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Winter squash crossbreeding project

 
                          
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Squash lovers,

I started a winter squash crossbreeding  project this year and now have quite a few crosses that need to be grown out next year.  Way more than I can possibly grow by myself.  Want to  join me?
You'll need to hand-pollinate each plant, using its own male/female flowers, and keep thorough records regarding when/how you plant, how each plant grows, how many fruits it produces in what kind of growing conditions, the shape/size/color/taste/texture of its fruit and also how well they keep.  (Don't eat 'em all right away!)    Using that info. from everyone who grew out that particular seed, we'll decide which plants' seeds to grow out the next year.  In 4-5 years, we should have some great new varieties of squash to offer fellow gardeners.  (And depending on where the participants live, we can develop regional varieties of them, too!  This will be more and more important as climate changes.)

I had been going to ask folks to grow a minimum number of plants, but that would mean that only people with quite a bit of space could take part in the project.  You can take part by growing just one plant, if you want to.    Who knows which seeds will produce the most wonderful squash? 

If you have not done hand cross pollinating before, I highly recommend Carol Deppe's book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, and Suzanne Ashworth's book Seed To Seed, which give you clear, step-by-step instructions.  It's not at all difficult, but it does involve working with the plants morning and evening during the breeding season and keeping good records.

Please pass this information on to anyone else who may be interested in the project. 

Please get in touch with me for a list of the crosses available.

Regards,
Shivani Arjuna
Sarjuna@aol.com
920-994-4082
 
rose macaskie
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If you hand opllinate a plant do you have to protect it afterwwards so that the bees don't come and bee polinate it after you have hand polinated it , do you have to protect if boforehand to? what about hand pollinating apple trees? agri rose macaskie.
 
Leah Sattler
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I won't have the brainpower come growing season but it sounds like and interesting project! do you have particular goals in mind? what are you trying to cross? I know that there is some chart showing what winter squashes can cross with which I ran across somewhere but I can't ever remember. I was just making sure my hubbards wouldn't cross with my acorns that is all I entered into the brain
 
rose macaskie
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Leah sattler what are hubbards. a friend of my mother married a AMerican man called Hubbard. A good painter. rose
 
Gwen Lynn
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L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of the Church of Scientology.

The surname of "Hubbard" is a fairly common name in the US. A  quick glance at a local phone book shows at least 40 listings under that name, and this is a small metro area, compared to many big cities in the US.

The "Hubbard" that Leah mentioned is a variety of squash. Here is a pic:
hubbard squash.jpg
[Thumbnail for hubbard squash.jpg]
 
                          
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In reply to the questions posted...

Agri Rose wrote:
If you hand opllinate a plant do you have to protect it afterwwards so that the bees don't come and bee polinate it after you have hand polinated it , do you have to protect if boforehand to? what about hand pollinating apple trees?

You need to make sure no bee gets into a flower you are pollinating.  You learn to recognize when individual flowers are about to open and you tape the ones you want to use  shut with masking tape the evening before you plan to do the pollination.  The next morning you remove the tape, use a male to pollinate the female, then tape the female flower closed again.  The entire process is described in great detail in the two books I mentioned in the initial posting.
Why would you want to hand pollinate apple trees?

Leah wrote:
Do you have particular goals in mind? what are you trying to cross? I know that there is some chart showing what winter squashes can cross with which I ran across somewhere but I can't ever remember. I was just making sure my hubbards wouldn't cross with my acorns that is all I entered into the brain.

The goal, as I mentioned, is to create great new varieties of winter squash.  I have done the crosses already and a list is available to anyone seriously interested in joining the project.
Winter squash belong to the genus Curcubita, within which there are six different varieties.  The squash of each variety cross readily with others of the same variety, but not with squash of a different variety.  (Crossing between varieties may be accomplished by hand-pollination, but the plants don't seem to go for it.)  You must isolate varieties by 1/2 mile if you want to save seeds and maintain the variety, unless you hand pollinate.  Hubbards and acorns belong to two different varieties, so don't cross.

Shivani
 
                          
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So much for multitasking.  (Making lunch while trying to do e-mail.)  Let me state that over again, correctly this time.

Winter squash belong to the genus Curcubita, within which there are six different species.  The squash of each species cross readily with others of the same species, but not with squash of a different species.  (Crossing between species may be accomplished by hand-pollination, but the plants don't seem to go for it.)  You must isolate squash of a particular variety from others of their species by 1/2 mile if you want to save seeds and maintain the variety, unless you hand pollinate.  Hubbards and acorns belong to two different species, so don't cross if grown near each other,

Shivani
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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very interesting, can you pm me a "to do list" of what you would want from me.
 
                          
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I don't know what "pm me" means.  But basically, folks will need to proceed as I described in the initial posting.  The whole process is outlined in the two books I mentioned.  You'd need to do that and keep really good records. 
I suggest you borrow one of those books from your local library, read about what you'd be doing, and think about whether you want to.  It definitely requires committment.
Shivani
 
Leah Sattler
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"pm" stands for private message. you can send people private messages through the forum.

so your goals are simply to come up with something tasty and new! I thought maybe you were after some particular traits from two varieties. such as creating a bush type of something or something with a smaller seed cavity.

rose - that was funny. I now have this picture in my head of all the famous scientologists head growing on vines in my garden
 
                          
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Leah wrote:
so your goals are simply to come up with something tasty and new! I thought maybe you were after some particular traits from two varieties. such as creating a bush type of something or something with a smaller seed cavity.

I'll be on the  lookout for traits such as you mentioned, yes.  But since one cannot guess what Nature will provide through this project, we will need to note very thoroughly all the various qualities that the new plants and their fruits have, then proceed from there.

Qualities I'm definitely looking (in addition to good taste, of course) for are ability to set fruit in the kind of new seasons we are having, and long keeping in storage. Disease resistance would be great.  High production, bushy vines, small seed cavities, etc. would be lovely, but are less important.

It will also be good to develop varieties that are particularly suited to particular locations.  Each grower will have to work further on that her/himself.  (Commercial seed is one-size-fits-all as regards location, but of course these seeds do not grow equally well in different parts of the country, or even within a state.  It'll be good if we all get busy saving seed and creating local varieties that will serve us best as we go through climate change, energy descent and financial hard times.)

As I did the crosses I was picturing the offspring in my mind, but Nature's Mind may have been thinking of something else!  Already, Nature has played a big role in project by choosing which cross-pollinations even bore fruit.  Many (of the very many I did) did not.

How do I send someone a private message?  (I'm new here.)

Shivani
 
Gwen Lynn
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Shivani, you need to be logged in to send a pm. Then you just click on the name of who you want to send the message to. At the bottom of their profile it says "send this person a message". click on that & go on from there. 
 
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