Little Dipper Butternut


Little Dipper Butternut

Cucurbita moschata
(104 days) F-1 hybrid. In summer 2015, we trialed a slew of those personal-size, supposedly powdery-mildew–resistant, hybrid butternuts. We were shocked to find that all but one variety melted down and yielded poorly. While we pawed around salvaging the few fruits of this and that failure, Little Dipper’s ongoing eruption of green stood in sharp contrast. The small fruits of the other personal butternuts come with restricted habit and often a correspondingly low yield. Dipper’s plethora of uniform pale-tan 2–3 lb fruits are set on fully running weed-suppressing vines. We harvested an impressive 22 fruits from 3 plants. Customer Katie Springman, after reading our description, planted with a self-described shrug and a “whatever,” but now she will be looking for them again. They covered a 25' slope in Berkshire Co, MA, and were very productive, most weighing 3¾ to 5½ lb. “And they’re wonderful.”

Open-pollinated Burpee’s Butterbush stills reigns for flavor, but Dipper offers nice smooth semi-dry texture and medium nutty sweetness through long storage. While supplier stats of other varieties in the trial advertised their supposed-PMR status boldly, Little Dipper’s just warned of us of the crazy growth. For disease and worry resistance, we’ll take vigor and volume any day.

1686 Little Dipper
Item Discounted
A: 1/16oz for $4.60  
B: 1/8oz for $8.45  
C: 1/4oz for $13.45  
D: 1oz for $40.00  
E: 4oz for $138.00  

Additional Information

Butternut group

About 360 seeds/oz, ⅛ oz packet sows 7 hills.

Culture: Butternuts should be started indoors to mature in our climate.

Butternut was introduced in 1936 by Joseph Breck and Sons of Boston, out of Canada Crookneck, an 1800s variety. The best keepers and the squash of choice in Zones 6 and south because of their relative resistance to the squash vine borers that torment other species. Butternuts contain 30% more vitamin A than hubbards and 80% more than acorns.

See also: Cheese Pumpkin.

Cucurbita moschata

C. moschata are usually smooth and tan. They are the squash of choice in Zones 6 and south because of their relative resistance to the squash vine borers that torment acorns and buttercups. See also Cheese Pumpkin.

Winter Squash

  • All open-pollinated except where noted.
  • Days to maturity are from direct seeding; subtract 20 days for transplants.

Culture: May be direct-seeded or transplanted. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal temperature range 70–90°. Direct seeding: Sow 4–5 seeds per hill when weather has warmed after danger of frost. Allow 4–6' between hills. Thin to 3 best plants. Transplanting: Start indoors three weeks before setting out. Do not disturb the roots. Transplant bush varieties 18" apart, vining varieties 30" apart. For either method, use wire hoops and row covers to hasten maturity and reduce insect damage. Tender, not frost hardy. Heavy nitrogen feeders. Excessive heat and/or drought can prevent blossom set, reduce yields. Winter squash can take one or two light frosts on the vine. To improve flavor and storage, field cure for at least 10 days after harvest, covering if hard frost threatens. Store under proper conditions, at least 50° and 60–70% relative humidity in a place with good air circulation. Do not pile up squash. Inspect periodically and be sure to use damaged, stemless or small fruit first. Acorns have the shortest storage time before getting stringy, followed by delicatas, buttercup/kabochas.

Saving Seed: Saving squash seed is challenging! We list three species of the genus Cucurbita: C. pepo, C. maxima and C. moschata. Varieties of the same species will cross readily, but crossing will not occur between the different species. You must isolate varieties of the same species by half a mile if you want true-to-type seed. This is difficult for most gardeners—you may have to communicate and collaborate with neighboring gardeners, or exclude insects from blossoms and hand-pollinate. If you can pull off the variety isolation, processing the seeds is easy: rinse seeds from the guts of fully ripe and cured squash. Dry and store.

Diseases: BR: Black Rot, PM: Powdery Mildew

Pest: Striped Cucumber Beetle
Cultural controls: use tolerant or resistant varieties, rotate crops, till under crop debris soon after harvest, use floating row covers until flowers appear, use plastic mulch, perimeter trap cropping (Black Zucchini and Blue Hubbard make particularly good trap crops), use yellow sticky strips, hand-pick early morning when beetles are very sluggish.
Materials: Surround, Pyrethrum (PyGanic).

Pest: Squash Bug
Cultural controls: rotation, till in cucurbit debris before winter and plant a cover crop, boards on soil surface near squash will attract bugs overnight which can be killed, avoid mulching. Squash bugs lay their brown-brick red egg clusters on the underside of the foliage, often next to the central vein—destroy egg clusters on undersides of leaves.
Materials: Pyrethrum on young nymphs, AzaMax.

Pest: Squash Vine Borer
Cultural controls: butternut squash is resistant, maximas & pepos susceptible; rotation, plow in squash vine debris soon after harvest, use floating row covers, watch for wilting plant parts and destroy borer within.

Disease: Powdery Mildew
Controls: Use small plots to slow spread, plant indeterminate (viney) varieties, control weed competition.
Materials: sulfur and whole milk, mineral or other oils in combination with potassium bicarbonate.

Disease: Bacterial Wilt
Cultural control: Striped Cucumber Beetle is vector—control it; choose resistant varieties.

Germination Testing

For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.

Our Seeds are Non-GMO

All of our seeds are non-GMO, and free of neonicotinoids and fungicides. Fedco is one of the original companies to sign the Safe Seed Pledge.