Butternut squash is an orange-fleshed winter squash, celebrated for its versatility and sweet, nutty flavor. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, butternut squash is technically a fruit. It has many culinary uses and makes a great addition to many sweet and savory recipes. Butternut squash is not only tasty but also packs a punch of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
How to Cultivate Butternut Squash
Like most other vining vegetables, butternut squash cultivation begins with a row. Draw your garden soil into a rows about 18 inches (46 cm.) high. This allows the soil to heat around the seeds and roots. Your soil should be well amended and well fertilized since butternut squash plants are heavy feeders. Plant five or six seeds per hill about 4 inches (10 cm.) apart and 1 inch (2.5 cm.) deep. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. In about 10 days, the seeds will sprout. When they’re about 6 inches (15 cm.) high, thin out the weakest leaving three plants per hill.
The butternut squash growing season is about 110-120 days for fruit maturation, grow indoors in a nursery for six weeks t as you would most vegetables, in good soil in a sunny window or greenhouse and transplant to the garden. Please remember to harden off the seedlings before transplanting.
Butternut squash cultivation takes up a great deal of space in the home garden. Each row should have at least fifty square feet for growing. Butternut squash seeds can send out vines up to 15 feet (4.5 m.) long.
Fertilize well throughout the butternut squash growing season. Regular feeding will produce the most abundant crop as will keeping the hills weed free. Butternut squash cultivation should be done by hand or with a hoe. Don’t cultivate too deeply since the roots are shallow. Watch carefully for bugs and when the need arises, use insecticidal soap or apply insecticides in the evening when the bees have returned to the hive since bees are essential to growing butternut squash successfully.
Your squash will be ready for harvesting when the skin turns hard and is difficult to pierce with your thumbnail. Butternut squash can be roasted or boiled and makes a particularly tasty substitute for pumpkin in pie.