Return to the Pumpkins Squash & Gourds Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Butternut question

Posted by gardengal13 6 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 20:30

Last year, I grew the bush variety due to space but this year I grew the Waltham Butternut. Wow is butternut slow. Both varieties take a long time to get their female flowers. All my other cucurbits have had female flowers but it just bloomed its males. So to my question: how long from pollination to full grown (still green but done growing)? Should see females on it any day. All my cucurbits suffered a slow start due to a cold June but they have bounced back now. Looks like I will have a lot of spaghetti squashes. Those plants are putting out females left and right :). Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Butternut question

butternut is my fave, i have not ever grown them, this year i saved seeds from one i got at the store. i have two plants and they also just last week got the female flowers. today i have 5 just on the one plant. kinda all at once, i had also wondered if they would do anything, so maybe it is just the way they are. good luck!!!

slim


 o
RE: Butternut question

Thank you, slim :)! Maybe I will have an explosion of female flowers soon too. It was a cold June so I guess I shouldn't be surprised but like you, butternut is my favorite and I want lots :D!


 o
RE: Butternut question

Waltham is one of the longest DTM varieties. Takes 3-4 months from seeding.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Should be about ready. I planted it May 1st. Had a slow start because of a cold June. So maybe it will give me some females soon? Hope so I have about a 120 day growing season. Males have been popping up. Thanks, farmerdill :)!


 o
RE: Butternut question

I just checked my garden after a massive storm and I saw one female butternut formed. Here's hoping it makes it to being pollinated.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Butternut is from the c. moschata species of squash, which includes others such as Long Island Cheese and Tahitian Melon. The species is originally from a tropical environment and is slower to grow in cool environments. It is also slower to spring back after a drought. However, it has the great advantage of superior insect resistance. Here in Oklahoma, I would never be without a c. moschata of some sort. Others, such as the c. pepo species (zucchini, spaghetti, acorn, Connecticut Field, Baby Pam, etc.) are somewhat iffy here. It's a challenge to get them past the squash vine borers and squash bugs. C. maxima varieties (Hubbard, Big Max, Turk's Turban, Candy Roaster, Delicious, etc.) are a lost cause here. The c. maxima species is the most susceptible to pests.

Now, if a person lives out on the West Coast, where there are no squash vine borers, these other species should be far more attractive. C. maximas are often the very best for eating quality. C. pepos can be excellent and, that species has a ton of varieties.

I'm originally from NJ, and though we could grow the c. pepo squash, and even sometimes succeeded with c. maximas, I would still highly favor c. moschatas for that region. Here in Oklahoma, and indeed, in much of the South, I'd always favor c. moschata or, another species, which I haven't yet mentioned, c. agryosperma (primarily Cushaws).

Below is a link to a more detailed write up on this.

Farmer Dill! So good to see you posting! I have been hanging out mainly in the Oklahoma Gardening forum, and haven't "seen you" for a while!

George
Tahlequah, OK

Here is a link that might be useful: Catagories of squash


 o
RE: Butternut question

George, Butternut is my absolute favorite! If I can figure out how to grow it in my area, due to the short season, I will be thrilled :). Some of the local farmers grow it but they have greenhouses. I might try constructing a structure so I can plant it in the ground May 1st. Our Junes seem to have a cold spell.


 o
RE: Butternut question

I planted Waltham Butternuts in Z6 NY, in mid may. They grew much slower than any of the other cucurbits I planted and took a long time to flower, and did not flower prolifically, however I do have a few fruits ripening up now. I guess that's not a bad time frame, but it was definitely slower than the rest. The cucurbits dont seem to mind a little cold, at least not like the peppers and eggplants and okra.The yield has been poor, I have gotten about one fruit per plant, whereas the pumpkins and acorns on either side are producing a lot, as are the zucchini. I do see some new females on the healthiest vines, but PM is creeping up so we'll see if I get any more. Hopefully those few I get will be super tasty!

I do plan on planting them again next year, for the SVB resistance. In my first garden plot I have spotted 3 SVBs, in pumpkins and Zucchini, but they haven't taken down a main stem yet. I imagine they'll be worse next year, if they can overwinter Z6.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Ther are butternut varieties that are 30 days earlier than Waltham. All hybrids of course, but if you need a shorter DTM try something like Early Butternut or Chieftain.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Peter1142, I am lucky and do not have the dreaded SVB. I don't know how you all do it with your pumpkins, zucchinis etc. That would drive me nuts! The Waltham was the slowest for my entire garden this year and is just now flowering. I am more behind than most areas although I planted it indoors May 1st but it was 59 degrees as a high several days in a row in June so I am lucky they survived. Wow, just one fruit per plant. That means I will get about 4. PM is so annoying. Been spraying to prevent and hoping that it stays away.

Thanks, Farmerdill!
I am going to have to do the earlier hybrids. Maybe if my garden was at home, I could plant earlier and watch the weather. Harder at a community garden.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Yeah Zone 6, just now flowering, I would not expect more than 1 per plant... but this is just based on my 1 year's experience so who knows maybe you will be luckier than me! :)

But, they are big and flavorful things....

I'm giving up stressing over the PM... I think it is inevitable, and I am happy with my harvest, only the Zucchini I hope keeps making more until frost.

I have definitely learned this year to always plant the earlier maturing varieties... even if you have the time until frost, there is disease that can take down a plant early, and it often takes longer than it says on the packet.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Actually, butternut has always produced abundantly for me. I grew up in NJ and have gardened in northern Indiana. Peter, where exactly in NY do you live? Are you in the northern tier of the state?

In Indiana I enjoyed growing Ponca Butternut, which had a more restricted growth habit, and, I imagine an earlier maturity date than Waltham. I great Burpee Butterbush one year. But the fruit were too small for my liking.

George


 o
RE: Butternut question

I am in the lower Hudson valley.

They are a bit crowded, but so are all the other cucurbits. Maybe they just didn't get the richest hill. I am only sharing 1 years experience as I said, so keep that in mind... I got 2 new baby ones, That'll make 5 total for 4 plants.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Well, hopefully your plants will set a good deal more fruit while there is still time to mature it. Without seeing the garden it is hard to say why they might not produce better. Are they shaded?

But then, my three hills of Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin have only set one fruit so far. I know from experience that they will 1) suddenly start setting fruit at a fast rate, and 2) when I finally wade in there, to pick, I'll find many hidden in the leaves. My Warsaw Buff Pie Pumpkins are just now starting to set a lot of female fruit. Two evenings ago I prepared 5 of them for hand pollination, and that was on four plants. The night before last I prepared two and last night two or three. My challenge is that I'm trying to produce pure seed. To hand pollinate on must prepare the flowers the afternoon before they will be used and, then do the pollinations after sunrise and, preferably before 11 AM. I go to work at 5:30 AM and come home around 3 PM. I have had to try to complete the pollinations as soon as I get home. Time will tell if this works. At least on weekends I can do it right.

Sharing from one year of experience is good, and you have made sure we know that it's just one year of experience. That's one more year of experience than most people have!

George


 o
RE: Butternut question

I wonder if it could be weather related? I am in zone 6A but I was in 5B until the USDA updated us in the last few years. They only changed it because we have had more days over 86 but our growing season remains about the same length and is challenging.We have cold Junes many times with a very fast warm up near July. I am looking at hybrids next year and the Ponca Butternut George mentions. I do have 1 pollinated squash and more female buds on the vines just very slow. My spaghetti squash ,on the other hand, has 4 pollinated squashes on each vine and is trying to take over the whole garden lol.


 o
RE: Butternut question

It is not ideal conditions. They get about 6 hours sun where they don't have competition. They are a bit crowded 4 to a large hill/mound about 3 feet long, with a decent amount of vining room, they took over the spring beds. They are about 90 days now with 3 full size fruits and 2 small ones. Waltham Butternuts.

The small sugar pumpkins in the next hill over grew very healthy and gave me 8 pumpkins for 2 plants, would have been more if the deer and PM and borers didn't put an end to the party. My totally crowded bush table queen acorns gave me 2 per plant and may come back with more, I just picked them, and my 4 crowded zucchini plants are giving me about 1.5 a day now. They all grew fast and hard and are now wearing out fast too. That's my first year cucurbits :)

I amended with some Scott's humus and manure before planting but have not fertilized since then.


 o
RE: Butternut question

It sounds like your cucurbits did really well this year :)! Half of mine are and the others are very healthy but very slow. I bet that the ones that are slow and/or unproductive, like our Waltham Butternut, must be picky with weather and sun. Like you, my sugar pumpkins last year did fantastic and would have produced more if the frost hadn't killed them. This year, I gave all my plants compost and fed them Dr. Earth. My butternut has full sun and a nice amount of room. Next year, I feel I have a better plan of what I will do. I am hoping to move to a big yard so I can grow to my heart's content!


 o
RE: Butternut question

Good luck!! That big yard is a lot of work, I just got one myself...

I was out in the garden yesterday and found more female flowers..makes 7 I think if they take. But keeping the plant healthy and alive that long is going to be a challenge.

... Looked again and there are many females. So yes it is producing, just slowly. Seems like the plants can support about 1 fruit at a time in my setup. But, keeping a cucurbits healthy for 120+ days is definitely a challenge in my experience... Hopefully I will get some fruit that will successfully finish maturing on a dying vine. Butternut is def the best winter squash though, and the fruits are nice sized, so it is worth it! I'll keep this updated with the harvest.

I think for next year I will use row covers on the pepos until the females flower then take them off. At that point, even if SVBs come, I will still get a decent harvest.

This post was edited by Peter1142 on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 8:41


 o
RE: Butternut question

So the final tally is 8... not too bad.

I accidentally harvested one just a tiny bit early, it turned a full tan inside, and I cooked it last night... and it was kind of tasteless :( I hope the rest are better... I'm leaving all that are out there out until frost.


 o
RE: Butternut question

I wonder why that happened, Peter? I hope the others taste well! I think leaving them out in the field will help from what I read. I have one that will definitely beat the freeze this year so I am happy. I think I will have more too but they will have to ripen and cure under the plant light. I did that last year with the BN bush and it was really sweet. The weather isn't cooperating so I will have to help out lol. Here's a pic my oldest one. It is turning color but I think it needs some more time.


 o
RE: Butternut question

Lack of flavor is almost certainly because it wasn't quite ripe. I have not tried this with butternut, but some squash from the c. moschata family will mature if left intact, from about that stage. For instance, melon squash is a very long season c. moschata. I grew it, in the 80s, in Northern Indiana. Most of the fruit were hard skinned at harvest but required about a month of additional "curing" before they were at their best. Fortunately, with that variety, this meant that their skins went from dark green to a burnished buff/orange. Butternut and their kin are likely to have a darker tone to them when they are really ready. I bet your squash was very close to being ready, but not quite.

It's interesting, but in my experience, some of squash from this group will hit a "sweet spot" shortly after they are truly ripe. The flesh is at it's tastiest and the texture can rival that of a c. maxima such as Hubbard or delicious. After this "sweet spot" they go to the condition which one normally finds with store bought butternut, which is more moist; still good, just not as dry and maybe not quite as sweet. Really varieties differ in how texture and flavor are affected by the passing of time after they are ripe.

Peter, you are doing the right thing. If you watch your butternut fruit, you will see a change in their skin tone, and the skin itself will be too hard to puncture with a fingernail. Then, once that happens, you should be able to eat one with the confidence of encountering good flavor. It will have GOOD flavor when it's ready.

George


 o
RE: Butternut question

I am pretty sure you are correct that it was just not field ripened enough. Hopefully the rest will be better. I did pick one other huge one that still had the 4 green lines at the top, but it was out there for ages... I'm leaving it on the window sill for a while. The rest stay out there another month... the thing is there are lots of bugs and we have SVB in some acorn squash.. hopefully nothing will eat the rest...


 o
RE: Butternut question

I lost 3 more butternuts, one to a thunderstorm broke the vine and the other two the plant died.. at nearly 4 months from sowing I think it is to be expected. The fruit had been out there a long time but still werent ripe. I feel like I am going to be lucky to get any really ripe fruit. I dont know if I will be planting these next year. They just take too long, too much time for things to go wrong, they take a lot of space too. I only have 2 left out there on healthyish vines and one so so ripe one inside.

On the plus side, I got 8 beautiful sugar pumpkins from my pumpkin patch! The plant is completely dead and buried and they are inside and about 95% ripe.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Pumpkins Squash & Gourds Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here