When to Sow: April-May Maturity: September to October

Full Sun

Starting Indoors: Sow 2-3 seeds in 2" modules (peat or cardboard containers are ideal) 3 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Be careful not to over water, as squash seeds are quick to rot in overly-moist, airless compost or soil.

Thin to strongest 1-2 plants per module. Harden off gradually and transplant outside after all danger or frost has passed and the weather is warm and settled. (In most climates this is towards the end of May.) Squash has a very tender rooting system so be extra careful not to disturb.

Plant 18-30" apart.

Direct Seeding: Sow in late spring when the soil has warmed to around 70°F (21°C) and the danger of frost has passed. Sow 1-2 seeds Plant 18-30" apart and 1/2-1" deep. Thin to 1 plant per spot.

For best results, plant at the top of a shallow mound. As the squash grows it will produce a mass of white roots on the surface of the soil. Cover these with compost or well-rotten manure as they appear.

Maintenance

Keep squash plants well watered at every stage of their development. Squash are heavy feeders and can enjoy up to weekly feedings of liquid seaweed or other similar fertilizers. Mulch well to discourage weeds and conserve water.

Harvesting

Harvest when fruit is fully mature and the foliage has died down (but before the first frost). Cut stems about 1" from the fruit, ideally after the stem has dried and the skin has hardened. (Again squash are not frost-hardy and must be harvested before the first frost of the year.) Handle the fruits carefully to avoid scratching or bruising them. Leave in the field for 5-7 days in full sun to dry and toughen the skin.

With good storage, Metro Butternut squashes should last through February or even later. Store at temperatures between 50-60°F (10-15°C), with 50-75% relative humidity and good air circulation.

Companion Planting

Squash plants do well with all nitrogen-fixers like beans and peas, and can be planted alongside corn and benefit from ice radishes, nasturtiums, and borage.