University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week
Butternut squash Cucurbita moschata
Text and photo by Ellen Nibali
Almost time to harvest this popular winter squash after the long summer's wait.
Stored indoors at 50-55 degrees, butternut squash can be enjoyed for months. Its lovely orange flesh is creamy, not stringy, with a sweet nutty flavor.
In spring, plant 3 to 4 seeds together at 3-foot intervals after danger of frost. Select the strongest seedling in each group and clip off others.
Don’t be surprised when only male flowers are produced for the first 1 to 2 weeks before females appear. This is normal. Encourage pollinators by avoiding pesticides.
Three weeks after flowering begins, feed this medium feeder a quarter-pound of 10-10-10 per 10 foot row. In fairly rich soil, you can forgo fertilizing.
Harvest before heavy frost when the pale rind is very hard and the squash is heavy.
Leave 3 to 4 inches of stem attached.