Helping things to finish ripening

I’ve had 3 plants of butternut squash that were planted this year taking up 4 square feet. When they all ripen, I’ll have harvested 10-12 butternut squashes. This is a picture showing two of them at the top of my 7′ vertical grow towers. You’ll notice that I’ve cut back most of the leaves. Keeping the fruit on the vine with everything else being cut back will enable all the energy to go into the fruit to finish ripening. I had 3 or 4 squashes that were just starting to grow but there’s no way they would have enough time to fully ripen, so I had to cut those off. We’ve still got several weeks of mild weather so the rest of my garden is still growing pretty well actually. This year I’ll be growing a single 4X4 garden through the entire winter. My plan is to give people the know-how and the confidence to do the same thing-even in a place like Utah where we can have some pretty harsh weather. So be sure to visit my blog in the winter months if you’d like to follow along. I’ll be posting a little less frequently, but enough to give you some glimpses of what’s going on. There’s plenty for me to do right now though-I still have 3 more weeks of delivering freshly pulled garden produce to customers. This has, without a doubt, been the busiest September I’ve ever had with gardening. I finished my last teaching project in a place called Duchesne, Utah. It’s a 2 hour drive but they had a bunch of people ready to put in fall gardens in anticipation of some rather difficult days to come. So I’ll be taking a couple of months off instructing before the teaching begins again. I guess I shouldn’t say it’s over because I’ve been invited by Mel Bartholomew to help in the upcoming SFG symposium being held in San Diego. If you’re interested in becoming a certified SFG instructor, I hope you consider joining us. It will be the best money you’ve ever spent. You can read all about it here.  You’ll walk away after these 3 days never having to ask for advice from anyone on the Internet again.  It’s all so easy that you’ll be amazed at the simplicity and the genius behind the method.  Just one more quick thing about squash and getting back to the original topic-If you’re planning on eating them right now, that’s fine.  But if you’re planning on storing your harvest of winter squash there’s a few things to keep in mind.  First-be sure to cut your squash from the vines before the first freeze hits.  Second, cut the vines leaving about 2″.  Third-let them sit outside in a warm location for about 10 days to harden off the skins and make them more resistant to decay.  Last-add 1/4 cup of bleach in a gallon of cool water.  Then with a small brush clean the entire surface of the squash.  Dry it off and store it in a place where it’s cool and out of direct sunlight.  This is a great trick to prevent bacterial growth during the storage months.  Till next time….

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2 thoughts on “Helping things to finish ripening

  • by RDG

    Thanks for the tip on storing squash. We had our first frost last night. Everything that is frost sensitive died. I’ve decided not to fall garden this year. So things are winding down. I have some herbs that look like they survived the first frost though: parsley, sage and thyme.

    I might have to give butternuts a try next year.

    • by Jim This is post author

      Sorry to hear about the first frost. Wow, you guys are early out there! If you’ve never grown butternut squash, you ought to consider it. Not only is it easy, you get a pretty good sized crop in a minimal amount of space and it tastes-well, lets put it this way. You know the difference in taste between a winter tomato purchased from the grocery store and one of those just picked off the vine summer tomatoes? Pretty much the same difference with butternut squash….hope everything is going good out there for you and your family Rand…..Jim

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