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When to Harvest Butternut Squash?

By Nannette Richford

Butternut squash is a warm season vegetable grown in home gardens across the U.S. This winter squash develops a hard outer shell encasing delicate orange fruit as it matures. If harvested after the fruit matures and seeds have developed it can be eaten fresh or stored for months in a cool dry place. Harvesting takes place in the late fall before the first hard frost.

Monitoring

Monitor butternut squash a week or two before the expected maturity date. Although there is some variation between cultivars, butternut squash generally matures in 110 to 120 days from planting or 45 to 55 days from blooming.

Color Changes

Look for a deepening in color. Butternut squash ranges from cream to yellow and darkens to a tan when ripe. Check the outer shell, ripe winter squash will resist a scratch from your fingernail and vines will begin to die back when the squash is mature.

Harvesting

Harvest butternut squash on a clear dry day when the squash are dry. Cut the squash from the vine, leaving a two to four inch stem attached to the squash to prevent the introduction of disease or bacteria that may cause decay. Store in a cool dry area with temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees.

 

About the Author

 

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.