When to Grow Butternut Squash
Growing butternut squash should start late in April or early May under shade. It’s best to sow them in greenhouses, windowsills indoors, or conservatories. They are the kind to not tolerate frost, therefore, they need to be under the covers. Giving them a 4 to 5 weeks indoors would give them a head start. One seed should be enough to sow in a 12cm pot. Avoid over-watering at sowing, wet and airless compost would only cause the seed to rot. Allow the compost to dry a little before watering, but never delay watering.
Planting Out Butternut Squash
You’ll have to harden off the seedlings towards the end of May or early June before planting them out. You could prepare the planting site by digging in lots of compost or manure. Set the plant on a slight mound, the root ball should be 2cm out of the soil. A little moat should be created around the mount for watering. You can use a light can to secure your plant if it’s a bit floppy.
Tips for Growing Squash
The plants that have grown 60cm long should be trimmed back to help the plant focus its energy to produce flowers and fruits.
It’s best to encourage pollinators by planting those that attract them near your vegetable garden. You’ll have your yield increased due to them.
Keep them off the ground by using bricks, tiles, or even polythene to stop soil-borne pests or fungal diseases that damage tender fruits.
Summer squashes are harvested when they’re still small to keep them full of flavor. Use a clean and sharp pair of scissors or secateurs to snip their stem.
Winter squashes are intended to be stored over winter. You’ll have to allow the fruit to fully mature before harvesting it when the foliage has died down. Harvest the fruit before the first frost. Butternut Squash has a long shelf life, making them good for storing overwinter.