Butternut Squash

I have 2 Butternut Squash plants that are growing well - I have pruned it back quite a lot, as it was taking over the garden, but I am unsure if I am going to be successful in getting it to fruit properly.
I am getting a lot of fruits and flowers, but when the fruits get to about 2 inches big, they turn yellow and start to rot - is this because I cut back too much, or not enough? Am I watering them too much, or not enough? Am I giving them the wrong kind of food (sometimes general purpose liquid plant food, sometimes a little liquid tomato food I have left in my can)?
I have lifted the vines up raised them on to a pallet to keep them off the ground, as I did have a slug problem, and that has stopped them from being eaten, but now I am worried that as I keep pinching out, I will be left with no fruits as i cut away the ones that appear to be rotting.
This is my first year gardening (apart from when I was little and used to "help" my dad!), so any advice would be welcome!
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Cymbaline


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Try hand-pollinating. If the female flower does not get pollinated, the little pre-fruit does not develop, and rots off - just about as you describe. The male flowers don't have the pre-fruit, so it's easy to pck one of them, stipr the petals off, and rub it around a female flower to pollinate. Ideally you want to do this soon after the flowers open (ones that have already gone by usually won't work.)
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In article

Yup!
Male flower will be on a long stem. Female flower will be close to the vine,
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Cymbaline wrote:

If the vines are growing well the most likely cause of poor fruiting is lack of pollination. Do you have any bees? You ought to see them around quite easily.
David
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Cymbaline said:

You may have a pollination problem (as per other replies) but you may also be stressing the plants by pinching them back. Squash will abort fruit beyond what the vines can support, even with adequate pollination.
I don't prune my squash vines. I either direct them back into the patch or out in a direction that is convenient to me. (For example, putting the squash next to the garlic bed, which I don't mind that the squash will overrunning after the garlic is harvested.) Squash can even be grown up a trellis--the fruit will need to be supported in some sort of sling in this case.
Planning ahead for next year, there are 'bush' type butternuts which don't run as much.
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Thank you all very much! I don't really see that many bees around my house - I am in quite a residential area, but there are not that many gardeners around so most people have put their gardens to parking or patio, so distinct lack of wildlife!
I will try the pollination thing today, and keep my fingers crossed :)
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