Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unintentional hybrids Part 2: Seed Saving gone WILD

Last year I wrote about what happened when I tried to save the seeds of my favorite pumpkins.  Basically, having exercised no control over who pollinated the punks, the following year's offspring were inedible gourd mutts.  Like mutts often are, they were wildly successful, but even though I had about 50 of the unsightly things in my yard, I never took a picture of them.  I was very disgusted about it.

This year, I ordered my seeds from a catalog.  Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin and Jaune Gros de Paris.  I planted two of each, and they produced a sea of lily pad pumpkin leaves, which by August was studded with jewel-like orbs of Vitamin A.

In the photo at left, they are the lovely orange globes and pink blobs.  It's hard to tell the scale, but the big pink ones are almost too big to lift.

By now you have noticed that there are more than two kinds of squash in that photo.  I did not plant any of them.  They are the results of benign neglect and a streak of mad scientist in their attending gardener.  These gourds grew in the compost, in the garden, under the pine tree, in the orchard, around the chicken coop, and incognito in the pumpkin patch.  I let them grow where they sprouted because I was curious.  Although some of them were so far undercover that I did not even know about them until this week!

They are the wild offspring of all the cucurbits I have ever grown, in some combination.

It makes me feel like my yard is a place where exciting things happen!

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