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21/08/2013 at 10:24

Ging, the male flower is just a flower on a stalk. The female flower is on the end of what looks like a miniature version of the fruit. It's actually an ovary that will become a fruit if pollinated.

Male flowers always outnumber females. The female flower opens in the mornings - usually early - and will often close later in the day.

If you want to try your hand at pollinating, you need to get up early. Remove a male flower, trim away the "petals" to expose the stamen covered with pollen. At the centre of an open female flower is the stigma. Rub the pollen-covered stamen gently against the stigma to transfer the pollen. Don't be too vigorous. Damage the stigma and and all is lost.

You usually get a day or so's notice of the female flower opening. First, you see the ovary forming, then the flower forming on the end of it. When the flower is formed but still closed, you can expect it to open within a day or so. At that point, it's worthwhile checking every morning.

21/08/2013 at 10:28

Pictures speak a thousand words. Here's a developed female flower on the end of an ovary.

It will probably open the next morning.

21/08/2013 at 14:42

thank you I will have a go bril

21/08/2013 at 18:55

omg SwissSue, I was just thinking today that I was likely to perform the same deadly deed.  I'm impulsive and work quickly!  I shall be more careful, thank you.


BobtheGardener, the idea of burying comfrey sounds a good idea and something to try next year once I have sourced the plant on the land


Good luck, Ging2, they are well worth the effort.  Read up lots on the web, I did and learnt loads.  Grow Harrier as they mature in 95 days, it has probably been suggested already.


I got busy at the garden centre this morning and have already sprinkled the chicken manure pellets, not a huge amount as it was difficult to spread with the leaves catching them all on their way to the soil.  I also bought an organic tomato fertiliser which contained seaweed extract.  I watered around each plant with the mixture.  I also bought a straight seaweed extract which I shall use in seven days.  The tomato fertiliser said to reapply after 7 - 14 days, I reckon using the seaweed one after a week should be good to give them a little lift.  If I get my fruits to maturity I shall post a picture (when I've learnt how to do it, I'm hopeless with technology).  Isn't it great this hot weather to start the ripening.  My first ones are starting to get a slight tan.

21/08/2013 at 19:14

DovefromAbove, I think that was a brilliant crop from two plants considering the terrible season we had for butternuts last year.  The recipe sounds amazing and very healthy... time for supper!

22/08/2013 at 20:05

thank you ladybutternut will try Harrier next year x

24/08/2013 at 15:49

Ging2 - I find it best to start them in small pots of garden centre compost, plant the seed on their side, it's always recommended.  Water them and cover in cling film.  Remove the cling film when each shoot appears.  Grow on in a greenhouse, avoiding frost (sometimes I use a white fleece).  I pot on as necessary until all risk of frost has passed.  We are told to use mulch, like grass clippings, but as yet I haven't.  I have put each squash on a tile, though.  If you have access to garden compost or horse muck, it will make all the difference in the worl, but don't be put off if you haven't.  That seaweed extract is amazing!  It was buy one, get one free in the garden centre.

25/08/2013 at 09:27

Sorry, Ging2, I just picked up your earlier thread and see you are not a squash beginner.  Apologies!

27/08/2013 at 07:54

I still have nt got any fruit on my butternut squash plants, is it too late, shall I pull them up. Only male flowers


27/08/2013 at 10:40

If there outside and have no fruit, I'd pull them up. Too late now.

28/08/2013 at 13:41

I had found that even the later butternuts that had been growing and reached about 5" were looking soft compared to the others.  I could see they weren't going to flourish and snipped them off.  I think it must be natures way once it becomes a bit late in the season.

Look forward to next year Rosemary.  Make an early start but keep everything away from frost or wet/windy weather.  They hate it.  It's a bit like buying extra ripening days at the end of the season, if you can get them started even a few days early.



06/09/2013 at 13:26

Why have my Butternut squashes Green ?? Someone gave me the seed were they not the correct ones?? Havent tried cooking them yet is there a big difference on taste ?  Thank you all

Lady Butternut it is my first year growing them so any advice brill x

06/09/2013 at 14:25

If they're still green they haven't ripened yet.

06/09/2013 at 18:06

Thankyou Italophile ... They are quite big some of them.  Do I have to do anything to make them ripen ... Ive taken some leaves away like my pumpkins so the sun can see them.

06/09/2013 at 18:20

Ging, some of the acorn-shaped winter squashes stay green even when ripe - but taste exactly the same as the classic butternut shaped ones.  If they are butternut-shaped then they're not yet ripe as Italophile says.  Unless they're from saved seed in which case all bets are off - not sure what colour or shape an acorn/butternut cross would likely be!

06/09/2013 at 19:45

Thank you Bob I have an idea they were saved seeds ...They are butternut shape but a very dark green colour .... I will keep fingers cross they change ... x

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