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Among the varieties of pumpkin, butternut squash is popular. It belongs to the Pumpkin family and is considered an annual plant. Fruits have different shapes: round, slightly flattened, as well as oval or pear-shaped. It is distinguished by its high yield and excellent taste, juicy pulp and bright orange peel.
The name of the delicious vegetable was given because of the aroma emanating from it. Butternut squash was first developed in Central America. On average, its weight is 3 kg, and the special difference between the fruits is that they taste sweet.
Popular in Colombia, Peru, Asia, Mexico. This type of pumpkin was brought to Europe only in the 18th century. The vegetable belongs to healthy dietary food, almost consists of water, which is 90%, although the pulp of the pumpkin is dense.
This pumpkin should be on every table. You can cook a variety of dishes from it - cereals, soups, pastries. It is stewed, baked, boiled, pickled and dried. In addition, Butternut squash is the only type of pumpkin that, thanks to its thin skin, is pleasant to eat fresh, adding to salads.
Healthy vegetable. The spectrum of its valuable properties is striking, it is:
- Improves vision due to the presence of carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin in it.
- It has a diuretic effect, cleansing the kidneys, bladder from the content of toxins and salts in them.
- Strengthens the cardiovascular system, cleansing blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and also helps to eliminate "bad" cholesterol.
- It is the prevention of dangerous diseases such as angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, stroke.
- Contains fiber to improve gastrointestinal function.
- It has a low calorie content: 45 kcal per 100 grams of product, therefore it is considered a dietary product. Thanks to her, you can get rid of extra pounds.
- It helps to improve the functioning of the immune system, thanks to the content of vitamin C and folic acid.
- It slows down the aging of the body, as it contains potassium and vitamin K. They protect cells from free radicals, as well as toxins and toxins accumulated in the body.
- Improves the condition of teeth and joints. Contained calcium strengthens tooth enamel and bones.
- It can improve the patient's condition during the flu, since the contained vitamin C helps to quickly get rid of viruses, restore a sore throat.
- This product is useful for pregnant women, since it practically does not cause allergies, it supplies the body only with everything useful, which will contribute to the full development of the fetus.
In terms of content, butternut squash is considered a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A, B, C, PP, E, as well as trace elements - magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and others.
Suitable region and climate
Butternut squash is a thermophilic crop and grows outdoors only in the southern regions. In the north, it is grown in greenhouses.
How to grow?
The vegetable ripens for a long time: the vegetative period is 115–140 days. But still there are early ripening varieties that are best grown in the middle lane.
Most often it is necessary to harvest at the end of August or in the middle of September before the onset of frost. It's okay that the fruits are not fully ripe: they will ripen during maturation. This will take 45-60 days.
Site selection and landing time
Before choosing a site for the Butternut Gourd, it must be remembered that it is considered a heat-loving and southern crop. The place should be slightly on a hill (so that the water does not stagnate) and be illuminated by the sun all day. If the slightest shadow falls on the plants, you won't get any harvest.
It must be remembered: the pumpkin prefers spacious beds. After all, her whips can stretch up to 3 meters to the sides. Pumpkin remains immune to many diseases, easily tolerates temperature changes.
In order for the Nutmeg pumpkin in the middle lane to fully ripen, it is necessary to plant it in seedlings. Seeds are sown at the end of April in separate containers. They are planted in a permanent place of growth in early June, when there is no danger of frost.
Dangerous factors for her are:
- a cold snap that lasted for a long time;
- prolonged rains;
- spring frosts.
Garden bed preparation
To plant seedlings, you need to prepare a garden bed. It is desirable that the soil is loose, well saturated with organic fertilizers. Rotted manure and compost must be poured into each hole.
It is even better if there is a pile of manure near the pumpkin bed.
Seed preparation for sowing
Before carrying out the process of sowing seeds, it is recommended to prepare them. To do this, they are first soaked in a solution of potassium permanganate for 30 minutes, then immediately transferred to the dissolved Epin growth simulator, kept in it for another 30 minutes. Then wrapped in damp gauze or cotton cloth, put in a warm place for germination.
How to plant pumpkin seeds?
To get strong seedlings, you need to do the following:
- To sustain seedlings at home for about a month.
- Then prepare the containers in advance. Better to keep them separate for each plant. They are filled with special soil for growing seedlings.
- 2 seeds are planted in each container.
- The containers are covered with foil so that the soil moisture is preserved, and they are placed in a dark, but, most importantly, warm place.
- As soon as shoots appear, it is recommended to remove the film and transfer the plants to a well-lit windowsill.
- Then a strong plant is selected from the seedlings, and the weak one is removed. Leaving only one sprout.
- After half a month has passed, it is necessary to start hardening the plants. It is recommended to take them out to the balcony, gradually lengthening the time.
- In late May or June, it is recommended to plant pumpkin sprouts outdoors.
When planting seedlings in open ground, it is necessary to monitor the temperature in the air and in the soil: it should not be lower than 15 ° C. The pumpkin is afraid of the slightest frost. Better to wait until the weather settles.
Propagation of butternut squash
There are two main ways of reproduction - seeds and seedlings. The seeds are taken from the best, well-ripened pumpkin, there are a lot of them in the middle of the fruit. The seeds are taken out, dried and stored until next spring.
Negative factors that worsen and complicate obtaining a good harvest are:
- the development of diseases;
- insect attack;
- natural disasters (frost, frequent rains, drought).
The first two must be fought with the use of chemicals and folk methods.
After planting seeds or seedlings, you need to take care of them. This means timely watering, loosening the ground, applying top dressing, removing weeds, forming whips, and fighting pests and diseases.
Watering is an important prerequisite for harvesting butternut squash. It is required to water in the morning or evening hours, only with warm, soft water. It is advisable to pour water under the root so that water does not fall on the leaves, especially when the bright sun is shining.
It is important for a pumpkin that everything is in moderation. It does not tolerate drought and excessive moisture in the land. If the temperature is high outside, the plant is under the sun, it is advisable to shade it a little with straw or hay.
To obtain large fruits, it becomes necessary to adjust the formation of lashes. The central whip is left, and the side ones are removed, except for two branches: they should not exceed a length of 70 cm.
Fertilizing is important for the growth of the fetus. Organic fertilizers are welcome. It can be mullein, compost, rotted manure.
Wood ash is required as a mineral additive. For the entire growing season (summer season), it is necessary to make about 4 additional dressings at least 1-2 times a month. It is advisable to purchase superphosphate, potassium sulfate.
It is known that butternut squash does not pollinate on its own, so it will need the help of insects, but it is more reliable if the owner himself does it. To do this, it is necessary during the flowering period to find a male flower (bloom first), tear off the petals, leaving only the pistil. They will touch the stamens on a female flower.
After planting a vegetable, you need to make sure that weeds do not grow near it, which will begin to absorb useful substances intended for pumpkin. Remove weeds in a timely manner, slightly loosening the ground nearby. To limit their growth, you can mulch the pumpkin with straw or overlay with agrospan.
Butternut pumpkin varieties
This is a healthy crop, so a lot of work has been done by breeders, many different varieties have been bred.
They differ from each other:
- the content of vitamins and minerals.
This variety of Butternut Gourd has a medium-late ripening period. Grows in open ground. Grows up to 8 kg. The fruit is covered with a thin light orange skin. The pulp is firm, juicy, aromatic and orange in color. The fruits are perfectly stored.
The variety is good for those who like to feast on this vegetable in cold winter. The shelf life is up to 4 months.
According to the description of the pumpkin, the Pearl belongs to the mid-late varieties. They have an orange skin, the shape is rounded-cylindrical. The pulp is orange, juicy, sweet.
The fruits are perfectly stored in a refrigerator or cellar. The growing season is 110 days.
The bush is compact, the fruits weigh about 8 kg. Planting and cultivation of Pearls, like Muscat, is carried out in open ground with seeds at a distance of 60 cm. It develops well with the introduction of organic fertilizers. Differs in cold-resistant qualities when grown.
Marina from Chioggia
A vegetable originally from Italy. It resembles a sea monster in appearance, so the crust is slightly flattened, but the fruit is round in shape. Legend has it that this type of pumpkin was planted by the sea to the inhabitants of Kyogia.
Medium late variety. The growing season is about 130 days. Pumpkins grow large, can weigh about 12 kg. Pumpkin, by its composition, has a high sugar content, therefore it is considered a versatile vegetable for preparing various dishes. Jams, jams are made from it, even added to cakes and puddings, candied fruits are prepared.
Pumpkin Vitamin is considered a late ripening variety. The fruits are ready to eat in 140 days. They have an elongated oval shape, with a thin skin, brown in color interspersed with a yellow-pink hue. The pulp has a bright orange color, juicy, crunchy, sweetish in taste.
The weight of the fetus reaches 5 kg. You can plant with seeds, but it is better to choose a seedling planting method so that the fruits ripen earlier. It is better to plant with the holes in rows.
It has a round, slightly flattened shape, the crust is not thick, slightly ribbed. The rind is matte orange. It is considered mid-season in terms of ripening. The growing season is 120 days. The fruit grows up to 8 kg in weight.
The pulp is bright orange, with excellent taste. It has an interesting feature: the longer you store the pumpkin, the better it tastes. Desserts, juice and candied fruits are good from it.
This variety is considered mid-season. The fruits ripen on day 115. The plant differs in that it grows very powerful, so it is planted from each other at a great distance. The holes must be dug 100 cm apart.
The fruits grow medium in size up to 4 kg. The pulp is bright orange, sweet in taste. No wonder the fruit has such a name. A feature is that the pumpkin remains immune to many diseases, easily tolerates temperature changes.
It is an early maturing variety with a vegetative period of 90 days. It was bred in Italy, it has an oblong shape. The peculiarity of the fruit is that the seeds begin to form at the bottom of the pumpkin. Due to this, there is more pulp.
It has a pleasant pumpkin aroma and a sweet taste. This variety is very often used as a diet food.
Butternut squash, as described, is one of the late melon varieties with beautiful orange fruits. The fruit ripens in 140-150 days, has an oblong shape. Cultivation and care is carried out after planting in open ground.
Vitamin juices are obtained from it, since the pulp is orange, with a pleasant aroma, juicy and crunchy. Suitable for dietetic food.
Muscat de Provence
This variety is considered to be medium late, as it ripens in 115–120 days. Butternut squash has a thick crust. It helps to prolong the storage of fruits, while all of its valuable qualities are preserved.
The fruits grow up to 8-10 kg. The pulp is rich orange in color, with a very pleasant honey taste. This variety is resistant to temperature extremes and diseases.
The Hokkaido variety is gaining more and more popularity among vegetable lovers. It is considered an early maturing plant. It can be different in shape: pear-shaped, round, slightly flattened. The fruits are not very large. Weigh from 700 grams to 2.5 kg.
The flesh ranges from yellow to almost red in color. The taste is reminiscent of sweet potatoes or chestnuts. Fruit rind can be green, white and gray. Differs in a high content of nutrients. To obtain a high yield, timely watering and top dressing is required.
It is not for nothing that this variety has such a name, because the fruit has an unusual shape, reminiscent of a guitar. Since it grows in the shape of a pear, up to a meter long, and weighing from 5-10 kg. The skin is yellowish-green and the flesh is orange. Its taste is reminiscent of carrots, a bit of apricots. Outwardly, this pumpkin guitar looks more like a squash.
This vegetable produces wide, slightly flattened fruits. By ripening it belongs to the middle late varieties. The growing season lasts up to 140 days. The fruit weighs up to 5 kg.
A special feature is the color change of the crust as it ripens. At first it is green, when ripe it is almost brown. It is easy to tell by the color that the pumpkin is ready to eat. The pumpkin pulp is orange, juicy and sweet. It is suitable for making confectionery.
This is a flat appearance, the skin is gray in color, but as it matures, it becomes lighter. Orange pulp, sweetish taste. Suitable for diet food.
This plant is classified as mid-season in terms of ripening. The vegetative period is 115 days. Has a gray skin. The fruit grows up to 4.5 kg in weight.
The pulp is juicy, with a pleasant nutmeg aroma, so any prepared dish has a pleasant taste. It keeps very well.
Prikubanskaya pumpkin grows pear-shaped, it is considered medium-late in terms of ripening, from 115-140 days. The fruit is small. Its mass is 2.5 kg, it can be up to 4.5 kg. Has a thin skin.
The pumpkin is considered mid-season in terms of ripening, about 130 days. The fruits are round in shape, but slightly flattened. Has a marble color. It is a combination of green and gray.
The pulp is orange, sweet and aromatic. This pumpkin has advantages in that it is stored for a long time, the fruit does not crack or rot.
It is a late-ripening variety with a vegetative period of 150 days.Therefore, it is better to grow with seedlings. The pumpkin grows round, the surface is not smooth, its ribbing is noticeable. The skin is orange, the pulp is juicy and sweet. The average fruit weight is 10 kg.
The pumpkin has bright orange fruits and resembles a droplet in shape. It matures in a short time in 95 days. The pulp is orange in color, very juicy with a chestnut flavor.
Fruits are small, portioned. Weight is about 2 kg. Various dishes are prepared from the Golden Pear pumpkin: casseroles, soups, cereals. The planting scheme is followed, the holes are dug out about a meter later.
This variety has a high yield. The Augustine pumpkin ripens in 105 days. They are cylindrical in shape, green in color, with small light spots. This pumpkin is consumed raw for making salads, as well as aromatic cereals, pancakes and mashed potatoes.
Pumpkin yield, harvesting and storage
It is necessary to remove pumpkins from the beds in a timely manner. Much depends on the variety and ripening time. The early varieties are harvested in mid-August, the mid-late ones around the end of the month, and the late ones in September.
To find out about the ripening of the pumpkin, it is recommended to press on the crust with your finger, if there is no hole, the pumpkin is solid, then it is ready for harvesting. There are pumpkin varieties that change the color of the fruit as they ripen. You can find out about this in the instructions on the seed package.
Harvested in dry and sunny weather. It is advisable to be in time before frost, otherwise its shelf life will be reduced.
It must be remembered that the pumpkin will finally ripen during storage. To do this, you need to wait another 1.5–2 months.
It is cut off with a sharp knife; if it is heavily soiled, it is recommended to wipe it with a damp cloth.
Storage of the pumpkin crop depends on the variety. There are pumpkins that need to be stored in cold rooms, but generally it retains all its qualities well at room temperature.
If you intend to store pumpkin for a long time, you must carefully examine the fruit, it should not have any damage on the crust. Although pumpkin has amazing abilities, the wounds on it heal after a while. During storage, it ripens, at this time the crust becomes much thicker, the color changes, the pulp becomes bright orange. The pumpkin can be stored for 3-12 months.
Diseases and pests of butternut squash
Pumpkin is rarely susceptible to various diseases, it has strong immunity. But nevertheless, individual plants can get sick or be susceptible to pumpkin pests, so you need to know what diseases can be and how to deal with them. After all, any disease can affect the quality of the crop.
Common diseases of butternut squash include:
- powdery mildew;
- white root rot;
- yellow mosaic.
The disease manifests itself as dark green spots in the veins of the leaves. An oily consistency begins to accumulate on the back of the sheet. Then the leaves, where there is damage, turn brown, then dry out. After a while, these spots fall out, the leaves become full of holes.
In addition, fruits begin to suffer from this infection: they become irregular in shape, grow deformed.
Often this disease develops in damp weather, when sudden temperature changes are noticed during the day and at night. It is in such weather that this disease develops very quickly, after a while it can completely destroy the pumpkin, if no control measures are taken.
For treatment, Bordeaux liquid is used, as well as copper oxychloride, that is, HOM. Before sowing, pumpkin seeds must be treated with zinc sulfate. If the plants are infected, it is better to destroy them, then burn them.
In order for the pumpkins to be healthy, it is necessary to change the planting site. Interestingly, the spread of this infection can be wind, birds, insects and rain.
Powdery mildew is a common disease of melons, including pumpkin. It can be recognized by white spots, which first appear on the leaves in small quantities, then over time they completely cover the entire leaf with a white bloom.
The disease is fungal in nature. It gradually begins to suck out all the nutrients from the leaves, they dry out completely. This leads to a violation of the photosynthesis of the leaves, over time the fruit begins to deform, it ripens much later. The fungus deposits spores on plants next to the pumpkin, including weeds, inventory. They are carried from place to place by the wind.
The environment for the rapid development of the disease is considered to be a very rare watering of pumpkin, with frequent introduction of nitrates into the soil. It is better to choose varieties that have strong immunity from this disease.
A preventive measure is the timely removal of weeds. In case of infection, pumpkin can be treated with the following means: a solution of colloidal sulfur, as well as sodium phosphate. Can be treated with infusion of fresh mullein at a rate of 3: 1. Three times more water is taken.
A disease that is very difficult to immediately recognize, because changes occur with the root system. The roots become brown, soft and cracked. As a result, the lower leaves begin to turn yellow, and then the whole plant will die, the fruit will stop developing.
Weak seedlings are more susceptible to this disease, and natural factors also negatively affect if there are sharp changes in temperature during the day and night hours. Watering plants with cold water is bad.
Control measures include the introduction of a fungicide - Previkur. Near the pumpkin neck, you can remove a small layer of earth and fill in a new one. Process the leaves by sprinkling with ashes. The neck of the plant at the root can be sprinkled with Fundazole.
This disease is recognized by the pumpkin leaves covered with brownish spots. Then they dry out and crumble, become full of holes and gradually dry out.
The disease spreads to the stems and the fruit itself. They turn black with a pinkish tinge. Plants die, the fruits are shriveled and do not develop. For treatment, Bordeaux mixture or copper oxychloride (HOM) is used.
The disease can affect young plants. It is identified by the mosaic color of the leaves with alternating yellow and green spots. With this disease, the growth of the pumpkin slows down. Plants are treated strictly according to the instructions with Pharmayod-3.
Butternut squash pests
In addition to diseases, insects can settle on the pumpkin, which can reduce the pumpkin harvest or destroy young plants.
One of the most common pests. It starts from the bottom side of the leaf, gradually braids the leaf completely with its cobweb. It feeds on nutrients from the leaves. They become rough and hard, crack and gradually die of the plant.
The mite spreads especially well when the weather is hot without rain. For prophylaxis, it is recommended to spray the plants with infusion of garlic or onion husks, in extreme cases - Karbofos.
The gourd aphid often affects the pumpkin. It starts up in colonies from the back of the sheet. It feeds on plant sap, gradually the leaves dry out, and the pumpkin dies.
It is recommended to process the leaves with wormwood, celandine, onion husks and garlic. It is advisable to attract ladybugs that will begin to fight these pests. If there are a lot of them, you can apply Tryphos or Karbofos.
These pests love to feast on young leaves and sprouts. Usually they hide during the day, but are clearly visible in the evening and at night. They have a great appetite. They prefer humidity and warmth.
To fight, use Thunderstorm powder or ash. Sprayed with herbal infusions of garlic, chamomile and wormwood.
These are the larvae of the click beetle. They damage the root system of young plants. They are collected mechanically by arranging baits. Potatoes and beets are placed next to the pumpkin, when there are a lot of them in potatoes, then they are thrown out along with the wireworms.
If there are too many of them, then the soil is cultivated by Bezudin.
Prevention of pests and diseases
In order to grow healthy fruits, it is recommended to follow certain preventive measures.
- Constantly change the place of planting the pumpkin.
- After harvesting, the stems and leaves are dried and burned.
- Do not plant other melons and gourds next to the pumpkin.
- Do not plant plants too close.
- Seeds for planting should be taken only from healthy fruits.
- Process the seeds before planting with at least potassium permanganate.
- Weed the weeds constantly, as there may be fungal spores.
- If pumpkin is severely affected by diseases, it is better to remove them so as not to infect other plants.
- Feed the plants to be strong and have good immunity.
- Regularly inspect plants in order to notice diseases and pests in time.
Butternut squash is a healthy, tasty vegetable that a novice gardener can grow if he follows the growing rules.