July 4, 2010

Grow your own Butternut Squash 2010

butternut squash seeds PLANT: ‘Waltham’ Butternut

Light tan-coloured with small seed cavities and thick, cylindrical necks without crooks. It yields heavily (approx. 3-4 fruits per plant) showing remarkable uniformity with fruits averaging 23cm long and 2kg in weight. The flesh colour is richer than others, is smooth-textured and has a unique sweet flavour, particularly after 2 months' storage.

I absolutely love butternut squash so I tried growing it last year, but I didn’t have much success. A lot of the fruits died due to lack of proper pollination and the ones that did grow to maturity weren’t very big. The variety of seed I tried last year were Hunter and they were a freebie from the BBC Dig In campaign. I’m hoping that this Waltham seed I’ve bought from Premier Seeds Direct will be better.

 

Sow under cover: March - May 1st Mar
Sow direct:    
Germination time: 7-10 days 10th Mar
Plant out: June - July  
Harvest: October - November  
Time from seed to plate: 100 days  


SOW:

  • Sow seeds on their side to prevent rotting.

GROW:

  • Plant out when plants have grown 4 leaves, 1 metre apart

CARE:

  • When green fruits begin to swell remove some of the leaves to expose them to the sun.

HARVEST:

  • Leave to ripen for as long as possible. Cut each fruit from the plant with the stalk still intact.


I’ve sowed my seeds in small pots filled with seed compost, then I put them inside a clear plastic bag to maintain moisture.

I’ll be growing my squash in 14 litre Tubtrugs which measure 33cm wide and 23cm tall.

Useful websites:
http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Premier-Seeds-Direct/Squash-and-Pumpkin-Instructions.html_

March 13th:
13-03 Butternut squash I haven’t been at home all week but Steve told me my squash had sprouted sometime in the middle of the week. I was still surprised to see that they had grown this much though! The two at the front of the photo are the butternuts and at this stage the leaves look actually like the Uchiki Kuri ones, so luckily I labelled the pots!



March 21st:
21-03 butternut squash The butternuts are starting to develop their second set of leaves. I think they haven’t grown as much as the Uchiki squash because I have been putting water in the container underneath and because I’d squashed (no pun intended!) 4 pots into the container, the butternuts weren’t touching the bottom so they couldn’t soak up the water.

 

 

april 6th:

06-04 Butternut Squash

My butternut squash plants now have 4 leaves but it’s too early to plant them out. They’re looking pretty healthy so I’ll keep them in their pots for now. If they look like they’re struggling then I might re-pot them into bigger pots.

 

 

 

 

APRIL 15TH:

15-04 Butternut Squash

I thought the butternut squash plants had grown quite a lot in the last 9 days, but comparing the photos taken on the 6th it doesn’t look like they’ve grown much. The smaller one is 13cm tall x 13cm wide (how far the leaves stretch out) and the bigger one is 15cm x 15cm. After growing butternuts last year, I’m fully aware of how much they spread so it’s not such a shock this time around!

 

4th July:

04-07 butternut

The frequency of my blogging has been very poor. I can’t remember when I planted out the butternut squash – sometime in mid-June I think. I lost one of the plants as I was very heavy-handed and it snapped. Steve tried to play plant doctor but sello-taping the breakage but it didn’t work.

 

The plant that did survive the transplanting is doing OK but not great. There was only one flower I think and it didn’t become a fruit. I’m thinking that maybe the trug is too small for it, as the Uchiki Kuri squash are doing brilliantly in the raised bed.

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