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parker34
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:41 pm
Location: MN

Volunteer Butternut Squash

I had a Volunteer squash plant pop up in early August amongst my tomato plants. I have never planted squash, must have gotten there from some compost I buried a few feet away.

I left it there to see what it would do, figuring it wouldn't amount to much since it was so late in the season, well it flowered, wilted, then the vine grew right thru the chain link fence into my neighbors yard and into a bush on the other side of the fence. I basically forgot about the vine.

This weekend I looked thru the fence while picking tomatos and there was a Butternut squash growing in the neighbors bush :D I wasn't expecting that at all since the leaves of the vine weren't looking all that great and I didn't think the plant would flower any more.

My questions 3:
1: The squash is almost touching the ground. Should I try to get it off the ground or is it ok? Maybe I should try to trellis it on the fence, that way im not tresspassing in her yard when I work with it :wink:

2: Should I throw a bit of compost near the base of the vine?

3: I noticed that the vine has those little hairs on it like a tomato plant. If I cover the vine w/ soil, will it produce roots like a tomato stem would?

Im just trying to get that thing rippened asap as our nice weather in MN will disappear very soon.

Thanks in advance!
So, a couple of years ago, I go to a place in Wisconsin Dells called Gnome Depot. What was the one thing they didn't have there? Gnomes....

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rainbowgardener
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Yes, everywhere I put my compost, I get volunteer squash and tomatoes. And I have gotten butternut squash produced from volunteer plants, but my season is a bit longer than yours. The squash should be ok even sitting on the ground. Putting a bit of compost around it can't hurt, but I don't know that it will speed up ripening, which is on its own schedule and takes a certain number of days no matter what you do.
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CharlieBear
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There isn't anything you can do to hasten ripening short of creating a polytunnel over it and that will only keep the night temps up a bit. Wait to pick the squash until the night they say on the nightly news that there is a frost warning. You will be able to eat the squash, but it will not keep well. The best use for an immature butternut is to peal, seed it cut in small chunks and cook in chicken soup or broth, add garlic if you use canned broth and when the squash is almost done add your noodles. I also add some peeled and sliced carrots, makes a really great soup. I find that immature butternut are not very good tasting if I try to roast them etc.
Best of luck.

bwhite829
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Location: Pensacola, FL

CharlieBear wrote:There isn't anything you can do to hasten ripening short of creating a polytunnel over it and that will only keep the night temps up a bit. Wait to pick the squash until the night they say on the nightly news that there is a frost warning. You will be able to eat the squash, but it will not keep well. The best use for an immature butternut is to peal, seed it cut in small chunks and cook in chicken soup or broth, add garlic if you use canned broth and when the squash is almost done add your noodles. I also add some peeled and sliced carrots, makes a really great soup. I find that immature butternut are not very good tasting if I try to roast them etc.
Best of luck.
I think I've used some immature buttercup and acorn squash in my squash soup recipe this year and it turned out well....basically sautee some carrots, onions, and garlic(mushrooms too if you feel like it), add about 32 oz of chicken/beef broth and get it to boiling, and peel/cube a couple good sized squash, and put it in there, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, then get a potato masher and mash it all up. its some of the best soup i've ever had...i use that recipe any time we have surplus squash because i can put about 3 or 4 in it and it'll be thick and delicious, and my wife will eat the whole pot in a day or 2 so i can go through a surplus of squash within a week, which is good considering we had trouble storing them this year.

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jal_ut
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3: I noticed that the vine has those little hairs on it like a tomato plant. If I cover the vine w/ soil, will it produce roots like a tomato stem would?
Most of the vining squash will send down roots from the leaf nodes. No need to cover the vine with soil. As others have said, just give it some time to ripen. It will be fine.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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