WHERE TO PLANTButternut can be grown upward on a fence or trellis if you don’t want to have vines all through your garden. If you plan on training them up this way, you can plant your seedlings just 2 feet apart. Be prepared to add extra support when those large fruits start to grow.  You’ll need a spot that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight everyday.

SOIL CONDITIONSThe soil for butternuts should be well tilled until loose and airy to a depth of at least 8 inches. The plant will need room to develop its expansive root system. They are also heavy feeders that thrive in nutrient-rich soil.

MAINTENANCEIt’s important to begin watering and fertilizing butternut squash plants when the seedlings are a few inches tall. These steps will help your plants to produce lots of high quality squash later in the growing season. Try not to water the tops of the plants as this may encourage disease and pest problems. Wet leaves are a breeding ground for fungal infections. It’s best to water in the early morning hours. This way, any excess water will be evaporated by the afternoon sun.  Butternut squash plants feed heavily to produce lots of high quality squash. Fertilizer can be applied to the plants to give them the nutrients they need. You can use a granule type fertilizer or a water soluble type, whichever is easiest for you.

HARVESTINGWhen it comes to harvesting butternut squash, the best way to tell if the squash are ready to be picked is by their appearance. If you pick them to early, the texture will be too firm and the sugars will not be developed. If you wait too long to harvest, the squash will be too mushy.  Most butternut squash matures when it is 8-12 inches long. However, the length can vary depending on the growing conditions. Nutrient rich soil will produce larger squash. Watch the squash carefully every day or so and monitor their lengths. When the squash stop growing, they are probably ready to be picked.

COMPANION PLANTSBeans, celeriac, celery, marigold, nasturtium, onion, raddish