It took less than a week for the green pumpkins in my garden to turn deep orange. They are beautiful and now ready to harvest. There are only six regular pumpkins in my patch, still, plenty for our needs.
This year I did a little experimenting with saved seeds. Last year a cross-pollination resulted in a strange but beautiful pumpkin-like squash. It appeared to be a cross between a field pumpkin and a dumpling winter squash, which are white veined with green.
The strange squash sprouted up in an area of my old barnyard. It was likely the result of seeds that fell out of a pumpkin my horses ate two years ago. They love any squash.
The errant seeds grew and flowered and then were cross-pollinated by a bee or other insect that had just visited the flowers of the dumpling squash. Such cross-pollinating is common and the reason why different varieties of cucurbits such as cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, gourds or melons, must be grown well away from each other. The cross in the barn yard produced squashes that looked something like huge dumpling squash, and odd flattened pumpkins with skins patched in orange and green.
The resulting dumpling cross was quite pretty, I thought. Several were used for decorations during the fall and winter. The skin turned a creamy yellow with green veining and orange tones. It was also a great keeping squash, one lasted in the house through the winter and was going strong in May when I opened it to obtain the seeds.
I planted the seeds in several places around the barn yard, just to see if any would breed true. Sure enough, there are several that look like the parent squash. Some of the seeds are producing what appear to be straight pumpkins. All this variety came from the seeds of one cross-bred squash.
Since the whitish cross is likely a mix of pumpkin and winter squash, it should be edible. This year I will cook one and see if it’s tasty. If it can be eaten, I will save the seeds again and try to develop this strain as a new squash. Should it breed true, it will be exciting to name my own vegetable!