Tuesday 9 June 2020

Waltham Butternut Squash

Genus: Squash
Species: 'Waltham Butternut'
Family Name: Vegetable/Herb
Synonym: Cucurbita moschata
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Lifecycle: Annual
Lighting Conditions: Full Sun, Sheltered Sun
Soil Type: Clay, Chalk, Sand, Loam
Soil Acidity: Alkaline, Neutral, Acid

Germination Instructions

Sow indoors from April or sow direct from end May. Indoors, sow seeds on their side 12mm deep into 8cm pots of moist well-drained, firmed compost. Propagate or place on a windowsill. Min temp. 10°C. Germination takes 10-14 days. Once germinated pot on at once to a 12cm pot. Keep barely moist and protect from strong light. Acclimatise and plant out once danger of frost has passed. Plant with 120cm spacing to provide good air circulation. Offer protection from slugs if desired. Sow directly 4 weeks prior to last frost date. Sow 2-3 seeds on their side under cloches with 60cm spacing, thin to strongest seedling once germinated.

Growing Instructions

Prefers a sunny, sheltered spot, moisture and humus rich soil. Early flowers are likely to be male only, female flowers will follow as the season progresses, essential for pollination. Protect plants during cold nights with cloches. Water regularly to prevent drought stress. Apply a high potassium fertiliser. Avoid overcrowding the plants. Avoid shade.

Cultivation Instructions

When the crop is grown undercover allow insect access to ensure pollination. Pick mature fruits regularly. Prone to powdery mildew, treat accordingly. Water the base of the plant, not the leaves or fruit. Prone to slug and snail attack. Complete harvest before first frosts. Cut the squash from the vine leaving 5cm of stalk on the fruit. Cure prior to storing, allow 5 days in the sun after which they should store for months. Do not wash until you are ready to use.

When to Sow
  • Sow Under Cover/Plant Indoors
  • Direct Sow/Plant Outdoors

This fine Butternut type is by far the most popular and widely grown winter squash.  Light tan-coloured with small seed cavities and thick, cylindrical necks without crooks, it yields heavily showing remarkable uniformity with fruits avg. 9" long, avg. 4-5 lb. The flesh colour is richer than others, is smooth-textured and has a unique sweet flavour, particularly after 2 months' storage. This is deservedly the most widely grown full-size butternut. Avg. yield: 3-4 fruits/plant. 100 days to maturity from planting out.
  • A sunny spot protected from strong winds is essential.
  • The soil must be well drained and rich in humus, the more the better.  I fill each hole at least 12” square with garden compost and paper at the bottom into which goes a single plant. For bush varieties 24in between each plant is fine – 48in for vines.
  • Many winter Squash / Pumpkins like to sprawl out and need plenty of space. Vining Squash / Pumpkins require a larger area to run, whilst semi-vining and bush varieties of winter squash / courgette can be well contained.  If space is tight just keep turning the branches back to the centre to prevent spreading and over-running other plants.

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