Land preparation & Planting
Plough your land early. You need to dig as deep as 20-30 cm down into the soil. Break up lumps of soil. Mix in well-rotted manure. Smooth the soil surface. If your shamba is in a high rainfall area, make raised beds.
Plant the seeds 45 cm apart in rows 90 cm apart. Cover the seeds with at least 2 cm of soil. At planting, add DAP or NPK 17:17:17 fertilizers. Use 80 kg per acre.
Topdress with CAN when the vines are about 30 cm long. Use 1-2 tablespoonfuls per plant. You will need about 100 kg of CAN per acre.
Weeds take water and nutrients from your crop. They can badly affect your crop between when the shoots emerge to when the vines grow.
Weeds also hide pests and diseases.
Start weeding when the butternut plants are 2 weeks old. Pull out weeds when you see them. As the butternut vines and leaves grow, you will find you have less weeds.
Butternuts have male and female flowers. The flowers need to be ‘pollinated’ for a fruit to grow well. This means that a bee has to visit a male flower, then a female flower.
Attract bees with flower patches in your shamba. You could also keep bees and sell the honey.
Topdress again 1 month later when they start to flower. You will need about 100 kg CAN per acre.