Squash, Walthram Butternut

Light: Sun
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Type: Vegetable

Zucchini is the most well-known summer squash, but are other types worth growing, such as crookneck squash. Useful, all-purpose vegetables, summer squash of all sorts are delightful sliced or chopped into salads of all kinds, including pasta salads. It adds a texture and crunch all its own. Or use summer squashes in soups, simmering lightly to preserve their texture. For a simple summer side dish, saute in olive oil, garlic, and oregano. Summer squashes come in quite a variety. They can be long, straight, and thin like zucchini, have a swollen base and thin, bent top like crookneck squash, be round like a baseball, or even be shaped like a flying saucer. Grow bush types in hills 2 to 3 feet apart in rows 3 to 5 feet apart. Plants are notoriously prolific producers, so you may need only one or two to supply your needs.

Winter squashes are a welcome late summer and fall addition to seasonal meals. Stuff them, roast them, bake them, or turn them into hearty soups and stews. And grow plenty, because they store beautifully for months at room temperature. Winter squashes come in an amazing array of shapes and colors. All need rich, fertile soil and adequate heat and water to produce their best. In cool-summer areas lay black plastic mulch over the planting beds to warm the soil and sow seeds or set transplants through holes in the plastic. Provide 1 to 2 inches of water per week through the growing season. Give the plants an extra dose of fertilizer once the vines begin to run.

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