supplementation and a watchful eye can help you grow the most delicious squash ever. Read on for more tips on how to optimize your indoor and outdoor squash gardens. There is a wide variety of species of squash. If you walk through your local grocery store, you will likely see kinds such as butternut, acorn, kabocha, and summer squash. For most varieties of squash, you will want to plant them with most of your other essential garden crops right after the last frost of the season. You could also plant any winter varieties of squash around the middle of summer. It is important to remember that most varieties of squash produce large plants.
Beginners Guide to Gardening in Montana
Pumpkins, winter squash, and summer squash are native to the Americas. All of these are gourds are grown as annual plants in a vegetable or ornamental garden. All pumpkins and winter squashes, like acorn and butternut, are warm-season vegetables, but some require a longer growing season than others. Summer squashes, like zucchini, can grow and mature much faster than winter squashes. However, they all are planted and maintained in a similar manner.
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Know Before You Grow: Squash and Pumpkins
Summer and winter squash are some of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. Summer squash can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, steamed, or cooked in various dishes. Winter squash can be baked, steamed, or boiled. Summer squashes are large, bushy plants. The fruit of summer squash are harvested when they are immature and have soft skins. Fruit can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks.
How to Grow Winter Squash: 9 Tips for Growing Winter Squash
Jump to a month by clicking on each link. Click here for a printable pdf version of this calendar. If you start other seeds now, they'll get leggy and weak before you can plant them outdoors in May. Avoid planting seeds of most other plants until March and April. These include snapdragons, annual salvias, and impatiens. These include marigolds, globe amaranth, sweet alyssum, and flowering tobacco.
A Garden Planting Chart. Planting dates. Planting distances (in inches). Vegetable. Start seed indoors. Plant seed or plant outdoors. Between rows, hand.
Pumpkins and Squash
Make sure your brand new plants are ready for the world! Learn how to harden off seedlings in 7 days or less with my proven method, or try one of these shortcuts to get your plants in the ground even faster. Hardening off your seedlings is the vital step of acclimating them to the outdoors to assure their survival.
How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Zucchini and Squash
Three hundred years ago, growing squash Cucurbita spp. Winter squash and pumpkins could be stored for months, and were an important source of calories and vitamins in the dead of winter. Squash have served us well. Today we can pick and choose among dozens of squash varieties, in all colors, shapes and sizes. Summer Squash —like zucchini, crookneck, and patti pan—are harvested small, while the skins are still soft.
Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite types of winter squash.
What is the best way to plant squash?
Please expect shipping delays due to the recent catastrophic flooding in British Columbia. Please refer to the Canada Post website to track packages and for the most current information. The three species of squash that we offer represent a wide variety of shapes and colours. Each will cross-pollinate readily within their species. For instance, all C. For people who want to save their seeds, this is a very important consideration.
Spacing and Growing Your Indoor Squash Plants: A Simple How-To
Most gardeners have to learn the hard way about the best time to plant out seedlings they have raised indoors or in a greenhouse. In the first year some of their plants will be a success while others will keel over and die for no apparent reason and it can take several seasons with all their weather variations before it becomes apparent why they failed. To illustrate the problem take a look at the picture below which shows two tomato plants from my own greenhouse this year. Both were started at the same time, raised in identical conditions from the same seed packet using the same potting compost.