At the beginning of September we started to notice the butternut squash vines starting to die off. The vines had produced four butternut squash. This isn’t a great yield, but having never grown butternut squash before I was just happy to get anything at all.
Sidenote: after my lofty attempts at playing honeybee to the butternut squash, the baby fruit looked like it was starting to develop. Then slowly…the fruit started to die. And die it did. All the other squashes that ended up being successfully pollinated and developed fully were pollinated naturally. So, the moral of the story is: next time, just let nature do its thang. I did apparently have enough bees for pollination (at least enough for four squashes), so next time I’m just not going to worry about it so much.
Butternut squash are ready to be harvested when the vines start to die off and the stem of the squash starts to turn from green to brown. It is generally recommended that winter squash (except acorn squash) should be cured in warm, dry conditions to help cuts from harvesting to heal. I set my squash on screens in our basement to cure while I was away.
It was really interesting to see the squash “bleed” water from the cut in their stems after I had harvested them. It was a good lesson in the high water content of vegetables, even storage vegetables like winter squash.