butternut squash are ripe ... when?
First time growing butternut squash, and they're coming in gangbusters. I've got one that's a foot long - light green with thin white stripes. My question is, when are they ready to harvest? I see posts saying "after the first frost" which, for central Texas, might be in a few years at this rate. Others say, when tan, or when the stem starts to shrivel, or at the end of the season when the plants start to die (could be a long time ...). Suggestions?
I have them in my garden sort of accidentally, actually. I saw some healthy cucurbits sprouting in my compost pile and, on a lark, transplanted them into my garden. Kaboom! They've spread over a few square yards. Cuke? Zukes? Pumpkins? It wasn't until a month ago that I identified these as butternut squashes.
A few years ago I tried to grow squash, but was put firmly in my place by squash vine borers. No squash. This time, I wrapped about a foot of the main stems in aluminum foil, covered them with thin fabric, and then dumped a load of compost on top of that. FWIW, I did a bit of dusting with carbaryl, but only around those main stems near where they go in the ground, and not heavily. Keeping my fingers crossed. Compared to other parts of the country where I've lived, Texas is truly cursed by these vine borers.