Monday, July 15, 2013

Prune That Squash!

Squash of all varieties are fantastic additions to a garden. My husband and I planted a plentiful amount of butternut squash and zucchini in ours, and in a matter of weeks, flourishing green vines and large leaves were hanging from our garden boxes with small yellow buds. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of the squashes' conquest in our garden.

Our butternut squash plants.
Knowing little about gardening, we discovered quickly that squash loves to spread and grow multiple vines and cling to other vegetables. Our squash seemed to grow wildly before our eyes and we were left scratching our heads on what to do to save our other beloved vegetable plants as the squash moved in. We quickly discovered a wonderful, simple solution: pruning. 

Squash, of all varieties, tend to grow quickly and on a vine. Large green leaves and multiple vines grow out in an effort to produce a lot, quickly. They need sunlight and soil that is able to drain but can stay moist. Due to the plants' effort to produce and grow a lot quickly, it spreads out its vines and keeps growing unless pruned. 
Squash above ground.

Squash end that you trim. Look for
octopus like vines. 
There are many suggestions on when to prune, but we have done it based on how fast our butternut squash grows and where it is growing. Most suggest pruning the plant every month starting when the vine is about 5 feet in length. To prune, find the growing tips of the vines and cut them off. The plant, thinking it is being attacked, will put more effort into growing more of its produce. You will get fuller, riper squash faster as well as keep the fast growing plant from spreading too thin across your garden. By mid growth, you can also pick off any new flowers to keep the maturing squash growing. Growing squash can also be placed off the ground to avoid any rotting if your garden ground is consistently wet. 

I love our butternut squash, and I am very excited to harvest them and make soup! These tips from gardeners have been so helpful to me and my husband, and I hope that they are helpful to you. 

Happy gardening!


Story Tellers Vintage said...

Great tips here Amanda! I never thought about the additional benefits of pruning squash besides preventing it from taking over! Your plants look great. Looks like you'll be able to make many pots of butternut squash bisque this fall :)

Jen said...

Love these gardening posts, even though I don't have a garden. I live vicariously through YOU instead! Can already taste the soup... :)

Kathi said...

great info! we tossed some of those mini white pumpkins into our flower bed after we were done with it as fall decor. thought the squirrels might like it.
next spring we had a crazy vine that took over everywhere. loved growing our own gourds though. if only we had this information I might have put some in this year

Mothra Sue said...

This is such a timely post! I am growing cucumber plants in containers this year (our soil here is so bad!) and they are doing extremely well--- almost too well since they're getting so big and i'm worried they're not putting enough energy into making cucumbers! So, your pruning tips are perfect and sound like they apply just as well to cucumbers. Yay for gardening!

Teresa said...

Soooo interesting!! Filing this article for use in the "future garden" I hope to have one of these days. Fabulous!!

gazaboo said...

Thanks Amanda! Never even thought of pruning squash! Last year they invaded my entire small garden. But we enjoyed having 50 beautiful butternut squash all prepared and in the freezer last winter. I love them baked with a little butter, brown sugar and salt. And we had the best soup as well. Off to tweet and pin this post. Thanks!

Whimzy Thyme said...

Wow - thanks so much for the info Amanda. Gorgeous!

HilltopTimes said...

Squashing and Pruning! What a delightful gardener's reading! Squash spread, and so has your great info. So many thanks!

BeeJayKay said...

I would love to have a garden! This looks like fun!

Wicked Darling said...

Oh I so want a garden!! Thanks for sharing this Amanda! :)

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