Butternut squash, as is the case with all species of squash, has need very specific care to produce beautiful fruit. It is worth giving yourself a bit of trouble because with its good taste of brown butter and its ultra melting consistency – hence its French name Doubeurre – Butternut has all the qualities to satisfy gourmets, young and old, who more is take care of their health. Let’s take a look at how to sow Butternut seeds and see what the main needs of this pear-shaped squash are from planting to harvest.
Sow seeds of Butternut or Buttermilk
Butternut squash are cucurbits which it is very easy to collect the seeds that we can then sow. You just need to detach them from the pulp, wash them under running water and then let them dry on a cloth. After a fortnight, they can be stored in an earthen pot while waiting for the period suitable for sowing.
Success is key if we take care of:
- Sow between late February and April,
- Keep the seeds under cover throughout the germination period as they will only emerge if the temperature is at least 12 ° C.
We deposit two to three seeds per cup, in a substrate composed of a good loose topsoil and rich in nutrients. It is therefore necessary to add to it either a planting fertilizer, or manure or any other organic amendment.
When young seedlings appear, only the most vigorous of each cup is kept. A period of approximately three weeks is then necessary before transplanting the young butternut plants in the ground.
Plant Butternut or Doubeurre
Be careful not to rush to transplant the Doubeurre plants in the vegetable garden because any risk of frost must absolutely be ruled out. The transplanting is done in the ground, in loose soil and well amended in manure because the richness of the soil in nutrients will depend on the quantity of the harvest and the quality of the production. It is better to spread the manure along the entire length of the beds rather than just placing a handful in each planting hole.
Note also that Butternut must imperatively be cultivated in full sun so that they benefit from a maximum heat.
We pinch the stems above the 4th leaf as this helps stimulate plant growth. Attention, this runner variety at need space in the garden. This is why it is recommended to count a spacing of 2 meters in all directions between plants.
Caring for your Butternut squash
Growing Butternut does not pose any particular problem. It is therefore ideal for novice gardeners who wish to consume fruits and vegetables of their own production.
Install a mulch
Once the Doubeurre squash plants have recovered well after transplanting them into the ground, you can appreciate how quickly they develop. But for that, we must think of mulch the feet of Butternut to retain soil moisture. Mulching also helps prevent the fruit from coming into contact with the soil. This is essential so that they do not rot.
Thewatering Doubeurre squash is Very important and even more in the event of a very hot summer or a period of prolonged drought, as they need a lot of water to develop. We avoid watering in the middle of the day. It is indeed preferable to water in the evening late or in the very early morning between the end of June and the beginning of September, in particular because the sun is beating hard at this time of year. You have to be careful of do not wet the foliage squash.
Like all other squashes, Butternut are greedy who like them extremely rich soils, mainly in nitrogen (NOT), in potassium (K), while their phosphate (P) requirements are more moderate. The gardener must therefore very generously amend the soil well before planting, for example in autumn. If he has not done so, this step should absolutely not be neglected when planting the young plants and then afterwards.
It is interesting to proceed for example:
- At one or two fertilizations in nettle manure which makes squash more resistant and promotes their development,
- Has a castor cake amendment at the time of planting. It is placed in strips all along the squash boards. Not only is it a progressive-action fertilizer, it is also an excellent repellent against rodents and many parasitic insects. The operation can be repeated when the creeping stems are about to form.
Many other solutions can be adopted to fertilize its rows of Butternut squash. You can buy suitable fertilizers in stores specializing in gardening or agricultural cooperatives.
Limit the number of fruits per plant
If a plant produces too many squash, it will not be able to provide them with the nutrients they need and the quality of the harvest will not be there. To overcome this drawback, it suffices to remove the smallest fruits in order not to keep than the most vigorous, and no more than 4 or 5 on each foot. This will make it possible to produce less, but better!
We can anticipate excess by pinching the long stems, which will have the effect of limiting the production of flowers, and consequently, fruits.
Harvest the Butternut or Doubeurre
The harvest period varies from region to region, from October to November. But there is no point in rushing because the taste and nutritional quality reaches its peak when the squash are fully mature. It is not because they are adorned with a beautiful orange beige color and they are large that it is not time to harvest them. The signals to spot are however the following:
- The drying out of the stems,
- Yellowing of the leaves,
- The peduncle of the squash which is easily detached.
His signs of good maturity appear in this late squash about 110 days after sowing. Once picked, the fruits can be placed gently at the foot of a wall, in full sun, where they are left for a whole day to dry before being stored.
People who don’t want to take a gram shouldn’t sulk the Butternut because she does not make you fatnor his cousins for that matter. Squash are low in calories and high in water. These are great antioxidant foods packed with vitamins and high in magnesium. It would be a shame to do without. After harvest, just keep your Butternut or Doubeurre in a cellar or even in a cool and dry place but also well ventilated where they will keep perfectly for 2 ½ to 3 months.