Butternut squash is a high-yielding winter squash and almost the entire fruit is edible. Winter squash and pumpkins can send out vines that are 10 to 20 feet long. This can be a bit challenging for a raised-bed garden. The solution is to either grow them on a trellis (use a mesh bag or fabric to help support the heavy fruit), or plant them on an outside corner of your raised bed and let them ramble onto the grass. You may need to do a little pruning to keep them in bounds. Like summer squash, winter squash need rich soil that's been amended with compost.
There’s really no need to start winter squash inside. Instead, direct seed ½ to 1 inch deep into hills (which warm and drain earlier in the season) or rows. Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill. Space hills about 4 to 8 feet apart, depending on the size of the fruit. (The larger the expected size of the squash, the larger the vine and the farther apart you should space the hills.) When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones. In rows, sow seeds 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 4 to 8 feet apart. Snip off plants to thin to one plant every 18 to 36 inches.
If you need to start plants early, plant inside in 2- to 3-inch pots or cells 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting outside. Sow 3 or 4 seeds per pot and thin to one or two plants by snipping off the weaker plants to avoid damaging the roots of those that remain. Harden off by cutting back on water and reducing temperature before transplanting. Plant transplants out in the garden at the same final spacings above after all danger of frost has passed.