Thursday, August 22, 2013

What's The Proper Npk Fertilizer For Growing Butternut Squash

You have several NPK-fertilizer options for growing butternut squash.

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that enjoys full sunlight exposure and rich, well-draining soil. If you have enough garden space to grow butternut squash, you'll find that the plants are relatively easy to grow and demand only basic care. You'll need to apply fertilizer at two different times during the growing season.

Site Preparation

The first fertilizer application that you'll need to make is when you're preparing the planting site for your butternut squash plants. When you're loosening the soil bed using a garden fork or rototiller, spread up to 4 inches of well-rotted organic compost on the bed. Mix the compost into the soil to a depth of about 12 inches. Then, apply 4 to 6 cups of all-purpose garden fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil bed row, or at a rate of 30 lb. per 1,000 square feet.

NPK Formula

A soil test can tell you the correct fertilizer formula for your garden bed, including what nutrients you should add for growing butternut squash. Like other types of winter squash, butternut squash plants prefer a soil pH of 6.2 to 6.5. In the absence of a soil test, you can use a basic NPK formula for vegetable plants, such as a 5-10-10, 10-10-10 or 16-16-8 NPK formula. Add one of these types of NPK fertilizers to the garden bed prior to planting your butternut squash seeds or transplants.


The second fertilizer application for butternut squash plants is when the first flower blooms emerge, after the plants develop runners on the vines. When you see the first blooms, apply a side-dressing of calcium nitrate, spreading the fertilizer about 6 to 8 inches away from the plants on both sides of the row. You can side-dress the butternut squash plants at a rate of 2 lb. calcium nitrate per 100 feet row. Another type of fertilizer that you can use to for this side-dressing application is a 21-0-0 NPK formula, at a rate of 1 to 2 tbsp. per plant.


When you side-dress the butternut squash plants with fertilizer, make sure that you water it in thoroughly, so that the fertilizer granules dissolve into the soil. Also, avoid getting the fertilizer on the plant itself. If your garden soil is sandy or your area experiences heavy, leaching rains, you might need to apply additional side-dressings of fertilizer or side-dress at lower rates but more frequently. Avoid overfertilizing the butternut squash plants with lots of nitrogen, because doing so can promote excessive vegetative growth at the expense of squash yield.

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