Growing butternut squash is not difficult, but they have a long growing season, so in the far northern climes, it's best to plant them in a seed box, kept indoors at night until all signs of frost are over. Plant them out in the garden in early April. In sunny South Africa we plants the seeds directly into the ground in September.
American plant breeder, Charles Leggett, was of the opinion there wasn't a decent tasting pumpkin big enough to feed the whole family; I hope he took out a patent on this most excellent fruit. Having lived in the States for four years I have to agree that their pumpkins are only fit for Halloween and hog food.
So, in warmer climates, simply plant them directly into the ground in the spring. The seeds are quite large so plant them fairly deep, perhaps an inch, and gently compact the soil.
If you throw raw waste from the kitchen, which you should, onto your compost pile then the plants will come up in the heap, and take it over if you leave it there; usually I transplant them but, left there, those are the tastiest of them all.
It's good to follow a legume crop like green beans; they fix nitrogen ensuring a beautiful crop. I grow bush beans mainly for this fertilizing of the soil; it's a hassle to reap them, taking much longer and you'll probably put your back out. The pole varieties are far more prolific and gardener friendly but not easy to grow in the middle of your beds.
You do need a large vegetable garden for any of the pumpkin family; they take over and will come creeping in your back door if you're not careful.
To get a decent crop when growing butternut squash it's best to dig out a small trench and fill it with well rotted manure, vegetable cuttings, grass clippings, rotting sticks, compost and waste from the kitchen. Eggshells, potato peels, apple cores, tea leaves ... all are fine.
In fact, well ahead of time, I choose the site for growing butternut squash, dig out the trench, and use it as a compost heap, covering the vegetable waste lightly with soil periodically; it has to breathe. Then in spring all is ready.
Or, alternatively, use a compact compost tumbler if you require only limited amount of compost. Composting with sticks and logs is also a good option if you have a larger garden.
Plant 6-10 seeds out, and weed out the weaker seedlings. Keep perhaps 3-4, more than adequate for the average family. Or they will take over your whole garden!
Butternut tends to be untidy, seeking out the sun, so you can grow it up a fence, on netting, but we just let it meander, and move the tendrils when it heads for other seed beds.
One joy is that growing butternut squash keeps the weeds under control; here are ours competing with sweet potatoes and, unseen, a crop of bush beans. Those we might reap, or just leave them for their nitrogen fixation bacteria. Notice the vibrant green leaves; that's nitrogen for you from the beans.
Roses and peppadews can be seen in the background.
Or, if you have a small garden that must be kept tidy grow your butternut squash on a stand or fence.
Can you see what's hiding in that rampant vine? It's large, well over a foot long and still very green; it will fill out and turn butternut orange in another month or two.
It's late summer here, mid February and for our vitamin A we are enjoying zucchinis and gemsquash; less rich but still excellent. We love the variety that growing butternut squash, along with all these cousins brings to our diet.
Growing butternut squash has a long growing season. Be patient, dreaming of the easy Butternut Squash soup that you will enjoy in the fall and winter. Wait until the leaves and stalks die back, and the fruit turns a deep orangey brown before reaping. The skin will be quite hard. If you pick them too soon they are insipid and won't keep through the winter.
They are pollinated by insects; bees especially love the flowers for the bright yellow pollen. Avoid insecticides, they don't get badly stung because of their hard skins.
Here's perhaps a crazy idea ; ever thought of having a few hives in the garden? Introduced to the joys of raw honey by my grandfather, beekeeping competes seriously with gardening, gliding, and writing the Bernard Preston books for my favourite hobby.
absolutely nothing, can compete with your own fresh, raw unheated
honey on your oats porridge in the morning; with a dollop of butter, of course. No one enjoying these treasures regularly from the garden needs to worry about cholesterol.
This chappy isn't quite ready. The colour is still a bit greenish, wait for it to turn a light brownish colour .. when all the leaves and stems have died back. These stems are still green. However, they may get sunburnt without the leaves to shade them, if the sun is still fierce ...
Pick them too soon and they taste rather inspid. Wait too long and the vervet monkeys will steal ours, or rats hollow them out.
Now he's ready! Time to hunt out that easy recipe for butternut squash soup ...
Update: This year we've planted sweet potatoes for the first time. Sweet potatoes and butternut and you have the very best easy butternut squash soup recipe.
In order to grow monster delicious butternuts like these for your Easy Butternut Squash SOUP you also need to think about crop rotation. These butternut followed a crop of pole beans. Legumes have the unique property of attracting nitrogen fixation bacteria that have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen - something farmers pay billions for. Prolific plants need nitrogen. You'll notice that whatever crop you grow after beans, peas, chickpeas, lima beans ... particularly if you know about starting a compost pile ... will be prolific beyond your wildest dreams. Tonight it's green beans and butternut soup!
Low fat high protein diet
last thought: if you are dieting (did you know that more people die on
planet Earth from obesity than starvation?) then pole beans and
butternut soup make a perfect fit for your
high protein low fat foods ...
remember not to look at individual foods, but in the context of the
whole meal. Beans and butternut make the perfect match for the person
looking for better health and weight loss. Butternut are surprisingly low in calories at 80 cals per cup.
Obese? There's only misery ahead, I'm afraid. Knee arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and worse. Only you can ring in the changes. It's called "I want to see my grandchildren grow up", "I want to enjoy ten or more years of retirement sentiments; at sixty-four I'm looking forward to another 10-20 years of health. The chiropractic way of life, subluxation-free, plenty of exercise and an abundance of healthy choice foods is the way to look forward to the future without fear. Alas all of us, the good, the bad and the ugly are going to drop dead one day.
I'm just updating this page, seventy in a few months, and considering how quickly the past six years have trumbled by; we're both in great shape still. This year we've been growing butternut squash again of course, and have a monster at 15 pounds. Yesterday he was turned into roasted butternut squash recipe. With coconut cream it's still my favourite.
We still have small parts of our garden that have never been composted; see why growing butternut squash and in fact any vegetables is hopeless if you have not been getting your garden soil ready?
Since I wrote this page, and new fad diet, even more awful than all the others, known as banting, has been in vogue. Growing butternut squash is verboten, certainly if you are planning to eat them. You too may be sucked into this pernicious diet, but once you understand the meaning of starch you'll realise it's just another fad.
Diet is a dirty four letter word. Research shows that one year later only 5% of dieters have lost weight, and many have put on, across the whole spectrum of food manipulations.
It's not growing butternut squash, or new potatoes, or even sweet potatoes that make us fat; it's french fries, chocolate cake and bagels!
These are a must in every kitchen. It makes blending soups, sauces, hummus, grinding herbs and spices so much easier. The problem with the smaller motors (200W and less) is that they don't last. This one has a super duper 550W motor. Please give me feedback if you buy it. Our Braun works very nicely but expensive and not available on amazon. And it takes strain with the hummus.
Simple after you've acqurired the skills that my four-year old grandchild has: Growing Butternut Squash ! Simply drop a seed in the ground! Better still in fertile ground if you want rich and prolific butternut.
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Butternut Squash Soup Recipes
Now for the easy part!
Absolutely never eat this supermarket butternut squash recipe.
Why are we so crazy about our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup? There are lots of reasons. Firstly, it just tastes great; fantastic. One of my all time favourite dishes. Must I say more?
But just as important,
perhaps more important because I want to see my grandchildren growing
up. I've got a lot to teach them about beekeeping, gliding, carpentry,
and gardening. My daughter mutters about leading them astray when I talk of motorcycles and gliders.
And Omega-3 is part of the reason why I have every hope that that is going to happen. You see, if you don't like fish, then you can still get your Omega-3 from Butternut. Butternut contains 38mg of PUFA's, those are the fats that include Omega-3, not rich like in our Mackerel Recipes, but still good.
What's so special about Omega-3? They are a group of 'essential' unsaturated fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture. You have to consume them if you want to be healthy. Amongst other things they have been proved to lower the bad cholesterol, LDL and VLDL, whilst raising the good cholesterol HDL. Clean blood vessels, more blood to the brain, the organs, to the heart itself, the back ... healthier people. Walnuts and flaxseeds are good too.
Plus butternut is high in anti-oxidants like the carotenes (less cancer), fibre (a happy colon) ... and you have to eat one heck of a lot to get fat! Pig out! So you see Growing Butternut Squash does have certain benefits...
...must eat Omega 3 rich foods. Fish, and of course butternut soup. Your child will be happier, calmer and more intelligent.
Say the researchers from the Dept of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburg: "Existing evidence links greater dietary intake of fish and flaxseed (Omega-3) to better early brain development and lowered risk of cognitive disorders in late life. Higher DHA (an Omega-3) was related to better performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary."
What I particularly like about this roasted butternut squash recipe, apart from the divine flavour, is that you don't have to peel it; that's surely the most tedious part about butternut; now it's really slow food, made fast. In fact, one hour start to finish. Actually longer in the oven if it's a giant.
Thyme herb benefits is definitely something to consider along with your growing butternut squash; there should be a pot in every garden.
LINKS @ Growing Butternut Squash