I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my Labradoodle, Florrie.
Cooking Butternut Squash
I love cooking with butternut squash! It is quite a versatile vegetable. Butternut squash is delicious roasted and then puréed for soup or chopped into cubes and added to casseroles. It has a thick skin like a pumpkin and stores well so you can keep for up to 3 months before using.
Florrie Labradoodle likes a few vegetables in her dinner! You can see her licking her lips in the photo!
The shape of a butternut squash is like a large acorn or elongated pear. Cut through the thicker section and you will find the seed compartment. Many people roast the seeds and eat them as a snack. As a keen gardener I always think “I wonder if I can grow these?” So last summer I gave it a try!
Planting the Seeds
The first step was to clean off the seeds with water from the kitchen tap and dry them with a kitchen towel. I left them on a sunny window sill for a few days before planting half a dozen into individual cells of compost in a seed tray. I watered them and placed them in my greenhouse with no great hope of success. To my surprise, 3 or 4 of the seeds sprouted and within a couple of weeks I had some sturdy looking seedlings growing.
Planting out the Squash
They grew quite quickly so I potted them on into pots of 3 inches in diameter. Once each plant had a couple of large leaves I slowly hardened them off by bringing them out of the greenhouse for an hour or two each day. Butternut squash like a rich soil and plenty of sun and water. I have several large tubs of around one meter in diameter in sunny spots in my garden which I refresh with new compost and organic matter each year. I grow annual bedding plants in them for a colourful display. So once all chance of frost had passed, I added one butternut squash plant to each bedding display as an experiment. At least I knew they had the right conditions and would be watered regularly! Alternatively you can plant in your vegetable patch or even directly into a compost heap!
The squash plants seem to like the conditions as each grew 2 or 3 long tendrils to around 8 feet long. They quickly grew over the sides of my tubs and weaved their way through the flower borders like vines. Squash plants are not the prettiest to look at but they were largely hidden in the flower border. In comparison, their large yellow flowers were quite striking. They flowered quite regularly along each vine. After each flower died back it was replaced by a little butternut squash about an inch in length. This was quite exciting!
Most of the fruit dried up and dropped off but one squash ‘set’ on each plant and grew larger. The squash were a light green colour initially then faded to a pale yellow colour as it ripened. So, all in all, a successful fun experiment!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 07, 2021:
The last year my husband and I lived in Wisconsin, I had a huge amount of butternut squash growing in my compost heap. I told our neighbors to go ahead and harvest them if our home did not immediately sell, which it did not. I am sure they all enjoyed a bumper crop of them that year.