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Can squash varietes (ie., pepo, maxima, moschata etc) cross-polinate / hybridize?

 
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This should be a simple question, but Google has given me both 'yes' and 'no' answers, depending where I look.

I'm looking to plant both a C.pepo and C.maxima in my garden this year, with an eye to saving seed. However, I'd like to know if they are going to cross polinate and give me unpredictable results. If not, I may restrict myself to only the C.pepo this year.

Thanks for any help!
 
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Its a yes, but it almost definitely wont happen. Probably the reason you are finding yes and no answers. The main worry is same species crossing.
If you did get a hybrid between any of these, you would have something rare and people here may be interested in them for moving traits not found in one species to the other - a sweeter storage squash for example, resistance to certain climates, more or less dryland adaptations. If anything does manage to cross later on, you can use old seed from a previous year if you really wanted.

An exception might be Tetsukabuto an F1 cross between a maxima and a moschata. There are some other hybrids out there as well, but this one is easier to obtain.
 
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I wanted to quote Suzanne Ashworth from her book Seed to Seed, but I can't seem to find my copy anywhere. The book states that varieties within the same species (all pepo, all moschata, all maxima, etc) will readily cross pollinate if planted close or not otherwise separated (fine screen cages?). I did not read anything that I can remember that said a pepo and maxima for example will cross-pollinate. I imagine it might be possible. I accidentally crossed two pepo varieties, but didn't realize the "mistake" until growing the seeds from the saved fruit of that year. I learned that year why keeping records of what was grown where is important. I now keep a "map" of what I've planted, when and where (which bed).

Good luck.
 
steward
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In the decade that I have grown thousands of pepo, maxima, and moschata close together, I only found one naturally occurring inter-species hybrid among the offspring. The 7 seeds that the plant produced did not germinate. Therefore the cross might as well have not happened.

Tetsukabuto is a commercially available hybrid between maxima and moschata. It breaks down the species barrier. However a lot of careful observation and hard work went into that. It didn't happen spontaneously.

Moschata can act as a pollen donor to mixta. I find mixta/moschata hybrids in my garden on a regular basis.  I interpret that to mean that moschata and mixta are not quite separate species.
 
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Brian Vraken wrote:This should be a simple question, but Google has given me both 'yes' and 'no' answers, depending where I look.

I'm looking to plant both a C.pepo and C.maxima in my garden this year, with an eye to saving seed. However, I'd like to know if they are going to cross polinate and give me unpredictable results. If not, I may restrict myself to only the C.pepo this year.

Thanks for any help!



I Is your growing season long enough to grow them consecutively rather than spontaneously? Or at least space out the planting times so they aren't blooming at the same time? Or hand pollinate a blossom then screen it off so it is isolated?
 
Garrett Schantz
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Stacie Kim wrote:

Brian Vraken wrote:This should be a simple question, but Google has given me both 'yes' and 'no' answers, depending where I look.

I'm looking to plant both a C.pepo and C.maxima in my garden this year, with an eye to saving seed. However, I'd like to know if they are going to cross polinate and give me unpredictable results. If not, I may restrict myself to only the C.pepo this year.

Thanks for any help!



I Is your growing season long enough to grow them consecutively rather than spontaneously? Or at least space out the planting times so they aren't blooming at the same time? Or hand pollinate a blossom then screen it off so it is isolated?



Seems like they are in zone 5b Canada, so probably not - would be a bit of a stretch.
 
Brian Vraken
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Thanks for the responses all! Sounds like I don't have to worry, and if it does happen, I'll call it a good thing and something new to play with!  The odd cross would be exciting and interesting - I was just concerned about finding both varieties intermixing with eachother after a generation or two, which sounds unlikely.

Joseph - actually, the pepo in this case is your Winter Pepo, ordered from EFN! The Maximas are the Nanticoke squash, also from EFN. I've been reading your squash, tomato and other threads for the last few years, and have been itching to get my hands on some of your varieties to experiment with. I also have your dry bush beans and the Chariot tomato coming. Don't hesitate to follow up if there's anything I can do up here to help advance your breeding work. I find it tremendously interesting.

 
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