Saturday, 29 August 2009

A Flowering Butternut Squash!

The rise of the butternut squash plant here on the London Vegetable Garden balcony has been staggering! Now standing at around 4 feet tall, the plant produced its first flower yesterday morning, which was promptly joined by another come the evening:

Having talked to fellow gardeners on the London Vegetable Garden Twitter page, it transpires that squash flowers can be very different, with male and female varieties determining whether that flower will produce a squash or not.

As you can see from the pictures, the single stamen suggests that these are male flowers, although I'm no botanist, so please correct me if I'm wrong! Hopefully I'll have some female flowers joining these chaps, which will mean the start of a butternut squash!

Many gardeners have also told me that butternut squash plants are happy to grow along the ground, but due to the London Vegetable Garden's obvious space constraints, I'm training these up a cane. Hopefully, I'll have a squash lower down the plant which I can focus on looking after, as I'm still concerned that this pot is not big enough to bear one, let alone ten, squash plants!


However, I have put mulch on the top of the soil, am giving it plenty of water and adding a liquid vegetable plant feed once a week. It's certainly starting to look positive on the butternut squash front, but the trouble with one plant on a balcony is that if it goes wrong, that's your lot! Let's wait and see what happens...

(Do you have any good squash-growing advice? Are you growing a butternut squash and have some pictures you'd like to share with the London Vegetable Garden community? Visit the London Gardeners' Network!)

9 comments:

  1. Good luck! If you success I might have to make an attempt myself next year...

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  2. We now have several squashes growing very happily up their poles, and one is almost full size and starting to turn yellow.

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  3. Good luck! I hope you get at least one. Ive grown lots of squash up. You just may need more support for you squash as it grows. It might fall over or break off the plant without support, a lesson I learned only once, lol.

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  4. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add sliced or chopped squash, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 15 mins. Delicious! You can also saute the flowers, some people even stuff with meat and seasoning.
    Looks great!

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  5. Regarding the flowers vs fruit: What I've noticed from my zuchinni is that if the flower is strait off the stem it is male and will not fruit. If their is an extra segment between the flower and the stem, that extra segement will be the fruit forming. The flower will die off after a few days and that segment will start to grow and expand.

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  6. That pot looks a little small for a squash. They are greedy feeders. If you are growing in a small spot, you might like to try growing in a compost bag next year.

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  7. Your squash is blooming beautifully! I hope you get some fruits...er, vegetables. The trellis is a really good idea.

    Btw I have left you a meme award on my blog if you'd like to check it out =)

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  8. reckon you may be a little late if there are no female flowers on there yet.

    Hoepfully we'll get a hot september and you may be ok. You'll probably need to manually polinate any female flowers you see

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  9. Just wanted to say thanks to you all for the tips!

    Im growing squash for the first time this year.
    Mine are now flowering. They are about a foot high and the mad growth spurt hasn't happened yet.

    Im tempted to leave them to sprawl rather than rigging up a framework to support the plant +fruit.

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