Name: Butternut Pumpkin or Butternut Squash (Cucurbita moschata)
A young seedling.
Description: C. moschata is a species of the family of gourds, or common pumpkin, originating in South America and brought back to the Old World during various expeditions. It is an annual climbing or creeping vine usually grown for ornamental and food purposes.
Size: The vines extending from the rootstock usually reach a length of between 3 and 11 metres by the time of harvest. The fruit commonly measure between 35 and 60 centimetres and weigh around 1.5 - 4 kg. Overly large and heavy fruit occur from time to time.
Conditions: C. moschata is a mesophytical plant, meaning it requires a constant supply of water throughout its life, particularly once it starts flowering. It thrives well in most soil types, however a moist clay or peat type soil of a pH of 6.5 - 7.5. Frost is a major concern for plant health and should be avoided by rigorous mulching and covering the plant overnight during cold periods. Poor soil conditions can lead to stunted growth and decreased fruit yield.
Yellowing leaves, a sign of overly dry soil or nutrient deficieny. Mulching and regular watering should bring the conditions back to an ideal level.
Propagation: C. moschata propagates via seed through open pollination of the male flowers.
When to plant: Sowing just after the last winter frost is recommended to avoid any frost damage. However, depending on the local climate, one can plant all year around providing a constant warm and moist environment is supporting the plants growth.
Thank you for the article. I had been wondering actually what the yellow colour of my leaves was due to, and checking the soil, it seems rather dry and sand-like. Shall be mulching in the morning, thanks again.