Latest posts by ladybutternut

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No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 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.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 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!

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 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.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 23:06

ps just browsing the internet.  Seaweed dug into the bed with compost at the beginning of the season is hightly recommended.  Also, Seaweed Extract - I'm thinking that could be a good organic one to try if I can source it?  I should have also taken the advice I read a while back about chicken manure pellets since the fox ate the fowl.  I don't know if it would be too late for that now?

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 22:41

Dovefromabove, that is so encouraging to know you got a crop even during a bad season, I had read as much but you do wonder...


Italophile, thank you for that information about the comfrey fertiliser.  It is going to be too late for me to make for this year but I shall research the leaf for next, definitely. I was up at 6.30 am doing my compost fertiliser as I knew I hadn't got time to get to the garden centre for a look around.  The butternuts are probably doing well but their growth is nothing as quick as a month ago.  I'm hoping pruning some of the excess growth will help.  

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 23:48

Thank you so much, Bob and Italophile for the helpful advice.  I'm not sure where to buy the comfrey feed, or indeed whether I should be making it from leaves.  I have to confess that although I am a farmers wife, I have absolutely no idea what the leaf even looks like.  I shall also have a look at organic tomato feed.  Would these be any different in nutrients to stirring old compost made from pony muck and general garden debris, into a bucket of water?  I've done that once this season.  I've also pruned the large leaves blocking the sunlight from individual squashes.  I did read the well informed gentleman from Liverpools blog on butternuts, in recent years he seems to just push the leaves to one side.  It makes sense but even when you tuck them around other leaves they tend to find their way back.  Also, I find that any leaves even slightly squashed seem to wilt and become diseased quickly.  I am pleased with my results to date this year but trying to do better than in the past.  Last years efforts were not good but I didn't overly tend them.  Previous years I have had squashes to last several months and many to pass around friends.  These Harriers from T and M I agree are really brilliant with their speed and definitely give one much hope of getting to maturity before the frost, unless disease gets there first!  Thank you both.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 17/08/2013 at 22:32

Italophile, can you suggest anything high in potassium that is organic, please?  Would bone/blood/fish meal be any good at this stage?  I did try and put some down last week but I also have too much foliage, probably due to putting too much rich compost into the raised beds.  I've 85 butternuts, or so, growing and stopped them as much as possible.  With their being so much growth it is difficult to get into the middle of the beds.  Many thanks.

Butternut squash when to sow seeds

Posted: 10/08/2013 at 23:52

Try growing a variety especially bred for the UK, the old varieties take so long to mature that there are never enough sunny days to ripen the fruit before Mr. Frost arrives!  Harrier or Hunter are good ones.  Harrier is supposed to be the quickest ripening at 95 days from sowing.  Read up all about growing winter squashes online, I found so much useful info there.  They are great fun but are tricky as they hate the rain on their leaves and detest the cold, too.  This year has been wonderful for them.  I always start them off inside in little pots of compost and cover the pot in clingfilm until they germinate.  Well worth the effort and fun to watch.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 10/08/2013 at 23:44

I was equally frustrated with a couple of dozen beautiful female embryonic squashes and not a single male flower to fertilise them.  I did wonder if it was the hot weather coupled with the face that I put a couple of barrows of rich compost made with horse muck and garden stuff.  There was so much leafy cover, some leaves larger than dinner plates.  However, I did eventually get a few males and also helped things along with a Q tip, paying attention to those hidden under the foliage where I thought the bees wouldn't find them.  I have a really healthy crop now and am starting to pick off anything that doesn't look as if it will mature before beginning October.  At least, not encouraging more pollinating now.  Not sure if this is the right thing to do, but if I already have several butternuts on a bush, I'm thinking this is enough for the plant to cope with and ripen in time.  The're fun to watch growing,  I'm spending time every day picking off the debris, watering in the morning if needed and leaving the sun to dry the plants quickly.  I've grown Harrier this year and am very pleased with the speedy growth in size of the butternuts.  Last year wasn't good, I grew Cobnut but what the weather, not many ripened.  I have seventeen plants in total.  Will definitely grow this variety again as they are specifically bred for UK and ripen the quickest in 95 days.  I haven't tried a polytunnel but am tempted for another year.  It might be too hot in the poly this year as the weather is so exceptional.  I did read somewhere that they won't perform if over 32 degrees.


Posted: 10/08/2013 at 23:33

I didn't do anything with the young morello cherry I planted last year.  At one point I think I may have overwatered it as the leaves went a bit yellow soon after planting during the summer months.  I was amazed that I picked 2 1/2 lbs cherries recently for jam (it made 4 lbs using pectin powder).  Beginners luck, I reckon.  The tree is probably four foot plus.  I was interested that you were having luck with a dessert cherry as I know they are tricky.

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