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Harvesting Butternut Squash

I was up at the allotment to day and wondered whether it is too early to harvest my crop of butternut squashes. I have a good drop of about a dozen small Hornet ones on one plant and they have only a few faint green stripes on them now. The leaves have turned pale and are shrivelling up so could I cut them now and put them in my unheated greenhouse to complete their ripening or should I leasve them a bit longer. End of August seems a bit early to cut them.




  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    I'd leave them as long as possible, Madeleine.

  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    The RHS says to leave them on the plant and bring them inside before the first frost. The skin needs to be very hard for storage, if you can make a mark with your fingernail then it isn't hard enough.

    Have you been feeding your plants? The leaves on mine are still very green

  • Thanks Italophile & Fleurisa. No I haven't been feeding them.  Perhaps they are lacking some nutrients but re fingernail test, I cut one off and it was very difficult to do so.

    Interesting point though - I grew  Butternut Squash  plants from a packet of seeds (same packet) and I have what looks like another sort of pumpkin  which is very large and round with dark green glossy smooth skin. Like a football.  Any ideas what type it could be?  I definitely didn't mix seed because so far the only pumpkin I like is the butternut squash variety and havn't bought any others. Strange.  Perhaps I ought to send a photo to the seed company to query.


  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    Sounds like either a crossed seed or a stray variety crept into the packet. Two years ago I had a packet of melon seeds of which 90% were crossed. I ended up with all sorts of strange shapes.

  • Maybe I will be brave and try one in a few weeks. I might be pleasantly surprised.

    BUT I think I will contact Johnsons about it. There are only 10 seeds in a packet (unlike the generous quantities you get in seed packets in Italy Itaophile!)  and the others could be rogue ones too.  As they take up a lot of space, I would like to get the right variety in.

  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    Try tasting a tiny bit of the rogue one before cooking with it in case it is bitter

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,245

    This is the first time that I have attempted to grow squash of any kind and my butternut squash has a couple of round ones as described above as well as the more normal ones, the plant has gone mad and grown very large and I have started pinching the tips of the runners out to try and contain it, I await with interest to see the results.

  • Ditto mine Barry. Massive and take up so much space. Have had acknowledgement from Johnsons and am awaiting their comments. Hopefully I will receive a replacement packet at least but it would be interesting to hear if they had many others with complaints from that batch. I too am cutting back and pinching out tips of runners

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 29,041

    a friend gave me some seed she bought in Italy. I've got 6 plants, all with fruit, but I have no idea when I should "harvest" them: the instructions were ,strange to say, in Italian.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 29,041

    do they ripen like tomatoes? or do they over-ripen , like courgettes?


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