Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Anarchist's Pumpkin Patch: Breeding a Better Tropical Pumpkin

The more I look at my "Seminole" pumpkins, the more I wonder what genes may have made their way into the line before I got them.

They have the incredible vigor and rich flavor of Seminole pumpkins... but they're paler and are about five times the size of the little Seminole pumpkins I've seen being traded around by plant geeks.

My friend Mart Hale is growing Seminole pumpkins that look a lot like mine (except they have spots)... but he's the only other person I've seen with large fruits on his vines.

As I've written before, I'm attempting to breed a large tropical pumpkin with the fine flavor and vigor of a Seminole pumpkin but the size of a huge calabaza from the tropics.

To start off, I've been collecting C. moschata pumpkin/squash varieties and planting them all together in a big mess.

You can see more of that mess in this video I recorded yesterday:

After they've all interbred this year, I'm going to plant their seeds next year and also add any more large tropical pumpkins and Seminole pumpkin lines I can find.

If you have any great heirloom or even unknown varieties - please share seeds!

Upper Ground Sweet Potato pumpkin, Long Island Cheese, crazy Farm Stand varieties... I want them for spring of 2016 for the next round of additions to the genetic pool.

Meanwhile, my original pumpkin variety is currently being preserved by my skilled gardening friend Curtiss. I really don't want to lose the great variety I started with, hence the backup... but I can't help but wonder if I could make it even more incredible.

Next year I'll do some more controlled crosses rather than letting random pollination take place.

I'm re-reading this excellent book right now and it's giving me plenty of inspiration.

In the future I will be happy to give seeds of Dave's Giant Mutant Tropical Squash back to anyone that would like some. It'll be a few years but we're going to get there.
By the way, if you buy Carol Deppe's book through one of my links, I make a buck or so.

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties is a must-have for anyone interested in creating their own heirlooms.
Breeding and maintaining your own varieties is a great way to make sure you get consistent yields without having to count on far-away seed companies.

I'm doing it with squash now... and if I get more experimental space, I'm totally jumping into corn as well.

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At June 17, 2015 at 6:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got seminole seeds thru SESE an they have 2 varietys... A small one an one a bit larger. I have them planted but only have grape size pumpkins so far as rain has been everywhere but here.

At June 17, 2015 at 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was given some "Seminole" pumpkin seeds this year and have a 20-foot vine starting to develop a few idea what the mature pumpkins will look like, but will gladly share photos and seeds if I get something INTERESTING!

At June 17, 2015 at 11:52 PM , Blogger Viktor L. Lloyd said...

one of my favorite books. I didn't make this comment

At June 18, 2015 at 12:41 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

You should get some soon - they grow like crazy once they pollinate.

At June 18, 2015 at 12:42 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

I laughed out loud.

At June 18, 2015 at 12:43 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Awesome! Thank you. Would love to see pictures.


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