I saw something I haven’t seen among the pumpkins JoAnne brought home this year. They looked like (and were) cross-pollinated with cantaloupe melons (aka muskmelon or maybe even something else in other parts of the country).
These pumpkins had a dull orange color, not bright shiny orange as most do. And, they has tan bumps and a texture like that of the cantaloupe melon. The skin texture is quite obviously that of a cantaloupe -although I have read that that cross-pollination combination is rare. I really don’t know how rare it is.
What I have also read is that when two plants cross pollinate, it does not affect the current year crop. It affects the seeds in this years crop. So, unless you are saving seeds for next year, it need not matter to you.
JoAnne bought the pumpkins from a farm nearby. We don’t know if they purchased the seeds or saved them from last year.
According to what I have found, cross-pollination can occur whenever an ‘open pollinated’ bloom accepts pollen that might drift in from another plant of the same species but having genes that differ. Plants that do not rely on insects or the wind to pollinate (self-fertile plants) can sometimes cross-pollinate, although it is considered rare.
The pumpkins and the cantaloupes are open pollinated and can easily cross if within close proximity. That doesn’t mean the bloom will necessarily accept the pollen. Some say it is sometimes difficult to get the pumpkins to pollinate at all.
So, if your pumpkin gets pollinated with cantaloupe pollen, you get the prize -the booby prize. Again, you won’t know if it happens unless you save your seeds. It is said that to avoid crossing squash you might need to separate them by as much as 500 feet. Which is clearly not practical to the home gardener. Best bet is to buy fresh seeds every year and don’t worry about it.
I am curious to know if our local farmer bought those seeds or grew them last year. Somebody’s pumpkins got buggered -whether it was the local farmer’s plants or the seed company (who probably buys them from someone else on a farm). Who knows. They are interesting to look at nonetheless.
You have any thoughts on this or experience? If so, share your experiences by commenting below.
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