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!
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.)
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
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.
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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