Spaghetti and butternut squash are popularly known as squashes. However, they possess totally distinguishable characteristics. Butternut squash has a distinct taste and is rich in nutrition constituents. Besides, it has a smooth texture making it most ideal for sauces, fillings, and soups. However, spaghetti squash has a mild flavor and it does not last in storage long. It involves versatile preparation methods and can be shredded to resemble spaghetti.
These differences are blessings in disguise as they help in giving us a variety when it comes to winter squashes. According to agricultural practitioners, here are simple methodologies on how you can plant, cultivate, and harvest these squashes at home.
Planting Spaghetti Squash
Before planting spaghetti squash, ensure the ground is well-drained, warm, and fertile. Plant the seeds in rows. The rows should be an inch deep and 4 inches apart. Alternatively, you can plant the seeds in a microgreens growing kit to save space and the workload involved. These kits are ideal for come indoor seed germination. For more information about growing kits, check here. Add mulch to the soil and water around the area, preferably through drip irrigation, if possible.
Ensure the water levels are never past one or two inches, and the soil is always warm. Spaghetti squash is susceptible in its early stages. Once mature, transfer the seedlings into holes that are deep enough to cover their roots. Plant the seedlings in careful arrangement to ensure each squash gets adequate sunlight and nutrients.
Taking care of spaghetti squash is not as complicated as planting. Firstly, there must be enough sunlight to guarantee their growth. Don’t plant spaghetti squash during the frost period. Please wait until it ends before transferring the seedlings outside. If you are growing spaghetti squash in a greenhouse, ensure the light settings are set correctly. Make sure the soil you are using has sufficient organic matter.
In most cases, during the growth stage, your squash will start taking up more space. Thin the plants by three to five inches to encourage more growth and healthier fruit. Spaghetti squash also grows more substantial with more space. Often attend your garden to remove all unnecessary as often as possible. Water the plants when it is dry. Lastly, use approved insecticides to keep pests such as red mites out and boost your squash’s growth.
Spaghetti squash announces its harvest season once its color turns to golden yellow. Therefore, it advisable to harvest your spaghetti squashes before the onset of the first heavy frost. Harvest them by cutting the vine using gardening sheers. That’s with a few inches of the stern contact. Do not pull the spaghetti squash. Once harvested, store your squash in a cool, dry place in one layer to prevent rotting.
Spaghetti squashes are rich in nutrients. Not to mention health experts have announced its prominence in carrying Vitamin A. Also, they contain potassium, niacin, fiber, and iron. Spaghetti squash can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as boiling and baking. Their nutritional content makes them a perfect meal to take in this era. Growing spaghetti squash does not call for expertise. It’s one of the plants that can save you a lot of money and improve your health if you do it organically.
Butternut squash is one of the prominent winter squash. Unlike most of the other squashes that can be eaten immediately, butternut squash can’t be consumed until full fruit maturity. The best time to plant butternut squash seeds is after the end of the frost period. Just like spaghetti squash, your butternut squash seeds should be planted in warm soil. Ensure the depth is 4 inches for each seed having proper sunlight.
Butternut squash seedlings are very sensitive and can freeze quickly if exposed to frost. Thus, ensure the soil is warm to favor its growth. If you are planting the seeds in a greenhouse, ensure the soil temperature is always between 60 and 65 F. Additionally, you can plant the seeds in a microgreens growing kit to lessen workload and expenses. Water the seedlings regularly and harden them for a while before transplanting. Hardening gives them a chance of survival even after extreme winter frost.
Another similarity between the two squashes is the amount of space they take up for cultivation. Their vines can grow up to 15 feet. So every plant should have roughly 50 square feet of space. Ensure the soil is well fertilized to increase the crop’s abundance. The butternut squash hills should always be rid of unnecessary weeds once they appear. This offers prevention of water and nutrients competition.
Cultivate your plants using hands as opposed to a hoe. This is encouraged to curb squash damages while cultivating. Typically, butternut squash roots are shallow so they can easily be cut or plucked if you use a hoe. Fertilize the soil during the entire cultivating season to increase the yield. Be on the lookout for bugs, too, by using appropriate insecticides. Insecticidal soap is a recommendable insecticide to go with.
The only way to know your squash is ready is when its rinds harden. After hardening, the rid usually gains a solid tan that is deep. Leaving your butternut squash to mature entirely means it will have a harder rind. This hard rind increases the squash chances of survival during storage. It is advisable to harvest the squash before the onset of the next winter frost.
Harvest the butternut squash by cutting the fruit using gardening sheers or a knife. The stem attached to the fruit should be roughly 2 inches in length. If you cut it too short or harvest the squash without a stem, bacteria will attack it. Eat or discard all butternut squashes that are damaged during the harvesting period. After harvesting, cool the squash before storing it at approximately 70 F.
Ensure the storage area is well-enclosed to prevent attacks by insects. The basement or garage can serve the best storage if you do not have a store.