Back to main butternut page

We start by preparing to cross two varieties of butternut squash, Giant and Zuchetta Rampicante.

This is a male Zuchetta Rampicante butternut blossom that is ready to open the next morning.


For general information this is a female flower on the butternut variety Zuchetta Rampicante that is providing the male
pollen in this pictorial sequence. This variety is usually grown to provide long green immature squash eaten as a summer
squash, but is a true Cucurbita Moschata butternut squash that is being used in breeding work to develop new long
necked flavorful butternut varieties.


A wax paper bag is placed over the male flower. The location of the flower will be marked with a yellow flag.


The wax paper bag is tied with the 12" piece of jute string. This soft cotton string has enough friction to stay tight
without actually being tight, and is easily loosened.


The female butternut flower Giant variety that will open the following morning is selected. The vine leader was nipped
several days earlier to force a robust female flower. The vine will eventually form a new main leader, By the time the
vine redevelops a main vine leader the flower should be well on the way to sucessful flowering.


The label is written with the number of the cross done so far in 2005, the 73rd cross. The numbers in the squares
represent the numbers of the squash plants. By convention the male pollinating variety is placed on top, the female
variety is placed on the bottom. The date is placed wherever there is room. This information is also recorded on the


The paper lunch bag is placed over the female flower.


The 16" string is passed around the base of the squash above the bottom of the bag but below the squash under the
flower. This is not always easy to do. The string ends are then gently pulled tight enough to hold the bag on and keep
out bees but not tight enough to damage the flower. Practice helps.


The label is placed around the leaf stem at the site of the female squash blossom. It will remain until the squash is harvested
when it will be attached to the mature squash.


The bottom of the bag gathered very carefully around the short stem of the fragile female blossom.


The 16" string is gently tied on with a single cross than can be easily pulled free in the morning. The female flower will
open at dawn safe inside the bag from would-be pollinating insects.


A yellow flag is placed next to the bagged female flower, the same flag color as the bagged male flower.


Back to main butternut page