Winter squash

Asked November 1, 2019, 12:42 PM EDT

What happened to my butternut squash? I had 1 hill planted and it seemed to be doing well. I planted it near my sweet corn so it could meander at will. It began sending out vines but the center of the plant appeared wilted. This continued all season until frost. The plant appeared dead but the ends of each time still had blossoms but set no fruit. I wonder how to prevent this from happening next year. My garden was in a previously vacant lot next door. My hope is to improve the soil so it is more productive. I also want to create an oasis in that empty lot in. How far I prevent the same thing happening next year. I fear my cucumbers had the same sickness as the squash. My zucchini had some mildew after I removed some of the leaves to give the bees better chance to find the blossoms. I sprayed it with a milk solution and it seemed to help. It was too late for the squash.

Saginaw County Michigan

1 Response

Thanks for your inquiry. This year's weather provided some difficulties for warm season crops like squash. They really like it warm and sunny.

The year had a slow start for warming up, so if this occurs next year or in the future you can use black plastic around your squash to help provide the warm soil temperatures they prefer. You will have to provide water via a soaker hose beneath the plastic. Sometimes the plant will wilt if they haven't had enough water, but there are also some insects and disease that will cause wilt.

You have the right idea to test the soil and follow the recommendations provided. Here is the MSU soil test resources:

Here is an extension resource for you to read more about growing butternut squash: