I have a small garden but would love to try growing butternut squash. Just...

Asked May 23, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

I have a small garden but would love to try growing butternut squash. Just wondering if it would be possible to let it spread in between my caged tomatoes. I think they would be too heavy to grow upward. Any other suggestions or should I just plan to keep buying it at the farmers market? Thanks

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. If you want to plant your own winter squash in a small space, you would be better off planting bush or semi bush varieties instead of trying to grow standard butternut squash among your tomato plants. Non bush varieties need 8 feet or more of vining space, are heavy feeders, need adequate water, and full sun. Tomatoes have the same requirements, therefore the competition between the two could result in disappointing yields. Neither one will do as well as one would do alone.

A good alternative is to plant squash that vines only minimally or not at all. Better Bush squash is a space saving bush type plant that only grows to about 3 feet tall. Each bush bears 4-5 butternut squash averaging 1 1/2 pounds.

Read this publication from the University of Minnesota Extension on how to grow pumpkins and winter squash: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/growing-pumpkins-and-winter-squash/

Here is another article on winter squash for tight quarters. It is from Fine Gardening magazine and isn't a research based article but you may find it helpful anyway: http://www.finegardening.com/winter-squash-tight-quarters

Thank you for contacting Extension.