Winter Squash – Waltham Butternut

Young Waltham Butternut Squash
Young Waltham Butternut Squash

A popular winter storage squash of excellent quality. A prolific, easy to grow, delicious butternut with improved fruit uniformity and increased yields. Interior is thick rich sweet yellow-orange flesh with a nutty flavor.  A 1970 All-America Selection (AAS) seed-industry award winner. Grows well in the southern U.S.A.

Classification

  • Winter Squash

Days To Maturity

  • 80-110

Fruit Size

  • average 8” to 12″ long and 3” to 5” inches in width

Weight

  • 3-5 pounds

Skin Color

  • smooth light-Buff/Tan

Habit

  • Vines grow to 6 feet, producing 4-5 squash per plant.

Seed Planting Depth

  • 1 inch

Seeds Per group

  • 6-8

Seed Spacing Within A Group

  • 3 inches

Spacing Between Hills

  • 4-6 feet

Day To Germination

  • 10-14 days

Thin To (Plants Per Hill)

  • 2-3 plants

Heirloom

  • No

Year Introduced

  • 1970

Species

  • Cucurbita

Genus

  • Moschata

 Resistance

  • Excellent resistance to vine borers.

Usage

  • Edible – Excellent food qualities

Storage

  • Good Keeper

Space Saver

  • Pick young and small to use as summer squash

Related References

Growing Winter Squash and Pumpkins Vertically

Winter Squash Grown Vertically
Winter Squash Grown Vertically

Growing winter squash and pumpkins vertically can save garden space and help to fight pests.  To grow squash vertically, here a few simple tips to follow:

  • Choosing the correct seed is the best place to begin. To grow squash Vertically choose squash that has a vining habit (sometimes called trailing) and produce small fruit; two pounds or less is recommended. Growing squash that can grow to a hundred pounds or more would be hard to accommodate when building the structure to be climbed and would break from the vines before mature.
  • Site and climbing structure should be properly prepared. The climbing structure should be strong enough to withstand strong winds and the weight of the squash as they reach maturity.
  • The soil needs to be well worked and mounded to allow soil based watering methods, such as trench or soaker hose and provides adequate drainage.
  • The grooming method needs to be adapted to encourage the growth of several small fruits. Many gardeners recommend removing fruit and leaving only one or two on each vine; thus, encouraging a few large fruits.  When growing vertically we want to encourage the growth of numerous small fruit, which will be less likely to tear the vines down or fall off the vine.
  • As squash grow larger and providing additional support for the fruit may be desirable to prevent the fruit from tearing themselves from the vine before mature or falling to earth and breaking or being bruised.
  • With some early maturing varieties picking of fruit may be necessary as the fruit becomes fully mature to reduce weight in the vine and to encourage the vine to produce more fruit. Care should be taken to ensure the fruit is fully mature.

Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins, c. pepo, c. maxima, c. moschata, C. argyrosperma, C. mixta
Pumpkins Outdoors in Fall

Squash is a warm-season crop. It should not be planted until the danger of frost is past. In the list below, note the species from which each variety has been selected. Some do better in certain climates and have different growing season lengths.

  • C. argyrosperma and C. mixta grow best in hot arid climates like the Southwest United States
  • C. maxima grow best in cooler northern climates, especially along coastal areas of large lakes or oceans where the growing temperature may be more consistent
  • C. moschata are best grown in southern humid climates
  • C. pepo does best in areas in climates which provide even rainfalls and temperature ranges, such as, coastal regions and the midwestern United States.

Related References

Strategies for Growing Winter Squash

Strategies for Growing Winter Squash, pumpkin, Growing for Fruit Volume or Fruit Size, Growing for Fruit Volume, Growing for Size
Meal Size Autumn Glow Butternut Squash

Growing for Fruit Volume or Fruit Size

There two basic approaches to growing winter Squash and pumpkins, growing for fruit volume or growing for fruit size.  Both approaches required good plant culture practice but use different strategies.

Growing for Fruit Volume

Growing for fruit volume is most frequently associated with growing for food and dry storage. While large fruit is not necessarily a bad thing,  growing a larger volume of small fruit has its advantages.  Among these advantages are:

  • Smaller fruit tends to be more one meal size and, therefore, means fewer leftovers to store or serve later from each fruit.
  • Fruit can be prepared or canned in small sets.
  • A smaller scale of lose when fruit goes bad during storage.

To grow for fruit volume, you need only to follow a few simple steps:

  • Choose a hardy vigorous squash know for volume fruit production.
  • Choose disease and pest resistant varieties.
  • Choose varieties with growth season requirements (e.g. 90 days, 100 days, 120 days) that are well within your growing season.
  • Use succession planting.  In areas with a long growing season, plant more than one crop of shorter seasoned fruit.  In some areas a summer and autumn crop is possible.  Especially, if the early crop is started indoors to get a jump on the season.  Additionally, planting crops in session rather than all at once for the small garden can provide an opportunity to withstand a partial crop loss from pests of disease.
  • Leave all fruit on the vine
  • Once the vine has set fruit to allow the vine to grow a foot or so past the fruit then cut off the endmost portion of the vine.  This pruning process should cause the vine to spread (vine) laterally from the original vine.  The lateral vines should set fruit as well.  This also has the added advantage of creating a more compact squash patch.

Growing for Size

Growing for size is most commonly associated with competition growing.  To achieve maximum size:

  • Chose a fruit with the genetic capacity to achieve the size desired, while good plant culture will add to fruit size, having the genetic ability to obtain larger sizes gives a significant head start.
  • Grow one fruit per vine.  Be sure to wait until you have confirmed that the fruit has been pollinated and has started to grow prior to removing other fruit.
  • Pay attention to fruit position on the vine.  As a general rule fruit will grow larger farther out on long vines, assuming that the vines have been permitted to root at leaf joints.

Related References

Cool Storage of Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Cool Storage of Winter Squash and Pumpkins
Winter Squash on a shelf

Cool Storage

Perhaps, the better and most cost-effective way to keep winter squash and pumpkins is cool storage.  For cool storage to be effective the fruit must be consistently stored above freezing and the germination temperature.  Please note, Not all squash store equally well.  With that said, I have stored some varieties a winter squash so long that we have had to eat them just to make room for the New Year’s harvest.

For best results:

  • cure in warm area squash or pumpkins for a week to 10 days,
  • clean off dirt with a damp soft cloth,
  • with a second clean soft cloth wash with 1 cup vinegar to one gallon of water, and allow the skin to dry completely before storage.
  • Store in a cool (40-550 F), dry place to prevent shrivel, lose weight, and to postpone spoilage as long as possible.
  • Position the fruit so that the fruit is not touching one another and so that air can flow freely around the fruit.
  • I recommend placing as many of the fruit where they can be easily seen, for easy inspection for signs for an impending loss. The sweetness and quality of squash or pumpkins often improve, if cured for 2 to 4 weeks, or more in storage.

Where to Store Squash and Pumpkins

where to store your squash is a little less important provided the required temperatures can be maintained. Some of the more common places are root cellars, pantries, basements. Just about any place with a cool constant temperature within the ranges required will do. However, it’s best if it’s a place that’s convenient and semi-protected. You don’t want your squash to be damaged by kids playing or by having to crawl over them to get to something important which might beast stored above are behind them. Perhaps, my favorite throughout the years has been the root cellar I grew up with them in Oregon and I’ve long appreciated their value for storing vegetables of all types including winter squash for long periods of time to do the harshest weather during winter. I have, in places like Virginia and Minnesota, used the basement of the home in which I lived. Pantries can be a little more problematic for a couple of reasons. First, having sufficient space to store all the pumpkins and squash growing volumes at my gardens produce. Second, my pantries are usually attached to the house and tend not to read to retain a constant cool temperature.

Is your storage location too warm?

The best way to tell if your storage location is too warm, other than a thermometer, is that when you break open the squash, if you see seeds that have sprouted, then your storage area is too warm the seeds are germinating.

Winter Squash – Pleine de Naples

 Pleine de Naples (C. Moschata)
Pleine de Naples (C. Moschata)
DescriptionThis dark green squash (turns tan during storage) has bright orange flesh with excellent eating qualities.  Also, known as Violin, Beduin, or Carpet Bag.
GenusMoschata
GroupNeck
HeirloomYes
Year Introduced (U.S.)1863
ResistanceExcellent resistance to vine borers.
ClassificationSquash
Days To Maturity110-120
Fruit ShapeOblong-Butternut
Fruit SizeMedium to Large
Weight15 – 60 Pounds
Skin ColorDark Molted Green
HabitVining: Large – 12 to 15 feet
Seed Depth½ – 1”
Seeds Per group6-8
Seed Spacing4 -6
Space Between Hills3-4’
Day To Germination7 -14
Thin To (Plants Per hill)3
UsageEdible – Excellent food qualities. May be picked young and eaten as summer squash.
StorageVery Good Keeper
Space SaverCompanion Planting or Compact row strategy. This squash is too large to grow vertically.

Winter Squash – Thelma Sanders Acorn

Thelma Sanders Acorn Squash
Thelma Sanders Acorn Squash

A productive and delicious heirloom acorn squash, which as, deeply ridged, cream-colored acorn squash.  This is also known as the Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato.

 

ClassificationDays To MaturityFruit SizeWeightSkin ColorHabit
Squash85-956 inches½ -1 poundLight beige to pale goldVining
Seed DepthSeeds Per groupSeed SpacingSpace Between HillsDay To GerminationThin To (Plants Per hill)
½ – 1”4 – 66”4 – 6’7 – 142
SpeciesGenusYear IntroducedHeirloom
CucurbitaPepo1988No
ResistanceUnknown
FamilyAcorn
UsageEdible
StorageGood for Short-term storage only.
Space SaverThis squash is an excellent climber and is recommended for growing vertically on a lattice or fence.