September 24, 2017

How Is Your Squash Coming Along?

The butternut squash competition is coming down to the final stretch. Your labor of love is about to “compete” with other butternut squash grown around the country. I wish each of you well.

This “competition” is actually about collaborating as citizens to establish better science. The important question is not “How much nutrition does butternut squash typically contain?” Rather the important question we want answered is “How much nutrition should butternut squash contain?” More specifically “What is the minimum standard of nutrition required for butternut squash to be considered nutrient dense?” This is citizen science and I thank you for your participation.

For many people it is nearly time to submit your sample. I understand some of the squash competition packages did not contain the submittal form. To correct our mistake here is the submittal form online. Please fill it out completely and include your whole squash.

Squash Competition Submittal Form

One of the questions I frequently get is: When is the best time to harvest the squash. I suggest waiting till the leaves are dying and starting to fall over. Please feel free to send your samples from now to the end of November. Any samples arriving in December will not be included in the compiled data for this project.

As a reference I am also going to include a sample for analysis from my own garden. I planted later so my squash are still small and in the early bulking state. Between all of us I am hoping to see over 100 butternut squash samples.

Last but not least we need to honor the genetic lines that are aggressive at taking up soil nutrients. Don’t forget to include the seed source and variety of butternut squash you planted.

Promoting Citizen Science,

Jon Frank

P.S. I didn’t mention it but the top 3 winners having the highest nutrient density score (excluding yours truly) will win cash prizes of $1,000.00, $500.00, and $250.00 respectively.


  1. Meredith says:

    I didn’t submit my squash last year because they matured very late and I just didn’t have time to send anything in before the deadline. And my second reason was that the best squash plant I grew came out of the compost pile (and appeared to be a genetically pure butternut, not the usual cross-breed). That one plant produced 10 full-sized squash, and we still have 1 in the basement – they’re holding very well…

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