If it’s your first time planting this bright orange veggie, you may want to know when to pick butternut squash in the right way. Understanding the right time to harvest your butternut squash is important. If you pick them too soon, the texture will be so firm and the sugars won’t be developed.
On the other hand, if you pick them too late, the squashes are going to be very mushy. That’s why it is crucial to harvest your squash at the right time. It’s said that the best way to tell if your squash is ready to be harvested is by their appearance.
But, how do they exactly look like when they’re ready to be picked? The color of ripe butternut squash is typically in a dark shade of beige. Its skin should have a matte appearance. If it looks shiny, you should put it down since it’s not ripe yet.
Moreover, if you find any patch of green, it means that the squash isn’t ripe yet too. Then, do you know how to ripen butternut squash if you harvest it a bit too early? Read on to learn further about it and other things you need to know about this veggie.
Growing Butternut Squash in Greenhouse
A greenhouse may allow you to grow butternut squash all year round. Since butternut squash can’t tolerate frost, particular methods are needed to get the most of your planting. It’s highly recommended to sow butternut squash in late April or early May in a greenhouse.
You can actually sow the seeds directly on where they’re supposed to grow outdoors on late May. But, sowing it four or five weeks in a greenhouse will give the seeds a head-start. Watch out not to over-water at sowing since damp, airless compost may lead the seed to rot.
The hardening off process must be done at the end of May or at the beginning of June. Plant the seedlings outside after several days of warm weather. It will mark the butternut squash growing stages. This plant is supposed to grow when all threat of frost is past.
You can prepare the plant earlier by digging in loads of well-rotted manure or compost. Then, put the plant on a small mound with the top side of the compost rootball around two centimeters out of the soil. Create a bit moat surrounding the mound so that you can easily water the plant later.
How to Tell When a Butternut Squash Is Ripe
Now that you’ve known how to grow butternut squash in the right way, you’ll need to know the right time to harvest this veggie. It’s recommended to harvest butternut squash after they’re fully mature in its vine. So, how do we know if the butternut squash is fully mature or ripe?
Most butternut squash matures when they’re eight to 12 inches long. But, the length may vary depending on the variety and also growing condition. Better soil condition will produce bigger squash. Considering the stages of growth butternut squash, they’re almost ready to be picked when they stop growing.
Another good method to tell if it’s time for picking butternut squash is the look of the stem. When this squash is ripe, the stem end tends to turn from green to brown. It seems like the stem is going to dry out. It’s another indication that the squash is ready for harvesting.
Lastly, you can check the toughness of the rinds using your fingernail to see if it’s been ripe or not. If the squash stand firm being punctured, they are ready to be picked. This is because ripe butternut squash should feel heavy and hardy. It’s like the feel of an unripe avocado.
How to Ripen Butternut Squash after Early Harvesting
You already know that it’s recommended to harvest butternut squash when they’ve been ripe on the vine. But, when winter arrives early, you should harvest it soon since this squash won’t survive the frost. So, how can we do to ripen butternut squash after picking them early?
After cutting the butternut squash out of the vine with a sharp knife, hold the squash body and wash it using soapy water. Rinse well. After that, you should make a solution with one part bleach and nine parts water. Dip the squash in this solution.
Next, wipe the squash using an absorbent rag. This way, you can prevent the squash from any soil-borne diseases. So, when are butternut squash ready to eat? Well, you still need to continue the process before being able to eat the fruit. You should set it in a place with 80-85 F temperature.
Leave the squash in that place for about 10 to 14 days. Don’t forget to turn them every two or three days. Subsequently, store them in a cool, dry area where the temperature is around 50-55 F. This area should be well ventilated too and away from ripening fruit like apples.
How to Prune Butternut Squash the Right Way
It’s not impossible that your butternut squash vine takes over the garden. At this point, you’ll want to know how to trim it back. You can prune the place once a few baby squash is growing. This way, you can free up some space without harming the plant.
So, how to prune butternut squash the right way? You should first wait for the plant to develop some flowers and set fruit. You shouldn’t prune the squash before this happens. Find four to five developing squash and leave them to become squash. Then, use pruning shears to cut the remaining.
After that, you should clip the developing squash vine. It will prevent the plant from continuously putting energy into growth. This way, it can focus on growing the squash you leave on the vine. Make sure to do it properly so you won’t harm the squash.
In conclusion, planting, growing, and harvesting butternut squash should be done properly. When you harvest the fruits before they’re mature on the vine, you should ripen them correctly. Use the guide above to help you plant this squash. Now, you already know when to pick butternut squash!