Butternut Squash Of Provence (Cucurbita Moschata) Or Nutmeg Squash

The butternut squash of Provence belongs to the species Cucurbita moschata among those which compose the big family of Cucurbitaceae. They are part of the "runner" or creeping squash, which form long stalks that soon invade neighboring cultures if you do not intervene.

Butternut squash of Provence (Cucurbita moschata) or nutmeg squash: plantation and culture

The heart-shaped leaves are dark green, they are mottled white, velvety, with more or less sharp angles and can measure 40 to 50 cm in diameter. The stems have hairs that do not sting. The flowers are yellow-orange. The peduncle has five ribs and is extended to the fruit. The fruit is round, flattened and ribbed and turns from dark green to ocher when ripe. It measures about 25 to 50 cm in diameter and weighs between 5 and 10 kg depending on the specimens.

As their name indicates, these squash come from the South of France, they need heat (15° C minimum): they are particularly liked in Provence and in the regions with hot climate. Then, these conservation squash, harvested in the fall, will spend the winter months in a well ventilated room around 15° C to be consumed as and when.

From a nutritional point of view, the butternut squash of Provence is rich in water and low in calories (20 kcal / 100g). It contains several antioxidant compounds as well as vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B9, C, K, iron, manganese, copper...

Its flashy orange flesh, coppery red, very dense, thick, offers a sweet, slightly musky taste. As it is rich in water, it is better not to add water when cooking.

It is particularly adapted to associate with the vegetables of a couscous but is also prepared in sweet compositions.

  • Family: Cucurbitaceae
  • Type: annual
  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Color: yellow-orange flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: early summer
  • Harvest: September until the first frosts
  • Height: up to 50 cm

Ideal soil and exposure for planting butternut squash

The butternut squash of Provence must be cultivated in full sun, with the maximum of heat, in a well drained soil and very well amended. Before planting or planting, bury compost on the entire garden where the squash will run.

Date of sowing and planting of Nutmeg

If you live in the south of France, you will be able to start seedlings in early March under shelter, in a bucket. Elsewhere, you will wait for April. Before transplanting in the ground, keep only the most beautiful plant of the bucket. In May, when the frost can no longer prevail, sow in place or transplant the plants spacing them from 1.5 to 2 m.

Council of maintenance and culture of the butternut squash of Provence

It is strongly recommended to pinch the stems to favor the formation of some beautiful fruits: no more than 3 or 4 per foot.

A good mulching is necessary: ​​it will keep the freshness on the ground, and thus, the fruits will not be in direct contact with the ground which will reduce the risks of decay.

The watering should be done on the foot without wetting the leaves, all over the plank, watering copiously and less often.

Harvesting, conservation and use of the butternut squash of Provence

The harvest is done, anyway, before the frosts. When the leaves have yellowed or dried, the peduncle is also dry, and the fruit has turned from dark green to a coppery ocher color is that it has reached maturity. With pruning shears, cut cleanly the peduncle by taking the fruit full hand without holding it by the peduncle which might cut more or less which would promote the development of rot.

Do not keep butternut squash in the cellar where there is too much moisture or in an insulated attic where cold can occur. However, you can freeze it cooked.

Diseases, pests and parasites of the butternut squash of Provence

Oidium is the enemy of squash in general, as well as aphids, but it is the squash the least affected anyway. On the other hand, gastropods of all kinds love them!

Location and favorable association of the butternut squash of Provence

Plant butternut squash at the edge of a kitchen garden so that they can crawl out of the growing board.

The butternut squash of Provence is the typical species that you will find.

Video: How to Grow Pumpkins.

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