Crunchy Pumpkin Fruits – Reasons for Butternut Squash Hull Cracking

Many people grow winter squashes, which are not only rich in nutrients, but can be stored for longer periods than summer varieties, allowing you to enjoy the summer bounty during the fall and winter months. Among winter squash varieties, butternut is one of the most popular. Like other winter squashes, butternut squash can be prone to problems – including the fruit cracking in the butternut squash. What causes the skin of the squash to crack and is there a cure?

Help, my pumpkin’s cracking!

It is not uncommon for the fruit of the pumpkin to crack; in fact, this also happens to other fruits of the vine, including melons, pumpkins, cucumbers and even tomatoes. As the pumpkin matures, the outer skin hardens. This tough outer layer allows storage for several months. However, once the hardening process begins, anything that causes extra growth can cause the pumpkin fruit to crack.

What can facilitate the late growth of pumpkins? Heavy rains or excessive irrigation are the most common reasons for pumpkin separation. This extra water tells the pumpkin to grow more. The problem is that the outer shell has already hardened, so when the fruit grows, it has nowhere to go. It’s like flying a balloon. There is a certain amount of air that the balloon will hold before it explodes. It’s a bit like separating fruit into pumpkins.

This pumpkin problem is exacerbated when there is an abundance of nitrogen in the soil. Again, this tells the pumpkin that it’s time to grow. Applying nitrogen at the wrong stage of ripening can cause the pumpkin fruit to crack. Cracking of the pumpkin skin is also the result of late harvest. If pumpkins of other fruits that are prone to cracking are left on the vine too long, they may crack.

Treatment of pumpkin problems following a butterfly nut fracture

So, what can you do to stop a nut from cracking?

  • First of all, it is a good idea to plant the butternuts, or any other pumpkin, on a raised mound or bed that facilitates drainage.
  • Then you have to feed the pumpkin at the right time. Dress in the middle of the season when the plants start to crawl. Apply 2.5 ounces of nitrogen per 250 feet of row. Avoid fertilizing later, as this will stimulate growth and thus cracking.
  • In addition, although it is acceptable to leave the fruit in the vines until the cold weather arrives, there is a risk of splitting the fruit if there is a long period of heat once the fruit has ripened.

So, if you have fruit that’s cracked, is it still edible? Cracked pumpkin usually heals. You’ll see that the fruit has formed a kind of crust over the cracked area. This crust forms when a substance called suberin oozes out and then dries. Suberin is a protective mechanism that repels moisture and tries to keep bacteria out. If bacteria have entered the fruit, it will soon be obvious and irreparable, as the fruit will rot. Otherwise, a nut with suberin is perfectly edible.

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