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Cutting back squash plants

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Jowo, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. Jowo

    Jowo Gardener

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    Hi all,

    I read that squashes need approx 1metre square room. Well my largest is about 4 metres tip to tip!! (photo attached) Is this normal? I feel like I'm growing a trifid!! I'm absolutely amazed at its growth and its such a beautiful plant I'm loath to cut it but it is taking over. So my question is, I'm guessing it's fine to just cut the ends off to make it more manageable. It has started flowering so it's all very exciting!IMG_20210723_183301.jpg
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    I wouldn't do any cutting until you are sure you have some fruit set.
    Is it a winter squash?

    Not something I grow but I'm sure others will have some advice.
     
  3. Jowo

    Jowo Gardener

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    Hi Pete,
    It's all new to me too! I have approx 7 plants, all between 1 to 4 metres. They have taken me by surprise I did read that you shouldn't cut them before they fruit, but I'm rapidly running out of room!!! I've already moved some plants to accommodate!
     
  4. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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    I don't grow squashes but have grown Pumpkins in the past which take up a lot of space. You have to let them do their own thing, but you can train the leaders by moving them into the direction where there is more space. As they have started flowering I'd hand pollinate the females. Once they set you could chop off the leaders beyond but of course you wouldn't get any more fruit after that.

    I think @Scrungee is more knowledgeable than me when it comes to squashes.
     
  5. Scrungee

    Scrungee Well known for it

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    That's bush, not trailing squashes. What variety is it?

    I've allowed about 6 x 12 feet for each of my trailing squashes, but some will grow smaller. For my big trailing marrows I've allowed 9 x 15 feet each.

    If you must remove some growth, restrict to one main stem (one of my plants has produced three main stems), then reduce the length of the secondaries (sideshoots) to leaf joint beyond female flowers, remove all tertaries (sideshoots off the sideshoots) as soon as you see them, and cut main stem(s) when you've got enough squashes forming.

    For smaller sized squashes, vertical trellis/fencing can be used to grow them up and reduce their area on plan. Next year I'm going to try the cylindrical tower of mesh (Rylock or similar, so you can get them out) method for butternuts with it securely staked over a pit of compost and a couple of butternuts planted inside it so they scramble to the top then back down the outside, only taking up about 1 m2 of ground.
     
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      Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
    • Jowo

      Jowo Gardener

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      Hi both
      Thanks for your advice. Truth is we have no idea of the variety as they were some butternut seeds of one purchase from a supermarket, that my partner put in an envelope last year. The envelope survived a house move and renovations and I'd forgotten we had them so being new to veg growing they're a bit of a trial! I'd have no idea how to assist with pollination and tbh it's very difficult to see how many shoots, or main stems there are, it's Hugh. The rest of them are along a spare bank of soil we have from renovating. How long does it take to get from flowering to fruit formation and do they slow down at some stage?
       
    • JR

      JR Chilled Gardener

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      I'm growing crown prince squash. After the flowers it was a week or so before i noticed a little beady fruit.
      A couple of more weeks to reach golf ball size and now daily they are ballooning up fast to coconut size and various smaller one's on the way.
      I keep them well watered and feed with Tom' food once a week.
      Love them in vegetable curry and this variety can store for months.
       
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      • Jowo

        Jowo Gardener

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        Is that the large butternut variety JR?
         
      • JR

        JR Chilled Gardener

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        They do grow large (4 kilos) and are quite reliable.
        They're classed as 'winter squash' due for harvest Sept/Oct but at this rate I'll probably have some ready during August.
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Had a butternut squash last 9 months ...

         
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        • Singular Mango

          Singular Mango Apprentice Gardener

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          I'm growing kuri squashes up a bamboo frame. They didn't set a spectacular number of fruit but not too bad. They looked happy until my wife well-meaningly hacked them back based on her experience of growing in south-east Asia, which is a bit different to north-east England. Now they look like they're on their last legs. I've given them a comfrey feed which I hope will cheer them up, but I'm not sure if the fruit will ripen now. So basically I would say if they're happy, leave them alone.
           
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