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first time squash grower questions

Hello all. 
I am going to grow Butternut squash and uchiki kuri squash this year and generally could do with any advice or suggestions. 
I've got two beds ready which I'm also going to put rhubarb and courgette into and I'm thinking to grow the squash up a trellis.  How high should the trellis be?  Can I let some grow on the ground and then train it up, or should it all be up the trellis?  How strong should the trellis be, or would a makeshift trellis of various twigs and branches do? Would the squash need supporting or can they hang without falling off?   Do they need a lot of food and water, or are they pretty much easy if you leave them alone? 
And when is the best time to plant seeds under cover and then plant out? 

Total newbie to squash here, but I love them and any advice or experience would be great.  Thanks. 


  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 630
    We grow butternut squash on our allotment, they need a lot of space but don't want a lot of looking after. I start the seeds off indoors in April and plant them out in early June. If you grow them on a trellis it would need to be quite sturdy as each squash can easily weigh a couple of kilos. We normally get 5/6 fruit from each plant. 
  • Most butternuts produce very heavy fruit (around a couple of kg) so if grown up supports, those need to be strong.  Any 'accidents' with support failing usually involve the plant tearing itself apart, so build it well to avoid that.  I grow large ones along the ground.  Uchiki kuri has smaller fruits but lots of them and is much more suited to growing up a frame, but the same applies regarding strength of trellis etc.
    Don't rely on the tendrils clinging to the structure, tie the actual stems in.  For large squashes grown up frames, you'll also need to support each individual fruit once it gets above a kg or so.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • AstroAstro Posts: 406
     I grew Uchiki Kuri over a cheap hollow pipe archway. They get to about the size of large grapefruit so they would grow up something as strong as thicker bamboo canes.
    Butternut squash become quite large and heavy and to my thinking they'd need a frame with the strength of at least 2x2inch wood. 

     The frames need to be well anchored too because if they can become top heavy and they wind blows against the large foliage it'll take it over.
    Height wise it'd be optional, I'd say as high as you can reach. I used an arch that was over six foot so I could pass underneath. 

    I feed my squashes quite well by mixing some compost and rotted manure into the planting hole. They are quite easy to grow from seed , the main consideration is to protect the plant from frost.
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    Same as above. I grew Uchi over a metal garden arch last year and it was fine, no support for each fruit, they are very strong. If growing along the ground put something under each fruit to keep it off the soil. They need plenty of water once the fruit start to swell and I usually feed mine at the same time I feed my tomatoes. Good luck!
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    edited February 2021
    oh and when you water, avoid the leaves, water the soil. Otherwise it can encourage powdery mildew.
  • Thanks for all your help. I have some metal trellis that’s quite sturdy and about 2m by 1 m. I was thinking of using it horizontally so it would be 1m high. Would the butternuts be alright along that? Could I train it across or would it try to climb up? 
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    I’ve not grown butternuts but most squashes are substantial plants, the leaves are often as big as a large courgette leaf, although I’ve found Uchi to be smaller than this. The squash will happily scramble around through, up or over anything you provide it with. Tie them in to show them the way
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    When your Uchi has about 3-5 fruit you can snip off the lead shoot so it can put all its energy into ripening what you have. Otherwise you may end up with fruit that won’t ripen in time. Think mine had 3 or 4 good fruit last year doing this.
  • I’m planning on growing Uchiki Kuri up an arch as well this year - I plan on constructing one with four 6 feet fence posts and livestock wire mesh fencing bent in the middle.. saw it from a video by an American lady on YouTube and it seemed to work well for her.. and way cheaper than buying an actual arch 
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