A Seed Saver's Garden

Beanmad Nanna

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Made a rare trip to one of the few local farmers markets still open at this season on Saturday. Not that much to buy produce wise (it's more prepared and baked goods at this time of year). But someone did have a small number of cherry tomatoes left, and I was able to get a handful or so, in varying states of ripeness. Not sure what I have (basically took whatever looked greenish, whitish or purplish) , or when it will be ready (that ripeness thing). But there does seem to be one Green Zebra Cherry in there, so at least I'll get some seed out of the deal hopefully. I'm approaching seed saving pragmatically now, so everything else will have to be tasted before I make decisions on the seed (I'm good at getting just the gel into the container and fermenting that, so it is possible for me to taste a tomato AND save seed from it.)
thats the way to go - fermenting those interesting market tomato seeds.
 

Pulsegleaner

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On the receiving side, my hosting cousin gave me (FORCED ON me, actually) the result of a spontaneous cross between his Waltham Butternut squash, and his Trombocino. God knows what I'll do with that! (I usually don't grow ANY squash, it takes up a lot of room and its sort of squash or watermelons.)
We finally cut the thing up last night and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that it is perfectly edible (basically, apart from the size and shape, it's more or less still a butternut.)

The bad news is that the cross seems to have not done so well in terms of fertility. In the whole fruit I found a grand total of ONE filled seed!. EVERY other one was empty and aborted (I even checked for partial embryos, but all of the other shells were totally empty, just the coat and the inner membrane.) So, as a re-growable item, it's all but a dead end.
This also means I was FINALLY free to take apart my corn ears (which were already falling apart) and get them ready for the next test (if they pop, since they aren't dent anymore).
They don't, not really. Not sure if it's genetics or seed shape (with such poor pollination, all of the kernels went "button" ) but only about 50% popped at all, and those not very well.
 

ducks4you

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I watched a local program on pumpkins and the guest said that all curcubits can and will crosspollinate on their own. Something was mentioned about needing to keep them 7 miles apart to prevent this. :eek:
Dunno much, just that my volunteer pumpkin didn't look identical to ANY that I have grown in the last few years. The two that survived were wrinkled and flattish and resembled the color of a butternut squash.
Next week I plan to start processing and save seeds, so we'll see...
OIP.fqeyUINopYL34K-EbPA4RAHaE7
 

Pulsegleaner

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I watched a local program on pumpkins and the guest said that all curcubits can and will crosspollinate on their own. Something was mentioned about needing to keep them 7 miles apart to prevent this. :eek:
I think it depends on the genus and species. Certainly all in the same species will cross with no problem, so you can get odd things when you have different things from that (or how I wound up one year with a pumpkin with a woody gourd shell inside it.)

Among the Cucurbita, I thing it IS possible to cross between some of the species with limited success so getting a winter/ summer squash cross is theoretically possible, for example.

In Cucumis, I think the divisions between species are wider, so you can't, for example, cross a cucumber with a melon (so called "cucumber melons" are melons USED like cucumbers, but they have no C. sativus DNA) That's why it's safe for me to grown cucumbers, cucumber melons, burr gherkins and horned melons right next to each other without worrying about crossing.

Citrullus is probably much the same; I've never heard of someone making a watermelon Tinda gourd cross.

Luffas I honestly don't know. I've seen enough variation to suggest round and angled luffa MIGHT be able to cross, but I have no data one way or the other.
 

Zeedman

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I watched a local program on pumpkins and the guest said that all curcubits can and will crosspollinate on their own. Something was mentioned about needing to keep them 7 miles apart to prevent this. :eek:

I think it depends on the genus and species. Certainly all in the same species will cross with no problem, so you can get odd things when you have different things from that (or how I wound up one year with a pumpkin with a woody gourd shell inside it.)
Squashes will certainly cross with others of the same species. C. pepo is the most likely to cross, given that there are so many types & they are widely grown... bees will fly for miles to feed on their pollen, so crosses are almost certain unless isolation procedures are used. The acorn squash I grew in my rural garden - with no other gardens within at least 1/4 mile - had apparent crosses with a pumpkin & a yellow zucchini when grown out the next year.

I have had one apparent cross-species cross, between C. moschata (the parent) & C. maxima (the pollen donor). It looked like a pumpkin, and was basically useless... but there were a few apparently fertile seeds inside. I still have them, and would be interested to see what they grow into; but no longer have the space for such a project. :( It might be useful for breeding new traits (maybe SVB resistance?) into C. maxima.
 

heirloomgal

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In the whole fruit I found a grand total of ONE filled seed!. EVERY other one was empty and aborted (I even checked for partial embryos, but all of the other shells were totally empty, just the coat and the inner membrane.)
This is the main reason I gave up on squash & pumpkins. The last grow outs I had, even though one of them came to about 30 pumpkins on not a huge amount of plants, I did not find the seeds filled out to my liking. When they dried fully, they seemed to shrink a bit too. I didn't even check the germination because I didn't like how they looked; they probably would sprout, but if I can't grow a nice, smooth filled out seed crop I don't want to grow it. I read later on a squash/pumpkin growing site that this family really needs a lot of water to do well, which makes sense seeing these vegetables contain a ton of water, but the seeds are needy too and clearly the flesh itself will steal the moisture and rob the forming seeds. I don't think I want to be bothered giving them as much water as they need to make good seeds. Probably didn't help I was growing them on small hills too.
 
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heirloomgal

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I think this is a pretty straightforward resource on different species of 'squash' (including pumpkins) and which ones you can grow together and still avoid anything crossing (at least theoretically). So, you should be able to grow 3 different types of squashes/pumpkins all together in a year without crossings, if you pick one from each of these groups.

  1. Pepo: acorn squash, delicata, summer squash (including zucchini), some specialty pumpkins
  2. Maxima: buttercup, Hubbard, kabocha, giant pumpkins
  3. Moschata: butternut, most pumpkins

 
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digitS'

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Quote:
1. pepo: ... pumpkins
2. maxima: ... pumpkins
3. moschata: ... pumpkins


"Pumpkin," like "squash," has become such a vague term. Decorations in the Fall. Pumpkins. Oh yeah, sure ...

What we think of as Jack o'Lanterns, orange and useful for carving, are usually C. pepo. If you want to include a few of these in the garden and also want a few Summer squash, you are likely to be in trouble for seed saving. Pepo x Pepo, with cheerful bees happy to move pollen.

The same would likely to be true if your interest runs to a small, cute "pumpkin" variety to set on a fireplace mantel or living room end table and want to grow some Winter squash.

Having multiple types of these plants anywhere near each other represents problems for seed saving. My past tendency to take some pleasure and tolerate a volunteer showing up in the garden has not had the rewards that I was thinking of.

Steve
 

heirloomgal

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I didn't catch the multiple use of the generic *pumpkin* term, I read the first few and went with it. I edited that post to correct it. Yes, it's so true - every Cucurbita variety basically has to be individually researched to confirm it's species. I don't think there is any real way to tell from looking at the varieties in the squash family what species it is.
 
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