How To Grow Butternut Squash

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Butternut Squash

Growing Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a hard-shelled winter squash that has a sweet and nutty taste. It has a long neck and an oblong shape, and can range in color from off-white to a deep, golden yellow. The bright orange flesh is creamy and smooth and is delicious when baked and seasoned with herbs and spices. Butternut squash is also an excellent source of beta carotene and vitamins C and B6, making it a healthy and nutritious addition to any meal.

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Cheatsheet: How To Grow Butternut Squash

Soil Preparation:

🌱 Ensure well-drained soil with organic matter.

🌱 Soil pH should be between 6-7 for optimal growth.

🌱 Dig deep and add compost to improve soil fertility.


🌱 Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in your region.

🌱 Transplant seedlings outdoors when soil temperature reaches above 60°F (15°C).

🌱 Space plants 18-24 inches apart.


🌱 Water regularly, providing 1-2 inches per week.

🌱 Apply mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

🌱 Fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

Pest and Disease Control:

🌱 Monitor for squash bugs and vine borers regularly.

🌱 Apply organic pesticides or repellents as needed.

🌱 Rotate crops and practice good garden hygiene to prevent diseases.


🌱 Butternut squash matures in 75-100 days.

🌱 Harvest when the skin is hard and fully colored.

🌱 Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

Benefits of Growing Butternut Squash:

🌱 High in fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium for a healthy diet.

🌱 Enhances self-sufficiency and reduces reliance on store-bought produce.

🌱 Butternut squash can be used in various delicious and nutritious recipes.

Planting Your Butternut Squash

Thinking about growing butternut squash? Start with the right spot. These plants love full sun and well-drained soil.

You'll need to sow seeds directly outside after the risk of frost has passed. Alternatively, start them indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date.

Butternut squash needs a lot of space—about 10 square feet per plant!

If planting indoors, use biodegradable pots. This minimizes root disturbance when you transplant them outside.

  • Plant seeds about 1 inch deep.
  • Space them 3-4 feet apart within rows.
  • Rows should be spaced 4-6 feet apart.

In no time, you'll see those little green shoots peeking through.

Watering and Feeding

Watering is crucial. Squash plants need about an inch of water per week. Drip irrigation works best to avoid wetting the foliage.

Don't let the soil dry out, especially during flowering and fruit setting. Proper watering promotes vigorous growth and minimizes disease.

Without consistent watering, butternut squash will struggle, producing smaller fruits or none at all.

Fertilizing will also help. Use a balanced fertilizer during planting.

  • Apply a side dressing of compost or a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) when plants are about 6 inches tall.
  • Repeat when plants begin to bloom.

I've found that a bi-weekly feed of fish emulsion keeps my squash plants thriving.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Butternut squash isn't immune to pests. Common culprits include squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and vine borers.

Companion planting marigolds and nasturtiums can help deter many pests naturally.

Aphids can also be a nuisance. A strong jet of water usually dislodges them effectively.

Look out for yellowing leaves. This can indicate a fungal problem like powdery mildew. Neem oil has been a lifesaver in my garden.

Rotate crops yearly to prevent disease buildup in the soil. Avoid planting squash in the same spot more than once every three years.

Harvesting and Storing

Knowing when to harvest butternut squash is crucial. Wait until the skin turns a deep beige color and it's hard enough that you can’t puncture it with your thumbnail.

It's better to harvest too late than too early, as immature squash won't store well.

Use pruners to cut the squash, leaving about 2 inches of stem attached. This reduces the risk of rot during storage.

Cure your squash by leaving it in the sun for about 10 days. Store them in a cool, dry, and dark place.

  • Ideal storage temperature is between 50-55°F.
  • Stored properly, butternut squash can last for up to 6 months.

Growing butternut squash can be deeply satisfying. There’s nothing like enjoying a soup made from squash you grew yourself.


1. What are the ideal growing conditions for butternut squash?

The ideal growing conditions for butternut squash include full sun and well-drained soil.

2. When should I plant butternut squash?

Plant butternut squash after the frost-free date in your area, when the soil has warmed up.

3. How far apart should I space the butternut squash plants?

Space the butternut squash plants about 3 to 4 feet apart.

4. How often should I water butternut squash?

Water butternut squash deeply once a week, providing about 1 inch of water.

5. Should I use any fertilizers for growing butternut squash?

Yes, use a balanced fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content, following the instructions on the package.

6. How can I control pests and diseases when growing butternut squash?

Monitor for pests and diseases regularly. Use organic pest control methods and maintain good airflow to prevent diseases.

7. When is the right time to harvest butternut squash?

Harvest butternut squash when the skin is hard and you can't easily puncture it with your fingernail.

8. How should I store harvested butternut squash?

Store harvested butternut squash in a cool, dry place with good air circulation, ideally at around 50-55°F (10-13°C).

Butternut squash is an easy to grow vegetable that is packed with vitamins and minerals. it has a sweet, nutty flavor that makes it a great addition to soups, salads, and roasted dishes. it can also be pureed, mashed, and cubed to add to many dishes and recipes. butternut squash is an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, b-complex vitamins, and antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. growing butternut squash can be a rewarding and tasty experience.

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