Bush Type Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is most commonly grown using the vining varieties which can take up to 100 square feet of garden. It is difficult to trellis Butternut Squash. Therefore this file deals with growing bush type Butternut Squash which may take up 10 square feet of your garden.
Butternut Squash Varieties
Planting Butternut Squash
Squash is a tender vegetable. The seeds do not germinate in cold soil, and the seedlings are injured by frost. Therefore in northern states it is best to start seeds indoors about 4 weeks before planting outside which is at least two weeks after last frost. With bush type Butternut Squash you would want three plants to make up a bush. Harden off by cutting back on water and reducing temperature before transplanting. Do not plant seedlings until all danger of frost is past and soil is thoroughly warmed. Wait until the soil is 60oF to 65 oF before planting. Harvest should be 85 to 100 days from starting seed.
Disease Prevention - When planting your squash seedlings spray the roots with Actinovate, an organic fungicide. In addition spray the roots with Thrive which will add beneficial fungi and beneficial bacteria that will immediately start working to help and protect that plant.
Seed can be saved 6 years.
Caring For Butternut Squash
Ensure Squash Plants Stay Healthy
While proper fertilizing and watering is important to the success of the squash harvest, there are some additional steps you can take that will make an enormous difference in the health of your squash plants. In the first week of every month you should spray your plants with Thrive and Plant Growth Activator. These two products will add beneficial microbes to the leaves of the plant and help fight disease as well as insure that the plant grows to its maximum capability.
Disease Prevention For Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is vulnerable to several fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Now you can prevent the liklihood of having any disease problems by using a new organic biological fungicide called "Actinovate". When you plant your Butternut Squash seedlings you spray some actinovate on the roots. Then two weeks later you spray the leaves with Actinovate. Then spray Actinovate monthly through the growing season. You should not have any disease problems.
Fertilizing Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash requires low nitrogen and fairly high potassium and phosphorous for good fruit development. Add an organic granular fertilizer at a rate of 2 to 3 tablespoons per hill of three plants prior to planting. Do not over fertilize with nitrogen as this encourages vine growth and retards fruiting. Bush, dwarf, and short-vined plants do not need as much fertilizer as standard vining types. After the squash plants begin to flower and small fruits form, side-dress with 2 to 3 tablespoons of additional fertilizer. Butternut Squash will like a foliar spray of organic fish emulsion once a month through the season.
Watering Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is deeply rooted, so water slowly with 1 inch of water per week. Allow it to completely soak the soil 6-8 inches deep. Water in the morning or early afternoon so the foliage dries by evening. This helps prevent the spread of leaf diseases. Decrease watering later in the season to encourage fruit to mature. At this time, the root systems will be more extensive and able to withstand drier conditions.
Harvesting & Storing Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is ready to harvest when a finger nail cannot puncture the outside. It can stay on the vine for several weeks even after it is ripe. Though the vine may not survive the first frost, the fruits can still be harvested. To harvest, the Butternut Squash can be cut from the vine. Yet it is often easy enough to snap the fruit from the vine. Leave a bit of the stem on the fruit to help preserve moisture. By the time it is harvested there is usually little reason to worry about damaging the vine, as it will soon succumb to winter.
Butternut Squash will last several months if stored in a cool dry (but not too dry) place. Cooked Butternut Squash can be refrigerated for about four days. Once cooked, it may also be frozen for extended periods.
Cooking Butternut Squash
You can peel butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. The cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a big spoon. Now you can cut the squash in smaller pieces and steam or boil them. Then mash the squash with a potato masher. Add lots of butter and enjoy
Problems Of Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash leaves are susceptible to some beetles and slugs, especially in the early growing periods. You also may see:
Squash vine borer
Striped cucumber beetles
Bacterial wilt (Erwinia tracheiphila)
Powdery mildew - Avoid wetting foliage if possible. Water early in the day so aboveground plant parts will dry as quickly as possible. Avoid crowding plants. Space apart and eliminate weeds around plants and garden area to improve air circulation.